The Church

How you ever considered defining the Church? Is it something that you think needs defining? It is an entity that is very necessary and it is very important to know and understand the meaning of.

I believe that the word (Church) has purposely been redefined by the world expressly to keep people from the knowledge of truth. Let’s consider a few verses, starting with this one:

Matthew 16:18

AND I SAY ALSO UNTO THEE, THAT THOU ART PETER, AND UPON THIS ROCK I WILL BUILD MY CHURCH: AND THE GATES OF HELL SHALL NOT PREVAIL AGAINST IT.

Matthew 18:17

AND IF HE SHALL NEGLECT TO HEAR THEM, TELL IT TO THE CHURCH: BUT IF HE NEGLECT TO HEAR THE CHURCH, LET HIM BE UNTO THEE AS AN HEATHEN MAN AND A PUBLICAN.

As far as I can find, this is the only two places the word Church can be found in the gospels and, it was never mentioned in the Old Testament. Since we see that and it is proven as a fact, I wonder what the disciples thought when Jesus Christ mentioned the Church? If you will notice he is the only person that uses the word Church.

Personally, I believe he’s planting a seed of thought into the minds of the disciples. Good spiritual teaching will often do just that. As we grow spiritually we will remember something that was said by way of teaching and it will cause us to have a better understanding of the whole spiritual picture.

As you consider this , you will notice that once we get into the epistles; we see the word Church very often.Let’s look into one more set of verses before we move on.

John 6:53-56

THEN JESUS SAID UNTO THEM, VERILY, VERILY, I SAY UNTO YOU, EXCEPT YE EAT THE FLESH OF THE SON OF MAN, AND DRINK HIS BLOOD, YE HAVE NO LIFE IN YOU. (54) WHOSO EATETH MY FLESH, AND DRINKETH MY BLOOD, HATH ETERNAL LIFE, AND I WILL RAISE HIM UP AT THE LAST DAY. (55) FOR MY FLESH IS MEAT INDEED, AND MY BLOOD IS DRINK INDEED. (56) HE THAT EATETH MY FLESH, AND DRINKETH MY BLOOD, DWELLETH IN ME, AND I IN HIM.

We actually need to read this whole chapter but we will talk about the events thereof and try and point out what Jesus Christ as the Savior of this world was seeing and what he is trying to converse to his people. If you will notice as you read and study these verses, even this chapter, Jesus refers them back to the manna their fathers were given in the wilderness. Let’s read verse:

(John 6:58)

THIS IS THAT BREAD WHICH CAME DOWN FROM HEAVEN: NOT AS THAT YOUR FATHERS DID EAT MANNA, AND ARE DEAD: HE THAT EATETH OF THIS BREAD SHALL LIVE FOR EVER.

You can read about the manna in (Exodus 16). Jesus Christ has just taken two small fish and five barley loaves and fed a great multitude of people. All these people were simply in love with Jesus Christ for all the wrong reasons. They loved him because of what he had done for their flesh. Let’s look at:

John 6:15

WHEN JESUS THEREFORE PERCIEVED THAT THEY WOULD COME AND TAKE HIM BY FORCE, TO MAKE HIM KING, HE DEPARTED AGAIN INTO THE MOUNTAIN HIMSELF ALONE.

I’m going to show you one more verse in John and we’ll go back to talking about the true Church.

John 6:26

JESUS ANSWERED THEM AND SAID, VERILY, VERILY, I SAY UNTO YOU. YE SEEK ME, NOT BECAUSE YE SAW THE MIRACLES, BUT BECAUSE YE DID EAT OF THE LOAVES, AND WERE FILLED.

After that Jesus goes into the message about what it truly takes to have eternal life. That brings us to the true Church. Everyone of the people (believed) in Jesus Christ. Can we agree on that fact? Jesus Christ knew that they all believed in him and, that became a concern to Jesus as their Savior. Why? becaise these people were concerned completely about the wrong aspect of their lives.

I’m going to give you an example about something I see in scripture that Jesus used often.

(THE SEED)

I once had a man share this with me. He said that any man can count the seeds in one apple. However, no man can count the apples in one seed. Now, let’s consider. Almost every person that picks up an apple will eat the fruit off the core of that apple then throw the core out. Now, let’s say that core lands out in the forest next to his house. One of the seeds sprouts and becomes a tree. How many more apples will come from that one seed?

The fruit that the man ate of that apple might have satisfied is hunger but, while that apple was developing; the seed inside that apple was growing; being the most important part of that apple, not the fruit that the man ate. He might have thought it was but, it wasn’t.

Looking at this, if we go back to the very start of the apple on the tree, it started as a bloom. However, every part of that whole apple was within that bloom. As the apple begins to form it is nourished with all it needs to became a complete healthy apple.

In realty, while man can eat the fruit of an apple using it to supply what he needs to be healthy, that is actually not what the apple is all about. The fruit of an apple is around the seed to give that seed what it needs to one day as that fruit dies and decays the nourishment that seed needs to become a fruit bearing tree one day bringing about much fruit.

Let’s look at something else Jesus Christ said:

John 12:24

VERIFY, VERIFY, I SAY UNTO YOU, EXCEPT A CORN OF WHEAT FALL INTO THE GROUND AND DIE, IT ABIDETH ALONE: BUT IF IT DIE, IT BRINGETH FORTH MUCH FRUIT.

These things together become a perfect picture of the message Jesus Christ is trying to relay to the people about eating his flesh and drinking his blood. The people would not allow themselves to see anything beyond their own flesh. Do you realize that Jesus Christ in a body of flesh had to die. He, as a man was not here to live eternally. Let’s look at another verse:

John 18:37

PILATE THEREFORE SAID UNTO HIM, ART THOU A KING THEN? jESUS ANSWERED. THOU SAYEST THAT I AM A KING. TO THIS END WAS I BORN. AND FOR THIS CAUSE CAME I INTO THE WORLD, THAT I SHOULD BEAR WITNESS UNTO THE TRUTH. EVERY ONE THAT IS OF THE TRUTH HEARETH MY VOICE.

Jesus was not born to be the king of the Jews. Guess what? he was already their rightful king wasn’t he? Now, consider this. He came into this word to cause the (seed) within him to eat of his flesh and grow thereby and that other people might see the man within, the (seed) within and, allow that same seed to grow within themselves.

Let’s now go back to the seed. Can you see how within an apple, it takes some ingredients from a vine or tree to create the fruit of the apple and something completely different to form the seed within? We, as people are no different. As you eat to feed your flesh, it takes some things we eat to make bones and something else to make our flesh. However, all of that is just our flesh.

Each of us are born with another seed within us. We call it a God consciousness. It’s that part of us that takes the flesh and blood of Jesus Christ to cause it to become healthy and grow. All our bodies of flesh amounts to is the outward fruit that people see. How do we (eat his flesh and drink his blood)? Look at this verse:

Matthew 4:4

BUT HE ANSWERED AND SAID, IT IS WRITTEN, MAN SHALL NOT LIVE BY BREAD ALONE, BUT BY EVERY WORD THAT PROCEEDETH OUT OF THE MOUTH OF GOD.

That word is the only ingredient found upon the face of this earth that will feed that seed that lives within each of us. That food does not go into our bodies by our mouth does it? And, not only that but, it must be received when it enters our bodies through the avenues available to receive it.

I didn’t show you this verse in (John 6) a while back so, let’s read it now.

John 6:45

IT IS WRITTEN BY THE PROPHETS, AND THEY SHALL ALL BE TAUGHT OF GOD. EVERY MAN THEREFORE THAT HATH HEARD, AND HATH LEARNED OF THE FATHER, COMETH UNTO ME.

Aren’t we still speaking of the Church here? The Church that Jesus Christ referred to in the gospels and even the Church that we see often in the epistles has nothing to do with a building made with man made materials. Let’s look at this verse:

John 2:18-21

THEN ANSWERED JEWS AND SAID UNTO HIM, WHAT SIGN SHEWEST THOU UNTO US, SEEING THAT THOU DOEST THESE THINGS? (19) JESUS ANSWERED AND SAID UNTO THEM, DESTROY THIS TEMPLE, AND IN THREE DAYS I WILL RAISE IT UP. (20) THEN SAID THE JEWS, FORTY AND SIX YEARS WAS THIS TEMPLE IN BUILDING, AND WILT THOU REAR IT UP IN THREE DAYS? (21) BUT HE SPAKE OF THE TEMPLE OF HIS BODY,

In reality, the body of Jesus Christ was by definition the Church. He used every available part of his flesh to show the very Spirit of God that lived within that body of flesh. Look at these verses:

1 Corinthians 15:20-23

BUT NOW IS CHRIST RISEN FROM THE DEAD, AND BECOME THE FIRSTFRUITS OF THEM THAT SLEPT. (21) FOR SINCE BY MAN CAME DEATH, BY MAN CAME ALSO THE RESURRECTION FROM THE DEAD. (22) FOR AS IN ADAM ALL DIE, EVEN SO IN CHRIST SHALL ALL BE MADE ALIVE. (23) BUT EVERY MAN IN HIS OWN ORDER: CHRIST THE FIRSTFRUITS; AFTERWARDS THEY THAT ARE CHRIST’S AT HIS COMING.(24) THEN COMETH THE END, WHEN HE SHALL DELIVER UP THE KINGDOM OF GOD, EVEN THE FATHER; WHEN HE SHALL HAVE PUT DOWN ALL RULE AND ALL AUTHORITY AND POWER.

I’d also like to add this verse o this:

Matthew 10:28

AND FEAR NOT THEM WHICH KILL THE BODY, BUT ARE NOT ABLE TO KILL THE SOUL: BUT RATHER FEAR HIM WHICH IS ABLE TO DESTROY BOTH SOUL AND BODY IN HELL.

As we look into these verses we see that when Jesus Christ spoke of the Church in the gospels, in reality he was speaking of himself and all those that would after him believe on him and allow the very same spirit that lived and thrived within his flesh to do the same thing in their bodies of flesh. He, Jesus Christ was the firstfruit of all those that would willingly eat his flesh and drink his blood.

Jesus Christ made a promise to those that truly followed him. we see that promise in:

John 14:25-26

THESE THINGS HAVE I SPOKEN UNTO YOU, BEING PRESENT WITH YOU. (26) BUT THE COMFORTER, WHICH IS THE HOLY GHOST, WHOM THE FATHER WILL SEND IN MY NAME, SHALL TEACH YOU ALL THINGS, AND BRING ALL THINGS TO YOUR REMEMBRANCE, WHATSOEVER I HAVE SAID UNTO YOU.

That promise was fulfilled in:

Acts 2:1-4

AND WHEN THE DAY OF PENTECOST WAS FULLY COME, THEY WERE ALL WITH ONE ACCORD IN ONE PLACE. (2) AND SUDDENLY THERE CAME A SOUND FROM HEAVEN AS OF A RUSHING MIGHTY WIND, ANS IT FILLED ALL THE HOUSE WHERE THEY WERE SITTING. (3) AND THERE APPEARED UNTO THEM CLOVEN TONGUES LIKE AS OF FIRE, AND IT SAT UPON EACH OF THEM. (4) AND THEY WERE ALL FILLED WITH THE HOLY GHOST, AND BEGAN TO SPEAK WITH OTHER TONGUES, AS THE SPIRIT GAVE THEM UTTERANCE.

The Church was born! It started with one hundred and twenty believers. The very same spirit that lived and thrived within the body of flesh of Jesus Christ now lives within these people. Although they were seated in a building, it had nothing to do with that buliding. It has to do with just how willing each of those believers are to allow that spirit to live out in their flesh as they grow in the spirit that can now teach them.

In reality. now it becomes the responsibilty of these people to allow every aspect of their flesh to feed the seed that lives within. (eating the flesh of Jesus Christ and, drinking his blood). That flesh and blood is simply the word of God!

THE CHURCH

The Holy Spirit within every born again believer’s body of flesh is by definition, the Church. Just how willing we are to listen to, read God’s word and allow that word to grow within each of us and deny our flesh and what it desires is the very strength of the Church upon this earth. Let’s consider these verses:

Ephesians 4:1-3 and 13

I THEREFORE, THE PRISONER OF THE LORD, BESEECH YOU THAT YE WALK WORTHY OF THE VOCATION WHEREIN YE ARE CALLED, (2) WITH ALL LOWLINESS AND MEEKNESS, WITH LONGSUFFERING, FORBEARING ONE ANOTHER IN LOVE; (3) ENDEAVOURING TO KEEP THE UNITY OF THE SPIRIT IN THE BOND OF PEACE.

13

TILL WE ALL COME IN THE UNITY OF THE FAITH, AND OF THE KNOWLEDGE OF THE SON OF GOD, UNTO A PERFECT MAN, UNTO THE MEASURE OF THE STATUE OF THE FULLNESS OF CHRIST:

The Apostle Paul wrote this to the born again believers at Ephesus. He didn’t write it to a building but to people; seeking to help them to all be in the unity of the spirit. That means that every person that believes, when they hear the truth as it is taught becomes willing to yield their bodies to that Spirit within them. When spiritual truth is taught or preached inspired by God then we, as believers are eating the flesh and drinking to blood of Jesus Christ. We are in essence dying to self and becoming Jesus Christ.

When (becoming Jesus Christ) is stated; we know we can never be just like him but, the desire to yield to him is still just as real. That concept is the Church. Look at this verse:

Matthew 18:20

FOR WHERE TWO OR THREE ARE GATHERED TOGETHER IN MY NAME, THERE AM I IN THE MIDST OF THEM.

Therefore, if I, my wife and child are sitting at out dinner table, my child is sharing gospel truth to my wife and I, isn’t that a Church? Even my wife and I alone constitutes a Church. If we seek to add unity of the Spirit to that then we are eager to hear the truth, even about ourselves and are very willing to let that truth cause us to die to our flesh and let God’s Spirit be seen in us.

Basically speaking, the true Church is an unseen vessel. That is, unless the person that has it wirhin their heart allows it to be seen through their flesh. There’s been a few times in my life that I’ve been in buildings where the people within that building allow God’s Spirit to be seen with great power and that to the salvation of other people but, not often.

Here’s a question that almost demands an answer. Is there a difference in the spirit within a local Church and the actual Spirit of God? The answer is, yes! God’s desire is to have believers that can sense the difference in those two spirits and not be deceived by one that is false.

The true Church will stand! However, every building will fall with those that trust in the wrong spirit.We need to open our spiritual eyes to truth, knowing Jesus Christ and the Church he is speaking of. We need to look far beyond our Church leaders, that is the people we see in buildings and allow God’s Spirit to teach us truth!

I truly believe many people have been rocked to sleep spiritually by the false teachers of this world. Many of the teachers are very close to truth but they dismiss the Holy Spirit of God as necessary part of their teaching.

One of my favoritr verses is:

2 Peter 1:10

WHEREFORE THE RATHER, BRETHREN, GIVE DILIGENCE TO MAKE YOUR CALLING AND ELECTION SURE: FOR IF YE DO THESE THINGS, YE SHALL NEVER FALL:

We see that it is actually left up to each individual to be sure they are members of the Church of Jesus Christ, never a Church building. Seek to know him! Allow his Church to be seen within your everyday life. One day, you will be glad you did!

Marshall Clayton

2 Timothy 1:7

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