In Touch Daily Devotional
by Dr. Charles Stanley
Friday October 8, 2004
The Pattern for What You Believe
When most people hear the word church, the first thing they think of is a certain type of building. But let's see what Christ said about the church so that we can understand its biblical meaning.
In Matthew 16:18, the Lord proclaimed, " . . . I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it" (KJV). He obviously had in mind something much greater than a mere architectural structure. In fact, He was referring to the whole body of Christ, which is comprised of all believers worldwide - everyone who, having trusted Jesus as personal Savior, is a child of the heavenly Father. The church began on the day of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit came and anointed a group of Jesus' followers. (Act 2) It will continue until an event known as the Rapture of the church, when every believer in Jesus Christ is caught up to meet Him in the sky. (1 Thessalonians 4:17)
The church is not merely a place for social action or fellowship, though these are important aspects of its purpose. Rather, the church is the entire body of Christ, filled and enabled - both corporately and individually - by the Holy Spirit to carry out the task designated by Jesus Himself. (Matthew 28:19-20) Namely, the work and ministry of the church is to bring people to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ and to make disciples, instructing them and growing them up in the things of God.
Our responsibility is to obey. Have you asked yourself what role you should be playing in the ministry of the church?
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