Scripture: Acts 2:37-47 New Living Translation (NLT)
37 Peter’s words pierced their hearts, and they said to him and to the other apostles, “Brothers, what should we do?” 38 Peter replied, “Each of you must repent of your sins and turn to God, and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. Then you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 This promise is to you, and to your children, and even to the Gentiles[a]—all who have been called by the Lord our God.” 40 Then Peter continued preaching for a long time, strongly urging all his listeners, “Save yourselves from this crooked generation! ” 41 Those who believed what Peter said were baptized and added to the church that day—about 3,000 in all.
Confession, Contrition, Covenant, Community, Connection = CHURCH
In the text above from the day of Pentecost we see all the elements of Church represented – Confession, Contrition & Covenant ( Verse 38 ) Community and Connection ( Verse 39-46)
As I stated at the outset of these posts on the topic of Church. Church is last in our list because God sees His Church in the hearts of each believer. There have been no discussion or reference to a building except for the temple and homes that served as meeting places for the believers as seen in today’s text from Acts.
That gathering of confessed believers that have repented of their sins and have entered God’s family under the waters of baptism are now connecting with other likeminded believers to fellowship and worship – This is CHURCH! When we confine God to the box ( a Church building )we often only see him in that box. It allows us to associate worship to the building where we, The Church gather. We have to take God with us outside of the box and allow him to shine a light on the path of our day to day life.
Church is not a building but merely the gathering place for all the “Churches” that will enter it to fellowship and worship together. The power of the Church gathering and worshiping from God’s word ( the Bible ) is so that the Church can take Jesus out of the box of the Bible and carry him out to the world in our daily lives.
The Church then is actually established at the confession of faith and thereafter resides in the heart of those that accept Jesus Christ as their savior. Often the Church gets “boxed” in and is considered a building or structure and then is forced to defend the mission and ministry of love, service and compassion that are fruits of the spirit present in the heart of every believer. The Church can and should no more be defined or confined to the box of a building any more than when we try to put God into the box of the Bible. The Bible is a wonderful book and the only of its kind – A history book, a science book, a book on managing our activities, our money, our physical and spiritual lives, but most of all the Bible is a novel Love story of God’s love for his crowning creation and his never ending desire to have a closer relationship with us. The entire Bible points to Jesus Christ – The OT from Genesis to Malachi point to his coming and purpose. The Gospels chronicle his life and ministry as well as his death and resurrection. The rest of the NT provides guidance and direction for our lives until Christ returns and points forward to that day. Even though we utilize the direction provided for us in the Bible on our best day we can only unlock parts of the divine revelation that God provided to the writers of our scriptures. God existed before these writers and he allowed them to document their relationship and we comprised from those writings the Bible. Yet to limit God to his existence in the box of the Bible is somewhat arrogant on our part but it brings out our human nature of wanting to fit everything in our lives into a box so we can feel more in control.
May we always recognize God’s presence in our lives and in the actions, we undertake as His Church in this world. May we use the support of the C’s in our lives to live a better life as His Church. And may we be mindful that our greatest gift of the Holy Spirit allows us to be God’s Church and live out His power by taking him out of the boxes of Church and the Bible and allowing Him to live through our lives.