Posted by: SandreS | November 27, 2009

God’s Outsiders: The Called-Out Ones (A Biblical Look at God’s Ecclesia), Part 25

A Snapshot of the Church

Think back for a minute, if you will. When Paul went to a new city – say, Corinth, for example – as a rule, prior to his arrival, there were no members of Christ’s Body there. He would preach “the gospel to that city” (Acts 14:21). Upon trusting Christ his hearers were made members of the church, which is His Body. In other words, all of the saved in a geographic area made up the church of that area.

Let’s say, for example, that after some time at Corinth there were 25 believers – “the Lord knows them who are His” (II Timothy 2:19). All of these believers were baptized by “one Spirit” into “one Body” (I Corinthians 12:13). They were all made members of “the church of God” (I Corinthians 1:2) when they were “sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints” (I Corinthians 1:2).

No one needed to form, start or plant “a church.” All that needed to be done was to preach “the good news to that city.” God did the rest. He formed, started and planted the only divine church that was at there – the only ecclesia that was His “the church of God.”

We hear a lot from the religious system about “starting” and “planting” churches. From where did such talk come? Does this sort of idea support, or contradict the truth of the ecclesia, the Body of Christ? If there is only one true church today, and God “started” this church with Paul, then what is it that we would be starting? It would be a man-made organization that would stand in contradiction and competition with God!

Paul preached the good news to the lost. Some of them – a few of them – believed and were saved. At the very moment they believed Paul’s gospel (evangel), they were made members of the church, which is His Body. No man-made organizations were needed, no forms to fill out, no governmental recognition to seek and maintain, and nothing for anyone to join! Not a “church,” not a “fellowship,” not a “society,” not a “club” – nothing! Every saved person in Corinth was already a member of the only church that God would ever have in Corinth!

There were no business meetings, board meetings or “church” property. There was only the “church of God.” Is that not enough? Why do we find it so hard to be satisfied with who and what God has made us in Christ? Can we not see the hand of the Adversary here?

Peter Lord, in his great work Turkeys & Eagles,[1] reminds us of an important truth:

We are all in danger of falling into the same trap that Adam and Eve fell into. They were tempted to become something they already were. The devil said, “If you eat … you will be like God.” They were already like God. Made in His image and in His likeness …

If the evil one can keep us from knowing who and what we are in Christ Jesus – new creations, saints, the people and children of God – then he can tempt us to act, by making us want what we think we do not have.

The Christian does not do in order to become. He does because he is what God has made him in Christ Jesus.

Be the church!

Clyde L. Pilkington, Jr.
Bible Student’s Notebook
© 2000, 2009

[1]Available through, PO Box 265, Windber, PA, 15963; 1-800-784-6010.

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