As I was thinking about what to put together for the religion section of The Marshall Democrat - News, I got a really strong urge to write on the subject of 'The Church' as if it had come from God, which it probably did, so I thought, 'Ok, I can do this', so I set out and started doing a lot of research on the subject, "The Church'. So just what is the "church?"
I have had people come up to me, and my wife also, and ask "Where is Westport Church located?" The problem with their thinking on this question is that they are thinking of the word 'church' as a building. I think at one time or another we all have fallen into this trap of thinking. When talking to someone about a church, we do tend to think of the building but the building is not the church, it's just a building. The people who have received Jesus as their savior who go to that building is the "church." That means that if you have been born again through Christ our Savior, you are part of the "church", which is the body of Christ, Romans 10: 8-13, 11: 13-24 and 12: 3-8. So the Westport Church is at Westport, but actually that should say "The Church at Westport." Jesus said in Matthew 18: 20, "For where two or Three are gathered together in My Name, there am I in the midst of them". This means that if you and a friend or friends meet someplace and start talking about Jesus and the Bible, you're having church right there where you all are at. That could be at a store, say like Walmart, that would be the Church at Walmart or on a street corner like the corner of Arrow and Odell St., that would be called the Church at the corner of Arrow and Odell St. Ain't that crazy? But according to Jesus, that's a fact. A church can meet anywhere, even at one of the member's home.
In Romans 16:5 Paul says, "Likewise greet the church that is in their house", 1 Corinthians 16:19 Paul says "The churches of Asia salute you. Aquila and Priscilla salute you much in the Lord, with the church that is in their house", and in Philemon, verse 2, Paul says "And to our beloved Apphia and Archippus our fellow soldier, and to the church in your house".
So back then as well as today the church can meet anywhere they can or need to because we, the Body of Christ, are the church. In fact, there are some countries today that do not allow God's religion to be represented in their country. So Christians, followers of Jesus, have to meet in secret in someone's home. In Romans 12: 4-5 says, "For as we have many members in one body -- refers to every person who is in the body of Christ -- and all members have not the same office -- Spiritual Gifts -- so we being many, are one Body in Christ." In 1 Corinthians 12: 12-14 says, "For as the Body -- church -- is one, and has many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body so also is Christ. For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free and have been all made to drink into one Spirit. For the body -- here the human body -- is not one member, but many."
Jesus himself spread God's message to any and all who would listen no matter where he was. Rather it was in a synagogue, in the streets of a town, out in the fields or even standing in a boat on the water just off the shore, whereever the need was to spread God's message, he'd preach. Why? Because he was and still is the church and we are the members.
So as you can see, the church is not the building or a structure of any kind or even a denomination, it is we, every person in this whole world who has accepted Jesus as their Lord and savior and has been born again is the church. Jesus said in John 15: 5, "I am the Vine (the head of the Church) and you are the branches (believers, members). He who abides in me, and I in him, the same brings forth much fruit, for without Me you can do nothing." What Jesus is saying here is without him we are lost, there is no church.
Every now and then I hear in the news on TV or see in the newspapers that a church has caught fire and burned down and I think, 'Oh, those poor people caught fire and burned up, how awful.' Lol. Well, that's the news media for you. What they should say is that the church members' building caught fire and burned down.
So, to all my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ out there, let us help each other in times of need and lets each one of us do our part in helping make the church grow stronger and to reach out to those who do not know our Lord and Savior, and there are many, and bring them into the church. May God Bless the church.