What is the Church?
Does all the denominational back and forth have you dizzy and confused? Don't be discouraged! The Church, as the world defines, isn’t even what Jesus was speaking of when he talked about the church. Let us read and define church for what it really means.
The key to understanding all things pertaining to the Kingdom is the Holy Spirit. Let’s read together a conversation between Jesus and his disciples where he gives Peter direction concerning the church.
Matthew 16:13-19 KJV “When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am? And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremiah, or one of the prophets. He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Bar–jona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. 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. And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”
We see here that the Spirit of God is key to understanding truth. “Blessed art thou, Simon Bar–jona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.” Jesus also tells us in John 14:26 KJV: “But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.”
We should see clearly that the Holy Spirit is required for anyone who calls themselves 'of God.' We know from the conversation between Jesus and Nicodemus that, if one is not born again of God’s Spirit, then they have no life in them. James tell us in James 1:21 KJV: “Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls.” This is just another way of telling the world that receiving the Holy Spirit is key to salvation made available through the sacrifice of our Lord and Savior on the cross. Jesus used parables to explain this 'grafting in!'
Once born again, or grafted in, we become the Church. All of these are illustrations concerning the true and spiritual Church.
Jesus said, “Upon this rock I will build my church;" *Jesus is the rock* "and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven." *The keys of the kingdom of heaven is the Holy Spirit.*
The faithful within the Church are The Bride of Christ! All those who have been born again of Spirit make up 'The Church!' Jesus was not speaking of earthly things when he said church; He was speaking of heavenly things. Many do not understand this teaching because they are of the world. They may be religiously educated like Nicodemus, but still they don’t understand. Jesus, speaking to Nicodemus, asked him this question: “If I have told you earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe, if I tell you of heavenly things?" John 3:12 KJV
There are many who do not believe nor understand. They are still looking to earthly things to save them, such as the earthly false churches in the world and their various doctrines for redemption. Salvation is only found in Christ and in his Holy Spirit. Those who are found in Christ and have His Spirit are 'The Church!
With love and the good news of Christ, I desire nothing more than God’s will on earth as it is in Heaven.
Joseph R. Stansel