Saturday, February 17, 2024

Where Is the Church?

Did you know that in Paul's earliest writing, the apostle gives us a pretty good working definition of the word "church" (1 Thess. 1:1)? Paul is writing "to the church of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ." Notice, first, that the church is "in God the Father." This distinguishes it from secular assemblies and clubs. Then notice that the church is also "in the Lord Jesus Christ." This expression now distinguishes the church from a strictly Jewish assembly. (No Jewish synagogue would self-identify as being in BOTH the Father and Jesus Christ!) Thus, a New Testament church is a community of people who are rooted in the Father and the Son. 

Of course, the church is also in the world. God's church lived in Thessalonica, just as it lives in my neck of the woods in Southside Virginia. You see, there's the spiritual location of the church, and then there's the physical location of the church. I would not want to have lived in Thessalonica, Ephesus, Corinth, Rome, or Philippi without being in Christ and having him live in me. Nor would I want to live in Los Angeles, London, Paris, or Hong Kong without the power of Christ. The truth is, we can enjoy his presence anywhere as we serve him and others. Because the church is in the Father and in Christ, we don't need ultimate security in any given place!

Just a happy reminder :-)