“This is a home, not a hotel!” If you’re a young person, this might sound all too familiar.
A home is a safe place to seek shelter amidst the impending storm. The church is our spiritual home, by definition a group of “called out people” from every age group, multiracial and with different backgrounds but united for one purpose. It is a safe haven of refuge where we run to the altar to seek God for spiritual shelter. It is a place of community and growth with like-minded souls – we do life together. The church is one of the greatest gifts God has given to us.
In this tricky, fast-paced, 21st century life we lead, we often casually walk in and out of His presence when we need a “dose” of His refreshing goodness. If we’re not mindful, we can easily take the church for granted, forget its important and intended purpose in our lives. We must not come to a place where we become accustomed to walking into church for a quick pick-me-up and so devalue it.
“Then I turned to see the voice that spoke with me. And having turned I saw seven golden lampstands, and in the midst of the seven lampstands One like the Son of Man, clothed with a garment down to the feet and girded about the chest with a golden band.
“Write, therefore, what you have seen, what is now and what will take place later. 20 The mystery of the seven stars that you saw in my right hand and of the seven golden lampstands is this: The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands are the seven churches.”
The 3 primary reasons why the apostolic church is unique, different from any other organised effort in the world:
- The calling
“And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.”
Fun fact: The word “church” comes from the Greek word Ekklesia, by definition “a called or assembly… Or the called out ones.”
The church isn’t a man-made institution birthed from a brainstorming session of strategic planning. The church is the vision and master plan of Jesus. He designed and took ownership of the church by purchasing it with a price – His own blood. The verse in Revelation states that Jesus stands in the midst of His church.
The church will stand regardless of persecution and world conditions, even regardless of who stands at the pulpit. The church is here today because of the calling of God to be the very body of Christ on the earth. God equips and enables those who are called to fulfil its design purpose. It’s God ordained, God breathed, God designed, God called & God sent!
“But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy.”
1 Peter 2:9-10
There’s only one way to be part of a church – to be born into it as into a family. We are family: the father is Jesus and the mother is the church. The church is the mother of us all! We are a product of God’s love and mercy by a called out body – His church.
- The cause
The call of the church was never supposed to be a mystery. The church is a place where you and I can experience the life changing power of God – new birth! As God’s earth partner, the church gives the world the opportunity and privilege of salvation. That is our purpose.
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.”
“How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach unless they are sent?”
- The covenant
A covenant is an agreement that brings about a relationship of commitment between God and his people. Our faith is based on the covenant God made with us. The Bible is a covenant from God to us, a legal document that teaches us how to live. The covenant is only as good as our willingness to trust him.
“Incline your ear, and come unto me: hear, and your soul shall live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David.”
Isaiah 55:3 3
We find that everlasting covenant in Psalms 23.
“The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.“
He loves us through the church.
Invite others home to experience His warm embrace.