“If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 8:31-32). This passage speaks of complete understanding in that it is through abiding in God’s word that truth will be revealed, and in that truth, you will be set free of the bondage of not just the world, but yourself.
You see, I thought Jesus was just an awesome addition to my story. He was a component of MY testimony. This was like a spiritual prison. Growth was limited, and I put everything about being a Christian in a box. I did not abide in God’s word or hold fast to the teachings of Christ, so truth was only revealed so much, and my freedom was more so of having some chains taken off, but I was still locked up in a cell (or box). Freedom did not exist. Jesus Christ did not add to my story in life, my life was supposed to add to His story.
I came through a hard almost 10-year process of realizing that this whole “Christian thing” is actually simple when I asked myself if I was willing to put my life in the hands of God and have Him use it as His disposal and not my comfort. Please read this to yourself over and over;
“I am a sinner, born with a black heart with evil desires. Apart from God I am destined for death but it is through the blood of Jesus Christ that I have been forgiven, redeemed, and reconciled back to God the Father, my creator, and I have been given a new life that is shaped and formed with a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit in which God gave me. I am made brand new through Christ and in a relationship with the Holy Spirit. I am called to be governed by the Spirit and not the flesh. I am being sanctified, made holy, and set apart”.
My objective is to spread this Good News to people on this Earth, and it is through God’s Holy Word that Truth exists on everything from creation, relation, and eternal destination.
So, with that being said, where does church come into play? Well, you may have heard the cliché phrase that, “church is not the building, it is the people in it”. I would not disagree at all with that assessment. And for the people like myself who used to use the Matthew 18:20 verse which says, “for where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there”, as an excuse to not go to church (which to them is the building, not the people) I scream “heresy!” Ok, not really but I do say you have just entered a very popular group of people who misuse Bible quotes for their own comfort (as I once did). This verse has nothing to do with going to church as much as it does with church discipline. Now, without getting too “commentary” on you I will say that this verse is in reference to how to approach a brother or sister in the faith who you are not getting along with and if need be, you should bring along two or three witnesses to squash the drama between you guys. I am sure if you dig a little through the New Testament and even in the Old Testament (Deuteronomy 19:15-there is a freebie) you will see this “two or more” phrase come up quite often.
Now, back to church. If you want a perfect description of what church is biblically, without all the nonprofit, business and franchise feel, and also something to gauge not only your own church but other churches around the west, you need to go to the book of Acts chapter 2. If you read Acts 2:42-47, the Bible says:
“They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.”
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SOURCE: Christian Post, Joshua Randall Englehart