What Is Church?Series: What Is Church?
What is church? How do you use the word, “Church?” If you use the word like most people, it’s used to refer to a place, a building. “I’m going to church,” “Do you want to come to church?” “I was at church this morning,” we say.
This morning we learned that the church is not a place, it’s a people. It’s not something you do, it’s something you are a part of. If there’s anything the last year has taught us, it’s to think more deeply about what church really is. When we stopped gathering for worship, there were a lot of questions. “When are we going to go back to church?” was the most common one. If church has only ever been a place or building to you, that is a legitimate question. If we understand the church as the assembly and that the church exists wherever His people are, however, that question would probably be asked differently.
So, what is church? How do you see it? Are you interested in growing with the church—as we saw the early church doing together this morning—or are you interested in “coming to church,” checking your box and getting done what you need to get to heaven?
I love the story in Matthew 16 and Peter’s Great Confession. The disciples and Jesus are at this place called Caesarea Philippi, which was quite literally an ancient temple shrine where people had come to sacrifice and worship pagan gods for centuries. Caesar had just remodeled the temple shrine for worship of the Emperor of Rome as god. Jesus asks the disciples a probing question, “Who do you say that I am?” right in front of this pagan temple. Peter answers, “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God.” Jesus, overjoyed at his disciple’s confession, proclaims the beginning of His church on “this rock,” Peter’s confession. Jesus says, “On this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”
Jesus’ church will always be here. It’s not going anywhere—not even the gates of hell will prevail against it. The question is, do you want to participate in it?