Back in 2010 I used this graphic for a blog “House of the Lord.” Is that how you see the church? Or is it the congregation that attends meetings in that building? What is the church?
This week I read an open letter by a “Millennial” to others who have written open letters about what needs to be changed to make the church better. Or, perhaps more truthfully, they have written about what makes the church worse. Before getting into the subject, we really need to know what is meant – biblically – about the church.
ἐκκλησία (Strong’s G1577) is a compound word, a combination of “calling” (G2564) and “out” (Strong’s G1537) which one site defines it as “people with shared belief, community, or congregation” and states: This meaning is used often in the Old and New Testament.
The reason for careful consideration of the church is because it is the Bride of Christ, seen through a number of Bible verses, including:
Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready. And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints. And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he saith unto me, These are the true sayings of God. (Revelation 19:7-9 KJV)
Long before these verses, Jesus referred to Himself as the Bridegroom:
Then came to him the disciples of John, saying, Why do we and the Pharisees fast oft, but thy disciples fast not? And Jesus said unto them, Can the children of the bridechamber mourn, as long as the bridegroom is with them? but the days will come, when the bridegroom shall be taken from them, and then shall they fast. (Matthew 9:14-15 KJV)
Now, I doubly like that open letter to open letter writers because it describes me:
. . .ladies who put on those events praying over those doily-laden tables for young women to fill those chairs. These women who aren’t silenced or frozen by a fear of being irrelevant show up and serve with you in mind. They do it because once upon a time someone did it for them. They do it because they desperately want to connect so they serve the way they know how. They model a level of fidelity and gospel-centeredness I’m not sure most of us Millennials can understand. It’s easy to love and serve a sexy church. But to love and serve a struggling one, that’s another level of Christ-likeness.Yes, I dropped the first of the sentence because it describes we Titus 2 aged women as sweet and saintly. Sweet? I doubt people consider me sweet. Saintly? Only because Jesus Christ is my Lord and savior. But I like the idea that we do pray over young women, and we are not silenced nor fearful and absolutely not irrelevant. We are serving our Lord by teaching good things, especially love.
We are the church. As are our husbands who love us as Christ loves His church. Just as the young women who love the Lord are the church. And all the others who love our Savior and work to bring others to become part of His church.
I’m grateful for the younger generations who are growing into workmen who are not ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth and are sharing that love with others. They are the church, too.