What Does "The Church" Mean?
Matthew 16:18 "I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it.
Jesus spoke these words to Peter after Peter had declared the Jesus was the Christ, the Son of the Living God. Peter was saying that Jesus was the Messiah that all Israel had been waiting for. This declaration of trust that Jesus is the One and Only Son of God, Who takes away the sin of the world is the foundation upon which Jesus says He will build His church. There are hundreds of different churches all over the world, but ONLY ONE will be called by Jesus as His own.
But what do we mean when we say "church"?
Lets think about it...
The word church in our English Bible translates the word ekklesia in the original language. The word ekklesia in the Greek language meant:
1. A gathering of people called out into an assembly.
2. A council of people called together to discuss and deliberate.
3. Any gathering or throng of people.
The important thing here is that church is ALWAYS used to mean a gathering of people. Unfortunately, the word church today has come to mean a place for worshiping God, instead a people who worship God. This is a completely wrong view! For example:
Acts 8:3 But Saul began ravaging the church, entering house after house, and dragging off men and women, he would put them in prison.
Paul was not ravaging a place, He was dragging off people!
Acts 20:28 "Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood.
Jesus did not die for a place, He purchased a people with His blood.
1 Corinthians 11:22 What! Do you not have houses in which to eat and drink? Or do you despise the church of God and shame those who have nothing?...
See? Some people who believe the church is a holy place will divide God's people over eating in the meeting place. The people are to be held sacred and cherished, not the place where they meet together! Satan can use even this small misunderstanding to try and tear apart the church of Christ.
How do people use the word church today?
1. It doesn't matter which church you attend, since they all worship God.
Many places have the word church in their name, but only one people belong to God as the called-out assembly of saved people whom Jesus refers to as "My church". Make absolutely sure yo
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