Wednesday, May 6, 2009

The Church

What Is A Church?

Q. May the Lord bless you in many ways for your web site and knowledge of the Scripture. I have learned so much from your site! We use it for our studies to help us interpret some of the scriptures.

My question is about the churches. What exactly does the church or churches in the Bible really mean? Is it a building, country, or as I hope I am reading right, our prayers and fellowship with Christ? My neighbor who is also a Christian of many years asked me the same question yesterday. We all study the scriptures at home.

A. The Greek word from which Church is derived means a gathering or assembly. It comes from two roots that when combined mean to be called out of or away from something. In the Biblical sense it means that we’ve been called out of the world into an assembly of believers. The head of the Church is the Lord.

One day this great assembly will literally be called out of the world and gathered together in one place in the presence of the Lord. Until then we meet in many places around the world with leaders who represent Him. Sometimes these leaders abuse their positions, trying to make us believe that their particular group is the only church, or doing things their way is the only right way. But Jesus said that where ever two or three are gathered together in His name, He would be in the midst of us. (Matt. 18:20) Anyone not comfortable with the particular group they’re in can either keep looking until they find one they like, or simply get together with a few others in someone’s home, as you’re doing.

Churches Or Church Buildings?

Q. I found this site by accident, but I have found it to be very helpful in my studies.

My questions are: Since we the people are called the Church, why are buildings that are made of brick and mortar also called Churches.

I hear so many people say “I am going to Church” how can you go to what you are called to be?

A. The Greek word from which we get church means “called out ones” It originally referred to the believers. At that time churches met in homes. As the Church grew they needed bigger meeting places and so they built buildings for this purpose. They were called church buildings or church houses. Eventually the buildings were just called churches, but the proper term is church building. The people inside are the church.

Is Church Hopping A Sin?

Q. Is being a church hopper and wanderer a sinful practice? For years I have been going round all the churches in different areas going from one to the other,and never settling anywhere for more than a few weeks at a time and it has now earned me a bad name. I’m known all over the place for being a wanderer and I find I am disliked for it.

What can I do about putting things right as I have recently become a Christian and have confessed of this sin before God,as well as all my others and have asked Jesus Christ into my heart and life to be my Lord and Saviour. I have been told that it is really wrong in Gods eyes to be going from church to church, and back and forth one to another. What are your views on this?

A. On its face, church-hopping is not a sin, but you should ask yourself why you do it. Your Christian life will become much richer when you find a fellowship you really enjoy and put down roots. No church is perfect, but in your hopping around, you have probably found some you like better than others. Visit the ones you like best again and see if you can choose from among them.

To help make your choice, I believe that there are three major factors to look for in choosing a church home. The first is worship. Our main reason for attending church is to worship God, both in music and in prayer. The second is an emphasis on teaching God’s word. Look for a place whose Pastor preaches straight out of the Bible. And the third is the fellowship of believers. Do people like each other? Do they arrive early and stay after? Are there lots of social events? Are they friendly toward you? Does the place have warmth, does it feel like home? You may not find a church that’s really strong on all of them, but there should at least be a noticeable effort to emphasize these three essentials.

As for your reputation, when you choose a place, give people time to see that you’re settling down, and if they’re friendly folks you’ll find them responding by accepting you.


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