What the Church Is Not and What It Is

What the Church Is Not and What It Is

One of the challenges we receive from people is to describe what the Church is. Jesus Christ, in Matthew 16:18, described the Church as built on the rock that He is the Christ, the Son of the Living God. The biblical Church does not even remotely coincide with what people tell us are the reasons why they don’t want to become part of a local church and live as Christ taught. People today are often confused about what the Church is, confusing it with what the Church is not:

1) The Church is not a building, and no money is involved in the construction of the Church described in the Bible.
2) The Church is not a political entity of any kind. (Matthew 22:21)
3) The Church is not made up of perfect people. The only thing Christians have that is not enjoyed by those outside of the Church is God’s forgiveness.
4) The Church’s message is not a bunch of “Thou shalt nots.” The message of Christ is what men and women SHOULD be doing, not the evil they might have done.
5) The Church is not a social club. Fellowship does not revolve around playing Bingo. The fellowship the Bible describes is support and help for hurting people. (James 5:13-20)

We find the biblical description of the Church in 1 Corinthians 3:16-17, 1 Corinthians 12:12-31, Ephesians 1:22-24, and Acts 2:44-47. Those passages describe the nature and power of the Church. Who cares for those who desperately need help – the homeless, the abandoned, those needing food, water, clothing, and shelter? Who reaches out to those in prisons and their families? Who reaches out to those broken by their previous mistakes and desperately wanting forgiveness from God and people? It isn’t the atheists, agnostics, or skeptics, but those who are part of the biblical Church.

People often confuse what the Church is not for what the Church is. Those who attack the Church are usually those unwilling to be part of the solution to today’s deepest problems. (John 3:17)

— John N. Cayton © 2024