Don’t Go To Church Sometimes; Be the Church All the Time

January 11, 2009

I want to piggy back off Jimmy’s article from the middle of the week.

I guess in some use of metonymy the phrase, “We’re going to church on Sunday” is somehow correct. I don’t want to suggest folks are going to go to hell for saying this. However, I must admit the phrase makes me cringe every time I hear it. “Go to church.” This phrase doesn’t portray the Bible’s meaning of “church.” In fact, it misses it.

This phrase suggests “church” is something we go to at specific times and then leave. That is not the New Testament picture at all. The church was not a place to visit. The church was a group of people. The King James Version highlights this in its rendering of Acts 2:47 , “And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.”

When we meet with the saints on Sunday, we are not going to church. Rather, the church is assembling. Yes, since we are part of that church, we should “go” (cf. Hebrews 10:25 ). However, we must not think “going to church” is our relationship to Christ’s church.

We don’t “go to church;” we are the church. But what is the church? No doubt we could use a standard definition like “the group of all the saved everywhere of all time.” That’s true enough. However, consider the definition given in Ephesians 1:22-23 . “And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all.” The church is the body of Christ filled with His fullness. That is, just as our physical bodies are the extension of our head’s leadership, we are extensions of Jesus here on earth. Just as our hands do, our feet go and our eyes look at what our head tells them to, we are to let Jesus’ direction fill our lives because we make up His body.

Notice also the definition in II Timothy 3:15 , “If I delay, you may know how one ought to behave in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, a pillar and buttress of the truth.” The church is God’s household. When I’m going to my house, I don’t say, “I’m going to Crozier.” I am Crozier. I am a Crozier whether I’m gathered with other Croziers or not. In the same way, I don’t go to God’s family. I am God’s family. I’m in His family whether I’m gathered with other members or not.

Further, the church is the pillar and buttress (support) of the truth. We are supposed to uphold and expose the truth for everyone around us to see. We shouldn’t just do this when we are assembled with other Christians. We are to do this all the time because we are the church all the time.

Yes, we assemble with the local church. But we don’t go to church sometimes. We are the church all the time. Let’s act like it.

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