Jesus said He would build His Church. There are other verses that support this throughout the NT. It is also called the “Church of God”, indicating that it, like everything else, belongs to the Father as well.
From here, some well-meaning and some not so well-meaning people will sometimes go off on a tangent. They will then somehow link their activities to God and/or His calling, and justify whatever actions they are taking. They may or may not be convincing. They may or may not be right. It is important to check their behavior and teachings against the Bible.
However, is that the end of the story? It is God’s Church, and His representative is under God’s control and authority, and so that’s all there is to it, right?
Well, you’ll have to convince me that is the total reality. God gave us a mind with free will. Over and over in the Bible, we see some give and take. Abraham argued with God. Moses did as well. While Abraham could not stop the destruction of Sodom, Moses did get God to relent from destroying all of Israel. Samson called for water, and a spring arose from a crack in the ground. Joshua even called for the sun to stand still in the sky, and God responded to his call.
When evangelical Christians say it is all about the relationship, they have a point. We in the COG not only say God wants a family, but we say “God is a family,” at least in the respect that we take on His name, “God” in the English, and become His literal sons and daughters. A family should be the strongest type of relationship that there is. Christ will return and marry His bride, the Church. Talk about relationship!
Men, if you are married, do you always get your way? Does your wife ever have a different opinion? Does she agree with 100% of what you say or do?
Men are told twice in Scripture to “love your wives” (Ep 5:25; Col 3:19). If you truly love someone, do you ask their thoughts about things sometimes? Do you give them what they want on special occasions? Do you enjoy it when they are having fun or are enjoying some experience?
A man and a woman marry and have children and grow a family. Does the family never do anything for the children? Do the mother and father simply ignore the child’s wants and needs and only take care of their own? Of course not.
It is important also to realize that families are not in a vacuum. They have to obey the laws of the land as well. As long as they do not transgress the laws of the land, the family can pretty much do what they want. “A man is king of his castle” is an old saying. Yet, he must obey the rules of the state he is in.
God deals with us in a similar manner. He lays down rules that we are expected to obey – for our own benefit it should be added. Within those laws, there is a lot of freedom of movement.
Some view God as a tyrant, sitting on a throne in the sky, watching for people to make a mistake, and then asking Gabriel to hand Him another lightning bolt when He sees someone doing wrong. Nothing could be further from the truth. God gives us great freedom, and He allows us to reap what we sow.
Now consider another family relationship. We are Christ’s younger brothers and sisters.
Christ, the firstborn, receives special honor. The firstborn male traditionally inherited twice as much as the other siblings. It was part of what we would now consider a retirement plan. The firstborn was expected to take care of his parents in their old age, and as a reward he received an extra portion of the inheritance once they died.
17And he [Christ] is before all things, and by him all things consist.
Did Peter have the “preeminence”? No, my Bible says Christ does. It is His right as the firstborn.
So, are we left without?
This and other verses show we too are inheritors!
As the firstborn, Christ receives the right to rule. We must obey Him if we are to be part of His family.
A wife must obey her husband, and Christ’s bride is the Church. What is His Church? A building? An organization that is registered with the government? No, we are the Church!
2Unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both their’s and our’s: (1 Corinthians 1:2, King James Version)
The Church is where the called out ones are gathered together. Called by whom?
God the Father does the calling. It is still a custom in some areas of the world for the parents to choose who marries their children. God the Father chose Christ’s bride. Therefore, it is God’s Church because He chose it, and it is Christ’s Church because He will marry it.
But is the Bride a silent partner with no voice?
17And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely. (Revelation 22:17, King James Version)
Let’s be clear about something. God calls us. We don’t “join” a church as people tend to think of it. God places us in His Church. However, we have to respond! Like Abram had to get up and go to a different land, so we must get up and go where God directs us.
It is a relationship where both parties have responsibilities.
As the Bride, we will inherit all things. We are promised, as part of the firstfruits, to be kings and priests.
Do sons and daughters have a voice? Do kings and priests have a voice?
Remember, as a called out one, you are the Church. It is compared to a physical body in Paul’s writings. What affects one affects all. When one rejoices, all rejoice. When one hurts, all hurt.
Dare I say it? It is your Church, too! That is, if you are a part of it, then you have some ownership in it as well. You responded to the call. You gave your tithes. You sacrificed your time. Hopefully, you have done much more than that, even.
As part of the body, it is every cell’s responsibility to fight cancer. Each cell must detect when it is having problems and correct them. We are told to tell others their faults – not because we want to be judgmental but because we need to stop the spread of cancer (sin). If we do not, then we ourselves can become infected.
Can one man make a difference? I think so, as long as God is with him.
6And, behold, one of the children of Israel came and brought unto his brethren a Midianitish woman in the sight of Moses, and in the sight of all the congregation of the children of Israel, who were weeping before the door of the tabernacle of the congregation.
7And when Phinehas, the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron the priest, saw it, he rose up from among the congregation, and took a javelin in his hand;
8And he went after the man of Israel into the tent, and thrust both of them through, the man of Israel, and the woman through her belly. So the plague was stayed from the children of Israel.
9And those that died in the plague were twenty and four thousand.
10And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,
11Phinehas, the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron the priest, hath turned my wrath away from the children of Israel, while he was zealous for my sake among them, that I consumed not the children of Israel in my jealousy.
12Wherefore say, Behold, I give unto him my covenant of peace:
13And he shall have it, and his seed after him, even the covenant of an everlasting priesthood; because he was zealous for his God, and made an atonement for the children of Israel. (Numbers 25:6-13, King James Version)
I’m not advocating violence. It’s a sad world where I have to state that explicitly, but if you think I’m advocating violence, you are barking up the wrong tree.
However, Phinehas was a man of action. He didn’t waver in what he knew was right. He saw what was happening, and he took action. Phinehas was not a silent bride. Phinehas was submissive to God and not other men. Phinehas saw the cancer and removed it in a manner acceptable for that time and place. As a Levite in the priestly line, he had the authority to carry out the death penalty upon those who were bringing death to a nation.
Do we have that kind of courage? Do we know the right course of action? Do we tolerate evil in our midst? Can we see the consequences of our and other’s actions and make a course correction as necessary?
We may feel powerless to change things, but Phinehas did not. He knew his responsibilities, and he carried them out swiftly and expediently. What are our responsibilities? Do we bring our concerns to the elders and ministers of our church organization as appropriate? Do we write study papers and send them to whomever is responsible for doctrinal decisions in our church?
Do we even take a stand? Do we know where we stand? If we don’t know what is right, then how will we ever teach others? If we cannot reach out in love and show our (hopefully converted) church leaders where things have gone wrong now, then how will we deal with hostile people in the Millennium?
Whose Church is it? It’s God the Father’s Church because He chose it. It’s Christ’s Church because He will marry it. It is our Church because we are the Church!