What is the Church
Many of us have a wrong idea of what the Church is, and this wrong idea may result in our present and eternal loss. The Church is not a building of wood, of bricks, or of stoned, nor is it an organization of man’s devising. The Bible tells us that the Church is the Body of Christ (Ephesians 1:22,23), of which He, the risen and glorified Saviour in Heaven, is the Head (Colossians 1:18), and all His redeemed ones on earth are members (Romans 12:4,5).
It is possible for one to have his name on a church roll, and even be very active in church work, and not be a member of Christ’s Body. If you are not a member of His Body, the Church, the only way to become one is by trusting Him as your Saviour (Ephesians 2:13-16). When you trust the Saviour, the Holy Spirit will baptize you into the Body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:12,13). Then you will be united to Christ, the Head in Heaven, and to all other believers on earth. As the Body of Christ on earth has only one Head, the living Lord in Heaven, so the Head in Heaven has only one Body on earth – His Body composed of every believer.
Look at the human body. It is one body composed of many members – hand, foot, etc. God has given every member a definite place to service, and every member needs every other member for the body to function properly. So the Church, the Body of Christ, is one Body composed of many members, every believer (1 Corinthians 12). The Head has fitted every member for the service He wants it to do for His own glory and for the good of all (Ephesians 4:7-16). Every believer should get his direction from the Head, and to the Head he will have to give an account of his stewardship.
In the wilderness, God dwelt among His earthly people Israel in the tabernacle (Exodus 29:43-46) then in the land of Palestine, He dwelt in Solomon’s temple (1 Kings 8:13). Now, God does not dwell in temples made with hands (Acts 7:48). By His Holy Spirit He indwells every believer (1 Corinthians 6:19), and His temple on earth is His Church of living believers (2 Corinthians 6:16).
The Lord Jesus Christ builds His Church (Matthew 16:18), and He is the foundation upon which it is built (1 Corinthians 3:11). God, by His Holy Spirit sent down from heaven, formed the assembled believers at Jerusalem into His assembly (Acts 2:1– 5, 47). As believers became scattered over the earth, they assembled in different places with Christ as their Center (Matthew 18:20), so that we may read of a church at Corinth (1 Corinthians 1:2), or a church in someone’s house (Colossians 4:15). When Christians leave a building where they have been assembled for worship, the Church has gone home. Every believer is a bit of the Church (1 Peter 2:5), and it takes every believer to make the one true Church of Jesus Christ. The Church is very visible (2 Corinthians 3:2). The Christian is the only Bible many people ever read.
The Church is very dear to the Saviour’s heart (2 Corinthians 11:2). Adam said to Eve that she was bone of his bones, and flesh of his flesh (Genesis 2:21-24). The Bible says of Christ and the Church that they are members of His Body, and of His flesh and of His bones (Ephesians 5:29-32). However sadly Christians may fail, Christ loved the Church and gave Himself for it. He has redeemed it, He will present it to Himself absolutely perfect (Ephesians 5:23-27). The Saviour is coming back for His Church to take it to heaven, and He may come today (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18).
Will you not search the Bible with the aid of a concordance and ask God to teach you what He would like you to know about His Church?
--Fred W. Wurst
Fruit of the Spirit: Longsuffering
You’ve probably heard the saying “Patience is a virtue.” But judging by society around us, it doesn’t seem to be a virtue that many people want to develop. More often we hear phrases like “I’m running out of patience” and “I have no patience for the likes of you!”
Few today use the synonym of patience that the New King James Version uses in Galatians 5:22 in the list of the fruit of the Spirit: longsuffering. Fewer still would consider that a virtue! We don’t want to wait, and we certainly don’t want to suffer!
What is longsuffering?From walking, to horse-drawn carriage, to automobile, to jet plane, humanity’s technological progress reflects our desire for speed and our growing impatience. Longsuffering, or patience, is in short supply in this world, especially now that people get frustrated if their mobile devices take five seconds to load the Internet instead of three seconds. This trend has also, undoubtedly, affected our relationships and attitudes. How could it not?
Part of Ephesians 4:2 says “with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love.” This verse connects longsuffering with patiently working with others even when it is not entirely pleasant for us.
A section of Colossians 3:12-13 uses the same language, but adds another component. We’re told to put on “longsuffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do” (emphasis added throughout). This passage tells us that longsuffering is closely related to forgiveness. Both of these scriptures are from sections that detail how the “new man,” full of the Holy Spirit, should act.
What is longsuffering? It is the godly patience and mercy we need to show to others that mirrors as closely as possible the patience and mercy God shows to us. It is when we bear with others, put up with their mistakes and inconsiderate actions and truly forgive them for real or imagined offenses against us. It is enduring trials and waiting patiently and faithfully for God’s intervention.
IN YOUR TIME OF NEED
Sometimes life is difficult. You may feel like your situation is hopeless or that no one understands what you are going through. There is one Person who knows everything about you—God. No matter how difficult things seem, He is in control. He loves you and longs for you to call out to Him. Turn to Him. He can meet your every need.
Here are some Bible verses for your times of need:
When you need assurance
Romans 8:28—And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose.
When you need to be cared for
1 Peter 5:7—Casting all your care upon Him, for He careth for you.
When you need cheer
Psalm 27:14—Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and He shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the Lord.
When you need companionship
Matthew 28:20—I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.
When you need courage
Joshua 1:9—Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.
When you need a friend
Romans 8:31—What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?
When you need help
Psalm 46:1-3—God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; Though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof.
When you need hope
Romans 15:13—Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.
When you need joy
Psalm 30:5—Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.
When you need love
1 John 4:9—In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him.
When you need peace
John 14:27—Peace I leave with you, My peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.
When you need to pray
Philippians 4:6,7—Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
When you need to feel God’s presence
Psalm 139:1-7—O Lord, Thou hast searched me, and known me. Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising, Thou understandest my thought afar off. Thou compassest my path and my lying down, and art acquainted with all my ways.
When you need protection
Psalm 27:5—For in the time of trouble He shall hide me in His pavilion: in the secret of His tabernacle shall He hide me; He shall set me up upon a rock.
When you need relief
Psalm 61:1,2—Hear my cry, O God; attend unto my prayer. From the end of the earth will I cry unto Thee, when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than I.
When you need rest
Matthew 11:28-30—Come unto Me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you, and learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For My yoke is easy, and my burden is light.
When you need salvation
John 3:16—For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
When you need strength
Isaiah 40:29—He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might He increaseth strength.
When you need support
Deuteronomy 33:27—The eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms.
When you need upheld
Isaiah 41:10—Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of My righteousness.
When you need wisdom
Proverbs 3:5,6—Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths.