Christians Are The Church

Photo by Sincerely Media on Unsplash

Please turn with me in your Bibles to 1 Corinthians chapter 12:

1 Corinthians 12:1 Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I would not have you ignorant.

I enjoyed Ronnie Burn’s teaching last Wednesday night. He covered a lot of good doctrinal teachings. One thing that Ronnie brought up was the often heard statement,
“I Don’t Have To Go To Church To Be A Christian”

Ronnie’s response to this was “you don’t have to go home to your wife to be married”. That’s a good response. A husband who never goes home to his wife is indeed a poor husband. A Christian who never assembles with other Christians is indeed a poor Christian. You enter the Christian way of life by faith alone in Christ alone. The early Protestant Reformed Church called this Sola Christus, “Through Christ Alone”. Salvation comes to a person who, repenting of their sins, receives the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior. As an old time Evangelist Vance Havner once said,

“Going to Church doesn’t make you a Christian, any more than
going to the garage makes you a car!”

Going TO a PLACE never makes a POSITIVE spiritual difference! You can faithfully go TO a place – like the Temple or the Church house – and be far away from God. Jesus illustrated this in Luke Chapter 18. A Pharisee went TO the Temple, but the Publican stood OUTSIDE the Temple. Listen to this:

Luke 18:11-14 The Pharisee stood {in the Temple} and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. 12 I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess. 13 And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner. 14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.

The Pharisee went TO the TEMPLE, but was FAR from God. The Publican stayed OUTSIDE the TEMPLE, and yet God “justified” him. Going TO a PLACE does not save you! Never has, and never will.

Biblically, The Church Is Not
A Building That You Go To

I want to re-examine that question, “Must I go TO Church to be saved?” I submit to you that this, in itself, is a bad question. In the Old Testament the TEMPLE was a shadow of what God would one day do in Christ. People went TO the TEMPLE to make sacrifice for sins. These were shadows of the Cross. No one was ever actually SAVED by animal sacrifices. It was but a temporary thing. Under Christ, we no longer go TO the TEMPLE. Listen, Beloved,


This is clearly taught in the Scriptures. We read:

1 Corinthians 3:16 Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?

And again, 1 Corinthians 6:19 What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?

Preach This!: If the TEMPLE is the Christian, then WHAT IS “THE CHURCH”? The Church is a GATHERING of TEMPLES, of believers in Christ. Temples are commanded to gather together. Temples are forced to be together. Scripturally,

If you are SAVED, you are COMMANDED and MADE to connect together with other believers as a “Church”!

The word “Church” is first found in the New Testament from the lips of Jesus Christ. Jesus said in:

Matthew 16:18 … upon this rock I will build MY CHURCH

The Church belongs to Jesus. The Christian belongs to Jesus. You read that earlier in 1 Corinthians 6:19: your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?

Word Study: You do not belong to you anymore. You belong to Jesus. The word “Church” is the Greek is the Greek ἐκκλησία ekklēsia which means “those who are CALLED OUT of this world”. You no longer belong to this world. You belong to Jesus if you are saved. You are created to walk in union with others who are saved.

The second time the word “Church” occurs in Scripture is when Jesus discusses CONFLICT RESOLUTION in the gathering of believers. I don’t have time to go into this (it is another sermon), but it is found in Matthew 18:15-20.

The third time the word “Church” occurs in Scripture is in the Book of Acts. The Apostle Peter has been preaching faith in Christ to a crowd on the Day of Pentecost. The Bible says:

Acts 2:40-41 … with many other words did {Peter} testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation. 41 Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.

Those who “gladly received his word were baptized”. These who were baptized were “added unto them about three thousand souls”. The 120 Christians in the upper room grew by 3000 – now there are 3120 believers in Jesus. These believers did not scatter, but assembled together to worship the Lord. THEY HAD NO CHURCH BUILDING, BUT MET IN THE TEMPLE ON SOLOMON’S PORCH. We read:

Acts 2:42-47 And they {the disciples} continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers. 43 And fear came upon every soul: and many wonders and signs were done by the apostles. 44 And all that believed were together, and had all things common; 45 And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need. 46 And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart, 47 Praising God, and having favor with all the people.

The Church – a group of Temples – gathered for four reasons: “the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers”. Now here’s the clincher. The Bible says:

Acts 2:47 …. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.

The saved are part of the Church. The two go hand in hand. The saved belong to Jesus. The Church belongs to Jesus. The saved gather together.

It is popular today among Generation X (those born after the Baby Boomers) and Millennials to disregard and minimize the Church. I come across articles all the time like “12 Reasons Millenials (sic) Are Over The Church”, or “Why millennials are leaving the church (sic)” where well meaning young people bash the Church for not addressing their needs. One writer said,

“We want to ask questions that don’t have predetermined answers.”

In other words, the Bible is not cherished as the final source of truth. The writer went on to say, “We want our LGBT friends to feel truly welcome in our faith communities”. A Bible affirming Church will love the LGBT community, but they will be quite uncomfortable under the preaching of Bible truths. So will those engaged in heterosexual sex outside of marriage, which is sin. Here’s the bottom line:

The Church – the gathering of Temples that belong to Jesus – is Christ’s property. Jesus Christ is the Head of His Church.

Ephesians 1:22 And {God the Father} put all things in subjection under {Jesus Christ’s} feet, and gave {Jesus} as head over all things to the church …

Ephesians 5:23 … the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church, He Himself being the Savior of the body. (this verse has many of the lost hopping mad!)

Jesus also is Head of the Body, the Church (Colossians 1:18). Why should we gather as the Church? Why MUST we gather as the Church? Because:

Spiritual Power Is Found Only In The Gathered Church

1 Corinthians 12:1-2 Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I would not have you ignorant. 2 Ye know that ye were Gentiles, carried away unto these dumb idols, even as ye were led.

The “APOSTLE’S DOCTRINE” we are talking about in this gathering of the Church is “SPIRITUAL GIFTS”. Spiritual gifts are so very important. Why? The Apostle tells us that “ye were Gentiles, carried away unto these dumb idols, even as ye were led”. When we were unsaved, without Christ, we were LED ABOUT by DUMB IDOLS. What is a DUMB IDOL? Well, an IDOL is a false god or goddess, something that is not the True God, but an imitator that is not God but pretends to be God. The IDOL is “DUMB”. The word translated “DUMB” is the Greek ἄφωνος aphōnos, which means “without a voice, without significance, unmeaning, destitute of the power of language”. An idol has no authority, no voice, no sense. When we were lost we followed the senseless foolishness that the world itself follows. We see these things in our world today:

Gender Disphoria (A male desiring to be female, etc)
Redefinition of Marriage (same sex)
Normalization of Abortion
Critical Race Theory as new racism

These things were just as prevalent in the ancient Roman and Grecian worlds as they are in our current America. Why? Because the farther a person draws away from God, the more empty and “dumb” their LOGOS becomes. When King Solomon drew away from a daily relationship with Christ, he wrote:

Ecclesiastes 1:2-3 Vanity of vanities, saith the Preacher, vanity of vanities; all is vanity. 3 What profit hath a man of all his labor which he taketh under the sun?

Life becomes empty – just mere existence – when we draw away from Christ. The Apostles did not want the Christian to go down this path. If you do not stand together, Christians, then satan will tear you apart. Thus the Church. The Church is where the power of God is vested. When the Church comes together, loving God and loving one another, it has spiritual power. When the Church comes together and works together in love – both vertical and horizontal – then Jesus is in our midst. It does not matter how small the gathering is. Jesus said:

Matthew 18:20 where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.

A mega-Church is not more effective than a mini-Church is. As long as the Temples are “gathered together in MY NAME”, under the authority of Jesus, seeking to please Him and Him alone.

The Church is Christ centered.

1 Corinthians 12:3 Wherefore I give you to understand, that no man speaking by the Spirit of God calleth Jesus accursed: and that no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost.

When someone says that Jesus is “accursed” (Greek ἀνάθεμα anáthema) – when Christ and His teachings are minimized or disregarded, when Christ is outside of the assembly or excommunicated – then it is certain that the Spirit of God is not in the assembly. There are many gatherings of professing Christians today that fall into this category. When the local Church gathers, the main subject will always be Jesus Christ. Jesus said, “the Holy Ghost, Whom the Father will send in My Name, He shall teach you ALL THINGS, and bring ALL THINGS TO YOUR REMEMBRANCE, (listen now), whatsoever I HAVE SAID UNTO YOU” (John 14:26). If someone denigrates or ignores what Jesus has taught, this is idolatrous or dumb teachings. However, if what has been said emphasizes “Jesus is the Lord”, then this is Holy Spirit driven guidance.

It is in the gathering of believers that the Holy Spirit operates. Bible teacher A.W. Tozer some 50 years ago said:

“If the Holy Spirit was withdrawn from the church today, 95 percent of what we do would go on and no one would know the difference. If the Holy Spirit had been withdrawn from the New Testament church (in Acts), 95 percent of what they did would stop, and everybody would know the difference.”

The Evangelist Vance Havner wrote:

“We are seeing much today of service without the Spirit. There is an appalling ignorance of the Person and work of the Holy Spirit in our great church bodies. It is not what is done for God that counts, but rather what is done by Him, the work of His Spirit through our yielded wills. Programs, propaganda, pep, personnel, these are not enough. There must be power. God’s work must be done by God’s people God’s way. The Quakers got their name from the fact that they trembled under the power of the Spirit. At least their faith shook them! Too many of us today are shaky about what we believe but not shaken by what we believe!”

When the Church comes together in love toward God and toward one another, the Holy Spirit moves through the meeting. The Apostle notes:

1 Corinthians 12:4-7 Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. 5 And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord. 6 And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all. 7 But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal.

The Apostle Paul was trained by the Rabbi Gamaliel, and you can see his education in this text. What Paul is telling us quite simply is this:

The Holy Spirit is in each believer gathered together as Church. The Holy Spirit will manifest different gifts through each believer in the Church gathering. These gifts all benefit the whole of the gathering of believers, the Church. These gifts are not given so they can be used selfishly, but generously, to the glory of Jesus.

In verse 7 we read “the MANIFESTATION (outward evidence) of the (Holy) Spirit is given to every person to profit (bless) withal (with all).” The Apostle then begins to number some of the gifts that are given by the Spirit to the Church:

1 Corinthians 12:8-10 For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit; 9 To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit; 10 To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues:

These “gifts” are not talents that a person has. These are Holy Spirit driven manifestations that were evident in the early Church. What gifts are given by the Holy Spirit are based upon the spiritual needs of that gathering, of that Church. Who determines the gifts given? We read:

1 Corinthians 12:11 But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will.

It is the Holy Spirit Who determines the giftings given to each gathering of believers. The intent of the Holy Spirit is to UNIFY the body of believers – the Church – into a cohesive body, with Jesus Christ as the Head of that gathering.

1 Corinthians 12:12-14 For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ. 13 For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit. 14 For the body is not one member, but many.

It is the Holy Spirit Who unites the members together into One Body, One Gathering, One Church. A disharmonious Church is NOT Spirit driven. When there is division and confusion in the assembly, this is because the members are not honoring Jesus, and the Holy Spirit is not empowered.

It Is Pride & Selfishness That Destroys Churches

1 Corinthians 12:15-20 If the foot shall say, Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? 16 And if the ear shall say, Because I am not the eye, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? 17 If the whole body were an eye, where were the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where were the smelling? 18 But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him. 19 And if they were all one member, where were the body? 20 But now are they many members, yet but one body.

Every member in the gathering of believers is important – but not every believer has the same giftings. The Church only works when every believer:

1.  Loves God with their all, and loves their neighbor as Jesus has commanded (Matthew 22:37-39). 
2.  Loves their fellow believer just as Jesus sacrificially loved us (John 13:34; 15:12, 17).
3.  Loves God enough to be open to His leading, to discovering and utilizing your spiritual gift in the gathering.
4.  Suppresses their own pride, but is willing to lovingly serve rather than to be served.

The Apostle Paul said, “Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law” (Romans 13:8). You cannot love as Jesus loved over the Internet. You cannot love as Jesus loved through a phone text. The Kingdom of God grows as our love for one another and for God grows. We are to have – “through the Spirit of God a unfeigned or pure love toward our brothers and sisters in Christ” (1 Peter 1:22). God calls us as believers to gather with other believers in assemblies called “Churches” for the glory of Christ and the furtherance of God’s Kingdom. I want to end with these Apostolic words:

1 Corinthians 12:23-27 And those members of the body, which we think to be less honorable, upon these we bestow more abundant honor; and our uncomely parts have more abundant comeliness. (think about your feet. I have ugly feet – but oh, how I love them!) 24 For our comely parts have no need: but God hath tempered the body together, having given more abundant honor to that part which lacked. 25 That there should be no schism (no division) in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another. 26 And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honored, all the members rejoice with it. 27 Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.

The Christian is God’s Temple.
The Temples gather together as the Church.
The Church operates by the Holy Spirit,
To love God, and love one another.

May God the Holy Spirit touch your hearts by this teaching, for Christ’s glory in this present age. Amen and amen!

About bibleteacherorg

A searching Pastor, I am looking for a people who love the Lord and love one another. Daily I pray for the Church. Most of what the world sees today is not the Church, but clubs pretending to be the Church. God is calling to Himself a people willing to be righteous, not self righteous, serving not served. I am called to pastor God's people, those who want to change the world by willingly and willfully following Jesus Christ. Only God is able to change the world, and we must follow His Christ. He is able! Praise His Name! Come quickly Lord Jesus!
This entry was posted in 1 Corinthians, Sermons Preached and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.