Keep it Simple Series
The church is the body of Christ, made up of many members – that’s you and me. It is not the building, it is the people. The building is the house of God and the ‘people’ is the Church. Christ is the head of the church. The church is also called the ‘bride of Christ’. Christ will be returning for His bride, which is us – the church.
Before Christ died He confided in His disciples that He would build His church and hell cannot compete or overcome it. Christ died to save the world, and after He rose again the church came into being. And just as Christ came to preach and teach the gospel – meaning the good news, to save people, so too His Church is designed to preach and teach the gospel – so that people can be saved. However, Christ does the saving not us. We just need to keep it simple and preach the scriptures [Bible, Word of God], to the world. People are saved by hearing the Word of God and accepting Jesus Christ as their Lord and Saviour.
Today the term ‘church’ is used loosely by many to mean the building in which Christians worship. However, the true meaning of the term ‘church’ is not the building, but the people. As stated earlier, the building is the house of God. The church worships in the house of God. The first church was formed by the Apostles after Jesus went back to heaven. They travelled through Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, Antioch and Rome and throughout the world preaching and teaching the gospel about Jesus and the Kingdom of God. The church structure we are used to today did not exist at that time.
Worship took place primarily in people’s homes and anywhere they were able to meet. Christians assembling together were known as the church and that is why the place in which they assembled also became known as the church.
The early church was spread all over Jerusalem and not restricted to one building. During these travels to Antioch the Apostles gathered together like-minded people and taught them. The Church believes and accepts Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour. It is the heart of the believer that belongs to God, and the unshakeable love and faith in Him and Him alone that defines the Christian and the Church – of the living God.
When Jesus returns for His church, it is the people He will take with Him and not the buildings with their ornate stained-glass windows or accessories. The term ‘Christians’ was first used in Antioch and the people and place of worship become as one.
From the 1st century AD – Anno Domini, which means ‘The Year of our Lord’, the Apostles started setting up the first churches. Christianity then went through the dark ages when the gospel was so distorted that many innocent Christians died for no reason other than they were true followers of Christ. Christianity has experienced many highs and lows. Attacks on the faith as well as revivals, which is a refreshing of the faith where people’s spiritual eyes are opened and they begin to search for God and give their lives to Jesus. During these revivals we experience a real outpouring of the Holy Spirit we see many miracles and a surge in the growth of the church.
The history of the church and how it has evolved through the ages is a huge topic and only the briefest overview can be afforded at this time. It is recommended that you read the ‘Book of Acts’ in the New Testament, to gain a better understanding of the Holy Spirit, the work of the Apostles and the emergence of the first church. The church came into being during a time of violence and unrest. The Apostle Peter preached his first message and approximately three thousand people were saved that day… and we have never looked back!
The church continues to grow from generation to generation and when it is persecuted we see a supernatural surge in its growth, as God continues to bring His people through their ordeals.
Many are persecuted and die for their faith in Jesus Christ, and we pray that all who are going through these persecutions will know that they are not alone. The armies of heaven stand with you, your brothers and sisters in Christ all around the world, stand with you and pray strength, peace, love and endurance that you will prevail and be victorious! The gates of hell cannot stand against the living God and His people!
Blessings on you!
The Book of Acts