I WILL BUILD MY CHURCH
By John C. Carpenter
In the book of Matthew, Jesus Christ referred to His own church: When Jesus
came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am? And they said,
Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets. He saith unto them, But whom say
ye that I am? And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. And Jesus answered and said unto
him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. And I
say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against
it (Matthew 16:13-18). What is the church of Jesus Christ, and what is it called out of?
NOW YE ARE THE BODY OF CHRIST, AND MEMBERS
There are several points that can be made about the church of Jesus Christ! Many think that the church refers to
a building or location where those who believe in Jesus Christ gather or assemble together for religious purposes. According to the
scriptures, the church more accurately consists of individuals who are, by biblical definition, called out [which we will address
later]. A building, a structure, or location is not "called out." It is the individual and collective members of the church who are
called out, not the physical structure.
These individuals who are called out are people who know God the Father, Jesus Christ,
and the Holy Spirit, and have come to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. As Paul teaches, individuals within the church have confessed
with their mouth the Lord Jesus, believe in their heart that God hath raised him [Jesus Christ] from the dead, and are thereby saved
(Romans 10:9). Individuals in the church have also been justified [made right, just, innocent] by his [Christ's] blood [freely offering
of His life] and saved from [God's] wrath through him (Romans 5:9). The church consists of individuals who believe on him [God the
Father] that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead; Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification” (Romans
4:24-25). Scriptures teach that individuals who are members of the church also “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be
saved, and thy house” (Acts 16:31).
The scriptures refer to the church as individual members of Christ's body. Paul wrote the
church in Rome, Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by [because you are now part of] the body of Christ; that
ye should be married [divinely connected] to another, even [specifically] to him [Christ] who is raised from the dead, that we should
bring forth fruit unto God (Romans 7:4). Paul wrote the church [indicidual and collective believers] in Corinth, And whether one member
suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it. Now ye are [a part of] the body
of Christ, and [individual] members in particular (1 Corinthians 12:26-27). Paul again referred to the church when he instructed believers
in Ephesus about God's distribution and purpose of spiritual gifts: every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the
gift of Christ. Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men. (Now that he ascended,
what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth? He that descended is the same also that ascended up
far above all heavens, that he might fill all things.) And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and
some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of [individuals
who believe in] Christ (Ephesians 4:7-12).
The book of Acts also confirms that the church is composed of individuals. Regarding
fellowship of the individual members of the church, we read, And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship,
and in breaking of bread, and in prayers. And fear came upon every soul: and many wonders and signs were done by the apostles. And
all that believed were together, and had all things common; And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every
man had need. 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, Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily
such [individuals and groups of individuals] as should be saved (Acts 2:42-47). In these verses, it is clear that individuals who
just came to faith in Jesus Christ were added to the group of individuals who had earlier come to faith in Christ, and together they
comprise the church.
THERE IS NEITHER GREEK NOR JEW, CIRCUMCISION NOR UNCIRCUMCISION, BARBARIAN, SCYTHIAN, BOND NOR FREE: BUT
CHRIST IS ALL, AND IN ALL
People periodically ask, "what church do you go to?" In part, what they mean by that question is, "what
denomination do you belong to, and what doctrinal issues do you agree with?" According to the scriptures, there are no such things
as Christian denominations [such as Adventist, Apostolic, Baptist, Brethren, Church Of Christ, Episcopal, Lutheran, Mennonite, Methodist,
Pentecostal, Presbyterian, Reformed, or Spiritualist, or a thousand, or two thousand, other denominations]. Denominations are not
the creation of Christ, but the creation of man, and their fruit is anger, conflict, disagreement, division, rebellion, strife,and
violence. Scriptures instruct us that faith in Jesus Christ is not complicated: you either believe in Jesus Christ and are therefore
Christian, or you do not. You either have Christ and the Holy Spirit in you, or you do not. We know from the scriptures that There
is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; One Lord, one faith, one baptism, One God and Father
of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all (Ephesians 4:4-6). Here, Paul specifically refers to one faith.
also wrote the believers in Rome, I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice,
holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed [Greek, suschematizo, to fashion alike, resemble,
be in union with] to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable,
and perfect, will of God. For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more
highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith. For as we have
many members in one body, and all members have not the same office: So we, being many [individuals], are one body [church] in Christ,
and every one members one of another (Romans 12:1-5).
Paul likewise instructed the Colossian believers, put on the new man, which
is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him: Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision,
Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all (Colossians 3:10-11). In part, the new man is enlightened to believe
that there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Scythian, Baptist, Jew, Mormon, Methodist, Lutheran, or Episcopalian,
but Christ is all and in all. In other words, you either have Christ in you, or you do not.
Teaching that you are either with
Christ or against Him, the Lord chastened some Pharisees, He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me
scattereth abroad (Matthew 12:30). There is no middle ground – you either have knowledge of, love for, and trust and faith in Jesus
Christ, or you do not. You are either Christian, or you are not. The scriptures could not make it any plainer.
OF OURSELVES TOGETHER
The scriptures clearly teach that the church is made up of individuals who get together for the primary
purposes of worshipping God and fellowshipping with other belivers. This getting together is described as assembling together. The
scriptures exhort us, let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: Not forsaking the assembling [Greek, episunagoge,
a complete collection, a Christian meeting together for worship, to gather together] of ourselves together, as the manner of some
is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching (Hebrews 10:24-25). Also, in 1 Corinthians, over
and over again the church of individuals is also referred to as coming together [assembling together] (1 Cor 11:17; 1 Cor 11:18; 1
Cor 11:20; and 1 Cor 11:34). Clearly, God's will is for the individual members of the church to gather or assemble together to worship,
fellowship, and support.
As we have seen above, we are often asked, "where do you go to church?" What they most often really
mean by this question is, where is the building or location where you attend religious services? This is a puzzling question they
ask. To be more accurate, the scriptures teach that individuals make up the body of Christ, the church, and these individuals gather
together, or assemble, in a specific building at a specific location at a specific time, for specific purposes. The body of believers
described as the church does not technically "go to church," but the church made up of individuals, does assemble together for the
purposes of worship and fellowship. For example, at the time of Christ, the early body of Christians, the church and body of Christ,
often assembled in the homes of fellow believers in Christ, or even periodically in the Jewish temple, when possible.
EGYPT HAVE I CALLED MY SON
In verse 18 above, the word church is translated from the Greek word ekklesia, which means a calling
out, a popular meeting, a religious congregation, or a Jewish synagogue or Christian community of member on earth or saint in heaven,
or both. The term calling out suggests a separation or change of some sort, a removal from one point, state, or condition to another.
Since the members of the church are "called out," we can rightly ask, what does "called out" mean. What are individual church members,
as well as the church as a whole, called out of or away from, or to? Well, the primary answer is that church members are called out
of the world and its sins, attitudes, methods, behavior, trappings, thinking, and ways.
There is an interesting story in the
scriptures in which God the Father called the nation of Israel out of Egypt: And the LORD said unto Moses, Rise up early in the morning,
and stand before Pharaoh; lo, he cometh forth to the water; and say unto him, Thus saith the LORD, Let my people go, that they may
serve me (Exodus 8:20). God also called his son out of Egypt: When Israel was a child, then I loved him, and called my son out of
Egypt (Hosea 11:1). God also called His Son out of Egypt: when they were departed, behold, the angel of the Lord appeareth to Joseph
in a dream, saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and flee into Egypt, and be thou there until I bring thee word:
for Herod will seek the young child to destroy him. When he arose, he took the young child and his mother by night, and departed into
Egypt: And was there until the death of Herod: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Out
of Egypt have I called my son (Matthew 2:13-15). What is the spiritual significance of being called out of Egypt? What does that phrase,
called out of Egypt, really mean? In order to understand what it means to be called out of Egypt, it is necessary to first understand
what Egypt possibly means or sypbolizes. Bible scholars greatly differ on what they believe Egypt represents or symbolizes in the
scriptures. Many believe the nation of Egypt represents slavery, sin and death, a season of oppression and suffering, worship of false
created images and gods, idolatry of animals, cities, people, statues, nations and things, worship of nature such as the sun or moon,
moral corruption, knowledge and the love of worldly knowledge, brutal oppression and hardship, or deliverance from [as well as a hundred
other hypotheses]. To be called out of Egypt could certainly mean to be called out of and away from all these symbolisms, and more.
However, there is another distinct possibility as to the meaning and symbolism of Egypt. Egypt could have also easily symbolized the
world, or worldliness, which would encompass all of the symbolisms mentioned above. When God called Israel out of Egypt, it is reasonable
that God was not specifically calling Israel out their own sin, or even the sins of Egypt, but God was calling Israel out of worldliness
and worldly ways, the ways of Egypt and Egyptians, of which sin was certainly a part. At that time, Egypt could easily have been considered
the most worldly nation on earth. Does Egypt, without a doubt, represent the world or worldliness? Maybe not; but it certainly is
a strong contender. God may well have wanted the nation of Israel to come out of and be delivered from the worldly ways that were
forced upon it so that the nation of Israel could more fully love and serve Him. Is serving God the Father not what the Lord twice
said to Moses He wanted?: Then the LORD said unto Moses, Go in unto Pharaoh, and tell him, Thus saith the LORD God of the Hebrews,
Let my people go, that they may serve me (Exodus 9:1), and the LORD said unto Moses, Rise up early in the morning, and stand before
Pharaoh, and say unto him, Thus saith the LORD God of the Hebrews, Let my people go, that they may serve me (Exodus 9:13). In his
letter to the believers in Thessalonica, Paul referred in essence to their being called out of the world when he said they ...turned
to God from [worldly] idols to serve the living and true God (1 Thessalonians 1:9).
At one point, Jesus told His disciples about
His coming death and resurrection: From that time forth began Jesus to shew unto his disciples, how that he must go unto Jerusalem,
and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day. Then Peter took
him, and began to rebuke him, saying, Be it far from thee, Lord: this shall not be unto thee. But he turned, and said unto Peter,Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men (Matthew
16:21-23). As with Peter, when we are actively functioning in the world, we value and respond to the things of man, Satan, and the
world, and not the things of God. This idea of coming out of the world is the same for the modern day believer: we come out of the
world and its idolatrous ways to more fully love and serve God the Father, Christ His Son, and the Holy Spirit.
ALL THAT IS IN
THE WORLD, THE LUST OF THE FLESH, AND THE LUST OF
THE EYES, AND THE PRIDE OF LIFE
Within the scriptures, the world refers to the
natural world, its ways, its values, its behaviors, and its priorities.
The world is a system, a way or method, that determines
how the world functions. We can refer to the world of finance, the world of art, the world of business, the world of medicine, the
world of crime, the world of government, or the world of education, for example. So, what does the new testament have to say about
the world? According to the scriptures, what are some of the characteristics of the world that we live in?
First of all, the
aposle John explains to us what the world consists of. John wrote, Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If
any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of
the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but
he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever (1 John 2:15-17). The world consists of only three characteristics: the lust of the
flesh [our bodily, physical needs], the lust of the eyes [our lust for the things which we see in our environment and world], and
the pride of life [the expression of our arrogance and pride regarding issues in our own lives]. We should recognize that all three
characteristics of the world involve some form and degree of lust, even pride.
Next, the wisdom of the world, how it thinks,
cannot possibly know or understand God and Christ. Paul taught, For after that in the wisdom of God the world by [and its worldly] wisdom
knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe (1 Corinthians 1:21).
Also, Christ makes
it clear that it is not possible for those of the world to receive the Holy Spirit of God. Jesus told Philip, If ye love me, keep
my commandments. And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; even [specifically]the [Holy] Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he
dwelleth with you, and shall be in you (John 14:15-17).
Not surprisingly, this present world, as we know it, is described in
the holy scriptures as evil. Paul wrote the church in Galatia, Grace be to you and peace from God the Father, and from our Lord Jesus
Christ, Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil [Greek poneros, which means degenerated from
the original, calamitous, ill, diseased, hurtful, bad, grievous, harm, lewd, malicious, or wicked] world, according to the will of
God and our Father (Galatians 1:3-4). John bluntly declares, ...the whole world lieth in wickedness (1 John 5:19).
In His omnipotence
and omniscience, God the Father has chosen and utilized the foolish things of the world to confound the wise of the world, and the
weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty in the world. Paul wrote the church in Corinth, For ye see your calling,
brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: But God hath chosen the foolish
things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty;
And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things
that are (1 Corinthians 1:26-28).
Accordiing to the scriptures, this current world is also ruled by principalities, powers, and
rulers of the darkness of this world. The apostle Paul wrote the believer in Ephesus, Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord,
and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we
wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world,
against spiritual wickedness in high places (Ephesians 6:10-12).
Because the values, methods, and priorities of the world are
different from the values of God and the Kingdom, the world hates God, Christ, and, therefore, believers in Christ. As Christ explained,If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because
ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. Remember the word that I said unto
you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying,
they will keep yours also. But all these things will they do unto you for my name's sake, because they know not him that sent me (John
15:18-21). The apostle John adds, Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons
of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him [God the Father] not (1 John 3:1), and Marvel not, my brethren, if
the world hate you (1 John 3:13).
Scriptures also tell us that the Kingdom of Christ is not of this world. Jesus explained to
Pilate: Pilate answered, Am I a Jew? Thine own nation and the chief priests have delivered thee unto me: what hast thou done? Jesus
answered , My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered
to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence [this world] (John 18:35-36).
Additionally loving the world, its mentality,
understanding, ways, and priorities, may very well cause the gospel to not bear fruit, to be unproductive. Christ explains the parable
of the sower to His disciples: And these are they which are sown among thorns; such as hear the word [of truth, the gospel message,
not the bible; See Eph 1:13 and Col 1:5], And the cares [lusts and distractions] of this world, and the deceitfulness [delustion] of
riches, and the lusts of other things entering in, choke [strangle] the word, and it becometh unfruitful [barren] (Mark 4:18-19).
NOT THE WORLD, NEITHER THE THINGS THAT ARE IN THE WORLD
The scriptures have much to say about the ways of the world, and about
the danger of worldly things to the believer in Christ. However, the scriptures also give us ample instructions on how to respond
to the world and its evil ways. The apostle John not only taught us the characteristics of the world, but also exhorts us to not love
those characteristics: Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father
is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the
Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever (1
John 2:15-17). Jesus taught His disciples how they, and we, should deal with the world and its tempations. Jesus said, ...If any man
will come after me, let him deny himself [of the lust of the eyes], and take up his cross [and crucify his own flesh], and follow
me [denying pride and living a life of humility]. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life
for my sake shall find it. For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world [and its ways], and lose his own soul? or
what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? (Matthew 16:24-26).
In his letter to the Ephesian church, Paul mentions the vanity
of worldliness: you hath he quickened who were dead in trespasses and sins; Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course
of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: Among
whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind;
and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others (Ephesians 2:1-3). Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles
in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands; That at that time
ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope,
and without God in the world: But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ (Ephesians
2:11-13). Paul concluded that once the church in Ephesus [and we as well] comes out of the world, they should become a new person,
full of new understanding and new behavior: This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles
walk, in the vanity of their [worldly] mind, Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance
that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart: Who being past feeling have given themselves over unto lasciviousness, to
work all uncleanness with greediness. But ye have not so learned Christ; If so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by
him, as the truth is in Jesus: That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful
lusts; And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and
true holiness (Ephesians 4:17-24). As Paul teaches here, the individual either continues to live according to the world and its vanity,
idolatry, and evil, or has put off the old man and is being renewed unto the new man that God has created in righteousness and holiness. Again,
the principle is simple: we either love the world and its ways, or we love God.
Paul wrote Titus, His own son after the common
faith, For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts,
we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of
the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself
a peculiar people, zealous of good works (Titus 2:11-14). Again, we can deny the world with its ungodliness and worldly lusts, or,
denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we can live soberly, righteousness, and godly in this present world. Again, the choice is that
of the believer.
Paul wrote the believers in Rome, I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present
your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed [Greek, suschematizo,
to fashion alike, resemble, be in union with] to this world [and its ways and priorities]: but be ye transformed by the renewing of
your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. For I say, through the grace given unto
me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as
God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith. For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office:
So we, being many, are one body [the church] in Christ, and every one members one of another (Romans 12:1-5).
teach us, How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your
conscience from dead works [found in the world] to serve the living God?” (Hebrews 9:14).
Paul wrote to Titus, For the grace
of God that bringeth salvation [through faith in Christ] hath appeared to all men, Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly
lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing
of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto
himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works (Titus 2:11-14). According to the scriptures, the believer in Christ is to deny godliness
and worldly lusts, live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world, all the while looking for that blessed hope and appearing
Regarding the behavior of the saint in this present world, the apostle James adds, Pure religion and undefiled before
God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world (James
Jesus warned His own disciples about the dangers of loving the world with these words; For whosoever will save his life
shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it. For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole
world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? (Matthew 16:25-26). Live for self and die to Christ,
and we gain the whole world. Live for Christ and die to self, and we gain eternal life with Christ.
Regarding the believer's
separation from the worldly characteristics of Godlessness and complete rejection of God the creator, Paul provides these instructions
to the believer: Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness?
and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an
infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell
in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate,
saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and
daughters, saith the Lord Almighty (2 Corinthians 6:14-18).
Paul wrote the Galatian church, Grace be to you and peace from God
the Father, and from our Lord Jesus Christ, Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil [Greek,poneros, hurtful, degenerate, calamitous, diseased, grievous, lewd, malicious]world, according to the will of God and our Father (Galatians
1:3-4). Paul continues, Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage [Greek, douloo, enslaved, become a servant to] under the
elements [Greek, stoicheion, a fundamental and initial constituent, principles] of the world: But when the fulness of the time was
come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the
adoption of sons (Galatians 4:3-5). Paul added, Howbeit then, when ye knew not God, ye did service unto them which by nature are no
gods. But now, after that ye have known God, or rather are known of God, how turn ye again to the weak [Greek, asthenes, strengthless,
feeble, impotent weaker, weak thing] and beggarly [Greek, ptochos, to be a beggar, to cringe, be a pauper, be distressed] elements [beginning,
fundamental], whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage [to the things of the law]? (Galatians 4:8-9). Paul is making the point that
before we were known of God we were in bondage to worldly principles, such as the requirment to keep the Jewish law. Paul was asking,
why would we, once we have known God or are known of God, want to return to being in bondage to the weak and beggarly elements of
the world again, The believer is to come out of the world and the ways of the world, and, according to Paul, should have no desire
to return to his old worldly ways.
The apostle James teaches us, If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not
his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man's religion is vain. Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this,
To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted [without stain, unblemished, unsoiled, dirty,
sinful] from the world (James 1:27). Unlike those who function according to the principles of the world, the believer in Christ is
to reject the ways of the world, and avoid worldly stains and blemishes.
Paul also wrote the Corinthian believers, Now we have
received, not the spirit [Greek, pneuma, breath, vital principle, mind] of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might
know the things that are freely given to us of God. Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but
which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit
of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned (1 Corinthians 2:12-14).
According to Paul, a man or woman either has the spirit and breath of the world, or the spirit and breath of Christ and His Holy Spirit.
explained some key dynamics about the Christian in the world: Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which
is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's
wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural [and worldly] man receiveth
not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.
But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man. For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he
may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:12-16). Clearly, the believer in Christ does not receive and have
the spirit of the world and its ways, but has received the Holy Spirit of God.
Last, the believer in Christ is to not set his
or her affections on the evil things of the world, but on spiritual, eternal, and heavenly things. Paul instructed the Colossian believers
in Christ, If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set
your affection on things above, not on things on the earth [this world]. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God (Colossians
I WILL BUILD MY CHURCH
In summary, the church consists of individuals who collectively assemble together for the
purposes of the worship of God and the fellowship and encouragement of the saints. These individuals are called out of the world,
that is they are to reject the world and its ways and priorities, in order to more fully love, worship, and serve the Living God.
Technically, individuals within the church body do not go to church, for they are the church; but the church or body of individuals
who believe in and trust Christ do assemble together as a congregaton for worship, service, support, discipline, admonition, encouragement
and fellowship. Christ is the head of this church, and the savior of the church body of individual believers (Eph 5:23).
18 of our subject verses, Jesus Christ said I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. The worldbuild is translated from the Greek word oikodomeo, which means to be a house builder, to construct, confirm, edify, or embolden. Build seems
to refer not only to the development of a physical or spiritual structure, but to its growth, confirmation and edification as well.
Christ is not only structurally building His own Church by calling individuals to faith in Christ, but is emboldening and edifying
these individuals within the church as well. With authority, Christ declares that not even the gates of hell shall overpower or prevent
that church building by Christ.
There is another example of Christ again calling His church out of the world. In our subject
verses, Christ spiritually called His church out of the world, but the day will come that Christ will physically call His church out
of the world. That time is what biblical scholars refer to as the rapture. The apostle Paul instructed the church in Thessalonica:I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep [physically dead], that ye sorrow not, even as others
which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep [have physically died believing] in
Jesus will God bring with him. For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming
of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of
the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead [those who have died physically while believing] in Christ shall rise first:
Then we which are alive and remain [and are still physically alive at the time of the Lord's descending] shall be caught up [Greek,harpazo, to seize, catch away, pluck, take by force, to take for oneself out of the world] together with them in the clouds, to meet
the Lord in the air: and so shall we [both dead and alive believers in Christ] ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another
with these words (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18). AMEN!