Called Out Ones

Bible Book: Matthew  16 : 18
Subject: Church

The world around us is trying its very best to redefine the meaning of what the "Church" is for the people in our modern society. The purpose of this attempt is to belittle the church to the point that no one will listen to its message of redemption. If the church can be made to seem insignificant, or irrelevant, or inadequate, then its message will also cease to carry the weight it should. In addition, the power of the church's condemnation of sin will be destroyed. In a world that ignores sin or explains it away or justifies sin, the church stands immovable and proves that what the world wants to do it will never be accomplish.Sin cannot be ignored, explained away or justified in the eyes of the world. The world, in an effort to soothe its conscience, seeks to dethrone the church. This attack is subtle but sustained, and God's people must be aware of the consequences at stake.

The one thing that the world does not know is that while they may stifle the church's work for a period of time, they will never destroy the church because they cannot destroy the Body of Christ.

The word translated "Church" is ekklesia, which means "called out ones".

It refers to any group of people called together for a particular purpose. Israel was referred to as the "church" when she was traveling in the wilderness. Israel had been "called out" of Egypt and, therefore, were "called out ones.

"An assembly of people in New Testament times, who were called together to transact some business or tend to some community situation, was called an ekklesia - the same word translated "church" in the New Testament.

The Lord gives the word ekklesia new power and meaning when He refers to the "Church" as the spiritual entity that is built by Him. The New Testament ekklesia is the Body composed of all the saved people from Pentecost to the first resurrection, (1 Corinthians 15:52). Those saved people are united together in Christ by the Baptism of the Holy Spirit.(1 Corinthians 12:12-13). Paul says that the Church is the Body of Christ of which He, Christ, is the Head, (Ephesians 1:22-23). Because of this, the Church is a Holy Habitation of God, (Ephesians 2:21-22). God's Word also says that the Church is "one flesh" with Christ, (Ephesians 5:30-31). It is espoused to Christ, (2 Corinthians 11:2-4) and Jesus is going to come and rapture His Church to be with Him, (1 Thessalonians 4:13-17).

When people are part of the Church through the Blood of Jesus, then they are not a part of something which is Irrelevant, Inconsequential or Inadequate. In the light of this fact, lets examine a few of the characteristics and qualities of the "Church."

I. The Church Is Indestructible

A  Spiritual Body

It is a spiritual body and the spiritual body of Christ cannot be destroyed. Take Abilene Baptist Church for an example. This church was established in 1774 by Loveless Savage under the assignment of Daniel Marshall. The church was first called "Red's Creek". Loveless Savage was pastor from 1774-1791. He served as a Chaplain in the Revolutionary Army. The first man ordained to the ministry by Abilene was James Matthews. He was ordained in 1785. In 1822 its first building was torn down and used to construct the second building in 1828. The land for this second sight was granted to Arthur Foster on Nov.12, 1828 by John Forsythe, the Governor of Georgia at that time. This second building was located on the original road into Augusta. It was made by vast buffalo herds migrating along the way. George Washington traveled this road when he visited Augusta in 1791, and the bed of this ancient road can still be seen at the north side of the Abilene Cemetery. In 1790, Abilene had 63 members. The first worship service on Washington road was held on July 14, 1957, with 151 in attendance. Many of the churches in the area are daughters or granddaughters of Abilene, the third oldest Baptist church in Georgia. Today, Abilene Baptist Church is strong, vibrant and well. This is not because of human effort but because of her Founder and Foundation - Jesus Christ the Lord! The "Church" is the only group on the face.

B. A Divine Mandate

The Church is the only institution on earth which has a Divine Mandate and a Divine Appointment - and friends, Jesus never breaks a promise or an appointment.

II. The Church Is Irresistible

Look at Matthew 16:18.The gates of Hell cannot survive its onslaught. Today, it seems that hell is winning, but there is another day coming.Those who are not identified with Christ by faith are not part of His Body, the Church, and they are on the losing side. We have God's Word on it. There is no power which can overcome and destroy the Church, neither can it resist the Power of Christ operating through His Body, the Church.

III. The Church Is Not Inconsequential, Inadequate Or Irrelevant

The World will never be able to destroy the church, but if it can make people think that the Church is Inconsequential, Inadequate and Irrelevant, then they can make the people believe that it really doesn't matter.

A. The Church Is Not Inconsequential

Christ's Body is never insignificant. It is never inconsistent. The salvation message is are always the same. Many today value the stock market much more than they value the Church. Spiritual matters are secondary to material things. One day, all the Redeemed will stand before Jesus, then we will see who is inconsequential.

B. The Church Is Not Inadequate

Read Acts 1:8. ALL given to the Lord's people to do His Will. We are the only ones who have the message of Redemption, Salvation, Resurrection and Rapture. What other message is more important? The world has no promise or message to match ours.

C. The Church Is Not Irrelevant

Look at Acts 4:12. Now, get this - "no other" name under heaven (that means on the earth) where by we must be saved! That makes the Church very relevant. It has the message by which men are saved. The church doesn't save you, but it is "made up" of all those who ARE SAVED.

Some people like to think that the church is irrelevant. If the church is not relevant for life and how to live it, then why is it suddenly relevant when death comes on the scene? People who shun, belittle and ignore the church know who to call when the doctor brings bad news. Those who criticize the church and backbite against the pastor, act as if he is the greatest, most essential person alive when life is in jeopardy and when the funeral is looming just ahead. If the church and her message are relevant at those times, then her message was always relevant.

But the main reason that the Church is not Irrelevant is that it is the Body of Christ. To become part of that Body, one must be engrafted into it while there is still time. The Church is Relevant to your eternal life, for without her message of Redemption in Christ one is lost forever.

So, the Church is the most important entity on the face of the earth. It is the Lord's Creation. It is His People on mission for Him. He chooses to give the message of life to His Church for delivery to the masses of humanity. The Church cannot be ignored. One does this at his or her own peril.

The Church cannot be destroyed because it is the Lord's Spiritual Body on earth. No human body or government can ultimately destroy her.

Let me ask you. Do you know Jesus as your savior? Are you certain that you are one of His through rebirth and redemption? Has he called you and you are refusing to come Him? I urge you to trust Him today. Give your life to Him and He will add you to His Church - His indestructible Body!