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Saturday, October 1 2011
Can You See The Church?
Do you see a "church" anywhere in the illustration below? There is one plainly and prominently visible.
There is no building (with steeples, bells and stained glass windows), so that isn't the answer. There are no lawyers or corporate documents (i.e. the official permission from a civil government to practice one's religious beliefs), so a corporation isn't the answer either. According to man's definition, there is no "church" in the illustration. But according to God's definition, there is a church there.
The English word "church" is used to translate the Greek word pronounced ek-klay-zee-ah which meant people who are called out to meet or congregate. The "calling out" is accomplished by the Holy Spirit.
"8:5 For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. 8:6 For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. 8:7 Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. 8:8 So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God. 8:9 But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his." (Romans 8:5-9 KJV)
But what about the meeting part? If each of those individuals in the illustration were scattered, would they still be the church? Yes they surely would, because what brings them together is the one and only Holy Spirit that is together in them all. The ultimate meaning of "church" is the people gathered before God, not only (when possible) bodily with each other.
"1:9 God is faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord. 1:10 Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment." (1 Corinthians 1:9-10 KJV)
"For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body"
There are people in the true Church of God who have lived their lives at the same time as other people of the true Church of God, with neither even knowing of each other's existence because "church" is what people are, as made possible by the Holy Spirit, not merely where they happen to be or with whom they happen to be close enough to physically meet. All are gathered before God, as made possible by God.
"12:1 Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I would not have you ignorant. 12:2 Ye know that ye were Gentiles, carried away unto these dumb idols, even as ye were led. 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.
This Day In History, October 1
331 BC: Greek forces under Alexander the Great defeated Persian forces under Darius III at the Battle of Arbela in Assyria. The Persian and Greek empires, as well as Alexander and Darius, are all recorded and prophesied in the Bible (see Ancient Empires - Greece and Ancient Empires - Persia and Nebuchadnezzar's Dream)
1273: Rudolf of Hapsburg was elected emperor in Germany, which became officially known as "the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation" (see The Holy Roman Empire).
1795: Belgium became part of the French Republic.
1800: Under the Treaty of San Idelfonso, Spain returned Louisiana to France - which later sold the territory, known to history as the Louisiana Purchase, to the U.S. for $15 million in 1803.
1818: The Congress of Aix-la-Chapelle began. It lasted until November 15. It was the first of four congresses held by Britain, Austria, Prussia, Russia and France to discuss and take common action on European problems following the Napoleonic Wars (1800-1815).
1914: During the First World War, Turkey (i.e. the Ottoman Empire) closed the Dardenelles to the Allies (listen to our Sermon The Ottoman Empire).
1936: General Francisco Franco was named head of the Nationalist government in Spain.
1938: German troops crossed into the Sudetenland following an agreement between Britain, France, Germany and Italy to avoid war over Czechoslovakia. The policy of appeasing Adolf Hitler's territorial demands ended the next year when Germany invaded Poland, thereby beginning the Second World War (listen to our Sermon The European World Wars).
1939: British Prime Minister Winston Churchill made his famous remark describing Soviet foreign policy as "a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma."
1945: David Ben Gurion sent a coded message to Moshe Sneh, the Haganah commander, to begin terrorist operations against British forces in Palestine - despite the fact that the British were lawfully there, under a UN mandate, to enable the people of Judah to become free and independent of the Ottoman Empire that had ruled the land of Israel for centuries (listen to our Sermons The Balfour Declaration and The Ottoman Empire).
1946: Twelve Nazi war criminals were sentenced to be hanged at Nuremberg trials - Karl Donitz, Hermann Goring, Alfred Jodl, Hans Frank, Wilhelm Frick, Ernst Kaltenbrunner, Wilhelm Keitel, Joachin von Ribbentrop, Fritz Saukel, Arthur Seyss-Inquart, Julius Streicher, and Alfred Rosenberg.
1949: The communist Peoples Republic of China was formed with Mao Zedong as leader.
1969: The British-French Concorde airliner broke the sound barrier for its first time in a test flight over France.
1979: The Panama Canal Zone was officially handed over to Panama after 70 years under U.S. control (despite the farce of sovereignty, "independent" Panama remains a U.S. colony).
1990: A small asteroid the size of a two-car garage and weighing about 100 tons entered the atmosphere over the Pacific Ocean about 1,900 miles (3,000 kilometers) off the coast of British Columbia, Canada. At an estimated speed of 40,000 miles per hour (65,000 kilometers per hour) it almost instantly broke apart and exploded about 20 miles (32 kilometers) above the ocean. The blast had a force about equal to the Hiroshima atomic bomb and for a moment must have looked like a second sun in the sky. No one on earth saw it coming, or saw it explode. The only record of the event came from a military satellite that watches for unannounced rocket launches and explosions. That satellite, and others like it, have recorded an average of 9 atmospheric bursts per month since 1975, all from the entry of small asteroids (see A Huge Mountain, All Ablaze)
1995: A U.S. jury found Egyptian cleric Sheikh Omar Abdel-Rahman and 9 others guilty of plotting to blow up the World Trade Center, bomb the UN building, kill Egypt's president, and destroy vital highway tunnels in New York.