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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.

Under The Fig Tree 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)

"2:11 For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. 2:12 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. 2:13 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. 2:14 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 2:11-14 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)

"5:9 For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ, 5:10 Who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him." (1 Thessalonians 5:9-10 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.

The Holy Scriptures

"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.

12:4 Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. 12:5 And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord. 12:6 And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all.

12:7 But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal. 12:8 For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit; 12:9 To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit; 12:10 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: 12:11 But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will.

12:12 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. 12:13 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.

12:14 For the body is not one member, but many. 12:15 If the foot shall say, Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? 12:16 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? 12:17 If the whole body were an eye, where were the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where were the smelling? 12:18 But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him. 12:19 And if they were all one member, where were the body? 12:20 But now are they many members, yet but one body.

12:21 And the eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no need of thee: nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you. 12:22 Nay, much more those members of the body, which seem to be more feeble, are necessary: 12:23 And those members of the body, which we think to be less honourable, upon these we bestow more abundant honour; and our uncomely parts have more abundant comeliness. 12:24 For our comely parts have no need: but God hath tempered the body together, having given more abundant honour to that part which lacked: 12:25 That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another. 12:26 And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it.

12:27 Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular. 12:28 And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues. 12:29 Are all apostles? are all prophets? are all teachers? are all workers of miracles? 12:30 Have all the gifts of healing? do all speak with tongues? do all interpret? 12:31 But covet earnestly the best gifts: and yet show I unto you a more excellent way." (1 Corinthians 12:1-31

Fact Finder: What happens when selfish men pervert the true meaning of Church?
See Religious Parties and Is Your Church A Cult?; also The Way To Salvation: Step 1


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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).

1918: Arab forces, assisted by the British under T.E. Lawrence ("Lawrence of Arabia"), captured Damascus from the Ottomans (again, 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.





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Copyright © Wayne Blank