Saturday, September 21, 2013
WHO OWNS YOUR CHURCH?
Dearly Beloved, WHO OWNS YOUR CHURCH? “...I will build My church...” (Matthew 16:18 NKJV). “...I write so that you may know how you ought to conduct yourself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth” (1 Timothy 3:15 NKJV). The word church has been used to mean many things. The term “church” can be referred to at least four meanings: one, a building used for public Christian worship; two, a local group of Christians (worshipping in such building); three, a particular Christian organization, typically one with its own clergy, buildings, and distinctive doctrines (another word for this is a denomination); and four, all believers in Jesus Christ or adherents of Christian faith. Simply, the church is the assembly of a local group of Christians living in a certain place or the universal church comprises of all believers in Jesus Christ both living and dead. There has been a trend where an individual or group of people refers to a particular church (local assembly) or a number of churches (probably a denomination) as “my” or “our” church. Some other people will refer to the church as “their” or “your” church. These references may be to the leader (or leaders) of the church or founder of the denomination. Undoubtedly, this trend has affected the way such people view or administer things of the church. However, the big question is: who owns the church? Jesus Christ, in His response to Peter’s confession, simply said, “...I will build MY church...” (Matthew 16:18 NKJV emphasis mine). By implication, the church belongs to Jesus Christ. Apostle Paul explained this further by referring to the church as “the church of the living God” (1 Timothy 3:15 NKJV). Each word here is very important. The preposition “of” is referring to who really owns the church. The church does not belong to any other person than the living God. The article “the” is emphasizing the fact that there is no other god, but the one and only true God. The adjective “living” is highlighting the eternity, strength and vitality of God. Lastly, the noun which is the most important word is referring to GOD, not man or any other thing. No wonder, Jesus Christ added that “the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it” (Matthew 16:18 NKJV). Who owns your church? Is it your pastor, general overseer or founder of your denomination? Are you even thinking that you are the owner of your church? Ascribing the ownership of any church to any man or group of people is like sharing God’s glory with such man or group of people. The only exception here is if the church is not a church of God. Who owns your church? In His service, Bayo Afolaranmi (Pastor). Prayer Point: Lord, help me to recognize You as the owner of the church.