Dr. John K. Mathew
Scripture indicates that the universal church was born on the Day of Pentecost. Many theologians believe the church did not exist in Old Testament times. Matthew 16:18 cites Jesus, "I will build my church".This indicates that at the moment He spoke these words, the church was not yet in existence. Scripture also refers to both the universal church and the local church. The universal church is a company of people who have one Lord and who share together in one gift of salvation in the Lord Jesus Christ. It may be defined as the ever enlarging body of born-again believers who comprise the universal body of Christ, over which He reigns as Lord. The one universal church is represented by many local churches scattered throughout the world. The New Testament strongly urges believers to attend local churches. Hebrews 10:25 specifically instructs us not to forsake meeting together. The Christian life as described in Scripture is to be lived within the context of the family of God and not in isolation. Morover, by attending church, we become equipped for Christian ministry.
The church our Lord Jesus Christ promised to build was not an organization. He intended it to be an organism. By the use of these two terms organism and organization-we are not merely playing with words, but emphasizing a sadly neglected truth. Sufficient distinction is not made between the true Church, and the professing Church; between the outward and the invisible; between the body and the building; or between the church organized and the Church organic.
The church which is the body of Christ should be an organism as in a human body there are a variety of cells. There are nerve cells, blood cells, muscle cells, and many others - each having a distinct function. The body operates smoothly, not because the cells get together and vote on what to do,but because each one does what it was designed to do. It is the function of the head to bring all these different functions together, so that the body operates effectively as each cell gives itself to the task of functioning according to its design. Certainly the body would not operate properly if its cells chose to go their own way. Do you know what we call a rebellion of the cells of your stomach? We call it indigestion. A revolt of your brain cells is called insanity. Any time the cells in our body don't operate properly, it means that the body is sick, that something is wrong with it.
Many of the problems in the church today are a result of our forgetting that the church is a body with a head, Jesus Christ.
Instead we sometimes try to operate the church as an organization. As a result, the church has no more power than any other human organization at work in the world. May we be willing to cause a radical change in our perspective about the nature of the church.