Be of the church not in the church

Be of the church not in the church

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In the church
 the church

As a people called out by God to show forth the praises of Him who have called us out of darkness into His marvelous light, the Christian has continued, since inception, to strive, to expose her faithful to the realities of their calling as well as equip them for the mission of their calling. It is in furtherance of this that we consider this theme.

The theme is born out of the fact that whatever is worth doing is worth doing well. And that we believe that the boldest and wisest of men is he who is ready to die for his conviction and willing to have others do so(John. 17:14,16, Romans. 12:2).

The key term of our theme is “The Church”. And so we will provide the definition of the Church for a better understanding of both the theme and its thesis. So The Church as we define it is A group of People who Willingly gather together in Fellowship based on their Faith in the Word of God as revealed by Jesus Christ. This definition is crucial not just to this theme and address but to the clear and better understanding by all Christians, of the Church and her mission. To further buttress this fact, we need to look at the major components of this definition.

1.The Church is A Group of People: This simply means that The Church is not an inanimate object. Not a building. Not even a structure. The Church is a people. And the Lord of the Church Himself says “For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” (Matthew 18:20). And apostle Peter illustrating further on who The Church is says “But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an Holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of Him who hath called you out of darkness into His Marvelous light: “(1Peter 2:9). So The Church is a people. Now we know that people don’t just gather for no reason, rather they gather for some purpose based on a common understanding. So The Church is more than just a people, The Church is an Ideology, a way of life, with both Purpose and Mission.

2.The people Gather Willingly. This means that anyone who comes to be part of The Church should do so willingly not by force or trick. This is very important for it distinctively sets The Church apart from all other religions and Faiths where people are forced or even threaten with death if they refuse to join. Again the Lord of The Church invites “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. “(Matthew 11:28-30). “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.” (Revelation 3:20). Membership of The Church should always be by invitation. And such response must come after the invited must have counted the cost and weight of both the ‘yoke and the burden’.

3.The Gathering is in Fellowship: As an English word, Fellowship means a friendly association of people with a common interest. For The Church, Fellowship involves getting together for spiritual purposes: for sharing needs, for prayer, for discussing and sharing the word of God to encourage, comfort, and edify one another. This was characteristic of the early Church. “And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.” (Acts 2:42). “And all that believed were together, and had all things common; And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them all men, as every man had need. And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart,” (Acts 2:44-46). Fellowshipping is very crucial to the life and mission of The Church and every member must take part. No wonder the writer to the Hebrews warns “and let us consider [thoughtfully] how we may encourage one another to love and to do good deeds, not forsaking our meeting together [as believers for worship and instruction], as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more [faithfully] as you see the day [of Christ’s return] approaching.” (Hebrews 10:24-25).

4.The Fellowship is based on Faith in the Word of God: This is the most important pillar that holds our definition of The Church and defines her purpose and mission. The mere gathering of a group of people does not make The Church. That a People gather with ideology, purpose and mission does not make that group. The Church neither does a group of people that gathers in fellowship becomes The Church just because they fellowship together. The Ideology that propels the gathering in fellowship of a group of people must be based on their Faith in the Word of God for that group to qualify as The Church. As the scripture is God-breathed [given by divine inspiration] and is profitable for instruction, for conviction [of sin], for correction [of error and restoration to obedience], for training in righteousness [learning to live in conformity to God’s will, both publicly and privately – behaving honorably with personal integrity and moral courage]; so that the man of God may be complete and proficient, outfitted and thoroughly equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:16-17).

5.Faith in the Word As Revealed by Jesus Christ: This is the second crucial pillar of our discussion especially in view of the current “modernization and revisionist agenda” of our time. Many groups today claim to gather based on faith in the word of God, but their word of God is based on modern, cultural and or digital age interpretations. The word of God based on political correctness so that all would be included and none is offended. None of these is a character of The Church. The Faith of The Church must be based on the Undiluted and Uncompromised Word of God as taught by Christ and Revealed by Him through the Holy Spirit. The Scripture warns “I testify and warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book [its predictions, consolations, and admonitions]: if anyone adds [anything] to them, God will add to him the plagues (afflictions, calamities) which are written in this book; and if anyone takes away or distorts the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away [from that one] his share from the tree of life and from the holy city (new Jerusalem), which are written in this book” (Revelation 22:18-19).
So far, in our discussion we’ve been able to establish two important facts in reference to our theme. The first is that for any group to qualify as The Church, such group must be one whose individual members are not coaxed or tricked into membership but willingly accepted membership based on their faith in the word of God having been taught the consequences of such faith. And that the tenets and doctrines of such group are based on the Undiluted, and Uncompromised Word of God.


This theme is to remind, inform or bring to light in the mind of Christians, the fact that we are not in any physical Church. In fact, there is nothing like physical Church. The Church is an ideology, a way of life and not a physical structure for one to be in.

Before you begin to disagree with this position, let us see what The Lord of the Church says while praying to The Father for His followers. “I am no longer in the world; yet they are still in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, keep them in your name, the name, the name which you have given me, so that they may be one just as We are. While I was with them, I was keeping them in your name which you have given me; and I guarded them and protected them, and not one of them was lost except the son of destruction, so that the Scripture would be fulfilled. But now I am coming to you; and I say these things [while I am still] in the world so that they may experience my joy made full and complete and perfect within them [filling their hearts with my delight]. I have given to them Your word [the message you gave me]; and the world has hated them because they are not of the world and do not belong to the world, just as I am not of the world and do not belong to it. I do not ask You to take them out of the world, but that You keep them and protect them from the evil one. They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world.” (John 17:11-16).

In this prayer of our Lord, He emphasizes two major components of human life- physical structure and ideology. Every human endeavor revolves around these components. You need a physical structure to site your business and an ideology for its operation. Families as physical structures have ideologies that form their expectations and values, and the list goes on. Institutions may share same structures but it is their ideologies that differentiate one from another. And every life venture runs on one physical structure and one ideology at a time.
So Jesus acknowledges that The Christians already exist on a physical structure – the world, and so need an ideology for the successful discharge of their duty. He emphasizes the fact that Christians should not be taken out of the world since they need this physical structure as a platform on which to fulfill there mission,but need an ideology different from of the world to succeed in the same mission.ln the prayer however, Jesus does not define what the ideology was and it’s source.He clearly started where the Christians are in the world and what they are not in the world.But he does say what they are or should be of.But the clue He provided before he left for Heaven.ln Acts1-8 we read”But you will receive power and ability when the holy Spirit comes upon you; and you will be my witnesses (to tell people about me) both in Jerusalem and in all Judea, and Samaria, and even to the end of the earth.”Acts 1:8.Here Jesus promises his followers of both the source and the content of the ideology they need to fulfill there mission within the physical structure of there existence.As we all know,on that fateful Pentecost day, with presence of the holy spirit,the church was born.what the followers received on Pentecost day was not a physical structure but an ideology,a way of when Jesus says in the prayer cited above”they are in the world…. they’re of the world”, what he emphasizes is that Christians are in the world, but of a different ideology, and that ideology is the church.

Apostles Paul reechoes the same massage of the prayer of our Lord when he says “And do not be conformed to this world (any longer with it’s superficial values and customs),but be transformed and progressively changed (as you mature spiritually)by the renewing of your mind (focusing on Godly values and ethical attitudes), so that you may prove (for yourselves) what the Will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect (in his plan and purpose for you).Romans 1:2.ln order words,St Paul says,yes you are in the world but do not live by the ideologies of the world.Rather let your mind be renewed by the new ideology and the way of life that focuses on Godly values and ethical attitudes.The ideology born on the day of Pentecost.The ideology empowered by the holy Spirit.The ideology of the church. Like  Christ, Paul says,be in the world but of the church.The first chirstians did not create any other physical structure before embarking on the propagation of there new way of life.

We recall that it was on there way to the temple that Peter and John healed the crippled man.By this time they are still members of the Jewish religious community,but with a new and different ideology,The ideology of the church.Aslo the missionary enterprise of Paul and Barnabas began and grow within the Jewish and Greek communities in there different synagogues (Damascus-Acts 9:19-20, Iconium-Acts 14:1,thessalonica-Acts 17:1-3, Athens-Acts 17:16-17, Corinth-Acts 18:1-4, Ephesus-Acts19:1-8 etc). The Apostles began to propagate the ideology of the church within there world and so remaind in the world but of the church.So as we siad earlier,we maintain.The church is an ideology,A way of life and not a physical structure for one to be in.


From our discussion so far,we believe that we have established the fact that the church is an ideology,a way of life,born in dwelling of the holy spirit with the mission of leading the world to the knowledge of the salvation found only in Christ Jesus.And Christians are those people who have willingly accepted to abide by this ideology and impart the world by it.So to be of the church is to daily and consistently live by this ideology among all people and in all circumstances.Simply put,to be of means that the church- Christians, must stop seeking to be relevant to the world.Yes you heard us right.We didn’t mean start rather we mean stop seeking to be relevant to the world.we may this may sound strange at this point because most people believe the church should be relevant to the world in other to make any impart on it.But before you agree or disagree with us let’s dig deeper into the matter.The Merriam- Webster dictionary describe relevant as having significant and demonstrable bearing on the matter at hand, affording evidence tending to prove or disprove the matter at issue or under discussion or having social relevant.The most important issue related to relevance then,is deciding the matter at hand or the matter at issue.To what (or whom)are we trying to relate? What are we trying to prove?To be relevant means that the church will fashion her ideology to accommodate adapt to the standard of the world; to inclusive and to make room for everyone, there ideologies and conditions.

The major problem of the church today is the issue of been relevant to cultures of the world.The Africans want the church to accommodate all there cultural heritage, even those that are in variance with her ideology.The Western world is consistently forcing the modern and revisionist culture than the throat of the church,all in the name of asking the church to be relevant to the present age.That our church services and programs have today become more of entertainment, with club style type of music,than worshipping of God,is as a result of the quest to be relevant.

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Many who believe the church should be relevant to the world try to prove there position by referring to 1 Corinthians 9:19-23 were Paul says for though I am free from all men,i have made myself a servant to all, that i might win the more and Jews i became as a Jew, that i might win jews to those who are under the law,as under the law, that I might win those who are under the law;to those who are without law,as without law,(not been without towards God but under law towards Christ), that i might win those who are without law;to the weak i became as weak, that i might win the weak.I have become all things to all men, that i might by all means save some.Now this i do for the gospel sake that I may be partaker of it with you.

To use this to demand the church to be relevant to the world is to display a misunderstanding and misinterpretation of is Clear that what the Apostle is emphasizing here is the power of the gospel to speak, meet and transform people in context of there life and situation.That the christian ideology is for everyone in every context and for every generation without compromising it’s contents and values.The massage of the church is for both the weak and the strong, the poor and the rich, those under certain cultural or religious laws and those who are not, and that Christians must present the church and her ideology to everyone, giving all equal opportunity to be saved.paul understand that though the gospel is, and so need to be preach to everyone, not all will accept it. An so he says that i might by all means save trying to make the church relevant so as to appeal to all will be an effort in futility that can only lead to compromise and watering down of her massage.

To further trace this point, same Apostle Paul writes in the very same letter to the Corinthians, for Jews demands signs and Greek seek wisdom but we preach christ crucified and folly to gentile, but those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God (1 Corinthians 1:22-24). Here Paul goes on clarify that the ideology of the church, when truly represented must not appeal to all.when ever the massage of the church ceases to make some people stumbled while sounding unintelligent to others,it ceases to be the authentic gospel of christ.when all in a congregation applaud the preacher after the preaching and no one feel challenge to make a u-turn from there ways; when none Christians feel comfortable leaving out there practices among Christians, these are signs that the church is relevant to the world and so has compromise her standard, massage and ideology.

Now, what then does it mean to be of the church?if not relevant, what, to be of the church is for Christians; the church to be contextual.for the church to fulfill her mission in the world,every christian, every church organization must be contextually real.Jesus was contextually real. 

Jesus didn’t care about being relevant to his culture.Not to the Jewish culture he lived in, to the Roman culture that was subjugating them,or the Greek culture that framed there thinking.Jesus was real.And he adapted to the reality of whatever context he found himself city at a time, one crowd at a time, one person at a time.And he did it without ever betraying his core reality.This is exactly what St Paul tried to teach in the text cited above.when i present the massage of the cross of Christ to the Jews, Paul says,i do not do so from a Jewish perspective so that it will appeal to them, rather i present the raw massage undiluted so that the jews will keep struggling with the reality of the massage against there way of life until they are convicted and come to faith in Christ.

In today’s world, the ideology of the church must be presented to all with it’s contextual reality.In this world that is changing by minute, christian can’t afford to be relevant.Until individual Christians decide to be willingly be of the church,the world may nerver perceive the saltines of the church, neither will her light overcome the darkness of the world.

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Jesus,the Lord of the church says And I say also unto thee, that thou art peter, and upon this rock i will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.(Mathew 16:18).We want to remind all church organization that the church is built by Jesus only on the confession that he, and he alone is the Christ and the saviour of the world.Not on any wisdom or desire of man.There we charge all churches and there leaders to take hide of what foundation they build on and with what tricks they entice people to join them.Any christian congregation that is gathered for any other reason than fellowship base on faith in the undiluted and uncompromised word of God is ant-christ,not the church, and so in cure the wrath of God.We owe both Christ and people the duty of exposing all who come to us to the truth the church is a way of life with mission and purpose of presenting Christ to the world and not a club to be joined. 

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To all Christians we remind you that anything worth doing is worth doing is only a fool that spend his life and resources in a venture that he knows wont profit him.Therefore as you willingly have chosen, to follow Christ,we charge you to be aware that the church is not a club, but a way of life that you must follow diligently and daily for the salvation of your soul.That following Christ means that you must witness to him daily by your words and actions no matter the condition and circumstances you might find must be of the must contend for the faith.To do so you must be on the whole amour of God (Ephesians 6:3-10), and the garment of pristhood (Exodus 28:1-36).In these present age there are many things to contend with it doesn’t matter attitudes, same sex marriage, homosexuality, tattooing, nakedness, immodest dressing, pornography, sodomy, sexual immorality in high and low places, bribery etc.All these exist both in church and in cecular society and they all war against our faith.You hold one another accountable as we fellowship together to strengthen our faith in don’t just go through the emotions of church services and programs, but seek for the deeper knowledge of the ideology and way of life of the church that you may come out smelling, testing, looking, and shinning like Christ.Remember you must be of the church to be in the kingdom of God.

For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appears to all men, teaching us denying ungodliness and worldly lust,we should live soberly, righteously, and Godly in the present world:(Titus 2:11-12).

Therefore be of the church whether you find yourself in a physical structure that represents the church or one that represents the world….


Joy Chinonyerem

Joy Chinonyerem is an ardent follower of Christ who believes in Living the Christian Life according to the tenets set by Christ himself. She is passionate about Walking by Faith, as commanded by the scriptures and uses her blog, Walking By Faith Blog, to minister the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

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