"Zeal for Your house consumes Me." —John 2:17
The Greek word for "church" means "called out." The Church is the gathering of people Jesus has chosen out from this world (Jn 15:19). Jesus founded the Church in the shadow of the worldly city, Caesarea Philippi (Mt 16:13). He implied the Church would begin attacking the gates of hell by storming the gates of the worldly city (Mt 16:18).
We live in the world geographically; spiritually, however, we are at war with the world (Jn 17:15). We are not of the world any more than Jesus belongs to the world (Jn 17:16). Therefore, the world hates us. It crucified Jesus and will try to kill us as well. So the Church, because it is "called out," is both an army and a shelter. The Church is where God rallies, rests, teaches, and nourishes His troops.
We are a community, a "koinonia," "a sharing in common" (see Acts 2:42). We don't have much in common with the world. Jesus has set us free from all that. But with the brothers and sisters in our church community, we have in common the lifesaving experience of personal relationship with Jesus and the empowerment by the Holy Spirit. Is this original meaning of church still in effect in your life?
Prayer: Jesus, may I join Your Church not just officially but in spirit.
Promise: "The temple of God is holy, and you are that temple." —1 Cor 3:17
Praise: St. John the Baptist not only was "called out," he himself "called out," "Behold! The Lamb of God!"
Reference: (For a related teaching, order our series of tapes on Church Homes on audio AV 17A-1, AV 17A-3, AV 17B-1, or our two-tape video series starting with V-17A.)
Rescript: †Most Reverend Daniel E. Pilarczyk, Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, April 21, 2005
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