Summary: Too often we hear people say, I dont need to join a congregation becuase after all, I AM THE CHURCH this often stems out of an Independent spirit.
DOES THE BIBLE REALLY SAY "I am the Church"
(Exposing the devil's schemes) - by Daniel Cruz
Every so often I will hear someone make the statement, I dont need to belong to a particular church because after all, "I AM THE CHURCH" -
Usually this statement stems out of a spirit of independence or out of a separatist mentality, it often comes out of the mouth of those who are turned off by corporate gatherings or those who have simply suffered some type of church hurt in their lives. Let me also include in this list the person who plainly and innocently thinks their somehow quoting scripture.
Nowhere in the Bible will you find the statement, "I am the Church" nor will you find a scripture that states in a singular sense that "YOU are the Church" It simply does not exist.
Among the main verses used to back up this statement are:
1 Corinthians 3:1-"Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple.". And also,
2 Corinthians 6:16- For we are the temple of the living God.
Please note that these scriptures do not use the word "Church" nor is it even implied, but rather the Bible uses the word "Temple" the temple in the old testament was where God's Spirit would dwell, By stating that we are the temple, God was saying, the same way that my Spirit would dwell in the Temple of old, He now dwells in you.
But does the use of the word "temple" somehow justify ones contempt for the corporate gathering? Does this somehow nurture the idea that we do not need to be part of a local body of believers, and thus we can simply "be the church" all by oursleves and never need to gather?
Firstly, please note that when the word TEMPLE is used, it is never used in a singular sense but always in the plural sense. The verses mentioned above uses the words "we" and "yourselves"
Furthermore in Ephesians 2:21-22- it states, "In whom the whole building, being fitted together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, (22) In whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.
Notice there is no mistaking the fact that when we are referred to as being the "Temple" it was never a justification to live independently from each other but rather Inter-dependently with each other. We are called and expected to be FITTED TOGETHER and BUILT TOGETHER for a dwelling place of God.
Yes, Pastor but, 1 Corinthians 3:9 says, I am God's building - "For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, you are God’s building."
Let me answer this with one verse 1 Peter 2:5,9- "You also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house..." Please notice you are called living stones,(plural) not (a) living stone. Stones must be joined together in order to build a house.
THE WORD CHURCH
If you are born again, you (alone) are not THE Church, you are a PART OF the Church. To make the statement, "I am THE Church is a misnomer.
The word Church is the word Ekklesia in the Greek and please note the following Strong's Concordance definition:
1) a gathering of citizens called out from their homes into some public place, an assembly
a) an assembly of the people convened at the public place of the council for the purpose of deliberating
b) the assembly of the Israelites
c) any gathering or throng of men assembled by chance, tumultuously
d) in a Christian sense
1) an assembly of Christians gathered for worship in a religious meeting
2) a company of Christian, or of those who, hoping for eternal salvation through Jesus Christ, observe their own religious rites, hold their own religious meetings, and manage their own affairs, according to regulations prescribed for the body for order's sake
3) those who anywhere, in a city, village, constitute such a company and are united into one body.
Based on this definition the, I AM THE CHURCH "theologians" are in essence redefining the word church to fit their independent spirit. To say, "I don't need to gather regularly with other believers, I am the Church all by myself" - is not a scriptural mindset, and goes against the very history of the new testament church which were thrown into collusiums to be malled by lions all because they refused to stop gathering together for worship.
Repeatedly the scriptures admonish us to "Maintain the UNITY..."
Jesus' own parable of the ninety nine sheep teaches that it is not safe for the the sheep to find themselves away from the sheepfold so he leaves the ninety nine and pursues the one that wandered. Why did Jesus leave the ninety nine? Was he neglecting them? Did he not care about them? On the contrary he understood that they were safe as long as they were together, upon finding the one that wandered he brings it back into the fold.