Where do you go to church? What a common question! Have you really thought about the importance of this question? Does it really make any difference to anyone except you? Does it really matter whether you go to church or not? To whom does it matter? Is it an important enough question to concern God? If it matters to God, how would He communicate His will and purpose? Has He spoken concerning His will and purpose for churches? He indeed has within Holy Scriptures!
The investigation of the truth concerning the church of Christ is not an easy task. To only repeat as a parrot the teaching of the pioneers of the past simply does not satisfy the culture and generation of these modern times. Times have changed and are changing. It is with a firm conviction that truth does not change, that this author humbly attempts to declare the biblical teaching of His church and its place in this culture and generation.
To accomplish this end, the declaration will be divided into seven parts. The preeminent declaration centers on not His church but the Christ Himself. To speak about the church separate from Christ is to orphan the church into a mere human institution, into which these modern times have relegated their secular churches. Let us begin then with the Christ of the Church.
Respond to the Christ of the Church
It is important to look at Christ before we look at the church of the Christ. The truth resides in the fact that Christ alone defines for His church her meaning, purpose, fulfillment, destiny, etc. This relationship to Christ defines the true life for the individual disciple and the collective group of disciples, which is the church. We learn how to respond to Christ by observing how the early disciples responded to Christ. Here is what we are to do:
Proclaim His Power
First, "And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, ’All authority  has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.’" (Matt 28:18) This statement of Jesus establishes the power and authority of the Son of God. He has authority to rule and the accompanying power necessary to rule over heaven and earth. No created entity has any power or authority over the Son of God; He has all authority in heaven and on earth.
On the personal level, the human being has no authority to rule himself. He may attempt to seize power for himself, to govern himself, but this power and authority resides only in the Son of God. This truth is accepted as reality early in the process of becoming a disciple of Jesus. He is the Lord of His disciples as a master is to his students in eastern oriental arts. This truth is confirmed by Jesus Himself. A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone when he is fully trained will be like his teacher. (Luke 6:40)
Second, "For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him." ( Col 1:16) Paul here clarifies the degree of authority and power of the Son of God. Without question, Christ holds accountable all angels, spirits, forces and powers; He holds accountable governments and nations, dominions and authorities. He alone we answer and give an accounting. The disciple of Jesus recognizes this truth. We are created in Christ by Him and we are created for Him.
Third, "And to Him was given dominion, Glory and a kingdom, That all the peoples, nations and men of every language might serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion Which will not pass away; And His kingdom is one Which will not be destroyed." (Dan 7:14) Daniel predicted the dominion of Christ and His reign. It includes all peoples, nations and tongues. His dominion and reign are predicted to be eternal. However, the phrase "Might serve Him" indicates that compliance is voluntary. This does not mean that humans can refuse His reign without consequences, but that surrendering to His reign is beneficial.
Paul wrote: "For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." (Phil 2:9-11) To bow the knee before the name of Jesus declares His Lordship over the one bowing and brings glory to God His Father. Christ is to be exalted. He exalted as King; we humbled to be thankful subjects under His rule.
Thus, here is the all important question and the appropriate response: Have you exalted Christ to the highest place in your thinking, your emotions, your behavior, and thereby your lifestyle? Does He have complete and total dominion over you? Do you realize that you have been created for Him to serve Him? If so, then your life and speech proclaim His power.
Another response to Christ is to:
Realize His Reign and Rule
There are three phases of the reign and rule of Christ. The first is stated by Paul. "For He must reign  until He has put all His enemies under His feet." (1 Cor 15:25 ) Here Christ is declared to reign with absolute control.
Paul quotes Isaiah to declare the second phase. Again Isaiah says, "There shall come the root of Jesse, And He who arises to rule  over the Gentiles, In Him shall the Gentiles hope." (Rom 15:12 )
Christ in this declaration rules from a preeminent position and status. He is to have first place in everything. Paul affirms this truth in Col 1:18: "He is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything."
The third phase is stated in the book of Revelation: "And I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse, and He who sat on it is called Faithful and True , and in righteousness He judges and wages war. His eyes are a flame of fire, and on His head are many diadems; and He has a name written on Him which no one knows except Himself. He is clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God. And the armies which are in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, were following Him on white horses. From His mouth comes a sharp sword, so that with it He may strike down the nations, and He will rule them with a rod of iron; and He treads the wine press of the fierce wrath of God, the Almighty. And on His robe and on His thigh He has a name written, ’KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.’" (Rev 19:11-16)
Christ rules as a Shepherd ruler. The implication of ruling with direct personal involvement is seen in the rod of iron.
A collective definition for the reign of Christ:
He reigns preeminently - no one supplants Him.
He reigns with absolute control - we implement His wishes.
He reigns personally with real involvement - we are never alone.
He reigns 24/7/365 from day one until the last day.
Thus, here are the all important questions: Who would your neighbor say is in control of your life - you or Him? Who would your co-workers in the market place say is really number one - you or Him? Is He your shepherd or are you a wolf? Think about His rod of iron - is it for your protection or His weapon used against you?
His reign is divine, confirmed by revelation. You realize His reign by decreasing in carnal control over your life. And by increasing in Christ’s control over your life daily. John, the Baptist said it clearly. "He must increase, but I must decrease." (John 3:30)
The last response to Christ in our message today is to:
Surrender to His Sovereign Deity
To begin, read John 1:18. No one has seen God at any time; the only begotten God who is in the bosom of the Father, He has explained Him. (John 1:18) John, by revelation, declares three truths. One, no human being has seen God at any time. Two, the only begotten who is with the Father has explained Him. And three, the only begotten is God. Some later manuscripts have ’only begotten Son’, but the earliest and more reliable texts have ’only begotten God.’ The force of the passages lays in the fact that the Son pre-existed with God. Thus, He alone has the ability to exegeomai the Father. This word means to make something fully known by careful explanation or by clear revelation. Jesus is clearly the only begotten and capable of making the Father known. The Hebrew writer adds clarity to this truth. And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power. (Heb 1:3) Jesus is the Christ and is God in the flesh.
Next let’s read Jude 4. For certain persons have crept in unnoticed, those who were long beforehand marked out for this condemnation, ungodly persons who turn the grace of our God into licentiousness and deny our only Master  and Lord, Jesus Christ. (Jude 4) The condemned in this verse are guilty of two offences. One, turning grace into a license to sin and two, denying Jesus Christ as Master and Lord. Our interest is in the description of Jesus; ’our only Master and Lord’. Jesus Christ holds complete power and authority over us. He is Lord. Let’s be careful not to turn His grace into sin’s license nor deny who He is and the authority He commands over us.
We disciples are impacted by His power, reign, deity, and sovereignty. This is the truth. The church of the Christ is not a human institution governed by human ideas and directives. The church of the Christ is that group of people who have surrendered to be controlled and governed by their Master and Lord, Jesus Christ. This group recognizes that Christ has absolute power and authority over them and cannot be supplanted by them. This group voluntarily chooses to walk with Christ down the strait and narrow road, knowing Christ’s will limits their choices, ideas, etc.
Let’s get personal. If we are to be the church of the Christ, we are to conduct all aspects of our lives manifesting this Master/disciple relationship. It means a ’not my will but thy will be done, Lord’ kind of lifestyle. To have this lifestyle means Christ is Lord and Master in our thoughts, feeling, decisions and behavior. He forms our attitudes and actions. We will expand these truths in this series.
Today, this moment is the key. What we do in this moment launches the direction toward our destiny. We have to decide daily who reigns: Christ or us. This fundamental decision is made many times everyday. It is the core issue in every human dilemma, in every conflict, and every controversy. Christ is Lord, no doubt.
His question for you is:
Is your life and speech proclaiming My Power?
Is My rule increasing daily in your life? Are you decreasing so that I may increase in your life?
Do you surrender daily to Me as your Sovereign Lord?
Know for sure He knows the truth. From Him you and I can not hide.
If not, the problem lies in your thinking about the Christ of the Church. Verbalize your intentions. Finish this statement. Lord, God today, at this very moment, I decide to .................
Louw, Johannes P. and Eugene Albert Nida. Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament : Based on Semantic Domains. electronic ed. of the 2nd edition. New York: United Bible societies, 1996, c1989. :
 didaktikos - pertaining to that which is taught.
 exousia - the power to do something, with or without an added implication of authority
 basileuo - to rule, to reign as a king, to be in control in an absolute manner
 archein - to rule or govern, with the implication of preeminent position and status
 poimanio - to rule, with the implication of direct personal involvement
 exegeomai - to make something fully known by careful explanation or by clear revelation
 despotes - one who holds complete power or authority over another—‘master, ruler, lord, Lord (as a title for God and for Christ).’