Tuesday
Oct132009

A Member of The Body

At a pivotal moment in his brief earthly ministry, Jesus promised to build his church – his assembly of called-out and redeemed people.

Responding to Peter’s courageous confession of his messianic identity, Jesus vowed to build his church, not allowing even the gates of Hades to stop him (Matthew 16:13-19). The gates of Hades stopped Lazarus and Abraham from comforting the condemned rich man and the rich man from escaping, but they would prove powerless to keep Jesus in the tomb (Luke 16:19-31). His resurrection from the dead brought him to the precipice of power. His ascension back into Heaven allowed him to sit down at God’s right hand, upon the throne of David (Acts 2:29-33). And on the next Pentecost, his church was established.

The band of apostles, by now reinforced to twelve, were endowed that day with the power of the Holy Spirit and began preaching the gospel in the native tongues of all those that had returned to Jerusalem for the holiday. Peter and the other apostles explained the strange course of events that led their savior to endure the cross, bearing its shame, only to triumph over the grave three days later. 

Pricked in the heart, the audience regretted its part in the assassination of Jesus the son of God. “Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, ‘Brothers, what shall we do’” (Acts 2:37)? Peter instructed them to repent of their sins and to be baptized for their remission, exhorting them with many other words to be saved from their crooked and perverse generation. “So those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls” (Acts 2:41).

They were added to the church – the ekklesia – the called-out and redeemed company of sanctified believers in Christ Jesus who had obeyed the gospel invitation. Jesus had succeeded in establishing his church and his new covenant upon much better promises than those that came with the Law of Moses. His temple even exceeded the grand facility built by Solomon, being not an ornate monument, but his own holy body which became a metaphor for the church itself (Ephesians 1:22-23). 

Worshipers become more than just visitors to an address, but members and integral parts of the structure – living stones, Peter called them (Second Peter 2:5-9).

Some today treat the church as if it is a mere contingency or an expendable association. To Jesus, the church – that association and fellowship of the redeemed – was the very reason he died (Acts 20:28). Be a part of the church for which he died – not just an infrequent visitor or selfish beneficiary, but one who contributes his energy and talent to the growth of that most blessed of bodies (Ephesians 4:11-16).