In 1 Corinthians 10:23-33, Paul tells us about the church. There are two great wonders in the world today: the Jews and the church. The first is the witness of Christ being rejected by the Jews. The second is that Christ has risen.
So what is the church of God? The church is neither Jews nor Gentiles, but both may be in it. The Jews are still looking for the coming of the Messiah. The Gentiles couldn’t care about any of that.
The church is looking for a bridegroom. The church is of Jesus’ own making. Jesus says in Matthew 16:18, “Upon this rock I will build by church.” Jesus himself, as the Christ, the Son of the living God, is the foundation laid in Zion. Isaiah 28:16 tells of a stone tried, precious and sure.
How does he build this church? The Holy Spirit brings believing souls to him. We are then part of the living body that is the Church.
The church is called out for his name’s sake. Acts 15:14 says, “God did visit the Gentiles to take out of them a people for his name.” According to Isaiah 43:21, the church of God, like his people of old, has been formed in God’s likeness. The calling out is done by the Holy Spirit and is still going on today. This calling out will continue until the fullness of the gentiles has come. Are you sure of your calling?
What is inside this church? The world cannot see the invisible head, but it does look upon his visible body. This body needs to be true to him. The church is to be a place of service, entrusted with gifts and used during the Lord’s absence. The church will give an account to him when he returns. Is our mind and our purpose while he is absent to fulfill his desires.
Suffering for him is part of our heritage of being a Christian. The body is connected with the rejected head, so we will suffer also. 1 Peter 4:14 says, “If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you.”
2 Corinthians 6:1 tells of “laborers together with God.” The body must labor with the head. If the hand or foot is not controlled and in harmony with the head, what will happen with the church? We see in Genesis that Eve was to be a helpmeet to Adam; so the church is to be with Christ. His will is to be done in us and through us.
The church is looking for him. Acts 1:11 says, “This same Jesus … shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go.”
We long for the bridegroom to come. 1 Thessalonians 4:16 says, “The Lord himself shall descend, and we shall be caught up together to meet the Lord.” We will experience being in his arms and taken to our eternal home. Revelation 19:7 says, “The marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready.”
Revelation 5:10 says, “Thou hast made us unto our God kings and priests, and we shall reign on the earth.”
Let me ask, are you a Jew, a gentile or part of the Church? Now is the day to make sure you know which one you are.
Joseph Merriman is pastor of First Baptist Church in Greenfield. This weekly column is written by local clergy members.