People who are following Christ and seeking to imitate him in word and deed are the most basic element of what makes the church the church. Look at Peter’s words to the church:
As you come to him, the living Stone—rejected by men but chosen by God and precious to him— you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ
-1 Peter 2:4-5
A few things you’ll notice, Peter addresses the people-
- As a stone, just like Jesus, a stone rejected by men but chosen by God.
- As a house, a spiritual house.
- A priesthood.
Whereas in the Old Testament people had to travel to Jerusalem in order to go to temple, and have sacrifices administered by a priest, when Jesus initiated the church he made us both TEMPLE & PRIEST. No longer did you go to the temple and the priest, the temple and priest (the church) is now sent out to the people, to the ends of the earth.
Paul, speaking of people making up the church as a body, put it this way:
Many Members of One Body, Many Gifts with One Purpose:
Just as our bodies have many parts and each part has a special function, so it is with Christ’s body. We are many parts of one body, and we all belong to each other.
In his grace, God has given us different gifts for doing certain things well. So if God has given you the ability to prophesy, speak out with as much faith as God has given you. If your gift is serving others, serve them well. If you are a teacher, teach well. If your gift is to encourage others, be encouraging. If it is giving, give generously. If God has given you leadership ability, take the responsibility seriously. And if you have a gift for showing kindness to others, do it gladly. –Romans 12:4-8
The Church at it’s best:
The church isn’t the steeple, the sound-system, furnishings, or even programs. It isn’t buildings or events. The church is the people of God; where they are, with what they have, doing what they can. The people of the church, when they become the hands, feet, ears, eyes and all the other parts of the body of Christ, can effect the world around them greatly and positively-
We aren’t meant to just be introverted on Sunday mornings, and otherwise inwardly focused. The church is called to enrich the culture it finds it’s self in, often in the areas of greatest need, be it music and art, areas of compassion and mercy, or whatever the need.
Synergos: There’s a Greek word, Syn-ergos, it means “The total is greater than the sum of it’s parts” The term synergy comes from the Greek word syn-ergos, συνεργός, meaning “working together.” This is a great picture of how the church works together.
Hebrews chapter 10 says: “Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works.” When we do this as the people of the Community of God, the total is greater than the sum of all it’s parts.