Ephesians 2: 19-21,
19 Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household, 20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. 21 In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord.
Rev. Stan Crews served as an ABC missionary to Mexico during the 1990s. He pastored a church there during a period when their government wasn’t always friendly to Christians or churches.
Stan once spoke of a time that the government sent troops to destroy the church building that he was pastor of. As the bulldozer approached the church building, Stan placed himself between the machine and the building and was shouting, “You cannot destroy the church”. Amidst this chaos, an elderly member of the church walked up to Pastor Stan and said, “But Pastor, you have always told us that WE are the church”. Stan admitted to shaking his head and stepping aside as the troops carried out their orders. He had been reminded that the building was only a meeting place and the church would remain and continue within the hearts of the people.
So what does it mean to say that ‘we are the church’? Many would say that it means that the church is within us and the church building is the structure that we gather in. 1 Timothy 5 describes the church as a people dedicated to reaching out and helping others.
In the Bible, church is always a reference to people and not to a place. The church is a body of believers that live out the Gospel in their words and actions. The church is at its best when the believers step outside the building and take Jesus’ message to those they meet outside the church building.
Whom will you, with the church within you, meet today?
Be the Church!