By Devin Donnell
What is Church? Is it four walls and a roof? Is it a community center for like-minded people to come together and study the Bible and sing songs that make us feel good? Is it a group of people who follow Jesus coming together?
I’m going to get a little technical here, so bear with me for a bit. When the apostles and other writers of the New Testament (N.T.) wrote their Gospels and letters, the word they used that we translate “church” was “ekklesia,” and it’s compounded from two Greek words. The first is “ek” which means out from or to and the second is “kaleo” which means to call. So, when Jesus talks about the Church, He is talking about the people He has called out and called to. The first Christians were literally the called-out ones.
That begs the questions then, what are we called out from, and what are we called to? Well, if we read through the N.T., Jesus and the writers make it pretty clear. First, we are called out of sin and our old pattern of life (2 Corinthians 5:17, Romans 6:14, Ephesians 4:22). We are all sinners (Romans 3:23), and we all deserve the punishment for that, which is death (Romans 6:23).
But, when we come to salvation in Jesus, our sin is paid for, and we are called to live out and apart form that sin and the way in which the world lives.
We can’t look like that anymore. We must be imitating Jesus. Second, we are called to love. Now this love isn’t a warm-fuzzy-feeling-that-makes-me-happy kind of love. The love that Jesus calls us to, and that He and the N.T. writers talked about and exemplified in their lives is a sacrificial love. It requires actively humbling yourself and putting others first.
That’s what the church is: called out and called to. Now, I want to be clear. This isn’t a salvation talk. I’m talking about our actions, but our actions are not at all what saves us. Jesus saves us, and then calls us to live out and to. But, He does call us to have action in our faith. If we truly know Jesus, then I don’t believe it will be possible for us to live a life of complacency and non-action, because that’s not how Jesus lived. If we claim to be followers of Jesus, we have to live like He did (1 John 2:6).
So, how do we do that? Well, God calls each of us to different things, and He provides different opportunities for each of us. We just have to be aware and willing to follow His lead. But, one opportunity is coming soon for all of us who call Riverlawn home. Our annual Great Day of Service is almost here. This is an incredible opportunity for us to show Jesus to the community around us. Jesus didn’t call us in to a holy huddle. He called us out. And, this is a time where we, as a body of believers in Jesus, will go out to reach people with the active love of our savior.