The fact that the Son of God and his Bride are set apart is implied when Jesus designated His believers as the Church.
Matt 16:18-19 [NIV]
18And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. 19I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”
Let’s take a look at the word “church.” It comes from the Greek word “EKKLESIA”, “from ek, out of, and klēsis, a calling (kaleō,to call), was used among the Greeks of a body of citizens gathered to discuss the affairs of State. ” (Vine’s Expository dictionary of Old and New Testament words (2:I-84). Old Tappan NJ: Revell.)
In the above teaching, Jesus is speaking about His Church as a spiritual entity, which is entrusted with the power to overthrow the kingdom of Darkness. Paul commented on this in the following passage:
Eph 3:10-11 [NIV]
10His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms, 11according to his eternal purpose which he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord.
In another instance, when He mentions the church, he uses it to imply a community or assembly of believers on earth:
Matt 18:17-18 [NIV]
17If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, treat him as you would a pagan or a tax collector.
18“I tell you the truth, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.
However, when the church is mentioned more as an earthly entity, Jesus clearly entrusted it with heavenly authority and power. The governing rule He laid out for the Church is a community or family setting, in many ways similar to the Jewish synagogue or community of the day, only that the culture and religious practice of the community is fundamentally different from the practice of the Jews.
Basically, Church means a group of people called out from the normal social, political or religious context, to be set apart for a common purpose in the Kingdom of God. This is the calling out of the Israelites from Egypt. God’s intent was that they would be a people set apart for Himself to show His glory and name to all people of the world, to be a Kingdom of priests for Him.
This is post is _Part 3_ in the series The Body of Christ and our Role in It. To continue with this series, click on Pt 4. To use this as a growth tool to better understand your own calling, you might start by reading the explanation of this series, Pt 1 and Pt 2.
Photo credit: *Lauren*