By Paul Smithson
It seems that many people have lost sight what the nature of the Lord’s church is. Most have turned the Lord’s church into something more social than spiritual. The result is that though people are involved in and enjoying the social activities and facilities that churches are providing they are lacking in the spiritual benefits of the truth. With the prevalent attitude of picking the “church of your choice,” the concern of many is not finding a group of people who are striving simply to be Christ’s church by practicing and teaching what the New Testament Christians practiced and taught, but whether a church has a good nursery, mother’s day out program, social and recreational activities and facilities.
However, the church of Jesus Christ is spiritual in nature and not social. Jesus’ statement before Pilate plainly shows the nature of His kingdom. He said His “kingdom is not of this world” and that He came into the world “to bear witness of the truth” (Jn. 18:36-37). The purpose and work of the redeemed individuals that make up Christ kingdom is spiritual in nature. The “house of God, which is the church of the living God” is “the pillar and ground of the truth” (1Tim. 3:15). Jesus came to bear witness of the truth, a mission neither social or recreational. His church is the pillar and ground of that same truth and its purpose is also one that is spiritual.
The church is made up of individuals whose birth is spiritual (Jn. 3:2-7), their walk in life is one that is spiritual (Gal. 5:16-17), their worship is spiritual (Jn. 4:24), and they are involved in a spiritual warfare (Eph. 6:12-13). One would think that the nature of the work and purpose of the church is spiritual! Yet, many churches are involved in and offer every kind of social and materially centered program and activity one could imagine. The reasoning of many for offering such things in the name of the Lord is, “We must offer these things if we are going to reach the people in our fast pace society– especially our young people.” But such reasoning simply shows a lack of faith in the power of the word of God and the affect it can have on people of all ages if proclaimed in it’s purity. “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth…” (Rom. 1:16).
Banquets, bazaars, rallies, lock-ins, ball games, are enjoyable and may have a place in life, but their place is not in the purpose and work of the Lord’s church; for its nature is spiritual and not social. In Rom. 14:17, though the context is speaking of the principles of conscience, it is plain to see from the apostle’s statement what the nature of the church is. “For the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit.” The kingdom of Christ is made up of blood bought people (Acts 20:28; Rev. 5:9-10; Col. 1:13-14), and Christ blood was shed for a higher and holier cause than to establish a social club, civic organization or recreational facility.