There are people who think that their relationship with God is a relationship with church. But there are people who have very little to do with the church as it is normally defined. Yet they represent the life and authority of God. Without fuss and without airs. They have both a relationship with God and a life-giving relationship with people. It may mean that they relate to those who are in Christ rather than in church. As such they are part of the church that Jesus builds – without human hands. Life does not flow from objects. It flows from Jesus in people.
‘I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing’ John 15.5 NIV.
It is a subtle delusion is to imagine we are in God because we are in church. We are in God when Jesus is our life and then we are the church. Believers would do well to get over their dependency on church and start drawing life from Jesus – so that they can be His church. Jesus’ church is the manifestation of Himself rather than an exhibition of a religious culture and patterns of piety.
GETTING CHURCH RIGHT
There can be an obsession with ‘getting church right.’ Like let’s juggle and jiggle all the churchy bits into an optimum arrangement and then we’ll come alive. Right? Wrong. None of these derivatives have life in themselves. Only Jesus does. Jesus said, ‘I am the way the truth and the life. Those who eat me will live because of me. Unless you eat my flesh and drink my blood you have no life in you.’ When He is our life we will be His living church.
So why do people rush around looking for a new form of church? Why do people fixate themselves on simple church and its formulae? Then two years later leave in frustration with a tired yawn and a yawning emptiness in their hearts? Because they are trying to draw life from the husk instead of the substance. Jesus alone is life.
‘I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats this bread will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world’ John 6.51 NIV.
Are you eating Him or existing on card-board rissoles in company with those who bear card-board weapons?
HE IS OUR LIFE
There are people who abstain from meeting together because they are in rebellion against God. Then there are others who have little to do with organized church because they are in rebellion against junk religion. They can enjoy a more wholesome diet outside the paraphernalia of the christian industry. They live in Jesus daily. He is not an addition to their lives. He is their life. They drink living water and eat living bread.
As a result their life together is the expression of Jesus. They witness to heaven, speak living words and have been liberated from the stereo-types and clichés of religious talk. They have authority, unlike the ‘scribes’ and marketers of religion. This is the real meaning of the Body of Christ – those who are part of Him and who complete Him in the world.
Our real life is Christ. Our bogus life can be our immersion in the world system or in religion.
When Jesus is our life and we meet together we are His church. Feeding on Him and joined to Him we are the manifestation of His person. This is the church He builds – His real body as compared to the dead body of the construct, the conceptual, religious notion of the Body. Christ in you and as you is both the hope and the present reality of His glory through you into the world.
‘I in them and you in me--so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me’ John 17.23 NIV.