I recently saw a photograph of people leaving a church after a service. They were carrying Bibles and smiling. As I looked at those men, women, and children, I thought, there goes the church. The building will stay, and it will be referred to as “a church.” But those bricks can’t preach and those pews can’t witness. Only people can do that.
Author R. C. Sproul wrote, “Where the people of God are, there is the church—under the lordship of Christ and indwelt by the Spirit.”
This is the essence of the commission Jesus gave to His disciples just before He left them. He promised them power from the Holy Spirit, and said they would be His witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and to the end of the earth (Acts 1:8). And when the first-century church of Jerusalem came under persecution, that’s what happened. They were scattered and proclaimed the gospel wherever they went (8:4).
When believers in Jesus Christ leave a worship service, the building stays, but God’s people—the church—fan out into the community. Throughout the week, they continue to be the church wherever they are in the world—in shops, universities, restaurants, and homes. I wonder, is the world hearing the gospel from the church?
The witness of the church on earth
Must shine with brightest light
To all who need the second birth
And strength to live aright. —JDB
The world won’t go to the church, so the church must go to the world.