The church is one of the greatest gifts that God has ever given to this world.
The church has been tried, tested and attacked. The word “church” carries multiple biblical meanings.
Concerning the universal body of Christ, according Websters 1828 Dictionary, one usage of the word is “The collective body of Christians, or of those who profess to believe in Christ, and acknowledge him to be the Savior of mankind.
As in the scripture Ephesians 5:25, “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it.”
This universal body of believers or the family of God should not be confused with the local church. The universal body of believers has no governing power, not baptismal authority and no visible congregation like the local body of believers, the church.
This usage of the word church appears often in scripture when referring to a local autonomous body of believers.
This is the case in Matthew 18:17 concerning trouble among members, “And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican.”
This local church is the focus of this column.
For us at Highway Baptist Church these last several weeks have been tough on our church. We are a very close church family, and we have not been able to have the close fellowship at church that we have become acustom to.
And, although we are thankful for the technology we have like Facebook, YouTube and other media outlets, it is still no substitute for church.
I realize that every one of God’s men, who are pastoring a church in these troubled times, are doing the best they can to navigate through this.
We, at Highway Baptist, have went live on Facebook and had services in our parking lot, but nothing can replace the real thing.
Someone told me, “Preacher, you know that the church is not the building, it’s the people.”
Well, the church is more than the people, church is an assembly of people.
Technology is great and online preaching is good, but it isn’t church. God meant for us to be an assembly.
We read in Hebrews 10:25, “Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.”
There is something about a church when they assemble that is special.
It’s God’s plan, and that makes the difference. I was thrilled to hear that the governor of Missouri has said we can have regular services in the building after May 4th.
We, at Highway Baptist, will be in the church building on Mother’s day. We would love to have you attend this special “Welcome Back In” service.
I would love to meet you and introduce you to Jesus.
For more information about our church please log on to our web site at highwaymbc.org.
Dr. Robert Randolph is the founding pastor of Highway Baptist Church in Greenville, Mo. and a U.S. Navy veteran.