Sunday, November 29, 2009



Today we are returning to the 75 secrets with SECRET #58: The follower of Jesus is the church, when he walks with other followers of Jesus.

We discussed earlier that Jesus never intended for His followers to be 'going to church", because Jesus was not launching a ministry of buildings called churches that a person could go to. The term "church" is not a special, holy word. I was taught in my first Greek class that it was created as a highly charged, powerful term, meaning "called-out ones". It was presented to us as a spiritual term-a Christian term, but in actuality it wasn't. There was no special religious significance whatsoever. It was used for any common gathering-a city council or gathering for any specific purpose. The term means assembly or a group of people congregating-a congregation. A church is a community of people. It's interesting to note that Jesus, Himself, only uses the term "church" on two occasions.

In a snapshot of the earliest of gatherings that might be called a church or assembly in the 2nd chapter of the book of Acts there is a description of what was going on: They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles' teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone kept feeling a sense of awe; and many wonders and signs were taking place through the apostles. And all those who had believed were together and had all things in common; and they began selling their property and possessions and were sharing them with all, as anyone might have need. Day by day continuing with one mind in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they were taking their meals together with gladness and sincerity of heart, praising God and having favor with all the people And the Lord was adding to their number day by day those who were being saved.

It's interesting to note there are two locations mentioned-at the temple and from house to house. This goes along with our idea previously mentioned about orbiting around the temple or big C Church. The location isn't the emphasis here nor is there a certain belief system mentioned other than the teachings of Jesus. The most important things seem to be what they did when they came together. They interacted around the teachings of the apostles (Jesus' teachings), they enjoyed fellowship, ate and prayed together. This kind of gathering can happen most anywhere! The power and unifying factor was in gathering together in the name, spirit and teachings of Jesus. Although there is mention of how the early gathering of Jesus' followers seems to multiply, the emphasis is all about people and their coming together.

Jesus practiced this principle of churching, assembling or gathering with even just a few. It's very clear that Jesus spent most of His time with only three men-Peter, James and John. This is the essence of the Jesus fellowship movement. Jesus also was careful to send out His disciples in small teams, usually two by two.

Even the first twelve disciples Jesus chose to be with Him are listed in pairs: Jesus summoned His twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal every kind of disease and every kind of sickness. Now the names of the twelve apostles are these: The first, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; and James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother; Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus; Simon the Zealot, and Judas Iscariot, the one who betrayed Him. These twelve Jesus sent out after instructing them. (Matthew 10)

SECRET #58: The follower of Jesus is the church, when he walks with other followers of Jesus. When you wrap your brain and heart around this principle, you will find a new awareness of the presence of Jesus in your midst. Small groups take on a greater purpose. Coffee shop meetings become Jesus gatherings-practicing the church of Jesus wherever you have come together. It's one thing to follow Jesus; it's revolutionary to do life with others who are following Jesus. Following Jesus will change your life; following Jesus with others who are following Jesus can change the world.