Many people would have a hard time with this task. Many would immediately talk about a building on the corner or a service on the weekend. Some would think about certain denominations or groups. Many might have ill feelings when they hear the word church and would define it as hypocritical and fake, while others would define it as the sweetest place on earth.
Webster defines church as a building that is used for Christian religious services, but that is not really what the word means. The word church in the New Testament is the Greek word ekklesia which means a gathering of citizens called out from their homes into a public place. When this word is used to describe the church of Jesus Christ, it is describing a group of people who have put their faith in Jesus to save them. They are the called out ones!
The Apostle Paul wrote a letter to a young pastor named Timothy who was living in the city of Ephesus. He wrote this letter for one reason and one reason only. He says in 1 Timothy 3:14-15
I hope to come to you soon, but I am writing these things to you so that, if I delay, you may know how one ought to behave in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, a pillar and buttress of the truth.
Paul wants Timothy to know how the church ought to behave in light of the truths it believes. He spends his entire letter showing the people of God how they ought to look different from the rest of the world because of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Why? Because the church is supposed to be the called out ones who gather in the name of Jesus. We are called to new belief and a new way of life. We can’t simply say we believe one thing and live as if that is not the case.
In the 1st century and today, there was a blurring of the lines of who is the church and who is not the church. Our culture is dealing with many of the same issues that Timothy’s culture was dealing with: sexuality issues, gender roles, government divides, leadership in the church, false teaching, the poor and needy, etc.
It’s our hope to look closely at these scriptures and allow God’s word to be our guide as we define church. Who it is and who it isn’t. What it looks like and what it doesn’t. What it believes and what it shouldn’t.
We hope you join us for this authentic conversation whether you are a Christian or not, love the church or not, been to church this decade or not! Join us on Sunday mornings at 9:30am at the Cooper St. YMCA as walk through 1 Timothy. If you’d like to discuss how we can better apply these truths to our lives, consider joining one of our Missional Groups during the week.
Bible Reading Plan
We have created a Bible Reading Plan to go along with our sermon series through 1 Timothy. It’s our hope that you will read along with us. The amount you choose to read is up to you, we just want to read God’s Word together. So, read the Old Testament passages or New Testament passages or all of it, it doesn’t matter, just read along with us.
We have chosen these passages in hopes of seeing the formation and definition of the people of God in the Old and New Testaments, both Israel and the Church. The New Testament readings place Paul’s other letters in their chronological order at the time of their writing during the book of Acts.