Presented by Mark Wampler

What is Church?

When you hear the word, you are likely to think of a religious looking building, white, maybe with a steeple and bell, but is that what the Bible says church is? After all, to get at the true meaning, we need to dig as far back as possible, to get an accurate picture. The word "church" is first found in the New Testament, 74 times according to my count. The literal Greek ----- word is " ekklesia" . E-klay-see'-ah); from a compound of 1537 and a derivative of 2564; a calling out, i.e. (concretely) a popular meeting, especially a religious congregation......." (From Strong's Concordance) So here we see that "church" has nothing to do with a building, but an assembly of called out people. Called out from what? From the old lifestyle, from the former life that didn't bring the answers and the rewards that were expected. Life may not seem to be fair to a lot of us, but as members in God's family, it all comes out even . We didn't choose to be born rich or poor, intelligent or simple. This concept is so new that Jesus referred to it as being "Born Again" Jesus answered and said to him, "Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the Kingdom of God John 3:3

All who are the called out and know that they belong to Jesus ARE the church.

So how do I sign up?

This is were unfortunately many sincere people get hung up. Membership in God's family first of all isn't about affiliation or association, but it has everything to do with connection. A good example might be the association of the plug on your hair dryer with the wall outlet in your bathroom. The association is very evident but until there is a connection of the plug with the wall socket, the hair dryer is of no use. Its is equally important to know that you have the right connection. If you travel overseas where 220 volt outlets are standard, your 110 volt hairdryer will greatly suffer! What this adds up to is that Christ Himself IS your right connection. He is the Head of the Church. 'Church', you remember, is "called out people". This connection is something supernatural! The Holy Spirit comes and takes up residence inside you, the believer! He comes only upon a sincere invitation from you only. No one can invite Christ in for you. You can't inherit it, or work for it. Your relatives might even be preachers or missionaries, but this is about an invitation that you personally make. It's a brand new beginning where church starts.

What if I still like my present lifestyle?

Then you probably don't sense the need for a Savior. What is this term "saved"? Saved from what? It has to do with first knowing that you are lost. To "find" yourself, you must first realize that something is missing. Can you say all the pieces of your life fit together? Have the tough questions you ask go unanswered, even by the "experts"? Have you been betrayed, molested, misled or deceived? Do worries and fears whether real or imagined trouble you often? All of these are common to the human race. It's telling us that we are in a lost state. Has wealth, power, and/or success really brought you fulfillment? There is more than what money can buy. That's why salvation was arranged by God to be a gift.

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord " Rom 6:23

So what do I do?

You are about to make the most important decision in this life! So, find some place where you know that you will be alone. Turn off the pager and cell phone. This is your moment! You don't need to close your eyes to talk to God. In fact, you may find an empty chair and speak to that chair as by faith seeing God sitting with you. He IS here with you right now. However you feel is your most sincere way to talk, pray: "Father, I want to come to you now with myself????. Somehow I know that what I need most of all is YOU. Please forgive me. I have been going my own way. I want to turn and go your way from now on. Please show me YOUR paths. I want to follow your Son Jesus who died for me and rose again from the dead for me. Show me how to live like HE lives.
Thanks LORD! I'm a new person!" (applause, applause!)

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