Pastor Jeff Struecker
October 12, 2023
Have you ever stopped to think about what’s really behind the word “Church” in English? It’s not just about a particular group of people in a specific place. It goes much deeper than that. In our previous topic, we discovered that being part of the Church is more than just showing up for Sunday services; it’s about how we live our lives. Today, let’s dive into the true meaning of the universal Church.
This is sometimes called the “Catholic” Church by theologians to be distinguished from the Roman Catholic denomination. When we say “Catholic” without Roman, we mean everyone worldwide who shares our faith in Jesus Christ. It embodies universality, encompassing believers from diverse backgrounds, cultures, languages, and regions.
Picture this: at any given moment, people worship King Jesus all over the globe, in different time zones, in different seasons, and speaking various languages. This universal Church includes everyone following Jesus from the beginning to the end. It’s an awe-inspiring concept.
One profound moment I’d like to highlight is from my mission trip to Venezuela. After a catastrophic storm led to a devastating mudslide, I arrived just a few days later to lend a hand. We partnered with other Christian organizations, and during this mission, I had the privilege of preaching at a Church. It was a powerful experience where I realized that God transcends borders and languages, uniting people from diverse backgrounds in their love for Him.
In the Book of Revelation, we encounter a beautiful verse that encapsulates the essence of this universal Church. Let’s read and memorize Revelation 5:9 together: “And they sang a new song saying, worthy are you to take the scroll and open its seals, for you were slain and by your blood, you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation.”
This verse emphasizes the significance of Jesus’ sacrifice and the redemption of people from all corners of the earth. It is crucial to remember that there are still people around the world who have not yet heard about Jesus and His redemptive work.
The universal church is called to fulfill the Great Commission, ensuring that everyone has the opportunity to know and worship God. In conclusion, the universal church is a global community of believers, bound by their faith in Jesus Christ. It is a diverse and vibrant community that spans across time, language, culture, and geography. Understanding the scale and significance of the universal church should inspire us to share the message of God’s love and salvation with all people.
Now, ponder on this question, “What disqualifies as a “church”? Many individuals and organizations may label themselves as churches, displaying the word on their logo or outside their building. However, it is crucial to recognize that the Bible defines the Church as a specific group of people who are called out.
We can appreciate God’s Church’s vastness, greatness, and beauty by identifying what disqualifies a group from using the term church. This exercise serves as a means to help you discover your place within God’s family and understand the remarkable nature of a true church.