The Church is More Than Just The People

By John R. Hurt

Perhaps you’ve been there. It was a discussion with one of our brothers of the new or different emphasis. The same kind of discussion we are hearing so much these days. He was saying essentially “we need to be preaching more about Jesus and not so much on the church and doctrine.” I was trying to show him the importance of the Lord’s church and he just interrupted and said, “The church is just the people. We don’t need to be talking so much about the people. We need to spend more time preaching Jesus.” Well, I guess I don’t think near as fast on my feet as some of our preaching and debating brethren. Yes, I knew there was a good answer for his point but I couldn’t come up with it right then.

During the last two or three years I’ve come up with a lot of good answers to the question. However, a month or two ago I thought about Isaiah 9:6, 7. If I understand what is being said in this passage, the church is much more than “just the people.” The one who was to be born, who was to be called Wonderful Counselor, and Prince of Peace, would have “the government on his shoulders.” Correct me if I am wrong but I believe the government mentioned here is the church. Yes, the church is the people. The church though, is oh, so much more than just the people! The church is the organizational structure through which the “manifold wisdom of God” is revealed to all generations (Eph. 3:10). The church is the governmental body through which God’s people function here on earth. So what happens when the organizational structure is de-emphasized. The structure loses strength, crumbles and the message becomes perverted.

What happens when the government of God loses control? The same thing that happens when any government loses control anarchy  chaos, confusion, and finally revolution. Then comes the change in the form of government. In this government of men in which we live we have come to readily recognize these facts. Thomas Jefferson, I think, said, “The price of liberty is eternal vigilance.” If this is true in a government of men, how much more so in the government of God! May we ever preach and teach he that is called “Wonderful,” “Counselor,” and “Prince of Peace.” May we also be ever vigilant to continually preach and teach the importance and nature of the glorious “government” resting on his shoulders. Of the increase of his government may there be no end!

Guardian of Truth XXXIX: 8 p. 4
April 20, 1995