Saturday, May 16, 2015

Am I Required To Belong To A Church Or Synagogue?

This is one of the most astounding conversations in the New Testament as it reveals more than just what is written on the page, it gives us insight into the mindset of Christ concerning the manner in which we should meet with God following His death and resurrection.

(John 4: 1-8) Now when the Lord knew that the Pharisees had heard that Jesus was making and baptizing more disciples than John (although Jesus himself did not baptize, but only his disciples), he left Judea and departed again to Galilee. He had to pass through Samar′ia. So he came to a city of Samar′ia, called Sy′char, near the field that Jacob gave to his son Joseph. Jacob’s well was there, and so Jesus, wearied as he was with his journey, sat down beside the well. It was about the sixth hour. There came a woman of Samar′ia to draw water. Jesus said to her, “Give me a drink.” For his disciples had gone away into the city to buy food.

Take note that it was midday and very hot outside, most women would have been at the well early in the morning drawing water for the day then, but this woman had a seamy reputation and sought to avoid their disdainful remarks and dirty looks by coming to the well later when they were all gone.

(John 4: 9) The Samaritan woman said to him, “How is it that you, a Jew, ask a drink of me, a woman of Samar′ia?” For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.

She was right about that and also Jewish men did not have conversations with strange women for that matter!

(John 4: 10 -15) “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.” The woman said to him, “Sir, you have nothing to draw with, and the well is deep; where do you get that living water? Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well, and drank from it himself, and his sons, and his cattle?” Jesus said to her, “Every one who drinks of this water will thirst again, but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst; the water that I shall give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water, that I may not thirst, nor come here to draw.”

Jesus has piqued her curiosity now with this astounding claim He has her attention and she has a sudden thirst for this water because she would rather not have to come to the well again and face the disapproval and disgust of the other women.

(John 4: 16 -18) Jesus said to her, “Go, call your husband, and come here.” The woman answered him, “I have no husband.” Jesus said to her, “You are right in saying, ‘I have no husband’; for you have had five husbands, and he whom you now have is not your husband; this you said truly.”

Jesus knowing all things exposed her for her immorality and instantly she changes the subject.

 (John 4: 19 -20) The woman said to him, “Sir, I perceive that you are a prophet. Our fathers worshiped on this mountain; and you say that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship.” 

First she tries a little flattery, “you are a prophet” and then she says something we have all heard before. “I go to this church or synagogue and you people go to to that one!”

(John 4: 21 -26) Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father. You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for such the Father seeks to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” The woman said to him, “I know that Messiah is coming (he who is called Christ); when he comes, he will show us all things.” Jesus said to her, “I who speak to you am he.”

Jesus is clearly indicating that worshipping the Lord will no longer entail going to a specific building, mountain top or any other place, but will be a meeting between the Holy spirit and the spirit of the believer. Note in the following two testimonies that the thickly woven temple veil separating the Holy of Holies where God formerly met with the high priest was torn in two from top to bottom which is significant of what Christ had indicated in His previous conversation with the Samaritan woman at the well.
(Luke: 23:44-46) It was now about the sixth hour, and there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour, while the sun’s light failed; and the curtain of the temple was torn in two. Then Jesus, crying with a loud voice, said, “Father, into thy hands I commit my spirit!” And having said this he breathed his last. And again (Matthew 27:51) And behold, the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom; and the earth shook, and the rocks were split;
God was no longer going to honor the sacrifice of animals and the sprinkling of their blood on the mercy seat, He was no longer going to meet with man in a temple built with human hands because Christ is the fulfillment of the old covenant and the beginning of a new covenant whereby the spirit of Christ will come and indwell all who will receive Him.
(Acts 1:8) “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samar′ia and to the end of the earth.” The risen Christ gives us a clear understanding of this in terms of a new Passover in (Revelation 3:20) “Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if any one hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.” This indicates how we are prompted by the Spirit but can only receive Christ into our lives when we invite Him in to be Lord and Savior at which time we experience our own Passover as the doorposts and lintel of our hearts are marked for salvation by the blood of the Lamb of God, Jesus Christ.

The term used for church in the early Greek text was Ecclesia which means assembly. According to (Matthew 18:20) For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” This means of course that just a few gathered in Christ’s name is the church and not a building with a steeple and many people, you and I together are the ecclesia or the church! However I’m not advocating not attending a church fellowship as it is important especially for a new believer to receive the milk of the word and grow in the grace and knowledge of Christ, however being a member of the corporate church or synagogue is in no way to be construed a part of God’s criteria to become one of His redeemed.

No comments:

Post a Comment