The Authentic Congregation

By Richard E. Bieber

At the final hour, when the Lord Jesus receives his church into glory, it will be a church "in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing - holy and without blemish." But where on earth at this hour do we see anything that faintly resembles such a church?

Doubtless the authentic Body of Christ is alive on earth at this moment, sustained and empowered by the Spirit of the Lord. But where is it? Where is a congregation of disciples that, in its life and behavior, manifests the nature of the Lord Jesus?

Congregations of every size and shape claim to be the Church of Jesus, the Messiah, the place where his word is alive, where his Spirit rules. And yet, more often than not, thirsty souls walk away from these gatherings shaking their heads in disappointment.

Where is the Body of Christ? Where is an assembly of believers that looks like it's on its way to the Marriage Feast of the Lamb? Does the Supermarket Church look like the Bride of Christ? Folks come to be fed, to be uplifted in heartwarming worship. Yet somehow, each individual and family is strangely isolated in its own spiritual cubical. Polite greetings are shared as the people disperse. Each takes their basket of blessings, drops an offering at the checkout, and heads for home and another week of struggle, pleasure and bewilderment.

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