In the Midst of the Church
The Church of the Living God is still His center of manifestation and activity on this earth. When John the Revelator saw Jesus Christ in his apocalyptic book, he saw Him in the midst of the church. The revelation said, "And I turned to see the voice that spake with me. And being turned, I saw seven golden candlesticks; And in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle." (Revelation 1:12-13) These seven candlesticks are clearly identified as His church universal. He even prayed His last prayer especially for His disciples and His church. He said, "I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me; for they are thine. Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word." (John 17:9,20)
Do not limit His church to a building. His church is comprised of flesh and blood saints that have forsaken all to follow Him. We must meet together and bond together to fulfill the idea of a sacred temple for His kingdom, and we do need sanctuaries to close ourselves off from the mundane to do His business. His house is emphasized in the Word of God because He desires a sacred place to come down by His Spirit to manifest His supernatural presence. We must not limit His presence to that sanctuary but allow Him to be real everywhere we go. The sick and the needy can be healed on a street, in a mall, or in a private house. That is why the Book of Acts church shook the world.
The manifestations of the Holy Ghost were specifically given to the church. No one gift belongs to an individual but to His Spirit; but the revelation of that gift is in the body of the church. "But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal. For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit; For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ." (1 Cor.12:7,12)
The Lord of the Church wants each of us to be His temple and to be sensitive to His presence and let Him work in us twenty-four/seven wherever we go. He said, "…and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price…" (1 Cor.6:19b-20a)
The reason the saints in Acts could not be kept in prison was because when they were in jail it was like putting the church behind bars. An old saying I learned as a young minister is still true, "He who is on fire for God is too hot for the devil to handle." When Peter was in jail, he was sleeping instead of ranting. An angel visited the jail and woke up Peter, saying, "…Arise up quickly. And his chains fell off from his hands." (Acts 12:7b) The prison door opened of its own accord as Peter followed the angel back to where the church was praying.
Paul and Silas were put in jail in Philippi, and they simply turned the jail into a church sanctuary. "And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them. And suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken: and immediately all the doors were opened, and every one’s bands were loosed." (Acts 16:25-26) The jailer himself was gripped with conviction of his sins and asked the happy saints, "Sirs, what must I do to be saved?" (Acts 16:30b) He and his whole family were converted and baptized in the middle of the night. We need to once again start having church everywhere we are instead of waiting for our well-trained choirs and carefully worded sermons.
We come to His house to worship with the saints because He said, "Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching." (Hebrews 10:25) The choirs are beautiful as they raise an anthem of praise to our Great God, and I love the great sermons of Godly men. But, do not forget that a church that is not a church when they leave the sanctuary is not a church at all; it’s just a club.
The true church is a company of holy men and women joined inseparably to Him. The world knows we are His because of our love one for another. Our abandonment to Him and His church is commanded, and He will accept nothing less. He walks in the midst of the church. He beholds our devotion to Him, to one another, and to His infallible Word. "For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them." (Matthew 18:20) Find yourself a genuine church or help start one. When you meet together in His name, He will show up.