Today at my local church we had a sermon on the what exactly the universal and local church is.
The universal church is the whole body of Christ, every believer in every country no matter the building or name on that building. It could be a large cathedral in Rome, or a unregistered house church in China.
1 Corinthians 12:12 – 13 NIV
12 The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body. So it is with Christ. 13 For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink.
While that is the universal church of Christ, when Christians get together and create a structure, with leaders where they members have agreed to be united to worship, to pray, to fellowship and study of God’s word we have a local church. The universal church of Christ is made up of the local churches filled with followers of Christ.
It is with that foundation that I just ran across this news item
The news story goes on to tell about an unregistered church in Beijing where they church was forced out of their regular meeting place and then another to finally decide to meet in a park. The police has been arresting people who arrive at the park.
The persecution of that local church hurts the universal body of Christ.
1 Corinthians 12:26 – 17 NIV
26 If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.
27 Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.
We are so privileged to be able to worship freely, without any fear of repercussions of government interference. Please pray to God thanking him for that freedom and to pray for our brothers and sisters in Christ who are in this awful situation in Beijing and other parts of the world.
An earlier story on the same topic, thus this is not a new topic.
Some more information…