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The institutional church is composed of any group which claims a mandate to direct God’s blessings on mankind, primarily by affiliation with that or a similar group. Interestingly, Jesus did not teach about the establishment of the church; His message was instead about the coming kingdom, one which existed within and came without observation. The term “church” never appears in the words of Jesus, except for in Matthew 16 and 18; and, given Jesus’ obvious condemnation of the Jewish religious leaders of His day, one can be quite certain that He made no reference there to what most consider to be the “church” today. Consider His words in Matthew 20:25-26 and compare with the typical structure of the institutional church.
If one wanted to postulate a current day church based on Matthew’s scanty reference, it must be entirely different from the historical church. It would involve communion and relationship with God on a one on one basis, separate and apart from human intervention and leadership. Its blessings could not accrue to its “affiliates” by human effort either. Such blessings would necessarily be available to all equally, and be realized by embracing the essential message of Jesus, which is illustrated not by commandment, but by the example of personal conduct. That message is one of the transformative power of love, humility, thankfulness, and self-sacrifice. Such a message is not to be interpreted, sanctioned, and/or transmitted by men and any organizations. It is a revelation of universal Truth, which belongs to everyone on the face of the earth, and cannot be limited in scope or application by men, their actions, or their dogma. It is God’s alone to dispense and to control, and He does so according to His own Loving purpose.