No one has seen the “traditional” Church since before Constantine. Constantine merged Roman religious practice with Government, then incorporated Christ into what became the State Religion. (this, of course, is the short course)
Since all of the Scripture was written prior to 100 we can see what the Church looked like there. The Bride of Christ is a community of completely committed followers of Christ bound together in LOVE and demonstrating LOVE to all those around them. They daily and at all times carry out the ministry of the Gospel which is the ministry of LOVE. The Bride of Christ looks like Acts 2. The Bride of Christ looks like Romans 12.
The Bride of Christ is counter cultural, bold in LOVE, lives as God tells them to, says the things that God tells them to, is deep into the culture without being of the culture, is an attractive people and God is adding daily to the number of those being saved.
The Bride of Christ is lead by the Spirit and when the flesh man interferes The Bride of Christ responds with The Grace of God, Gentle but Firm in Him, constantly pointing each other to Jesus the Savior of the World and the Author and Perfecter of Life.
How Can This Be?
The disciples of Jesus were told to wait in Jerusalem until they had received power from on high. Then and only then they would be Jesus’ witnesses.
We must wait in “our” Spiritual Jerusalem, until we have each received power from on high before we can begin. WE must find our “upper room” in which we can wait together in prayer. We must do this together for as we can see in Scripture this is a together thing.
The whole of the Gospel is a together thing. The power both they then, and we now receive is the power to witness and witness too the great things of God. Recall that is what those gathered were doing after they received the promised power from the Spirit. They were proclaiming the Great Things Of God in all the tongues of men.
So we must find our “upper room” and pray and wait until He Himself reveals to us what He would have us do.
Then as together we do what He tells us and say the words He gives us to say we become the Body of Christ, which is the Bride of Christ, which we can then and only then call the Church – this is the Church we read of in the New Testament beginning in Matthew 16:18. Jesus says ” I will build MY Church and the gates of Hell will not prevail against it.” Anything else is an institution made up by, and administered by man, and not of God.
Of Jesus’ “My Church” we read in Revelation Chapter 3, Jesus speaking, ““…He who is holy, who is true, who has the key of David, who opens and no one will shut, and who shuts and no one opens, says this: ‘I know your deeds. Behold, I have put before you an open door which no one can shut, because you have a little power, and have kept My word, and have not denied My name. ‘Behold, I will cause those of the synagogue of Satan, who say that they are Jews and are not, but lie—I will make them come and bow down at your feet, and make them know that I have loved you. ‘Because you have kept the word of My perseverance, I also will keep you from the hour of testing, that hour which is about to come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth. ‘I am coming quickly; hold fast what you have, so that no one will take your crown. ‘He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God, and he will not go out from it anymore; and I will write on him the name of My God, and the name of the city of My God, the new Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from My God, and My new name. ‘He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’” (Revelation 3:7–13, NASB95)
This is the Church. It is engaged in the world, not of the world, with the ministry of the Gospel, which is the LOVE of God. Remember Philadelphia means “City of Brotherly Love.”
Jesus is alive and indwells the Saints who are His Body, His Bride, His Church. We just have to enter into His Rest and receive this great inheritance. All we are, all the Church is, is in Him, is done in Him and by Him. He is the Church and we, each and every one of us, are in Him. All Praise Be Unto His Mighty and Glorious Name.
Remember Jesus Said, “They will know you are my disciples by the Love you have one for another.”