A SHORT NOTE ABOUT THE CHURCH BODY
It was after the third century that a very different sort of COMMUNITY evolved amongst those who cloistered themselves away.
They went to the deserts and isolated mountains. They believed in a corporate life dedicated to God, only they added the isolated, celibate flavour to it. They felt one could best find God in that manner. It was after Constantine's time that such a beginning of monasticism occured.
That is being repeated today in a more modern version. An isolated christian walk towards the more perfect will of God simply cannot be accomplished without the "corporate" thought of the Church Body. The isolated idea of the Christian walk is completely incorrect.
Today people still look at the believer's walk as an individual quest. Like the hermits of old, people feel they can thrive for God best on their own. Although sermons are given to audiences, the message is directed at individuals. It is not given to a corporate group of fellowshipping-in-spirit believers. That was not the manner in which the early church heard the Word.
Some feel it may take at least another 300 years before such an ingrained view is removed.
The early church did not look at "CHURCH" as going through the doors of a steepled building at 11:00 AM Sunday morning, and leaving them at 12:05 sharp. What kind of "habitat" is that? They were the Church - the believers. Not a building. And that group-fellowship was a believer's flock. The sheep longed to be together under a Shepherd. They (plural) knew His voice. It was where they lived for God. They needed one another to erect that spiritual temple for God's Spirit to move through them. Together they were led by the Spirit.