The church that is referred to in this passage is the "people" who follow the teachings of the apostles of Christ (cf. John 17:20-21). When the "church" lives as it should it truly is inspiring to see. However, those who oppose the teachings of Christ find the "church" very adversarial and contentious. Why? Because they (people who oppose God) like not to be exposed by the light of Christ (cf. 1 John 1:5-10).
Thank God for James who stood his ground for Christ and was delivered a physical death blow. Thank God for John who continued on in Christ even after the death of his brother. Thank God for the "people" who solidified their faith in Christ and continued to spread the word of God even in the face of immediate persecution. Thank God for Jesus, the Messiah, who promised grace to those who believed in Him through the apostle's word
May the Lord see you as a representation of Him.
The Lord's humbled . . . John A. Reeves