What is the Church?
What is the Church? First it’s important to look at what the Church is not.
The Church is not a building; the Church is not a denomination; the Church is not a business; the Church is not a monarchy; the Church is not a cult or any man-made institution.
THE CHURCH IS PEOPLE
In the Bible the word “church” comes from the Greek word [ekklesia] which is defined as the “called out ones”. Ekklesia refers specifically to people.
Therefore the root meaning of “church” is not that of a building or a man-made organization or a denomination – but it speaks of God’s people who have been called out of the world or kingdom of darkness and into the kingdom of God.
The true church is the following:
1. It is born again believers only.
When Jesus told Peter “I will build My church” (Matthew 16:18), He did not refer to constructing a physical building or creating a specific denomination. Instead He referred to assembling a body of born again believers who have genuinely placed their faith in Him as Lord and Saviour.
So the church does not refer to unbelievers or non-Christians. However it is possible that a non-Christian can become born again and it is only then that the new convert then becomes a member of Christ’s church.
2. The church exists both universally and locally.
The universal church is the body of genuine Christian believers who exist from all over the world. The local church refers to a body of genuine believers who may exist in specific locations.
For example, in 1 Corinthians 1:2, Paul addresses the believers who are specifically within the city of Corinth. At the same time, within this Scripture, Paul acknowledges that the church in the city of Corinth is an extension of the universal body of believers when he says that they are “called to be saints together with all those who in every place call upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, both their Lord and ours”.
3. The church is built by Jesus Christ with His people as living stones.
It is not man who builds the church. Instead is Christ alone who is building His church (Matthew 16:18). Christ’s church is not built with bricks but it is the people of God who are the living stones which Christ is using.
1 Peter 2:5 refers to the church as being “living stones being built up as a spiritual house”
1 Peter 2:5 says: O you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.
4. The church is one body with Christ as the Head
The church is not a denomination or a sect. The genuine church of Christ is united by the Holy Spirit for the purpose and glory of Christ alone.
Colossians 1:18 says that Christ “is the head of the body, the church”.
1 Corinthians 12:12-13 says: For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body— Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit.
Ephesians 4:4-6 says: There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call— one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.
So within the Bible, the church is also known by several names. It is known as “the body” or “the body of Christ”. The church is also known as “the bride” or “the bride of Christ”.
The church is not a physical building nor is it built by men. A physical building is no longer the temple of God nor can it be called “the house of God”.
Instead the Bible says that we, the people of God are individually God’s temple or God’s house. God no longer chooses to reside in a building or temple that is made with men’s hands (Acts 7:48), but instead He chooses to dwell within us as His children.
1 Corinthians 3:16-17 says: Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you? 17 If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him. For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple.
1 Corinthians 6:19-20 says: Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.
Throughout the Scriptures the church is never identified according to any specific denomination, nor is the church described as being a building or an institution. The church has and always been the Ekklesia or the people of God. The church of God comprises of all people who genuinely believe and place their faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour. The church is a living organism comprised of living stones with Jesus Christ as the chief cornerstone.
Jesus Christ purchased His church through His death on the cross for the sins of the world (Ephesians 5:25-27).
Often because of the doctrinal divisions as well as the traditions of men which have crept into Christianity, one is used to hearing such statements like, “Where do you go to church on Sundays?” or “I went to this church or that church on Sunday.”
However, according to the Bible, all people who have genuinely received Christ Jesus are the church. We are the Ekklesia who have been redeemed by the blood of Jesus Christ so that we may eternally have fellowship with God and with one another.
DO YOU WANT TO BE A CHRISTIAN or A MEMBER OF THE CHURCH OF CHRIST?
1. ACKNOWLEDGE: “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).
This means that we have all broken God’s laws and God’s 10 Commandments like those mentioned in Exodus 20:1-17. For example, if you have told a lie; if you have stolen something; if you have lusted after somebody or if you have coveted. This means you are guilty of breaking at least one or more of God’s 10 Commandments. Breaking God’s commandments makes us sinners. The fact that we are sinners who have broken God’s law means that we are accountable to God who is the Lawgiver. Romans 6:23 says that “the wages of sin is death BUT the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord”
You must acknowledge that you are a sinner who has broken God’s commandments and that you therefore need Jesus in your life.
2. REPENT: “Unless you repent you will all likewise perish” (Luke 13:3), “Repent therefore and be converted that your sins may be blotted out” (Acts 3:19)
Repenting means: to change your mind; a sincere turning away, in heart, mind and action;
Therefore God wants you to repent of sinful values and of sinful living. God wants you to decide to
follow Him and to make Jesus the Lord of your life.
3. CONFESSION: “If we confess our sins. He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). “That if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved” (Romans 10:9)
God is a forgiving God. God will forgive any sin that you have done because Jesus died for ALL your sins and to set you free from the bondage of all types of sin in your life.
4. BELIEVE: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).
You must believe that ONLY Jesus can save you and restore your relationship with God. You must believe that Jesus is the ONLY way by which you can have everlasting life and escape from eternal separation from God. You must believe that Jesus died on the cross for you and resurrected from the grave.
“He came to His own, and His own did not receive him, But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name” (John 1:11-12)
By faith, You must receive Jesus as Your Lord & Savior and therefore; you become a child of God; you become born again; you become a Christian; you restore your broken relationship with God
Why Not Make Your Eternal Decision NOW?
We become born again Christians by GRACE through FAITH or TOTAL TRUST in Jesus Christ as our Lord & Savior (Galatians 3:26) & (Ephesians 2:8,9). Salvation is a FREE gift received through FAITH in Christ.
PLEASE NOTE: You can choose to pray in your own words. This prayer is a sample prayer and it is only an EXPRESSION of your faith, belief & trust in Jesus. Salvation is by GRACE through FAITH or BELIEVING in Christ Jesus as your Lord & Saviour.
“Lord Jesus, I thank You for Your love. I thank You that You died on the cross for me and resurrected so that I may have life through You.
I confess Lord that I have sinned against You and today I ask You to forgive me of all of my sins, past present and future.
Today I repent and have decided to follow you. Thank you for forgiving all my sins.
From this moment, come into my life Lord Jesus & take full control of my life. I want to follow You Jesus and I want to follow Your ways. Save me and from today, make me the person You want me to be.
I receive You Lord Jesus right now by faith. I trust You as my Lord and Savior – Amen”
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