In Matthew 16:18 it is written that Jesus made this promise: "And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it." Jesus loved the church (Ephesians 5:25) and with His blood He purchased it (Acts 20:28). While people today speak about the church in many different ways, we are interested to know the answer to this question: "In the Bible, how is the church of the living God described?"
The church is the Kingdom of God or the Kingdom of Christ. This shows its form of government, that it is a monarchy with the Lord Jesus as its King. Daniel prophesied of the church, saying that it was "a kingdom which shall never be destroyed" (Daniel 2:44). John the Baptizer, Jesus, the twelve apostles, and at least seventy other disciples all preached about the coming of the church, saying, "The kingdom of heaven is at hand." We noted above that Jesus promised to build His church (Matthew 16:18). In the next verse Jesus referred to the church as the kingdom, saying, "And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven..." (16:19). Paul reminded the saints in Colosse that God had translated them into the kingdom of His dear Son (Colossians 1:13). Into which kingdom did He translate them? Answer, the church.
In the Bible, the church is called the House of God. This shows that the church is the family of God, for He is the Father of all those (and only those!) who are in the church. Members of His church are His children, and the relationship they have to one another is that of brothers and sisters (Galatians 3:26; 6: 1). Paul directly called the church the house of God: "But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth" (I Timothy 3:15). Those who are in Christ are in "the household of God" (Ephesians 2:19). Jesus Christ is the "high priest over the house of God" (Hebrews 10:21). But Jesus is head of and rules over the church. Thus, Jesus is the high priest over the church, which is God's house or family on earth.
The Bible also describes the church as the Body of Christ. "And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all" (Ephesians 1:22,23). Calling the church the body shows the unity of the church, with all members working together for the good of the body (1 Corinthians 12:12-27). Because Jesus is the head of the church, then it is to be in subjection to Him in all things (Ephesians 5:24). The Bible plainly says, "There is one body" (Ephesians 4:4), so since the body is the church, then there is one church that belongs to and was bought by Christ. How many spiritual bodies does Jesus have? Only one. How many churches? The answer is the same!
In the New Testament we also read of the church as the Temple of God. The apostle Paul said the church "groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord" (Ephesians 2:20). While the Holy Spirit said the physical body of Christians is the temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19), in the same epistle, through Paul, He said to all the church at Corinth, "Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you" (3:16)? He later again wrote to them, "Ye are the temple of the living God" (2 Corinthians 6:16). The church is thus God's temple. In the Old Testament, the temple was a place of worship, God's dwelling, and holiness. Today, acceptable worship is given to God only in the church. The church is not a physical building, but the kingdom of priests who offer up spiritual sacrifices to God by Jesus Christ (I Peter 2:5). Today, God dwells in the church, ie., in His children (2 Corinthians 6:16). And, it is in the church that God's people are made holy or sanctified, acting as "obedient children" (I Peter 1: 14).
In other New Testament passages, the God of heaven describes His church as
a vineyard Matthew 20:1-2), the church of God (1 Corinthians 1:2), and the church
of Christ (Romans 16:16). When we speak about the true church of the Lord, let
us be certain that we describe it or call it only in the same manner that the
Lord Himself does in the Bible.
By Unknown Author
Return to the What is The Church of Christ page
Return to the General Articles page
Home / Bible studies / Bible Survey / Special Studies / General Articles / Non-Bible Articles / Sermons / Sermon Outlines / Links / Questions and Answers / What Saith The Scriptures /Daily Devotional / Correspondence Courses / What is the Church of Christ / Book: Christian Growth / Website Policy / E-mail / About Me /