What is the Church?
One of the important words in the New Testament regarding the people of God is “church”. It is used in a very special sense in the New Testament. The church was planned by God. (Eph. 3:8-11) He revealed the church to us in the New Testament and Jesus shed His blood to purchase the church. (Acts 20:28)
The word “church” comes from a Greek word which refers to an assembled group of people: therefore, I cannot be the church by myself. I cannot worship as a church by myself. To be part of the church, I must be around and with other people who assemble together as Christians.
The word “church” also refers to a specific group of people. Luke records “…the Lord added to the church daily those that were being saved.” (Acts 2:47) The unsaved are not part of the church. Only saved people are part of it. People do not join the church; the Lord adds them to it.
The word “church” also refers to the spiritual body of Christ on earth. Paul records that Jesus is “to be head over all things to the church, which is His body.” (Eph. 1:22, 23) Paul repeats this again in Col. 1:18 by stating: “He is the head of the body, the church.”
The word “church” refers to that which Christ established. Some folks will talk about “doing church”. It is interesting that Christ said He would build His church in Matt. 16:18. The church worships as a group of people assembled together. (Acts 2:42; 20:7)
The word “church” is spoken of in the singular sense. In Rom. 16:16 we read that the “churches of Christ salute you.” Here the word “churches” is used; but, we know from how it is used elsewhere that this verse is referring to local congregations throughout the Roman empire. For example, we read “…the church of God which is at Corinth.” (1 Cor 1:2) Paul was at Ephesus and “called for the elders of the church.” (Acts 20:17)
The church is a very important part of God’s plan to save man. He planned it before time began. (Eph. 3:8-11) Let us make sure we are part of the church of the New Testament. That church was made up of those who were saved as the Bible teaches. (Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38) It was organized with elders as the overseers (Acts 14:23; Titus 1:5) It is a group of people whose names are registered in heaven. (Heb. 12:23) Are you part of that church?
By Bill Brandstatter
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