Church is not a place to go, or a building, or something you do. It has no walls. It is organic in the sense that it is made up of the people of God. We “are” the Church. Additionally, a congregation is an assembly of people gathering together to worship, fellowship, and study about God. And “a place of worship” also called a “temple,” is exactly that. A place that people use for worship.
1) Jesus said, “I will build My church” (ecclesia) (Matt. 16:18). The word “ecclesia” in the New Testament is used to designate any assembly whether it be political (Acts 19:39), Christian (Eph. 1:22-23), or national (Acts 7:38). It means a called-out assembly or congregation. God called Israel out of Egypt; they congregated in the wilderness; they were, “the church in the wilderness.” Today, God calls the saved out of the world to congregate in worship. This is the church in the world, in it, but not of it.
2) Unlike the church in the wilderness, the Church that Jesus is building will never cease. He said, “The gates of Hades shall not over power it.” His Church is not synonymous with Christendom. It is in Christendom in the same way in which it is in the world, in it, but not of it. Christendom is made up of those who profess to be Christians, but they know not Christ as a personal Savior (Matt. 7:21-23, also, 2 Tim 3:5 and Titus 1:16). Only blood-washed, born again, Spirit-baptized believers constitute the church that Jesus is building. It is called a:
3) The Church: Its Foundation (Matt. 16:13-18) – Peter’s Confession of Christ – 13) Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, He began asking His disciples, saying, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?” 14) And they said, “some say John the Baptist; and others, Elijah; but still others, Jeremiah, or one of the prophets.” 15) He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” 16) And Simon Peter answered and said “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.” 17) And Jesus answered and said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Barjona, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. 18) “And I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and gates of Hades shall not overpower it…”
4) The Church: Its Head (Col. 1:18) He is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; so that He Himself might come to have first place in everything.
5) The church is more than a religious organization; it is an organism, with Christ as the living head. It is alive with the life of Christ made living in each member (1 Cor. 12:1-31). Let us examine briefly the church and observe its role as the body of Christ:
6) This is the church in its broadest sense. You cannot join this church. The only way to become a member of His body is to be spiritually born (John 3:1-7) and baptized into it by the Holy Spirit.
7) The Lord Jesus Christ has never delegated His authority to anyone, whether he be pope, pastor, deacon, or the majority of the congregation. He is “head over all things to the church” (Eph. 1:22), the only absolute and final authority.
8) The Church: Its Organization (Titus 1:4-5) 4) … to Titus, my true child in a common faith: Grace and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Savior. 5) For this reason I left you in Crete, that you might set in order what remains, and appoint elders in every city as I directed you.
9) The local New Testament church is a microcosm of the complete body of Christ in heaven and earth. The word “church” is used over one hundred times in the New Testament, and the great majority of the references refer to the local congregation.
10) Its Membership records: The church must have kept records of its members. The Book of Acts tells us that there were about 120 in the upper room. The account (Acts 1:15-26) reads like the average local church business meeting. Simon Peter is the pastor; he takes the lead and gives direction in choosing one to take the place of Judas. “And they drew lots,” and Matthias was chosen to be an apostle. On the day of Pentecost about 3,000 were added to the body of Christ by Holy Spirit baptism (1 Cor. 12:13) and the local church in Jerusalem by water baptism (Acts 2:41). Again the records show another 5,000 added (Acts 4:4). The Scriptures tell us that “the Lord was adding to their number day by day those who were being saved” (Acts 2:47).
11) Its Ordinances:
12) The Church: It’s Discipline (Matt. 18:15-17) 15) “And if your brother sins, go and reprove him in private; if he listens to you, you have won your brother. 16) “But if he does not listen to you, take one or two more with you, so that by the mouth of two or three witnesses every fact may be confirmed. 17) “And if he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as Gentile and a tax-gatherer.
13) The Church: Its Worship and Work (Matt 28:16-20) 16) But the eleven disciples proceeded to Galilee, to the mountain which Jesus had designated. 17) And when they saw Him, they worshiped Him; but some were doubtful. 18) And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19) “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, 20) teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.
14) You can always recognize a Holy Spirit-powered church. The evidence is obvious; they have power to:
This is the power that filled the upper room congregation on the day of Pentecost. That power is with the believer today in the person of the Holy Spirit. He is the power of the church.
15) The Church: Its Future (1 Thess. 4:16-17) 16) for the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with a voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet of God; and the dead in Christ shall rise first. 17) Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and thus we shall always be with the Lord.
The true Church of Jesus Christ has a glorious, victorious future in the world, in the air, in the kingdom and in eternity; it cannot fail. “The gates of Hades shall not overpower it” (Matt. 16:18). The Church of Jesus Christ will emerge triumphant for, “we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us” (Rom.8:35-39). The church cannot fail because Christ is its Head, the Holy Spirit is its power, and the Word of God is its guide.
16) The church. His bride will remain in His presence forever. If in His human form He is in the new heaven or the new earth, we will be with Him, to see Him, to serve Him, and to worship Him. He will continue to bestow upon His bride the riches of His eternal grace (Eph. 2:6-7). Even in our perfect, glorified bodies it will take eternity (time without end) to begin to comprehend the greatness of His grace.