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The Christian Church

It must be clearly understood that “the church” is neither a physical building, organization, nor a denomination as some people seem to think and believe. The word church is derived from the Greek word “ekklesia,” which means “an assembly” or “called out ones.” Which further means “called ones from the world” and saved by God’s infinite grace. These called-out ones gather in their local churches to worship God, regardless of denomination affiliation.

The Bible teaches that the church is the body of Jesus Christ of which He is the Head. Writing to the church at Ephesus, the apostle Paul states ”And God put all things under His feet and gave Him as Head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all” (Ephesians 1:22,23). This clearly demonstrates the very close relationship between Christ and His church. It is also confirmed by the fact “Christ loved the church and gave Himself for it” (Ephesians 5:25).

So then, the church consists of all “born again” believers in the Lord Jesus Christ starting from the day of Pentecost (the church was born at that time) and continuing until Christ’s second advent. It cannot be overemphasized that only those who have repented of their sins and placed their faith in Jesus Christ for salvation can be a member of the body of Christ. Paul wrote the following, “To the church of God that is in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints” (1 Corinthians 1:2). And again, “Now you are the body of Christ, and members individually” (1 Corinthians 12:27).

It is worth noting that as the human body is a single “unit” yet it consists of a diversity of many parts and functions; so is the church as the body of Christ. Paul writes, “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 are all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit. For the body does not consist of one member but of many” (1 Corinthians 12:12-14).

It is therefore understood that each of the many members of the body, though different one from the other, is united to the obedience of Jesus Christ. It is actually the “baptism of the Holy Spirit which places all believers in the church. “For in one Spirit we are all baptized into one body” (1 Corinthians 12:13). This verse also states “and all were made to drink of one Spirit,” which seems to indicate that the Holy Spirit also teaches, guides, and helps believers to live the Christian life.

Christ is not only the head of the church, the church belongs to Him. He declared His ownership of the church to the apostle Peter in saying, “I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (Matthew 16:18). So, Christ builds His church “as the church is subject to Christ” (Ephesians 5:24). The church also means “corporate worship” so ‘born again’ Christians can gather together for worship, fellowship, teaching, learning, serving, and growing “in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 3:18).

The local church is absolutely essential to the plans and purposes of Jesus Christ. Through the local church the gospel is spread to communities and neighborhoods. Through the local church God accomplishes His mission worldwide. Through the local church, members are endued with spiritual gifts or enablements for a variety of ministries. Paul identifies these gifts and their purpose and writes the following: “And He [Christ] gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds, and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ” (Ephesians 4:11,12). The local church assists believers to become all they can be and live a Christ-centered life.

No believer can grow and mature spiritually without the local church, because it is where God’s plans and purposes are preached. And also where spiritual accountability and authority are taught. The writer to the Hebrews exhorts Christians, “And let us consider how to stir up to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing more” (Hebrews 10:24,25).

If you are not a part of God's "called out ones,” why not become a member now by trusting Jesus Christ as you Savior.