Though we often speak of church as a building, this isn’t exactly correct. The church is people; people who believe in and belong to Jesus Christ, the Head of the church.
Since the church came into being after the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ, it did not exist in the Old Testament. It began on the day of Pentecost and will be completed at the coming of Christ for His own, the Rapture.
Though the church is distinct from Israel, all who are united to Christ by faith, whether Jews or Gentiles, are members of it.
The church of Jesus Christ is both local and universal. The universal church is not a particular denomination and does not meet in a particular place. It is made up of all those who have been forgiven and adopted by Jesus Christ.
The local church, however, is an assembly of believers who meet regularly together in order to be the visible expression of the universal church.
Though every Christian is a member of the universal church, sadly, not every Christian is a member of a local church. This is odd since, in the New Testament, there is no record of a Christian not affiliating with a nearby local church.
Since the Head of the church, the Lord Jesus, called us not only to believe, but also to belong, we are to regularly assemble together to worship, connect, learn, pray, serve, and give.
The members of a local church also come together to participate in two practices, or ordinances, given by the Lord: baptism and the Lord’s Supper.
Baptism by immersion is the wonderful testimony of a believer that he has put his faith in the Lord Jesus; and the Lord’s Supper commemorates the death of Christ until He comes again.
In order to do its work, God has provided pastors and deacons to serve the church. They must first meet certain requirements and are then given the privilege and responsibility of carefully shepherding the flock entrusted to them. They utilize their spiritual gifts to help the members to grow and to equip the members to serve.
The ministers of a church must lead lovingly and biblically and the members of a church must let them. The church works best through respectful submission by members to loving, biblical leadership by its ministers.
Luke 24:46-48; Acts 2:1-21, 38-47; 8:36-39; 20:7;
Romans 1:16; 16:15;1
Corinthians 10:32; 11:18-20; 28-32; 12:12-13; 15:51-52;
Galatians 1:1-2; 3:28;
Ephesians 2:19-22; 4:11-12; 5:25-27;
1 Thessalonians 4:13-18;
1 Timothy 3:1-13; 5:17-22;
Hebrews 10:25; 13:17;
1 Peter 2:4-5