The Structure of the Church (The Church of Christ).Lesson Three

Published on by Joseph Foray jnr.

  1. LESSON THREE: WHAT IS THE CHURCH?

INTRODUCTION:

 

  1. This Lesson on “What is the Church?”, is a kind of review of what we have already studied in Sunday School this year.
  2. There are four definitions we are to discuss. They are as follows:
  • The church in the wilderness
  • The whole Church or body of Christ.
  • A local congregation
  • An Assembly

                     The Church in the Wilderness.

  1. Definition of Church
  • The word church means “a called- out group of people”.
  • Not a building
  • In Acts 8:1-3, we are told that Saul of Tarsus persecuted the “Church”. The “Church” here refers to “men” and “women”.
  1. Members of the church are the church.
  • However, not all men and women are the church. It is only those who are the called –out people are the church.
  1. In Acts 7:38, Stephen was preaching about the children of Israel who were called out of Egypt into the wilderness.
  • Called out of Slavery and bondage.
  • He called them “the Church of the wilderness”.
  1. Not the New Testament Church
  1. Take note of the fact that this called-out group of people was not the New Testament Church of Christ.
  2. These people were baptized unto Moses by crossing the Red Sea under the cloud. (1 Cor. 10:1,2)
  1. Christ Church
  • The Church which Christ built did not come into existence until after He came to earth and returned to Heaven. (Matt. 16:18)
  • The religion of the O.T was the Jews religion (Gal.1:13,14). Not Christianity, but a forerunner of Christianity (Gal 3:24, Gal. 13:24,25)
  1. Not A Denomination

The Church which the Bible speaks of is not a denomination.

  • There were no denominations in the days of The New Testament.
  • All denominational churches came into being many years after Christ had built His Church.
  • Denominations are divisions brought about by men contrary to the teachings of the Bible that all should be one. (John 17:20,21).
  • The division first began to arrive when believers began to follow false teachers and wearing their names rather than the name of Christ. (1 Cor. 1:10-13).
  • The Church which Christ built was never a building. It was always a called-out group of people.
  • It was never a denomination. The Church in the wilderness was an “Old Testament called-out group of Jesus”.

 

  1. The Whole Church or Body of Christ
  1. According to the New Testament, the church that Christ founded is the Church of Christ.
  • The Bible teaches that this church was purchased by the blood of Christ. (Acts 20:28)
  • Christ loved the Church so much that He gave Himself up for it. (Eph. 5:25)
  • Every saved person is added by the Lord to the Church. (Acts 2:47). This Church is called the spiritual body of Christ, and He is its head. (Col.1:18,24)
  • These called out people are the Christians who have been delivered out of darkness into the Kingdom of Christ (Col.1:13).
  • These people have come out from worldly things and have made themselves separate people. (2 Cor. 6:17). The Called-out group the Bible calls the whole Church or body of Christ.

 

  1.     A Local Congregation
  1. Another way the New Testament uses the word “Church” is to refer to a local group of Christians.
  • This is a congregation of called-out people in one village or city.
  • For example, we read of the Church of God which is at Corinth (1Cor.1:2).
  • Also we learn about the “Seven Churches” which are in Asia. These are seven congregations in seven Asian cities (Rev.2:11)
  • The Apostle Paul send greetings from local congregations when he says, “The Churches of Christ salute you”.  A group of called-out believers in any location is a local church.

 

  1. An Assembly
  1. The fourth way the Bible uses the word “Church is to speak of it as an assembly.”
  • An assembly is defined as “the meeting together of a group of people for a particular purpose.
  • When people are called out of their houses to enter an assembly, they are called “a church”.
  • Remember that “Church always means a “called-out group”.
  • He says that women must keep silent in the churches (assemblies).
  1. The Assembly therefore is a called-out group of CHRISTIANS who have come together in a meeting.    These are the four ways the Bible uses the word “Church”. Take not of the fact that it is always a “called-out” group of people. 

 

 

 

SUMMARY OF THE LESSON

  • The word “Church” means “a called-out group of people”.
  • There are four (4) ways the Bible uses the word “church”. These are as follows:
  1. The Church in the wilderness.
  2. The whole Church or body of CHRIST.
  3. A local congregation.
  4. An Assembly
  • The church in the wilderness was a called-out group of Jesus
  1. They were called out of Egyptian slavery and bondage into the wilderness. (Acts 7:38)
  • The whole church is also known as the “Spiritual body of Christ” (Col.1:18,24).
  1. The whole church or body of Christ is a called-out group of people (all Christians) from the world into the Kingdom of Christ (Col. 1:13), and have made themselves a separate people (2Cor. 6:17)
  • A local congregation is a called-out group of believers in any location (village, Town, City).
  • An assembly is a called –out group of Christians who have come together in a meeting.

                      

Prepared by Joseph J. Foray Snr. (Elder/Minister. Church of Christ, Oforikrom Assembly, Kumasi, Ghana)

 

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