1. The church is the redeemed, sanctified people of God, spiritually called the body of Christ.
Eph. 1:22-23; 2:13-17; 3:1-7; Col. 1:18; 1 Cor. 12:12-14, 27.
2. The Lord adds all of the saved people to this “one body,” which is the one church.
Acts 2:47; Eph. 4:4-6.
3. This is the one church, or the one body of the saved, that Jesus promised to “build” upon the one foundation (Himself).
Matt. 16:18; Eph. 2:19-22; 1 Cor. 3:11.
4. Jesus is the Savior of this spiritual body of the redeemed that He will present to Himself at His second coming.
Eph. 5:23-27; 2 Cor. 11:1-2; Rev. 19:7-9.
5. The word “church” is also used in the Bible to refer to a local fellowship, or assembly of believers, in a specific location.
Acts 11:26; 13:1; 14:23; 1 Cor. 1:1-3; Gal. 1:1-5; 1 Thess. 1:1.
6. The local church is to organize itself according to the pattern revealed in the Bible.
Acts 14:23; 20:17, 28; Phil. 1:1-2; 1 Pet. 5:1-4; 1 Tim. 3:1-13.
7. The local church is to engage in scriptural worship, maintain purity of doctrine and practice, uphold a high standard of morality in the life of its members, seek to edify (build up spiritually) its membership, support the preaching of the gospel of Christ, and engage in good works as set forth in the Bible.
John 4:23-24; Matt. 5:13-16; Eph. 2:8-10; 1 Thess. 1:1-10; Tit. 3:8, 14; 2 Tim. 3:16-17; 2 John 9-11.
As these Scriptures make clear, the church is made up of the saved, redeemed people all over the world. These saved and sanctified children of God make up the “one body” or the one church. In the New Testament there was not a church or body of redeemed Gentiles and then another separate church or body of redeemed Jews. As the passages in Ephesians 2 make clear, the saved Jews and the saved Gentiles made up the “one body” of redeemed people – and this “one body” is the one church. There were not “churches” in the New Testament. There is but one church revealed in the Bible, that constitutes the total number of the saved.
As we also saw in the passages given, there were local fellowships of the saved that came together in various places. These local bodies of Christians were also called churches (Rev. 1:4, 10-11). Thus, the word “church” is used in these two senses in the Bible. Namely, the church in the universal sense that takes in all of the redeemed worldwide, and the church in the local sense that refers to a church in a certain locality. The context of a passage, with careful study, will determine the sense in which the word is used.
The church is to maintain moral and doctrinal purity before the Lord and the world around us. The church is to “worship the Father in spirit and in truth.” Gospel preaching is an important part of the church’s responsibility in edifying or building up the saints and bringing lost souls to Christ. There are other good works that the Bible sets forth, as well, for the church.
This is but a brief overview of the Lord’s church. There is much, much more that the Bible teaches concerning the church. To learn more, please request our free Bible Correspondence Course by clicking here