The 24 Doctrines of the Bible
What is the Church?
- Is it a denomination?
- Is it a church building?
- Is it a religious service?
The word "Church" comes from a Greek word "Ekklesia".
It is mentioned one hundred and twelve times in the New Testament. It means a body or group of people who are called out and separated from others.
Paul refers to these called out ones as God’s Children:
2 Corinthians 6:17-18
"Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you. And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty."
These are Christians who are called out from a sinful world and are separated by God unto Himself as His sons and daughters.
Christians are the Church and they came together to worship God in places of worship or their houses.
"Likewise greet the church that is in their house."
There were many such Churches in the early church.
"Then had the churches rest throughout all Judaea and Galilee and Samaria, and were edified;"
There are ten aspects of the Church that we need to consider:
The Christians of the Church experience the following:
- The Church is the bought possession of our Lord Jesus Christ.
It belongs to Him only and He refers to it as His possession.
“And I say also unto thee, that thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church;”
We know that Jesus rightfully possesses the Church, because He bought it for a great price, namely His own precious Blood.
1 Corinthians 6:20
“For ye are bought with a price:”
“For thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation.”
Jesus refers to this transaction of Himself buying this valuable possession in a parable.
"Who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it."
"Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto treasure hid in a field; the which when a man hath found, he hideth, and for joy thereof goeth and selleth all that he hath, and buyeth that field."
It was His great love for the church that motivated Jesus to pay this great price for the Church.
"Even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;"
- The Church is valuable:
Each individual member is worth more than all the riches of this world.
"For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?"
What is the cumulative value of the Saints throughout the ages?
It is impossible to evaluate it.
Within the Church there have been so many Saints whom we regard as priceless gems:
- Apostles like Peter, Paul and John.
- Prophets like Barnabas, Silas and Agabas.
- Evangelists like Phillip.
- Pastors like Timothy.
- Deacons like Stephen.
- Church Fathers like Justin Martyr, Tertullian, Origen, Jerome and Augustine.
- Many Saints who were martyred for the faith.
- Brilliant Scholars like John Wycliffe and Erastus who translated the Bible into the everyday language of the people.
- Reformer's, like Martin Luther, Zwingli, John Calvin, John Knox and Armenian.
- Preachers like John Wesley, George Whitefield, D.L. Moody, and Charles Finney.
- Martyrs like Joan of Arc, Dietrich Bonheoffer, Watchman Nee and others.
- Modern day Servants of God like John G Lake, William Branham and Billy Graham.
- Examples of Love like Mother Teresa, helping millions of destitute people.
Truly, the Church is the most prized possession of the entire Universe.
- It is a privilege to be a part of the Church, for three reasons:
- We have been allowed entrance into it.
Entrance into the Church is exclusive, through Jesus Christ alone.
"I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved."
All other religious and man-made ways of entrance into the Church are false, misleading and ineffective.
"He that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber.”
It is an esteemed privilege to obtain entrance into the Church by invitation only.
"Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you."
It is only when the Lord Jesus knocks at our hearts door that we can be saved.
"Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him."
- Within the Church, we enjoy blessing, protection and many other assurances.
Jesus knows us individually and we know Him. He loves and protects us and was willing to lay down His life for us.
"I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine. As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep."
- The Church is an eternal experience.
The Church of Jesus Christ will never cease and in eternity all Christians will come to participate in the General Assembly of the Church in Heaven.
"But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect. And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant."
"After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindred’s, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands;"
- The Church is God’s dwelling place.
In the Old Testament God commanded Moses to build a Tabernacle. It became God’s dwelling place where He manifested His presence from within the Holy of Holies. Solomon built a magnificent Temple where God dwelt and also manifested His glorious presence. In the New Testament God has chosen another building to dwell in.
1 Corinthians 3:9
"For ye are God's building."
This Church Building is made up of Christians that are a Holy Temple of God.
1 Peter 2:5
"Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house."
"And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto a holy temple in the Lord: In whom ye also are builded together for a habitation of God through the Spirit."
We as Christians are precisely, perfectly built upon the foundation of the Apostles and Prophets of which Jesus Christ is the Chief Corner Stone. God manifests His glorious presence to the world through the Christians of this Temple.
- The Church is the Body of Christ.
The Church is the Body of Christ made up of many members and Jesus is the Head of the Church.
"And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church. Which is his body."
"Even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body."
This Body is made up of many members,
1 Corinthians 12:12
"For as the body is one, and hath many members."
1 Corinthians 12:13
"For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles."
One by one, millions of members have been baptized into this Body over the last two thousand years.
- Every member is of significant importance.
1 Corinthians 12:27
"Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular."
1 Corinthians 12:28
"And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues."
Every member has been specifically and uniquely placed within this Body.
God has called every member, for a specific purpose.
"Them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose."
Each member of the body fulfills their own unique function and they need each other.
1 Corinthians 12:15
"If the foot shall say, because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body?"
All the members of the Body are joined and banded together.
"And not holding the Head, from which all the body by joints and bands having nourishment ministered, and knit together."
Like hands that are joined to the arms and arms to the shoulders, so we as the church are joined and need each other.
- The nine Ministries keep the Church together.
They are the mortar between the bricks. God has joined the bricks of this Building together with tempered mortar. Tempered mortar is good mortar, which is good Ministry.
1 Corinthians 12:24
"But God hath tempered the body together."
Like in any normal body, we the members help, protect and nourish each other.
The Blood of Jesus also flows through the entire Church body to purify, feed, bring life to it and destroy the enemy coming against it.
- The two bonds that bind the members together is the peace and love of God.
"Endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace."
"And above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfectness."
- God sanctifies the Church and adorns her with His glory.
"That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word."
"That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle."
- The Church is not an organization.
It is a living organism to fulfill the Divine mission of God. It is to recreate, purify, beautify and glorify men and woman.
What does the church do and experience?
The Christians of the Church gather together in an Assembly to worship God.
"Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more."
Jesus placed His name over the Assembly of the Saints in the same way that God placed His Name over the Tabernacle and Temple in the Old Testament. Christians gather together in an Assembly to praise and worship God. They share testimonies of the goodness of the Lord. They listen to the reading and preaching of the Word of God. They experience the fruits, gifts and ministries of the Holy Spirit.
"For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them."
"In the place which the LORD shall choose to place his name there."
That is why it is so important for Christians to gather together in the Church under the covering of the Name of Jesus. Jesus manifests His presence where they gather together. He is in its midst of the seven Golden Candlesticks.
"And in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle."
Jesus together with the Saints offer oblations of worship to God.
"Saying, I will declare thy name unto my brethren, in the midst of the church will I sing praise unto thee."
- Men and women are saved and baptized.
- They learn and practice the Doctrines of the Apostles.
- They have Fellowship with each other.
- They enjoy the Lords Supper together.
- They gather together to Pray.
- They give God their tithes and offerings to extend His Kingdom on Earth.
- They praise and worship God.
- The Church membership is multiplied.
"Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls. And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers. And fear came upon every soul: and many wonders and signs were done by the apostles. And all that believed were together, and had all things common; And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need. And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart, Praising God, and having favor with all the people. The Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved."
Today the Church is made up of millions of Saints.
It is a Universal Church of many local assemblies throughout the world. It also consists of those who have passed on to be with the Lord. They are described as our cloud of witnesses.
"Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses.”
As members we have the responsibility to complete the work of the Church on earth. Those in Heaven are spectators that watch and cheer us on as we do the work.
Let us heed the words of Jude.
“Ye should earnestly contend for the faith … once delivered unto the saints.”
Let us treasure and protect the Church of Jesus Christ!