Scriptures

The Church

Introduction

How many times have you heard someone say, ‘I’m going to church!’ Seems to me that many people, especially some Christians, have lost the meaning of who and what the ‘church’ is, which is really sad.

The 20th chapter of Revelation is the most difficult chapter of the book if not the entire Bible. Premillennialists have used this chapter as the basis for their theory of a literal thousand year reign of Christ in literal Jerusalem on the literal throne of David. A proper understanding of this chapter as well as the other chapters begins by recognizing that all of John’s visions are described in highly figurative (apocalyptic) language. Their big mistake is to make John’s visions literal. To understand this chapter we must keep in mind it is a sequel to chapter 19. Chapter 20 is the climax to the last scenes of chapter 19. Our Enemy Has Been Defeated! 

Our English word “church” is translated in the N. T. from the Greek compound word “ekklesia.” “Ek” means “out” and “klesia” means “called.” Thus a simple meaning of the word is “called out.” In N. T. times Greek was the universal language thus it was spoken by Jews and Greeks and most Gentile people. While the word means “called out” yet, to the people of that day with their varied backgrounds it meant more than “called out.” The Church

The Holy Spirit chose Greek to write the New Testament in and He chose the Greek word “Ekklesia” to designate God’s people. Translated into English it is our word “church.” Ekklesia is a compound word. “Ek” means “out” and “klesia” means “called,” thus literally, “the called out.” Peter gives us a definition of the word. “Who called you out of darkness into His marvellous light; who once were not a people but are now the people of God” (1 Peter 2:9). Christians have been called out of darkness to be God’s people. The Church Misunderstood!  

The Christian is to set aside sinful desires and actively seek the attributes that Peter describes in verses 5-7. The importance of this is seen in the words, “giving all diligence.” The Greek text suggests the idea “to work along side of,” suggesting we must fully cooperate with God using all diligence in developing each characteristic. The first quality is faith. Faith is basic. It is faith that brought us into the family of God. “Without faith is it impossible to please God” (Hebrews 11:6). Hence it is fundamental and basic from which all other characteristics spring. Without faith, one would never become a child of God. The Christian Life

About one year before leaving this earth Jesus promised his disciples, “I will build my church.” (Matthew 16:18.) This promise was fulfilled in Jerusalem some 50 days after his crucifixion on a Jewish feast day called Pentecost. The details of this great event are given in Acts, chapter two. Verse 41 reads, “Then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them”. Who were these people? Verse 47 answers this question. “And the Lord added to the church those who were being saved” Thus, the first Christians. The Early Church

Some Christians have assumed that the N.T. church ceased to exist sometime in its early years, but was restored by men like Alexander Campbell and Barton W. Stone in the 1800s in America. False teachers surfaced as early as the first century but apostasy started later on near the end of the second century and would spread. Churches did fall away just as Paul said, but this does not mean that every church and every Christian would be swept off their feet by false doctrines. Did The ‘Church’ Cease To Exist Sometime In Its Early Years?

The body is composed of all Christians. However, it is not a physical body but a spiritual body. It is no doubt called the body of Christ because it is a part of Him. It is connected to Christ in a very intimate way. The relationship between Christ and His church is as close as the relationship between our physical and our physical head. In order for this relationship to exist Christ had to pay a tremendous price. The Body Of Christ

The great idea behind the church as the bride of Christ has to be the great and profound love that Christ has for us. With this knowledge of his profound love how could we ever forsake Him? How could we ever do anything but love Him? John says, “We love him because he first loved us.” The bride seeks to please the bridegroom. Any moment now, the announcement may come from heaven “the bridegroom cometh, go ye out to meet him!” May our expectation of His return produce within us purity, steadfastness and joy. The Bride Of Christ

Since the Holy Spirit has compared the church to a family there must be some aspects of the church which would be characteristic of a family.

While we can expect some resemblances we must be careful not to push the analogy to far. The Family Of God

The words “flock” and “shepherd” express the close intimate association Christ has with His church. No other expressions can represent so well the love and concern Christ has for His church. A knowledge of sheep and the Palestine shepherd will give us a picture of Christ and his relationship to the church. In John 10:1-30 we have the parable of the good shepherd. Many things are revealed in this parable about Christ and His sheep. We will allude to some of these in this lesson. The Flock

The N. T. furnishes a great number of words and phrases which refer to the church. All of these signify and express different meanings, yet, all refer to the same institution. At present we are studying some of these terms. One of the more frequent terms we come across is the word “kingdom.” Sometimes it is called the “kingdom of heaven,” “the kingdom of God,” “kingdom of the Lord,” “kingdom of the Son of His love.” It is well that we keep in mind that the church and kingdom are one and the same. Some have contended that they are two separate institutions. The Kingdom

The temple is made up living stones (people) and not material stones. God has never emphasized a material building. After the third century we see emphasis being placed on the buildings that were used for worship. They were considered sacred are referred to as cathedrals and some are very ornate and costly even to the point of extravagance. Different parts of the building are given special names such as “the sanctuary, the altar, the chapel, etc.” The Temple Of God

It has been forty days since the resurrection of Jesus from the sealed and guarded tomb of Joseph of Arimathea. During this period, Jesus had made many visible appearances to his disciples. He had talked and ate with them giving infallible proof that he arose from the grave. According to McGarvey it is May 18, A.D. 30 that Jesus has his final meeting with the apostles just before his ascension to heaven on the Mount of Olives just outside of Jerusalem. The Survival Of The Early Church

The church is designated in many different ways. In each designation we learn something new about the nature of this blood bought institution. We have already noticed a number of these designations. In the verses just read we find it is called a vineyard. This immediately suggests to us another aspect of the kingdom—that it is a place of work. If the kingdom is too successful it must contain the element of work. Work is essential to its existence. We have been slow to recognize this vital element. Many are content to warm a pew and nothing more. The Vineyard Of God

The word “church” is from the Greek word “ekklesia” which literally means, “The called out.” Contrary to modern thinking, the church we read about in the New Testament had no proper name. It is most often referred to as simply “the church.” We refrain from wearing the name of any man. Use of human names gives honour to some person rather than to God. As individuals we are simply “Christians,” which is what members of the first century church were called. What Is The Church of Christ?

Someone might ask, “Is this some denomination?” The answer is no. The church that Jesus loved and gave Himself for was not a denomination. Would you like to know more about the church we read about in the N. T.? First, it is the greatest institution on earth! There is nothing that begins to compare with it. The thing that makes it so great is the price that was paid for it. What The Church Means To Me!

DAILY BIBLE VERSE

"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life."

John 3:16

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