The Church - What Is It?
Be Strong, Be Well — Tuesday, May 26
From time to time it will do us good to remind ourselves as to what the church is.
The word translated “church” is a Greek word “ekklesia.” Basically it means the “called out” or “assembly or congregation” of God’s people.
Vine’s Expository Dictionary defines the word as “an assembly of Christians gathered for worship in a religious meeting; those who anywhere, in a city, village, constitute such a company and are united into one body; or the whole body of Christians scattered throughout the earth.”
The church is people; those who have been called out of the world by the Gospel of Christ; those who have believed it (John 8:21, 24; Hebrews 11:6) and obeyed it (Romans 10:16-17); those who have repented of their sins and confessed Jesus Christ as the Son of God, and those who have been baptized into Christ for the remission of sin (Acts 3:19; 8:37; Romans 6:3-6; 10:9-10; Acts 2:38; 22:16; Galatians 3:27).
The church is also called the kingdom of God (Colossians 1:13). This means those who are “the called out” submit to the rule of Christ and the Law of God. Christians live under the Kingship of Jesus, the “Lord of lords and King of kings” (1 Timothy 6:16; Revelation 17:14).
The church is the temple of God. Paul asked, “And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God. As God has said: "I will dwell in them And walk among them. I will be their God, And they shall be My people" (2 Corinthians 6:16; Ephesians 2:19-22; 4:15, 16).
The church is the household of God—His spiritual family. He is our Heavenly Father. Jesus is our older Brother. Fellow Christians are our spiritual brothers and sisters in Christ (Matthew 12:46-50; John 20:17; 1 Timothy 3:15).
The church is the body of Christ. Our Lord is the Head of the body (Ephesians 1:22, 23). We are various parts of the body, working together in peace and harmony within the body of Christ (Colossians 1:18, 24). “Now you are the body of Christ, and members individually” (1 Corinthians 12:27; cf. vs. 12-26).
As we can see, there are many different facets to the church of the New Testament. Nowhere in these descriptions is there any reference to a physical structure or building. We should be careful to refer to the church as people not the church building.
When we emphasize the church in scriptural and spiritual ways, not only will we have a greater appreciation for the Head of that body, Jesus Christ, but we also will be more determined to work together in harmony with our brothers and sisters in His body. At no time should we mistreat or speak evil against anyone in the church.
“...there should be no schism in the body, but that the members should have the same care for one another. And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; or if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it (1 Corinthians 12:25-26). —Chris