By Douglas M. Williams, Sr.
- “And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved” (Acts 2:47).
- “So great fear came upon all the church and upon all who heard these things” (Acts 5:11).
- “At that time a great persecution arose against the church which was at Jerusalem” (Acts 8:1).
- “Greet the church that is in their house” (Romans 16:5).
- “To the church of God which is at Corinth” (1 Corinthians 1:2).
- “Christ is the head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body.”
- And “Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her” (Ephesians 5:23-25).
As shown in the above verses and others the church is often referred to as “the church.” Since it was the only one that existed, it was not always necessary to identify the church in any other way. Of course, the church belonged to Christ as He promised to build it, and He bought it with His blood (Matthew 16:18; Acts 20:28). Then at Romans 16:16 it is identified as the church of Christ.
The word is from the Greek language, and the English spelling is ‘ekklesia.’ It means, “Called out.” So those who are called by the gospel (2 Thessalonians 2:14), from the world by their obedience to the gospel of Christ, are those people who make up the church. They are sanctified or set apart as written in the article last week.
Please notice that the church is singular as the spiritual body of Christ. Jesus said He would build one church (Matthew 16:18), and at John 10:16 He said, “there will be one flock and one shepherd.” Jesus is the shepherd and the church is the flock (Acts 20:28).
Among the seven things that Paul mentions of which there was only one, was the church or spiritual body of Christ (Ephesians 4:4-6). The one body is the church as stated in Ephesians 1:22-23.
“The churches of Christ greet you” (Romans 16:16).
“And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it” (Matthew 16:18 NKJV). The word “church” means “assembly,” so when Jesus was raised from the dead, His “disciples were assembled” (John 20:19 NKNV), and before He ascended into Heaven, He “assembled together with them” (Acts 1:4 NKJV). Once baptized into Christ to wash away his sins, Saul of Tarsus came to Antioch with Barnabas, and “for a whole year they assembled with the church and taught a great many people. And the disciples were first called Christians in Antioch” (Acts 11:26 NKJV). Only the Devil would convince people they can be Christians without assembling with the saints! Only the Devil would convince people they can be saved by Jesus Christ without needing “church!” Without “church,” sinners are alone!
This is Johnny Polk, with “Words of Wisdom” brought to you by the Oneida church of Christ.
I’m not a fan of Rick Warren, but this quote that appeared today in my Hubzilla feed is quite good and represents fairly well the type of relationship that the Lord provides us in the church of God.
If you are a member of a small group or class, I urge you to make a group covenant that includes the nine characteristics of biblical fellowship: We will share our true feelings (authenticity), forgive each other (mercy), speak the truth in love (honesty), admit our weaknesses (humility), respect our differences (courtesy), not gossip (confidentiality), and make group a priority (frequency).
The “group covenant” he speaks of might better be described as every saint’s commitment to obey the Lord and to love sincerely and intensely one’s family in Christ, 1 Pet 1.22-23:
You have purified your souls by obeying the truth in order to show sincere mutual love. So love one another earnestly from a pure heart. You have been born anew, not from perishable but from imperishable seed, through the living and enduring word of God.
Other terms and phrases could also stand a tweak, but the above quote captures much of the interaction necessary to be a true people of God. Of course, Warren misses most of the biblical pattern for the nature of the church and the way of salvation, truths about which we must be receptive and honest before we can truly love the Lord and his people.
#church #brotherly-love #fellowship
QUESTIONS FOR CHRISTIANS ABOUT THE CHURCH
1. What is the church? (Write a simple one sentence definition of the church.)
2. When did the church first exist in the mind of God?
3. Was the church a subject of Old Testament prophecy?
4. Who was the founder of the church?
5. When was the church established as a historical reality? Continue reading
“And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit” Ephesians 2:22.
With love over everything that we do, one of the prime directives of the church is edification. Most believe that edification is just teaching & preaching. After all, the members are “edified” when solid, biblical, Christ-centered teaching & preaching is fed to the flock.
But it is so much more than this. Edification gets to the shepherding of the sheep and so involves nourishing each of the physical, emotional, and spiritual needs of individual members. Continue reading
If, on the report I made yesterday, you read between the lines, you might have figured out that the first place we went after arrival from Brazil in the US last month was … a Brazilian restaurant. Our son Joel drove from Henderson to Nashville to pick us up at the airport and that restaurant is a taste of home for him. So we were happy to indulge his desire.
The name of the restaurant is “Café Mineiro.” (See photo of The Missus and me in the restaurant here.) “Mineiro” is one who is from the state of Minas Gerais. Joel was born in that state’s capital, Belo Horizonte, where we lived our first 10 years in Brazil. Continue reading
MALAPROPISMS AND THINKING ABOUT THE CHURCH
Likely, I should be among the last to write under the above heading. I did not grow up in a family that always used correct grammar or that always used a word in the right sense. All who speak and write are susceptible of inadvertently using the wrong word, to being “off” in their thinking, and to not expressing themselves either orally or in writing as clearly as they might like. Yet, those of us who speak and write to advance the cause of Christ should strive for accuracy—in our thinking, in our speaking, and in our writing.
A malapropism is “misusing words, especially by the confusion of words that are similar in sound.” Many years ago in Clarksville, Tennessee I was preaching on the Lord’s Supper and made mention of a congregation that had two large silver “gobblers” from which the fruit of the vine was served—one for each side of the two sections of pews in the auditorium! I, of course, meant two large silver goblets. Continue reading