The Global Mission Of The Church
Jesus told his disciples, be my witnesses, telling people about me everywherein Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth . God called the early church to be missional outside of their own communitiesto share the gospel to those in their surrounding area but also to the ends of the earth. This is our call today, too.
The vision of the church in Revelation 7:9-10 sees people from all different cultural backgrounds come together through Jesus. Realizing that vision requires engaging in mission that reaches beyond our tribal and cultural boundaries.
The Mission Of The Church
The church has been commissioned for certain tasks on earth. In the Bible, we see several aspects of the mission God gave to his people:
- Worship: The church is a people who direct each other to worship the one, true God. Worshipping the Lord is one of the core missions of Christians .
- Service to Believers: All believers are gifted to help build up each other for the work of its ministry, faith, and maturity. Therefore, Christians are to serve and do good to each other in the body of gathered Christians .
- Acts of Mercy: The church is known for its acts of mercy toward everyone. Christians are to be characterized by love and mercy toward each other and the outside world .
- Evangelism & Discipleship: The primary message of the church is the gospel: that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners . Likewise, believers aim to spread the message of the gospel and make disciples of all people .
- Through the Holy Spirit: God promises to help the church accomplish its mission because it is his mission. He will help his people worship, serve others, and make disciples through the power of God the Holy Spirit .
Giving Up Sugar Tasting God’s Goodness
As a latchkey kid, Wendy Speake turned to sugar for comfort. Every Friday, she would pedal to the candy show and use her allowance to fill her bag with candy. And one day, when she was older and a mom of three young boys, she came to realize that she was still pedaling away from her stress and using sugar as comfort, instead of turning to Jesus. She was joyless, worn out, tired, and in need of a change. In this interview, Wendy will challenge Christians to take 40 days to focus on fasting from something they turn to instead of Jesus for comfort. She invited people to break free from a dependence on sugar and taste the goodness of God.
You May Like: Is The Catholic Bible Different
Navigating A Toxic Culture With Your Daughter
As a pediatrician, Dr. Meg Meeker has seen thousands of girls come through her office through the years. They struggle with eating issues, sexual identity, social mediaand many other challenges in this toxic culture. Dr. Meeker will encourage parents to invest love and time in their daughters and develop their character to give them the best opportunity for a bright future, all rooted in a spiritual foundation. The discussion also includes healthy feminism vs. toxic feminism
What Is The Local Church
In this discussion exercise, ask the students to describe the scope or area encompassed by each of the following references. The point is that in each reference, the word “church” is in the singular. Since the scope of what is meant by each reference is different, we can draw conclusions about what constitutes a local church.
Discussion exercise:For each of the following verses, answer the question: “What geographical area is being described?“
Question: What are some implications can we draw from these four passages concerning what size or structure a group must have to be considered a local church?
Answers: The word “church” is not a technical designation of a local group of any particular size or structure. Instead, it apparently described any extent of locality under discussion.
Therefore, in answer to the question, “What constitutes a local church?” the scriptural answer is that any part of the universal church which is somehow local can be said to be a local church. We would suggest this holds even down to the level where “. . . two or three have gathered together in my name. . . ” This seems to be Christ’s version of what is necessary to have a local church.
Read Also: How Many People Wrote The Bible
The Historical Background Of The Word Church
Church is the English translation of the Greek word ekklesia. The use of the Greek term prior to the emergence of the Christian church is important as two streams of meaning flow from the history of its usage into the New Testament understanding of church.
The Holman Bible Dictionary, in its article “Church,” explains the background of the word church :
“Church is the English translation of the Greek word ekklesia. The use of the Greek term prior to the emergence of the Christian church is important as two streams of meaning flow from the history of its usage into the New Testament understanding of church.
“First, the Greek term which basically means ” was commonly used to indicate an assembly of citizens of a Greek city and is so used in Acts 19:32, 39. The citizens who were quite conscious of their privileged status over against slaves and noncitizens were called to the assembly by a herald and dealt . . . with matters of common concern. When the early Christians understood themselves as constituting a church, no doubt exists that they perceived themselves as called out by God in Jesus Christ for a special purpose and that their status was a privileged one in Jesus Christ .
Tactics 10th Anniversary Edition: A Game Plan For Discussing Your Christian Convictions
In a world increasingly indifferent to Christian truth, followers of Christ need to be equipped to communicate with those who do not speak their language or accept their source of authority. In Tactics, 10th Anniversary Edition, Gregory Koukl demonstrates how to artfully regain control of conversations, keeping them moving forward in constructive ways through thoughtful diplomacy. Youll learn how to stop challengers in their tracks and how to turn the tables on questions or provocative statements. Most important, youll learn how to get people thinking about Jesus.
You May Like: Who Was Depressed In The Bible
C The Church Is The Family Of God
In Ephesians 2:19, Paul states, So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of Gods household. . The family imagery is also seen in the many places where God is called our Father and we are called brothers and sisters in the Lord. We are Gods children through the new birth and also through adoption .
In addition to assuring us of Gods fatherly love and care for us, this truth affects our mindset toward the church. If the church is a Sunday program that you attend, then you go for what you can get out of it. But if the church is the family of God, then youre a member with your brothers and sisters. Families gather for fundamentally different reasons than audiences do. Families get together for relationships because of the common family bond. Family members dont threaten to go join another family if there are conflicts or if the family gatherings arent meeting their needs. The family bond keeps them together so that they work out their differences in love. Or at least thats what should happen in Christian families and in the family of God!
The First Time The Church Is Mentioned In The Bible
When we read the Bible, its a good principle to pay attention to the first time a significant matter is mentioned. This sets the stage for understanding its further development in the rest of the Scriptures.
The first time the word church is mentioned in the entire Bible is in Matthew 16:18.
In Matthew 16, Jesus and His disciples went far away from Jerusalem, the religious center at that time, and came to Caesarea Philippi. There, Jesus asked the disciples who people said He was, and they told Him what some had said about Him. Then Jesus asked His disciples, But you, who do you say that I am?
In verse 16, we have Peters answer to this all-important question:
And Simon Peter answered and said, You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.
In response to Peters declaration, Jesus said in verses 17-18:
Blessed are you, Simon Barjona, because flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in the heavens. And I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build Mychurch.
Peter realized Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God, because the Father had revealed that to him. Then the Lord joined the revelation of who He is with the revelation of the church.
Now lets read note 1 on verse 18 in the New Testament Recovery Version:
Ephesians 5:32 tells us plainly what this great mystery is:
This mystery is great, but I speak with regard to Christ and the church.
Also Check: What Are The Plagues In The Bible
B The Church Is The Bride Of Christ
Paul presents this image in his discussion of the respective roles of husbands and wives . Lest we think that he is limiting his discussion to marriage, he states : This mystery is great but I am speaking with reference to Christ and the church. The apostle John presents the same imagery : the church is the bride, the wife of the Lamb. The main application is that we are to relate to Christ in love, as a bride relates to her husband, and that we are to thrive in the knowledge that He loves us and chose us to be His bride.
Who Builds The Church
Jesus declared that building or edifying the church is something He would do personally. He said: I will build my church , but that does not mean that He will not also use others for the task. One of the most well-known metaphors used to refer to the church is the body of Christ. Jesus Christ states that He is the head, and that all believers form His body. The emphasis of the metaphor is on the union of Christ and the church and between the believers themselvessome- thing indispensable to the understanding of how the church functions under the authority of Jesus Christ.
According to Paul, every believer has a function in the church, just as the different parts of a body have a specific function. The idea of a group of clergy taking responsibility for all Christian ministry while a mass of laypeople simply receive the benefits is totally foreign to Scripture. Bishops, elders, pastors, deacons, and new believers are simply members of the body of Christ with distinct responsibilities and roles, according to the maturity and gifts of each one. A believer that behaves like Diotrephes in 3 John usurps the place of Christ.
Church Two Meanings And Origin
The first sense for which the word church is used, what we call local, is defined by its geographical setting. The churches in the New Testament were identified by the name of a city, never by the name of a country or region. For example, one would speak of the churches of Galatia in plural because Galatia was a region with many cities, and therefore, many local churches. When talking about Corinth, Ephesus, Thessalonica, etc., the singular form is used and the name of the city identifies the church. For example, the church in Corinth or the church in Ephesus each one of these churches was comprised of the Christian residents of the same city.
The second sense, called universal, refers to the collection of believers in Jesus Christ from all times and places. This church consists of both Jews and Gentiles. The first meeting of the universal church will occur during the rapture: For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the archangels voice, and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are still alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord .
Dr Tim And Mrs Noreen Muehlhoff
Dr. Tim Muehlhoff is a professor of communication at Biola University in La Mirada, California where he teaches classes in family communication, interpersonal communication, apologetics, gender, and conflict resolution. Tim and his wife, Noreen, are both on staff with Biolas Center for Marriage and Relationships where he is a co-host of The Art of Relationship podcast.
Recommended Reading: What Does The Bible Say About Caring For Others
God’s People Are The Church
The founder of the home church movement in England, Canon Ernest Southcott, defined the church best:
“The holiest moment of the church service is the moment when Gods peoplestrengthened by preaching and sacramentgo out of the church door into the world to be the church. We dont go to church we are the church.”
The church, therefore, is not a place. It’s not the building, it’s not the location, and it’s not the denomination. God’s people who are in Christ Jesus are the church.
Definition Of The Church
What is a church? Many people understand the church as a building, often with stained glass and a steeple. Though it is true buildings can be awe-inspiring or even plain and simple, a more biblical understanding of a church doesnt relate to buildings at all, but to people.
In the New Testament, the word for church is ekklesia , or assembly of Christians. Literally meaning called-out ones in the original Greek, a church is a group of believers in Jesus who gather for worship, Scripture reading and teaching, fellowship, and prayers . Many Christians in the first few centuries didnt meet in designated buildings due to safety concerns, instead, gathering together in homes. So church is rightly defined as a group of Christians focused on God and the Bible rather than a piece of real estate.
Read Also: How Do I Start Studying The Bible
Sunday And The Rest Of The Week
By now it should be clear that the local church isnt a piece of the heavenly churchlike a tiny chunk broken off a big cookie. Instead, its a miniature realization of the whole heavenly thing. It contains the essential components of the heavenly church that is currently gathered around Jesus and will appear with him when he returns in glory . This reality should transform our attitude toward our own church. The people we gather with are people were simultaneously with in heaven, in Jesuss presence. One day well all be in his presence not only spiritually but also physically. Meditating on this thought should stir up a longing for good relationships with fellow church members, especially when we keep in mind that the church of God bought with his own blood .
Another application, which brings us back to the questions at the start, is caution in ecclesiological experimentation. The local church is a physical gathering, so i-church.org isnt a true church. For the same reason, it would be better, biblically speaking, to view a multisite church as a collection of churches with pooled leadership, rather than one single church. That kind of arrangement can be helpful as a temporary measure designed to result in fully planted churches.
Foundation Of The Church: Jesus
The foundation of the church is found in the confession of the Apostle Peter. When Jesus asked the apostles who people said that he was, Peter replied:
You are the Christ, the Son of the living God. And Jesus answered him, Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.
So the foundation of the church is not actually Peter, but Peters confession: Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God. The church is built upon this foundational understanding that Jesus is the Christ, or promised Messiah taken from the Old Testament Scriptures. He is the Savior of the world and intimately connected to God the Father as God the Son. That Jesus is the chosen Messiah has been the foundation of the church throughout the centuries.
Identifying Triggers In Your Marriage Part 1
They were both convinced they had married the wrong person. From almost the very beginning of their marriage, Amber and Guy Lia experienced various tensions and personality clashes related to house cleaning, backseat driving, workaholism, and intimacy. In this two-day Focus on the Family broadcast, Amber and Guy discuss how they bravely faced the triggers head-on, and committed to working on their own relationships with Jesus. As you listen to the Lias story, youll feel hope that you, too, can see real marriage transformation!
Lesson : What Is The Church
Since I plan to spend the next few weeks preaching on what the Bible says about the church, its important that we begin by making sure were all on the same page regarding the question: What is the church? The answer is not as simple as you may think!
If you were to ask people on the street, What is the church? youd probably hear, Its that building on the corner of Beaver and Benton Streets. Sometimes we use the word in that way: I go to the old stone church that is next to NiMarcos Pizza on South Beaver Street. But we all know that the church is not a building, but rather the people who meet in that building. The building may look like a typical church, with a steeple and a cross on top. Or, it may be an industrial building remodeled into an auditorium and classrooms. In many countries, churches meet in houses, as the early church did. So buildings are not the church. Rather, its the people who are the church.
But, even if we all agree that the church is the people, we still need to clarify what the church really is, or at least, what its supposed to be. Some might think that the church is the place where you go to meet other nice people. Hopefully, the church generally has a crowd thats a notch above the local bar! So the church meets a social need.
To be committed properly to the local church, you must understand biblically what the church is.
Read Also: What Is The Greatest Commandment Bible Verse