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What Is The Church According To The Bible

The Formula For A Living Soul

What Is the Church according to the Bible?

Body + Breath of Life = Living Soul

If you have a look at the original languages the Bible was written in, terms sometimes translated as soul actually meant life or person. Two examples come to mind:

In Hebrew, the term nephesh and in Greek, psuche are both translated as soul in the Bible. However, they can also be translated as life or person.

Looking at the original Hebrew and Greek as well as the various uses of these terms helps us get to a more comprehensive view of who we are as humans.

It turns out soul may not even be the best-fitting modern translation of the original language because of the connotations of immortality and mysticism linked to the word soul.

In Hebrew, the way to say Let me live is Let my soul live. See how the use of soul here ties into a persons overall existence?

Now take a look at the more drawn-out phrase, that my soul may bless you before I die . It actually means that I may bless you.

The use of the word soul is speaking to someones complete identity. The Bible uses these terms as a way of closely identifying with an individualits not referring to a separate entity, life force, or energy.

Another way to look at this is that humans do not have a soul but are a soul .

Variations Within Churches Of Christ

While there is an identifiable mainstream within the Churches of Christ, there are also significant variations within the fellowship.:212:213:31,32:4:1,2 The approach taken to restoring the New Testament church has focused on “methods and procedures” such as church organization, the form of worship, and how the church should function. As a result, most divisions among Churches of Christ have been the result of “methodological” disputes. These are meaningful to members of this movement because of the seriousness with which they take the goal of “restoring the form and structure of the primitive church”.:212

Three quarters of the congregations and 87% of the membership are described by The Encyclopedia of the Stone-Campbell Movement as “mainstream”, sharing a general consensus on practice and theology.:213

Congregational a cappella music from hymnals , but directed by any capable song-leader motioning the time signature, is notably characteristic of the Churches of Christ.:240:417 Few congregations clap hands or use musical instruments during “formal” weekly convocations.

The remaining congregations may be grouped into four categories which generally differ from the mainstream consensus in specific practices, rather than in theological perspectives, and tend to have smaller congregations on average.:213

If it’s not in the Bible, then these folks aren’t going to do it.

âCarmen Renee Berry, The Unauthorized Guide to Choosing a Church:240

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 .

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Congregational Autonomy And Leadership

Church government is congregational rather than denominational. Churches of Christ purposefully have no central headquarters, councils, or other organizational structure above the local church level.:214:103:238:124 Rather, the independent congregations are a network with each congregation participating at its own discretion in various means of service and fellowship with other congregations ” rel=”nofollow”> Sponsoring church ).:124 Churches of Christ are linked by their shared commitment to Biblical restoration principles.:106 Congregations which do not participate with other church congregations and which refuse to pool resources in order to support outside causes are sometimes called “non-institutional.”

While the early Restoration Movement had a tradition of itinerant preachers rather than “located Preachers”, during the 20th century a long-term, formally trained congregational minister became the norm among Churches of Christ.:532 Ministers are understood to serve under the oversight of the elders:298 and may or may not also be qualified as an elder. While the presence of a long-term professional minister has sometimes created “significant de facto ministerial authority” and led to conflict between the minister and the elders, the eldership has remained the “ultimate locus of authority in the congregation”.:531 There is, however, a small segment of Churches of Christ who oppose the “located minister” concept .

Christ And The Church

What Is the Church according to the Bible?

The church is the body of Christ, with Jesus at the head. In Romans 12:4 KJV:

For even as we have many members in one body, and all the members have not the same office

We are all very different, possessing different talents and giftings. However, as the body of Christ, we all pursue the glorification of God.

With Christ Jesus as the head of His body, He was able to redeem what Adam and Eve lost.

In Revelation 19:7 KJV:

Let us rejoice and be exceeding glad, and let us give the glory unto him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready.

The church is the bride of Christ. The bride of Christ is composed of all those who love Jesus. They are His followers. They have made a decision to serve God with their talents and their souls. They are purified by Christ of their sins.

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When Was The Church Born

Read Acts 1:5 and 2:1-4.

The church was born at Pentecost, about ten days after Jesus ascended back to heaven. The Holy Spirit came down to place every believer into the body of Christ and to indwell every believer personally and permanently. Pentecost was to the Holy Spirit as Christmas was to Jesus. He came to relate to all believers in different ways.

Paul speaks of the church as a mystery.

Read Ephesians 3:6.

This mystery is that Jews and Gentiles are joined together to form a new entity through the baptism of the Holy Spirit. The only qualification for membership is faith in the risen Savior. The church is a totally new thing made up of believing Jews and Gentiles.

It is clear then, that every believer since Pentecost, living and dead, is a member of the body of Christ, the universal church. Dead believers are alive with the Lord waiting for the day well all be together.

Does The Bible Require Me To Give 10 Percent Of My Income To My Church Should My Offering Be Computed On Gross Or Net Income

In Biblical times Christians typically held their meetings in private homes or public spaces ” rel=”nofollow”> Acts 2:46, ) and did not have significant operating expenses. However, modern churches do need money to pay for salaries, rent or mortgage payments, utilities, maintenance, supplies and other expenses. Churches also need volunteers for many ministries and tasks. The apostle Paul urged Christians to diligently use their God-given gifts to support the work of the Church ” rel=”nofollow”> Romans 12:4-8).

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Who Are Those Who Have Been Sanctified In Christ Jesus

Now lets look at 1 Corinthians 1:2 again, focusing on the second half of the verse:

To the church of God which is in Corinth, to those who have been sanctified in Christ Jesus, the .

Who are the sanctified ones that compose the church? To find out, lets read note 4 on the word sanctified in this verse:

I.e., made holy, separated unto God for the fulfillment of His purpose.

The word saint is the noun form of the word for sanctify. So the believers are the called saints, that is, those who are made holy.

How were we believers sanctified, or made holy? We certainly didnt make ourselves holy. The key is in the phrase sanctifiedin Christ Jesus. Note 5 explains what this means:

In Christ means in the element and sphere of Christ. Christ is the element and sphere that separated us, made us holy, unto God when we believed into Him, that is, when we were brought into an organic union with Him through our faith in Him.

When we believed in the Lord Jesus as our Savior, we were brought into a living, organic union with Him. This is just like a branch thats in union with a vine. In this union with Christ, we were sanctified, or set apart, unto God for His purpose. By being joined to Christ, we believers were sanctified and made the constituents of the church.

We believers have been called out of the world and sanctified in Christ. We are part of this wonderful ekklesia that Christ treasures and that is part of the great mystery of God.

Go To Church So You Wont Be Hardened By Sin

What is the church? What is the church according to the Bible?

Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God. But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called today, that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin

The church is one of Gods primary means of keeping you from being hardened by sin.

Dont be hardened by sin.

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Bible Verses About The Christian Church

To provide some more context about what the church is from Scripture, here are good Bible verses to meditate on:

1 Corinthians 3:9 KJV:

For we are Gods fellow-workers: ye are Gods husbandry, Gods building.

As you see in the Bible, the church is within the midst of God’s people. Each Christian gather to make up the temple of God. Jesus Himself set the foundation by pouring His blood out on the cross, forever saving His people from the wages of sin. If you are a believer in Jesus, you have been called to be a part of the flock of God.

Go To Church To Bear One Anothers Burdens

Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.

This verse was given to the church at Galatia and they were called to bear one anothers burdens.

In fact, Paul says this fulfills the law of Christ.

You cant bear anyone elses burdens in the church if you dont even know them.

Stop ignoring the church and fulfill the law of Christ.

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Go To Church To Partner In The Gospel

Because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now.

Do you believe the gospel of Jesus Christ is the good news?

Do you believe the world needs the gospel?

Well heres a fact: You cant reach the world on your own.

If we want to reach the world for Christ, we need to partner together with the saints.

Go To Church To Stir Up One Another To Love And Good Works

What Is the Church, According to the Bible?

And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works.

If you dont go to church, you will hinder the fruit of love and good works coming from your life.

And dont forget, there are others that need you to stir them up to love and good works.

Do you want to see more love and good works in the world?

Then you need to actually be in relationships with other believers in the church.

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What Does This Mean

Its obvious that churches vary in size, shape, geography, and function. Some churches emphasize one aspect of the churchs purpose and others focus on the proverbial other side of the coin. But the church exists to reach people for Christ and to disciple them to maturity in Christ. Both of those priorities are absolutely essential and should be practiced in harmony by each local church.

Mel Walker

Who Are The Called Out Ones

The church, the ekklesia, is the assembly of people called out by God. But what makes a person one of these people?

Let us look at 1 Corinthians 1:2:

To the church of God which is in Corinth, to those who have been sanctified in Christ Jesus, the called saints.

In the verse above, Paul addressed his letter to the church of God, and in apposition, to those who have been sanctified in Christ Jesus, the called saints. Note 3 on this verse in the New Testament Recovery Version explains these two phrases:

To the church of God equals to those who have been sanctified in Christ Jesus. This strongly indicates that the church is a composition of the saints and that the saints are the constituents of the church. The two should not be considered separate entities. Individually, we are the saints corporately, we are the church.

Both phrases refer to the same thing but have a different emphasis. The phrase the church of God tells us Paul is addressing the ekklesia, the assembly of called out people, and the phrase those who have been sanctified in Christ Jesus tells us something about those called out people.

In Christ means in the element and sphere of Christ. Christ is the element and sphere that separated us, made us holy, unto God when we believed into Him, that is, when we were brought into an organic union with Him through our faith in Him.

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The Local Church Vs Universal Church

Local church is a local assembly of the people who believe in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. Local churches are a place to congregate for people of God who are committed to regular meetings, praise and worship, breaking bread, Bible study, fellowship, and prayer.

The universal church refers to all the believers of Jesus Christ in the world under one church. While the universal church might not share one physical building together, they are unified in faith under the banner of Son of the living God, Lord Jesus. The body of believers trust in the word of God and live their lives according to the Bible.

It’s important to remember that the universal church is composed of true believers, while it might not be so with local churches. Local churches often host some nonbelievers, and people often scoff at flawed church leaders. The attendees of the local church are also not perfect, which leads to tension in most local churches.

We Are The Body Of Christ

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The church is one of the most loved and one of the most hated institutions in society. Those that love it, love it for good reasons. Those that hate it also hate it for good reasons.

These Bible verses about church hopefully will give all of us a better picture of the purpose of the church and in doing so maybe we can increase those that love the church and reduce those that hate the church.

I truly believe that the reason many people are upset with the church is not that they are upset with the original intent for the church that God had, but that man has perverted the purpose of the church and made it into something it was never intended to be.

The word church in the Greek language is Ekklesia which means called out ones. It does not mean buildings or denominations.

It is the people of God who have been called out of the world and called to band together for each others mutual benefit. It is meant to be the physical representation of Jesus in this world.

These verses about the church will show this to be true.

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What Did Jesus Say About The Church

Read Matthew 16:18-19.

Christ spoke of the church as future.

When Christ spoke these words the church was still future, so it did not exist when He was here on earth. Who is the foundation upon which the church is built? Who or what is the rock that Christ referred to?

Peter himself says that Christ is the Rock .

Or it may mean that Peters confession, You are the Christ, the Son of the living God, is the rock, because everyone who becomes a member of the universal church must believe that is the truth about Jesus.

Go To Church To Mentor Others And Be Mentored

See in the passage how we have a responsibility to mentor others.

Likewise, many of us need to be mentored ourselves.

Older men are to be sober-minded, dignified, self-controlled, sound in faith, in love, and in steadfastness. Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled. Likewise, urge the younger men to be self-controlled.

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Early Restoration Movement History

The Restoration Movement originated with the convergence of several independent efforts to go back to apostolic Christianity.:101:27 Two were of particular importance to the development of the movement.:101â106:27 The first, led by Barton W. Stone began at Cane Ridge, Kentucky and called themselves simply “Christians“. The second began in western Pennsylvania and was led by Thomas Campbell and his son, Alexander Campbell they used the name “Disciples of Christ“. Both groups sought to restore the whole Christian church on the pattern set forth in the New Testament, and both believed that creeds kept Christianity divided.:101â106:27â32

The Restoration Movement began during, and was greatly influenced by, the Second Great Awakening.:368 While the Campbells resisted what they saw as the spiritual manipulation of the camp meetings, the Southern phase of the Awakening “was an important matrix of Barton Stone‘s reform movement” and shaped the evangelistic techniques used by both Stone and the Campbells.:368


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