WHAT IS IT EXACTLY?
The church is a community of believers who have confessed Jesus to be Savior and Lord, and have been baptized in Christ. It is founded upon the death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus. The church was formed by the work of the Holy Spirit and included both Jews and Gentiles. Jesus made known His intentions to establish the church and laid the foundation for it during His earthly ministry. Yet He left the Apostles without any special details on how the church would be built. Neither did Christ make clear to the Apostles concerning the function of the church.
DESCRIPTION FROM APOSTLE PAUL:
In Ephesians 2:22-23, Paul describe the church as a temple for the habitation of God. He says the church is, “Built upon the foundation of the Apostles and Prophets, Jesus Christ, himself being the chief cornerstone”
When believers address the church we usually speak of the local church, an assembly of professed believers in the Lord Jesus Christ. Living for the most part in one locality. We meet together for baptism, the Lord’s supper, worship, prayer, fellowship, the ministry of the Word, education and mission. So then the church is a community within the community. It is a powerful, spiritual entity. God had great plans for the church so He empowered it by sending the Holy Spirit to direct all its activities.
THE STRUCTURE OF THE CHURCH:
In First Corinthians 12, “Every believers is a member of Christ’s body: “For as the body is one, and has many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ. For by one Spirit we are all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles; whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit. For as the body is not one member, but many. (1 Corinthians 12:-14). Therefore, the church comes in all styles and shapes; secret meetings in homes, packed sanctuaries, urban storefronts, and wide open gatherings in amphitheaters. Building may vary but the church is not confined to four walls. The church of Jesus Christ is people of every nation who love Christ and are committed to serving Him.
THE FUNCTIONS OF THE CHURCH:
The book of Acts shows the church in action. It begins with its birth and shows it rapid and continuous growth. The church did not start or grow by its own power. The Apostles were empowered by the Holy Spirit. Jesus’ instruction to His followers were, “But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, He shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatever I have said to you” (John 14:26).
Act presents the history of a dynamic, growing group of believers from Jerusalem to Syria, Africa, Asia and Europe. In the first century it spread from believing Jews to non Jews in thirty nine cites and thirty countries, islands or provinces (Life Application Bible).
The infant church at Jerusalem was not without problems. There were external opposition and internal complaints. These forces were not able to stop the work or growth of the church. Instead, opposition and persecution became the catalyst for spreading the gospel.
Before Jesus left the earth, He gave the church a mission and a worldwide vision They were to witness, to train, and to nurture. Jesus commissioned them to evangelize the world. “But ye shall receive power, after the Holy Spirit is come upon you:and ye shall be witnesses unto me in both in Jerusalem, and in Judea, and in Samaria,and unto the uttermost part of the earth (Acts 1:8). The men obeyed the Holy Spirit’s directions and taught intensely with boldness and power.
Just as crowds of people flocked to hear Jesus, many were eager to hear the Apostles. Therefore, the Word of God grew mightily. Some of the Apostles were beaten, some jailed, some even lost their lives, yet they continued. Jesus said the church would prevail. No one could hinder the plan of God. The church is His instrument, doing His work.
THE PURPOSE OF THE CHURCH:
The church is an agent that keep the community connected to on another. It is an instrument through which the Holy Spirit brings about togetherness. Its purpose is to provide spiritual nourishment and to prepare the saints for the work of the ministry.
Our weekly gathering at the church is a beautiful time of worship and fellowship in the spirit of Christ. When we meet together and get on one accord we leave feeling refreshed and renewed. Our sharing together with each other helps relieve the cares and stress from everyday life and strenghthens us for the journey.
Believers of all ages, and of all denominations are part of one extended family. Family members need each other to share sorrow, grief as well as joys. In weddings, funerals, graduations, births, anniversaries, as well as struggles, and hardships, the family is there. Therefore, in addition to the mission of soul winning, the church plays a vital role in every community. Caring for each other is one way we demonstrate to the non-christian world that the church is an agent of Christ.
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