THE CHURCH - PART ONE

 
     
 

MEMORY VERSE: That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle, or any such things but that it should be Holy and without blemish. Eph. 5:27.

BIBLE PASSAGE: Ephesians 5:22-32

INTRODUCATION: The Bible does not recognize any Denomination or any visible Church on earth as The Church. The Church which is the Body of Christ consists of all regenerated souls. Each one redeemed by the Blood of Christ and transformed by the Holy Spirit. Only a small part of the Church is on earth now for a great part have already gone to be with the Lord. The Supreme work of God in this age is the gathering of the Church (Acts 15:14). The Church has no visible head on earth but an unseen Head (Jesus Christ) in heaven.

WHAT IS THE CHURCH
The word “CHURCH” comes from the Greek word “Ecclesia” meaning “to call out from” Christians are called out from the world system to be “in Christ” (1 Cor. 1:2). The Christian Church is a New Testament institution beginning with Pentecost and ending probably with the rapture, the second coming of Christ. The word Church can refer to a local group of believers (Col. 4:15). The word Church can also mean the Church universal (1 Cor.15:9).

CERTAIN DISTINCTIONS TO NOTE
There are certain distinctions between the Church and the Kingdom, between the Church visible and the Church invisible, between the local Church and the universal Church and between the church militant and the Church triumphant. The Kingdom, according to the parable in Matt. 13, is comprised of both good and bad. The Church is therefore a part of the Kingdom. The visible Church consists of members of local Churches, all earthly denominations and sects; whether good, bad or indifferent. The invisible Church is made up of those whose names are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life (Rev. 21:d27). Are you a member of the invisible Church? Is your name in the Lamb’s Book of Life? Please note that the answer is no if you are not yet saved or you are backslidden. In either case you need prayers! By the local Church is meant any local congregation in a given location. The Church universal is a team which includes all churches everywhere. The Church militant refers to the true Church on earth while the Church triumphant refers to the section of the Church already in heaven.

HOW WAS THE CHURCH FOUNDED
The Church was founded by Jesus Christ on Peter’s confession that Jesus Christ, was (and is) the Son of God, the Messiah, the Christ, God incarnate in humanity (Matt.16:16-18). Our Saviour did not build the Church on Peter, but on Peter’s words. Historically, the Church was founded at Pentecost when the Spirit descended (Acts 2:47). They had started places of meeting (Acts 5:12, Acts 12:12) and stated times of meeting which was daily (Acts 2:46).

CONDITIONS OF MEMBERSHIP IN THE CHURCH
There is five basic conditions of membership in the true Church of God. The first is repentance (Acts 2:38), and the second is faith in the Lord Jesus Christ as Saviour, Lord and Son of God (Matt. 16:16-18). The third is salvation, regeneration or the new birth (Acts 2:47). The saved were added to the Church. They were not added to the Church in order to be save but added to the Church because they were saved already. This means that mere Church attendance does not make you a member of the true Church, it is only when you are saved that you truly belong! The fourth condition is Baptism in the Name of the Trinity (Matt. 28:19) and the fifth condition is continuance in the Apostles’ doctrine (Acts 2:42). This means living according to the scripture, living according to the Word of God.

CONCLUSION
To become a member of the true Church of God you must be saved and your name must be written in the Lamb’s Book of Life. But more importantly, if you wish to remain a member of the true Church, you must live a holy life, without spot or wrinkle, without any blemish or any spot (Eph. 5:27). Are you a member or have you lost your membership? Will you like to pray about it?

QUESTIONS
1. Which Church is the true Church?
2. What is the Church?
3. On what foundation is the Church built?
4. What are the conditions for membership?

FURTHER READINGS: The following passages will tell you more: Col. 1:18, Col. 2:19, Eph.1:22-23, 
Eph. 2:20-21, 11 Cor.11:2, Jn.3:29, Rev. 19:7.

 
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