Church: What Is It? & What’s the Big Deal?
September 23, 2020
Church: What Is It? & What’s the Big Deal?
Common Ideas of “church” (Webster’s):
- A for public worship — It’s time to redecorate the church.
- Public worship; a religious service — I enjoyed church today.
- A particular sect or of Christians — My church is the Methodist church.
- Church government, or it’s power, as opposed to civil government — I believe in the separation of church and state.
- The profession of the clergy — The priest is an arm of the church.
- A group of worshippers — We as a church to worship Jesus.
*Definitions 1-5 are never used for “church” in the Bible!
-The biblical definition of church: (Gr. ekklesia) lit. the called out ones, i.e. a group of worshippers
-According to the Bible, the church is not a building, a denomination, or an activity—it’s a .
-The Bible delineates 2 concepts within this group of people (1 Cor. 1:2):
1. church – the group of all believers in Jesus throughout the world
2. Local church – group of people who profess to know Christ and meet together in a particular place for worship
*The quality of the church is not measured by the condition of its buildings or the appeal of its services, but by the state of the themselves.
-Questions we must understand and answer:
1. Why do most churches have a membership process?
2. Is there any difference between a member and a regular attender?
3. What kind of church should a Christian attend and when/should you ever leave a church for another?
4. What kind of relationship should you have with your church leaders?
5. How can you prevent worship services from becoming routine?
6. What are some causes/preventions of a church split?
Significance of the Local Church
Recent Generational Detriments to the Local Church:
-1960’s/70’s The “Jesus Movement” spawned hundreds of organizations that emphasized evangelism and Bible teaching apart from the local church.
-1980’s/90’s The “church growth movement” has employed secular marketing techniques and diluted Bible teaching to draw larger numbers of people to the church building.
-2000’s The “emergent church movement” seeks to the church by normalizing secularism in the church while minimizing sin, repentance, etc. We could call this the “feel good church movement.”
What Value Does God Place Upon the Church?
-The Bible teaches that the church is not merely one option for a believer’s spiritual growth—it is God’s means of pointing lost souls back to Himself and the context for sanctification.
* Theme verse: 1 Timothy 3:15, But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.
4 Important Descriptions of the Church (1 Tim. 3:15):
1. The of God
–house (Gr. oikos) has 2 distinctions that apply to the church:
A. God’s Dwelling Place – God lives in and among His church.
-He does not live in the sanctuary or the building itself, but amongst the who are believers in Christ.
-1 Cor. 3:16-17, Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.
-2 Cor. 6:16, And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.
-Eph. 2:19, 22, Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God…In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.
*Food for thought: Because God dwells amongst His people, the way we relate to God is largely upon the way we relate to His church.
B. God’s – To be a part of the church is to be in God’s family.
-Well-known Christian concepts: being “born again” into God’s family, God is our heavenly Father, we are adopted as sons and heirs, etc.
-Discussion question: What problems arise for when people who claim God as their Father refuse to be actively involved in the affairs of His church?
2. The Church of the Living God
-The church proceeded from and belongs to God…the Originator & !
-Don’t overlook the word living! (God is alive and actively involved in the details of the church!)
–God the Father receives glory through the church (Eph. 3:21)
–God the Son laid down His life for and is the Head of the church (Jn. 10, Eph. 5)
–God the Spirit validated the church at Pentecost (Acts 2) and continues to empower, indwell, and illumine the minds of the individuals of the church.
*The entire Godhead is deeply involved in the origin and operation of the church!
3. The Pillar of the Truth
–pillar (Gr. stulos) means to
-The church is tasked with holding up the Word of God in at least 4 ways:
A. Revelation – God used members of His church to reveal His message.
-This was done by God in the and is not ongoing today (Jude 3, Rev. 22)
B. Proclamation – God uses His church to proclaim His truth to the world and amongst believers.
C. Administration – God uses the church as a means of structure and order for worship and growth.
D. – God uses His church to uphold His truth by protecting it from error. (Rom. 16:16, Titus 3:9-11; 2 John 9-11)
4. The Support of the Truth
–ground (Gr. hedraioma) contains the idea of .
-Jesus promised in Matt. 16:18 to build and protect His church and Eph. 3:21 says God will receive glory in the church forever and ever—so as a permanent fixture on God’s timeline, the church serves as an appropriate foundation for His Word.
*If God values His church as the permanent foundation for His Word, how imperative it is for us as members of His church to be involved in its pursuits.
-Discussion question: Is it possible for us as members God’s church to get unnecessarily involved in frivolous pursuits that do not align with God’s clear purposes for His church?
A Thought to Consider: Is the church as important to you as it is to the Lord?
-How can you make sure that the church holds its rightful place in your life and its priorities?
*Taken from Life in the Father’s House by Wayne Mack & David Swavely