The word “church” comes from the Greek word ekklesia which is defined as “an assembly” or “called-out ones.” The root meaning of “church” is not that of a building, but of people.
The church is the body of Christ, of which He is the head. Ephesians 1:22-23(ESV) says, “And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.” The body of Christ is made up of all believers in Jesus Christ from the day of Pentecost (Acts chapter 2) until Christ’s return. The body of Christ is comprised of two aspects:
1) The universal church consists of all those who have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. 1 Corinthians 12:13(NLT)“13 Some of us are Jews, some are Gentiles, some are slaves, and some are free. But we have all been baptized into one body by one Spirit, and we all share the same Spirit.”. This verse says that anyone who believes is part of the body of Christ and has received the Spirit of Christ as evidence. The universal church of God is all those who have received salvation through faith in Jesus Christ.
2) The local church is described in Galatians 1:1-2: “Paul, an apostle … and all the brothers with me, to the churches in Galatia.” Here we see that in the province of Galatia there were many churches—what we call local churches. A Baptist church, Assemblies of God church, Non-Denominational church, etc., is not the church, as in the universal church—but rather is a local church, a local body of believers. The universal church is comprised of those who belong to Christ and who have trusted Him for salvation. These members of the universal church should seek fellowship and edification in a local church.
If we cut off a hand or a finger and set it aside from the body it will eventually become dead and rotten. Same with a believer who does not belong to a local body.
John 15:1-7(HCSB)I am the true vine, and My Father is the vineyard keeper. 2 Every branch in Me that does not produce fruit He removes, and He prunes every branch that produces fruit so that it will produce more fruit. 3 You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. 4 Remain in Me, and I in you. Just as a branch is unable to produce fruit by itself unless it remains on the vine, so neither can you unless you remain in Me.5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. The one who remains in Me and I in him produces much fruit, because you can do nothing without Me. 6 If anyone does not remain in Me, he is thrown aside like a branch and he withers. They gather them, throw them into the fire, and they are burned. 7 If you remain in Me and My words remain in you, ask whatever you want and it will be done for you. 8 My Father is glorified by this: that you produce much fruit and prove to be My disciples.
Jesus wanted us to know that, even though we cannot see Him, we are as closely connected to Him as the branches of a vine are connected to its stem. Our desire to know and love Him and the energy to serve Him will keep flowing into and through us as long as we “remain” in Him.
Jesus went on to remove any misunderstanding about what He meant (John 15:4). He said that no branch can even live, let alone produce leaves and fruit, by itself. Cut off from the trunk, a branch is dead. Just as a vine’s branches rely on being connected to the trunk from which they receive their energy to bear fruit, Jesus’ disciples depend on being connected to Him for their spiritual life and the ability to serve Him effectively. The fruit we produce is that of the Holy Spirit—love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, kindness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22–23). Our source of life and spiritual fruit is not in ourselves; it is outside us, in Christ Jesus. We can live, live rightly, and serve Him effectively only if we are rightly connected to Him in a faith/love relationship.
Then Jesus underscored His point even more strongly by saying, “you can do nothing without Me” (John 15:5). It is absolute, stark reality. No believer can achieve anything of spiritual value independently of Christ Jesus. He also reminds us that there are some who are “in” Him who bear no fruit. But these are not, as some would suppose, true branches that just happen to be fruitless. All true branches bear fruit. Just as we know a healthy, living tree by the good fruit it produces, so do we recognize fruitless branches as having no connection to the True Vine. This is why Jesus tells us, “By their fruit you will know them” (Matthew 7:16–20(HCSB)16 You’ll recognize them by their fruit. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes or figs from thistles? 17 In the same way, every good tree produces good fruit, but a bad tree produces bad fruit. 18 A good tree can’t produce bad fruit; neither can a bad tree produce good fruit. 19 Every tree that doesn’t produce good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 So you’ll recognize them by their fruit.. Those who do not produce good fruit are cut away and burned. The reference here is to apostates, those who profess to know Christ but whose relationship to Him is insincere. He neither called them nor elected them nor saved them nor sustains them. Eventually, the fruitless branches are identified as not belonging to the Vine and are removed for the sake of truth and the benefit of the other branches.
The church is not a building or a denomination. According to the Bible, the church is the body of Christ—all those who have placed their faith in Jesus Christ for salvation. 1 Corinthians 12:12-13 (NLT)The human body has many parts, but the many parts make up one whole body. So it is with the body of Christ. 13 Some of us are Jews, some are Gentiles, some are slaves, and some are free. But we have all been baptized into one body by one Spirit, and we all share the same Spirit.
Local churches are gatherings of members of the universal church. The local church is where the members of the universal church can fully apply the “body” principles of 1 Corinthians chapter 12: encouraging, teaching, and building one another up in the knowledge and grace of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Acts 2:42-47(NLT) All the believers devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, and to fellowship, and to sharing in meals (including the Lord’s Supper), and to prayer.43 A deep sense of awe came over them all, and the apostles performed many miraculous signs and wonders. 44 And all the believers met together in one place and shared everything they had. 45 They sold their property and possessions and shared the money with those in need. 46 They worshiped together at the Temple each day, met in homes for the Lord’s Supper, and shared their meals with great joy and generosity— 47 all the while praising God and enjoying the goodwill of all the people. And each day the Lord added to their fellowship those who were being saved.
This could be considered a purpose statement for the church: According to these verses, the purposes/activities of the church should be 1) teaching biblical doctrine, 2) providing a place of fellowship for believers, 3) observing the Lord’s supper, 4) praying, 5) taking care of each others needs, and 6) Worship
The church is to teach biblical doctrine so we can be grounded in our faith. Ephesians 4:14-16(NLT)Then we will no longer be immature like children. We won’t be tossed and blown about by every wind of new teaching. We will not be influenced when people try to trick us with lies so clever they sound like the truth. 15 Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church. 16 He makes the whole body fit together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love.
The church is to grow in maturity and teachings as the congregation grows in maturity through mature teachings.
Hebrews 6:1-3 (NLT)So let us stop going over the basic teachings about Christ again and again. Let us go on instead and become mature in our understanding. Surely we don’t need to start again with the fundamental importance of repenting from evil deeds and placing our faith in God. 2 You don’t need further instruction about baptisms, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment. 3 And so, God willing, we will move forward to further understanding.
The church is also to equip believers in Christ with the tools they need to overcome sin and remain free from the pollution of the world. This is done by biblical teaching from the 5 fold ministry and Christian fellowship.
The concept of the five-fold ministry comes from Ephesians 4:11-13(NLT)Now these are the gifts Christ gave to the church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers. 12 Their responsibility is to equip God’s people to do his work and build up the church, the body of Christ. 13 This will continue until we all come to such unity in our faith and knowledge of God’s Son that we will be mature in the Lord, measuring up to the full and complete standard of Christ.
Ephesians 2:20 (NLT)informs us that the church is “built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus Himself as the chief cornerstone.”
The ongoing work of the apostles and prophets is manifested by the Holy Spirit speaking through them and teaching of God’s Word.
We invite you to Come as you are, meet Jesus, leave changed forever
In Acts 2:38–41(NLT) “38 Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call.”40 With many other words he warned them; and he pleaded with them, “Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.” 41 Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day.
So it’s a sermon, you need to know this, Christianity starts, the church is birthed with a sermon, with a preaching of the Word of God, and the church is sustained through the preaching of the Word of God. That is why at this Church every week the Scriptures are opened, Jesus is proclaimed, the Bible is taught, the gospel is shared.
I believe in every way that if at any point we cease teaching the Bible, the Holy Spirit will cease blessing us. Because the power is in the Word of God, and the Holy Spirit who inspired the writing of Scriptures works through them, powerfully in the lives of people. And if we shut the Bible and set it off to the side, and we don’t seek to understand and obey it by the grace of God, then the Holy Spirit is, in every way, unwelcome in our presence among our people.
We want to be a people who always have the Bible open, who are always studying the Scriptures, seeking ways that we can learn, and change, and grow by the grace of God. The church was birthed by a sermon, and it is grown and sustained through the preaching of God’s Word.
As a church we will talk about sin, when the Holy Spirit shows up sin is revealed and He gives you the power to overcome it. Acts 1:8(ESV) But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere—in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
How do you know whether or not you have the Holy Spirit? Well, Paul tells us in
1 Corinthians 12:3(NLT) So I want you to know that no one speaking by the Spirit of God will curse Jesus, and no one can say Jesus is Lord, except by the Holy Spirit.
, “No one can say ‘Jesus is Lord’ but by the Holy Spirit.” The one way you know you have the Holy Spirit is you love Jesus. You belong to Jesus. You worship Jesus. You serve Jesus. You confess your sin to Jesus. You want to be like Jesus. You’re pretty fired up about Jesus. You know you’ve got the Holy Spirit when Jesus is the center of your life and the object of your affection. That’s what it means to be born again. You could be physically alive but spiritually dead. Regeneration is where you’re made spiritually alive. You’re connected to the resurrection life of Jesus through the indwelling presence and power of the Holy Spirit.