What is the Church? 10 Things the Bible Says About the Church

Cornerstone Church at Lee-Scott Open Air Worship Service

Cornerstone Church at Lee-Scott Open Air Worship Service

Over the past several years of seminary work I have had the privilege of studying the church. There are a lot of different answers to that question (just look how many different churches there are in this country). Yesterday was our first open-air outdoor worship service at our Cornerstone Lee-Scott site. Not because we all wanted to sit in the sun and fry, but because they were refinishing the hard wood floors in the basketball gym where we worship, but it ended up being a fantastic service, and a great reminder to all of us what exactly we mean when we say we are “going to church.” Today our churches can be places that become so internalized with our own events and “church life” we don’t even realize we have stopped living out Matthew 28:16-20. So yesterday, as we sat out in the heat, we got a good reminder that church is not a building, or a gym, or a place to “go,” but a people we serve with.

I think those in my generation and older are still quite set that we “go to church” at a church building, and that was just never the case with the New Testament Church. Our site pastor, Josh Agerton, gave a very appropriate message on this very topic, to discuss what misconceptions we bring to the word “ekklesia.” This word, ekklesia, meaning local church, was established by Christ Himself (Matt. 16:18), and then we see it in action for the first time in Acts 1:12 when Matthias was chosen to replace Judas.

I love that our particular church is willing to do things like worship in a gym, or outside on a hot day, to better reach our community for Christ. Our culture today tends to the Bible with tradition, and personal preference, to create these glorious buildings we can go hide in from cradle to grave in some cases. Clearly, God’s plan is that born again Christians be a part of a local church. Nowhere in the New Testament, after the institution of the local church was established, do you find believers serving God outside the authority or rule of the local church.

So what are a few things the bible says about the church? This top ten list below is no where near a complete and total list, nor is it compiled into any specific symmetry, but it does show what the Bible says about the Church. Notice there are a TON of things the Bible doesn’t say the church should that we have made it out to be (but that is a whole different post).

10 Things the Bible Says About the Church

  1. The Bible is the Sole Authority
    There is no only authority for the New Testament church other than that of Scripture for the faith and practice of a True New Testament Church. (2 Timothy 3:16-17; 2 Peter 1:20-21; John 5:39 and many others).
  2. Believers are Instructed Not to Forsake Meeting Together
    If a believer is not part of a local church, whatever form that takes today, is in disobedience to God’s word. Scripture clearly teaches we are to meet or “assemble” with each other periodically. When the church meets, we should be there to support it (Hebrews 10:24-25).
  3. Believers are to be Under the Leadership of the Pastor and Church
    This is so difficult for us today, especially in the U.S.A. where we are told we are our own authority in everything we do. We are supposed submit to the authority of the church, and be lead by it’s leadership (Acts 20:28; 13:2).
  4. The New Testament Church is Only Made Up of Saved Individuals
    This is clearly indicated in Scripture as well. The church body is not made up of secular people as with any other civil club, members are believers, that’s it (Acts 2:41, 47).
  5. The New Testament Church Has Only Two Ordinances
    The Lord’s Supper and Baptism, which are not sacraments, are the only two ordinances called for in Scripture (Acts 2:41-42). We have a lot of other traditions and things that take place in the church, but these are the only two ordinances Scriptures calls for.
  6. All Believers are Placed in the Local Church upon their Baptism (Acts 1:15; 2:47)
  7. Believers are to Learn Doctrine in the Local Church
    For those of us who love to learn Scripture, here we go, but our culture today is moving more and more towards an anti-intellectualism, which is no more Biblical than forsaking the widows and orphans. This also means the local church is supposed to TEACH doctrine as well (Eph. 4:11-16; 1 Corinthians 12;  2 Timothy 4:1-4; Matthew 16:18; Ephesians 5:25; Acts 20:28).
  8. A Believer’s Responsibility to Missions as part of a Local Church
    A believer ought to be a part of supporting missions through their local church. The clear New Testament example is that it was the local church which sent forth missionaries. No church has the authority to delegate this responsibility to anyone else which would include mission boards, conventions, or any agency outside the local congregation (Acts 15:3, 20:38, 21:5, Rom. 15:24, 1 Cor. 16:6,11, 2 Cor. 1:16, Titus 3:13, 3 John 6).
  9. If One Member Suffers All Suffer With Them
    The local church is the support center of people to surround the believer in good times and in bad (1 Corinthians 12:26).
  10. Believers are Given the Responsibility and Privilege of Supporting the Local Church Financially
    There are probably more ways to get out of this than there are ways to count, but Scripture clearly says we are to financially support our local church, and it says this clearly and unequivocally that we are to give money to our local church, even Abraham did this. (1 Cor. 16:1-2, 2 Cor. 8-9)
On a practical level, what is the church? These shots below are just a very few examples of where our church assembled for fellowship yesterday. But this location at Lee-Scott Academy is not where the church is, the church is dispersed all throughout our city and county, this is just where we met yesterday.

5 thoughts

  1. Wow there are many points you made with your List. Great List! I think No. 2 is Great because I’m a person who has moved around a lot and I believe School is where many people make their friends. Many don’t have any one that they can confide in and the Church is a great place to just get around people! It would be a lonely life for me with out God’s Body (Church) I believe I like it that God makes it Mandatory. I also enjoyed Point 8, mission trips! My Hubby and I do support Missions trips and I always use it as a Christian pick up line if you know what I mean (you know to fish for unbelievers, always a point I make). As far as people Helping people, the Church will always do this! ♥

    Glory be to GOD the Most HIGH!!!

    Hosanna in the Highest!!!

    For His Glory and Love
    ♥ Linda M

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  2. Dear beloved brethren,

    Much greetings through the exalted name of our Loving savior Jesus Christ from
    Kenya. I am very much pleased to tell you that your teachings on your website are a great blessing to me, my family and the young independent christian fellowship
    that i founded when i got the call of the lord to do so. So, i, my wife , children and some few brethren from the community we are serving the lord under this christian fellowship.The fellowship is of 27 members. I also take care of ten orphans whose parents died. In this i am requesting you to send us more teachings that will enable us, as a small church to grow spiritually. As well it is my kind request that you also remember these needy orphans under my care in your daily prayers that God can open them ways for their needs both in physical and spiritual growth.As well I kindly invite you to come here in Kenya and bless our people with the gospel of our lord Jesus.Kenya needs mighty people of God to lead her in to salvation and know the Living God. Please have a kind consideration to extend your kind cooperation for the extension of the Kingdom of God. Praise the Lord
    wonderful name of our Lord Christ Jesus. My heart rejoice as I reflect the fact that all of us share the abundance grace of Christ. I am sincerely grateful unto God for the wonderful work I believe you are doing and involved in during these last days, as you continually sharing the love of Christ with broken world and in the midst of the poorest community. (Isaiah 61:1) – a world which is desperately in need of the saving grace and power of our Lord Christ Jesus. It is with this in mind that I have always been in earnest prayers and in seeking the divine will of God to introduce me with you i got saved in Christ, and God called me into this great work of the kingdom in the love of God and since then I have witnessed the mighty move of God as souls are saved. I appreciated and thank God for calling me among the poor and orphans, as poor man to serve the community. On behalf of the servants of God and believers here, most humbly request and appeal to you to allow us to partner together and build up the Lord’s Ministry here in Kenya, so that all of us may be joined with bond of Christ Jesus in the fulfillment of the Great Commission according to the word of Jesus in the book of (Mathew 28:18 – 20) We are therefore more ready to work with you and be directly connected with you in the promoting of the gospel of Christ in Africa. We are bears of the good tidings of great joy.also read from Proverbs 25:25 and God bless you.Sincerely Pastor Isaac

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