The Church

Although personal faith in Jesus is essential to being a Christian, the New Testament never leaves it there. In fact the New Testament teaching is nearly always directed to the people of God corporately. Christianity is not a “Do it on your own” faith. It is centred in the church. This can seem off putting to some people, but this is often because of a misunderstanding of the what church really is. The following scriptures will help us to see how the Bible describes the church.

The Church that Jesus is building
Matthew 16:13-18
When Jesus said “I will build my church”, what did he mean?
One thing that is certain is that he was not talking about a cold building with a spire and pews, nor ritualistic services or old fashioned, out of touch traditions. The New Testament doesn’t even give us a hint of such a church.

1 Corinthians 1:2
The church is not a building you go to, but a people you belong to: people who have been born again by the Holy Spirit and are committed to Jesus and to one another.

1 Corinthians 3:16
The church is God’s temple. God lives in and with his people, by his Holy Spirit. If you want to meet God, you don’t go to a special building, you go to gatherings of Spirit filled Christians.

Acts 2:44-47
The church is not a club which you opt to join, but it is God’s family to which you are added by God himself.

Matthew 16:16-18
The church is built by Jesus. The foundation is personal faith in him as Saviour and Lord, which leads to a personal relationship with him. There is no other way to belong to Jesus’ church.

The church as a family
Galatians 6:10 Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.

Ephesians 3:14-15 For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom his whole family in heaven and on earth derives its name.

Hebrews 2:11 Both the one who makes men holy and those who are made holy are of the same family. So Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers.

The church is a world-wide family, but the Bible also makes it clear that there is always a local expression of that family. Being part of a family involves knowing other members well; loving and being loved; caring and being cared for; helping and being helped.

A New Testament Pattern for Church life.
Acts 2:42-47
i) The apostles’ teaching: If we want to be a New Testament Church the Bible must be central. We believe that the Bible is God’s word and should govern what we believe, say, and do.
ii) Fellowship: The New Testament Christians loved each other, spent time together and helped each other when in need. See Acts 4:32-34
iii) The breaking of bread: This is not a formal ritual, but a reminder of Jesus’ love for us. It reminds us of his suffering, but also of his resurrection and his return. Look at 1 Corinthians 11:23-29.
iv) Prayer: We believe that prayer is talking to God. It is something we do because we love him, and because we are totally dependant on him.

The Church as a Worshipping Community
God made us and chose us to be worshippers.
Look up Isaiah 43:20b-21 and Ephesians 1:4-6,11-12
Look up John 4:23-24 and Philippians 3:3

Some people speak negatively of “Happy-Clappy” worship. They feel it lacks reverence. But the Bible seems to have a different view:
Look up the following verses:
Psalm 47:1
Psalm 63:4
Psalm 33:1
Psalm 150
Psalm 126:1-3
1 Peter 1:8
Romans 12:1-2

The Church as a Body
Look up Ephesians 4:15-16, Colossians 2:19, Romans 12:4-5

Playing your part in the body:
Be filled with the Holy Spirit 1 Corinthians 12:13
Use your gifts for the benefit of others 1 Corinthians 12:7
Play your part without envying someone else’s 1 Corinthians 12:15-16
Make room for other people’s gifts 1 Corinthians 12:17
Get to know your place in the body 1 Corinthians 12:18-20
Don’t be independent 1 Corinthians 12:21
Value one another 1 Corinthians 12:22-24
Care for one another 1 Corinthians 12:25-26
Discover and use your spiritual gifts 1 Corinthians 12:27-31
Make love your highest aim 1 Corinthians 13:1-3