OceanSide church of Christ
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QUESTIONS & ANSWERS about…
The Lord’s Church
Victor M. Eskew
A. There are some questions people will never ask because they do not really want to know the answer to the questions.
1. Atheist: Does God really exist?
2. Denominational member: Is religious division sinful?
3. Unfaithful member: What will God do with me in the last day?
B. In our series entitled, “Questions & Answers about…” we are asking those type of questions regarding numerous spiritual topics.
C. The title of our lesson today is: “Questions & Answers about…the church.”
I. WHY STUDY THE CHURCH?
A. There is really only one reason to study the church. It is because it is a Biblical topic.
1. The word “church” is found 80 times in 79 verses in the King James Version.
2. The first time we read the word “church,” in the Bible it is taught by Jesus (Matt. 16:18).
And I say unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.
3. The last time we read the word “church” is in Revelation 3:14.
And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God.
II. WHAT IS THE CHURCH?
A. Let’s begin by looking at the definition of the Greek word.
1. The Greek word is “ekklesia.”
2. The definition given by lexicons
a. Strong (1577)
1) The word is a combination of two Greek words: ek – out of, and kaleo – to be called
2) Thus, the meaning of the word involves “the called out ones.”
3) Two main uses:
a) To be called to a meeting (e.g., an assembly, a gathering of a congregation)
- Assembly of craftsmen and workers in Ephesus (Acts 19:41, see Acts 19:24-25).
And when he had thus spoken, he dismissed the assembly.
- The assembly of the saints (I Cor. 14:34)
Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law.
b) The spiritual body of Christ composed of those who have been called out of the world.
- The saved Jews on Pentecost were added to the church (Acts 2:47).
Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.
- The saved found in a certain locale (I Cor. 1:2).
Unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus…
1) A gathering of individuals in a public place
2) The whole body of Christians scattered throughout the earth
B. Three important considerations:
1. The church is not a building. The church is the people who are members of it.
2. The church is a living organism.
3. The church is “the body of Christ.”
a. Jesus is the head of the body (Col. 1:18).
b. The church cannot be severed from the head. In other words, a person cannot have Jesus without having the church.
c. Again, the church is just as much alive as it Jesus.
III. IS THE CHURCH IMPORTANT?
A. We already seen that “the body of Christ,” the church, is attached to Christ. Anything attached to Jesus is of vital importance.
1. It is as important as His blood.
2. It is as important as His words.
B. The church is also important because it was purchased with the blood of Christ
1. Acts 20:28
Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock over the which the Holy Ghost hath mad you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.
2. Ephesians 5:25
Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it.
IV. IS THE CHURCH A TEMPORARY EXPEDIENT IN GOD’S PLAN?
A. The denominational world does not have a very high view of church. Many view it as a temporary expedient in the plan of God.
1. We are told Jesus came the first time to establish His kingdom.
2. He did not do so because the Jews rejected Him.
3. We are told that He will come a second time to establish His kingdom.
4. However, until then, the church has been instituted as a temporary expedient in the plan of God.
B. The Bible does not refer to the church as a temporary expedient. The Bible tells us that the church is the eternal plan of God (Eph. 3:10-11).
To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God, according to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord.
C. NOTE: This is another point to add to the list of those things which makes the church very important.
V. ARE THE CHURCH AND THE KINGDOM THE SAME THING?
A. In our previous point, we noted that the premillennialist tells us that the church and the kingdom are two different things.
A. Jesus speaks of the church and the kingdom being the same institution (Matt. 16:18-19).
And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give unto the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.
B. The first time the church is spoken of as being in existence is in Act 2:47.
1. The Lord added the saved to the church that day.
2. It was the same day the kingdom came into existence.
a. The kingdom would come with power (Mark 9:1).
b. The power would come when the Holy Spirit came (Acts 1:8).
c. The Holy Spirit and power came on the day of Pentecost Day (Acts 2:1-4).
d. The kingdom came into existence, and is spoken of as being in existence from that time forward (Col. 1:13; I Cor. 15:24; Heb. 12:28; Rev. 1:9).
VI. WHAT IS THE WORK OF THE CHURCH?
A. There are several ways to talk about the work of the church. The main work of the church is to manifest Christ to the world.
1. The Bible says He is the true light (John 8:12).
2. We, too, are lights in the world (Matt. 5:14-16). We are to reflect His light through the lives we live (Gal. 2:20).
a. Purity of life (I Pet. 1:14-16)
b. Service to others (John 13;14-15)
c. Love for God and others (John 13:34-35; 14:15)
B. As far as the church as a whole is concerned, the work is three-fold in nature.
1. Evangelism (Mark 16:15-16)
2. Edification of the saints (Eph. 4:11-12)
3. Benevolence (Gal. 6:10; James 1:27)
VII. HOW DO YOU BECOME A MEMBER OF THE CHURCH?
A. Remember the definition of the word church is “the called out ones.”
B. Thus, those who are members of the church have answered God’s call to come out of the world.
1. The call comes through the gospel (II Thess. 2:14).
Whereunto he called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.
2. A person answers the call by simply obeying the gospel of Christ.
a. On the day of Pentecost, the Lord was calling to Jews gathered in Jerusalem through the preaching of the apostles (I Cor. 1:21; Acts 2:14, 22).
b. When those who were convicted asked: “Men and brethren, What shall we do?” Peter provided the answer to the question (Acts 2:38).
c. “Then they that gladly received his word were baptized…” (Acts 2:41).
d. When they believed and were baptized, they were saved according to Jesus (Mark 16:16).
e. These saved ones were added by the Lord to the church (Acts 2:47).
f. When individuals complete the salvation process by being baptized, the Lord takes them out of the word and adds them to the church (Col. 1:13).
g. The same thing that brings salvation makes one a member of the church (See I Cor. 12:13).
For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.
A. The church is one of the most important aspects of the New Testament.
1. Jesus is married to the church.
2. Over half of the New Testament is addressed to local congregations, churches.
3. The theme of the book of Ephesians is the church.
B. Sadly, the New Testament presentation of the church is misunderstood by the world.
1. It is our hope that these questions and answers about the church will help someone to understand it more fully.
2. The Lord shed His blood to forgive us of our sins (Rev. 1:5).
We touch His blood in the waters of baptism and are cleansed of sin (Rom. 6:3-4; 22:16).
Each person becomes a member of the church at that time (Acts 2:47).
Thus, the church is the divine, blood bought institution for which Jesus did (Acts 20:28).
C. We want you to be a member of that church today.
1. There is no good reason for anyone who is outside saving confines of the church to remain there.
2. Obey the gospel. Be saved. Be added by the Lord to the church. Be a part of “the called out ones.”