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What is a "Church?"

How many times have we heard this word used regarding a place people go to on Sunday? The church has always been the building people gather together in to worship. But is this the biblical definition for a church, and does it really matter? The answer is yes, it does matter, if you really want to understand the plan of God.

The word translated "church" is {ek-klay-see'-ah}, Greek, meaning "Called out ones." In other words, the Bible defines "church" as an actual body of PEOPLE, not a building like we've come to know it.

Matthew 16:18 "And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades (death) shall not prevail against it."

Matthew 18:17 "And if he refuses to hear them, tell [it] to the church. But if he refuses even to hear the church, let him be to you like a heathen and a tax collector."

Acts 2:47 "And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved."

Acts 5:11 "So great fear came upon all the church and upon all who heard these things."

Acts 8:1 "Now Saul was consenting to his death. At that time a great persecution arose against the church which was at Jerusalem; and they were all scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, except the apostles. :3 As for Saul, he made havoc of the church, entering every house, and dragging off men and women, committing [them] to prison."

Acts 7:38 "This is he who was in the church in the wilderness (Ancient Israelites) with the Angel who spoke to him on Mount Sinai, and [with] our fathers, the one who received the living oracles to give to us."

1 Corinthians 12:27 "Now you are the body of Christ, and members individually."

1 Corinthians 12:12 "For as the body is one and has many members, but all the members of that one body, being many, are one body, so also [is] Christ."

Romans 12:5 "So we, [being] many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another."

Acts 11:22 "Then news of these things came to the ears of the church in Jerusalem, and they sent out Barnabas to go as far as Antioch."

Romans 16:5 "Likewise [greet] the church that is in their house."

1 Corinthians 1:2 "To the church of God which is at Corinth, to those who are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called [to be] saints, with all who in every place call on the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours."

1 Corinthians 12:28 "And God has appointed these in the church: first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, varieties of tongues."

1 Corinthians 14:23 "Therefore if the whole church comes together in one place."

1 Corinthians 15:9 "For I am the least of the apostles, who am not worthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the Church of God."

Galatians 1:13 "For you have heard of my former conduct in Judaism, how I persecuted the church of God beyond measure and [tried to] destroy it."

Ephesians 1:22-23 "And He put all [things] under His feet, and gave Him [to be] head over all [things] to the church, :23 which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all."

POINT: Those "Called out ones." by God are actually called "the body of Christ." In other words, those who respond to God, and have the power of His Holy Spirit He provides within them, actually become ONE BODY, like minded in doctrines and growing in the understanding of the same truth.

Ephesians 5:23 'For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body. :27 that He might present her (church) to Himself, a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish."

Ephesians 5:32 "This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church."

POINT: The relationship between Christ and his called out ones is a very unique relationship, one which is actually a "marriage relationship" in the making, spiritually speaking.

Colossians 1:18 "And He (Christ) is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence. :24 I now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up in my flesh what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ, for the sake of His body, which is the church."

Hebrews 12:23 "To the general assembly and church of the firstborn [who are] registered in heaven, to God the Judge of all, to the spirits of just men made perfect."

If you have been following the thread throughout these pages, you should begin to see very specific points about what God is doing through mankind. The church is an actual spiritual organization, consisting of all those called, chosen and who faithfully maintain their training program to the end of their lives. A building called a "church" is in no way connected with religion, except in how God's plan has been misunderstood and ignored by the thousands in "church" buildings where a "form" of TRUE religion is practiced. You will do well to continue your study to see more truth!

God names His church by His own name. One "Corporate" religion or group does NOT make up the complete True Church of God, the church Jesus Christ founded. However are ALL "churches" a part of the One True Church Christ founded and the Father calls people to?

The answer to that is NO!

What is the purpose of the "Church?"

1 Cor 12:4 "Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. 5 And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord. 6 And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all. 7 But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal. 8 For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit; 9 To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit; 10 To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues: 11 But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will. 12 For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ.

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. 14 For the body is not one member, but many. 15 If the foot shall say, Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? 16 And if the ear shall say, Because I am not the eye, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? 17 If the whole body were an eye, where were the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where were the smelling? 18 But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him. 19 And if they were all one member, where were the body? 20 But now are they many members, yet but one body. 21 And the eye cannot say to the hand, I have no need of you: nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you.

22 Nay, much more those members of the body, which seem to be more feeble, are necessary: 23 And those members of the body, which we think to be less honourable, upon these we bestow more abundant honour; and our uncomely parts have more abundant comeliness. 24 For our comely parts have no need: but God hath tempered the body together, having given more abundant honour to that part which lacked: 25 That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another. 26 And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it.

27 Now you are the body of Christ, and members in particular. 28 And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues. 29 Are all apostles? are all prophets? are all teachers? are all workers of miracles? 30 Have all the gifts of healing? do all speak with tongues? do all interpret? 31 But covet earnestly the best gifts: and yet shew I to you a more excellent way."

Eph 4:11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; 12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: 13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: 14 That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;

The purpose of the church of God, the Body of Christ, is to teach, correct, support and unify a people in doctrinal beliefs, obedience to God's word, so that the beliefs we might otherwise take after are shown to be what they are... heresy and error. The church is also to set the example in doctrines and behavior for the world...

Mat_5:14 "Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid."

Only through mutual submission and proving all things can we hope to have truth via God's spirit. If we reject God's word and His Church structure, we set ourselves up for heresy and being deceived. The church itself is meant to protect and defend God's plan and gospel. When we reject that structure, we reject God and His spiritual feeding that comes ONLY through the Body members...

Eph 4:16 "From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplies, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, makes increase of the body to the edifying of itself in love."

It is for the spiritual feeding we need so that we may...

2 Peter 3:18 "But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ."

Without it, we are cut off from the very structure Christ Himself set up...

Matt 16:18 "And I say also to you, That you art Peter, (petros, a piece of rock) and upon this rock (petra, massive rock - Christ) I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it."

1 Cor. 12:28 "And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues."

Eph 4:11 "And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; :12  For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: (Church) :13  Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:"

Christ is building the church which is a collection of people who have true doctrines in common and through which Christ feeds and builds the Body. Apart from this true "church," spiritual feeding is impossible.

Please note, though, that there can be error in the true church of God, as the New Testament shows, and which the apostles dealt with continually. This however, does NOT mean we are to reject the very Church Christ is building. If we understand that the church is not one denomination or corporate group, but is comprised of doctrinal and biblical unity in various congregations, then we will realize that "going it alone" is not what Christ intends, but neither is allowing heresy or other wrong to continue unchallenged in the church. Christ expects us to obey His word, the bible, and to use IT to determine our behavior and how we do things.

The church IS comprised of physical human beings who are united in doctrine and beliefs, even though sin and carnality exist within it, as do tares. This group of physical people, the called out ones, are commanded to assemble together for Sabbath day worship as well as for other of God's Holy Days.

Today, there are far too many false shepherds clinging to power and position... feeding themselves...

Ezek 34:1 "And the word of the LORD came to me, saying, 2 Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel, (ministers) prophesy, and say to them, Thus says the Lord GOD to the shepherds; Woe be to the shepherds of Israel that do feed themselves! should not the shepherds feed the flocks? 3 you eat the fat, and you clothe you with the wool, you kill them that are fed: but you feed not the flock. 4 The diseased have you not strengthened, neither have you healed that which was sick, neither have you bound up that which was broken, neither have you brought again that which was driven away, neither have you sought that which was lost; but with force and with cruelty have you ruled them. 5 And they were scattered, because there is no shepherd: and they became meat to all the beasts of the field, when they were scattered. 6 My sheep wandered through all the mountains, and upon every high hill: yea, my flock was scattered upon all the face of the earth, and none did search or seek after them. 7 Therefore, you shepherds, hear the word of the LORD; 8 As I live, says the Lord GOD, surely because my flock became a prey, and my flock became meat to every beast of the field, because there was no shepherd, neither did my shepherds search for my flock, but the shepherds fed themselves, and fed not my flock; 9 Therefore, O you shepherds, hear the word of the LORD; 10 Thus says the Lord GOD; Behold, I am against the shepherds; and I will require my flock at their hand, and cause them to cease from feeding the flock; neither shall the shepherds feed themselves any more; for I will deliver my flock from their mouth, that they may not be meat for them."

God has a lot to say about ministers of His people who do NOT have a true shepherd's heart and who are in it for themselves. We are to "try the spirits" as we follow Christ and listen to His ministers. If they stray from the bible, we do NOT listen to them. We have a responsibility to our own salvation and that of our brethren, to follow Christ's commands for leadership and doctrine. If we don't, the whole church suffers. Christ will take care of the false ministers or those who will suffer loss because of their wrong shepherding...

1 Cor 3:15 "If any man's (ministers) work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire (trials)."

Today, there are ministers in the true church of God that will suffer this loss because of their unbiblical positions and clinging to power over the members... the very thing Christ said NOT to do...

Matt 20:25 "But Jesus called them to him, and said, you know that the princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them, and they that are great exercise authority upon them. 26 But it shall not be so among you: but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister; 27 And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant:"

Today, we have relegated most all authority and "power" to ministers or elders, when in fact, this is a major disservice to the membership AND the ministers. By doing so, we have "dumbed down" the membership and stifle spiritual gifts and thereby causing spiritual famine of sorts that has hurt the church. By not allowing members to exercise their spiritual gifts, we all lose.

Most ministers today believe they wear all the hats... have all the spiritual gifts and that the members are just dumb sheep that don't have the contact with God that "they" do. The church structure and function is pictured in the New Testament and is for the benefit of ALL the members. Division and discord between groups and leaders is simply carnal human practices. Christ will deal with that soon.

God's church is alive today and His truth and plan is known by a "small flock." This will become plainly obvious to the whole world in the future!

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