What comes to mind when ‘church’ is mentioned? Do you first think of people or the buildings? If you think of a building, then you need to change your perspective of what a church is. Others, who think of church as people, imagine a crowd of people clapping and dancing to the tune of blaring music, with a group of young people leading in singing from the platform. What attracted you to your current church? Music? Physical facilities? The popularity of the pastor? The promise of healing and prosperity? Have you bothered to find out how biblical is your church?
The church is not an institution of men by men. Rather, it is a family, belonging to God to showcase God and His glory on earth. God describes it this way:
“… so that through the church the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places.” (Ephesians 3:10)
“… if I delay, you may know how one ought to behave in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, a pillar and buttress of the truth.” (1 Timothy 3:15, emphasis added)
The church is a people called out by Christ through the Holy Spirit to worship God the Father in spirit and truth, with reverence and awe. He calls them to gather many more for the same purpose of rightly worshipping God. Christians as a body – the church, reveal the manifold wisdom of God to both the world and the spiritual realm!
The church is a family that belongs to the Living God. This means that God owns the church and is actively involved in its life so that the church remains His by possession. It is His family for His glory. The church is the God-appointed instrument of upholding the truth on earth. Many mistakenly think that it is the Supreme Court or the state that upholds the truth! No! It is the church, which is the “pillar and buttress of the truth”. The church is built upon the Gospel truth from God, and exists to uphold this truth, as revealed by God through the Scriptures, which are able to make people wise for salvation. The Christian living ought to be a mirror of the truth that the church lives to showcase. This way God is honoured and glorified as the Great God and Saviour.
The church consists of all those who believe in Christ who have ever lived or will live. This is called the universal church. These are men and women boys and girls who have ever lived who have repented of their sins, trusting in Christ as their Lord and Saviour. They have experienced the saving mercy and grace of God in Christ. As a result, Christ adds them to a local church.
How do people become part of a local church? Many think that it is simply by attendance of a church. No! It is by being placed by Christ Himself by salvation. Then one is baptized both by the Spirit and in water. If one is transferring membership to another church, he/she has to obtain a recommendation from his previous church to the new church.