Summary: The Church of the Living God
1. This is My Church:
It is composed of people just like me,
It will be friendly, if I am.
It will do a great work if, I work.
It will generous in giving if, I’m generous in giving.
It will bring others into the fellowship, if I bring them.
Its pews will be filled, If I fill them.
It will be a church of loyalty, love and faith, if I am loyal, loving and faithful.
Therefore by God’s grace, I dedicate myself to the task of being all the things God wants His church to be.
2. The point is well taken, the church can only be a reflection of its members.
3. The Church of the Living God.
Trans: 1 Cor. 1:2a
I. FIRST THE CHURCH.
2 To the church…
A. Some History.
So we have ek, meaning “out of, from;” klesia means called “to be called out from or summoned.”
a. LXX, ekklesia is a translation of the Hebrew qahal. It is translated “assembly (Dt. 18:16/Jud. 20:2); “Congregation” (Lev. 10:17/Num. 1:16 and 1 Ki. 8:14). The Hebrew word qahal basically meant “the people of God called together to listen to, and to act for God.”
b. Outside of a godly setting, it referred to an unlawful assembly (unruly mob/Ac. 19:32, 34); it also referred to a lawful assembly (Ac. 19:39) which was the gathering of certain citizens who were summoned to administer the affairs of a city.
c. It was used, as in our passage of a local church, i.e., of believers who had assembled together, who were organized for the purpose of fulfilling God’s will.
B. The Theology.
1. The Embryo.
It began on the Day of Pentecost.
The Church is identified as the body of Christ (1 Cor. 10:17; 12:13, 27/Eph. 1:23; 2:16; 4:12, 16; 5:23, 30/Col. 1:18, 24; 2:19; 3:15).
How did we get into that Body? We got into that Boy by what the Bible calls Spirit Baptism (1 Cor. 12:13).
Therefore whenever Spirit Baptism first took place, the Church first took place. The Church is only mentioned twice in the gospel and both are a future tense (Mt. 3:11; 16:18). Then when you come to Ac. 1:5 it is still future. But what is added is the phrase “not many days.” What took place not many days was the Day of Pentecost, which took place 10 days later.
Then in Ac. 11:15-16 it declares that it had already happened.
2. This reveals that the Church is not Israel.
Israel’s beginning goes back to Abraham. The proof that the church did not replace Israel is that the church and Israel are distinguished after the Day of Pentecost (1 Cor. 10:32/Rom. 10:1). There will come a day when the Church is removed in the Rapture and the focus again will be on Israel (Rom. 11:).
3. The Church is Universal.
All believers from the Day of Pentecost onward are placed into the body of Christ through Spirit baptism, and that, at the moment they trusted the Lord Jesus as their Savior.
4. The Church is also local.
The local church is a visible expression of the invisible church. Unfortunately, not all believers are part of a local church and not all members of a local church, are necessarily, saved.
a. Place – they assembled, but not, in a central building for some 300 years. The church met in various houses (Rom. 16:5/1 Cor. 16:19/Col. 4:15/Phm. 2/1 Tim. 3:15). The size of a local church was never an issue to the first-century church.
b. People – were the church as they came together (Heb. 10:24-25).
c. Pattern – it had a simple organization (1 Tim. 3). You had a Bishop (Overseer/Elder/Pastor, Ac. 20:17, 28) and Deacons. The church observed two ordinates – baptism and the Lord’s Supper. With each member operating by using their spiritual gifts.
d. Purpose – Exalt the Savior (Ac. 2:47); Edification of Saints (Eph. 4:11-16); and Evangelism of the Sinner (2 Cor. 5:17-21).
5. Finally its Removal – Rapture (1 Thess. 4:16-18/Rev. 3-4; 13:9). It is interesting that you do not find Spirit Baptism ever mentioned during the Tribulation Period.
Trans: Any local church is as effective or ineffective as its members are.
One family was visiting a church and wanted to talk to the pastor about joining. They said, “Pastor we are thinking about joining your church but wanted you to know that we do not believe in giving much, we have a lot of bills and cannot afford to tithe. We will not be able to attend most Sundays, it’s our only day to rest and we like to go to the lake. We also believe that it’s the preachers’ job to visit the sick and the lost and the members, not ours. We have no time for things like cleaning the church or upkeep on the yard or helping in the nursery.