Summary: Christ loved the church and gave Himself for it. But what is the church and what is it supposed be? There are three characteristics which the church must possess - commonality, community and communication.
What is a Church?
Christ loved the church and gave Himself for it. But what is the church and what is it supposed be? A textbook definition, answering that question, is that a church is a body of called-out believers united together for worship, prayer, study of the Word of God, observance of the ordinances, fellowship, proclamation of the Word and whatever service the Lord may require. If our church or any church is to meet this definition there are three characteristics which the church must possess - commonality, community and communication. Failure in any of these areas is to weaken the church and to fail to be the church that Christ would have it to be.
I THERE MUST BE COMMONALITY
Ephesians 4:4-6 "There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all."
A There is a common salvation - Salvation by grace through Christ alone
1 Acts 2:41 "Then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them."
2 Salvation is by reception of God's grace alone apart from works, rituals, or any other form of human endeavor.
3 Ephesians 2:8-9 " For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast."
B There is a common road map - the Bible, God's Holy Inspired
1 Acts 2:42 "...they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine ..."
2 The Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, having been given by inspiration of God, are the all-sufficient and only rule of faith and practice, and judge of controversies.
3 2 Timothy 3:16-17 "“All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.”
C There is a common goal - the glorification of Christ
1 Acts 2:47 tells us that the church daily was "praising God"
2 Ephesians 3:20-21 "Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen."
3 The purpose of the Church is to glorify God by being God-like in the world, to live in the world as Christ lived, to allow His life to be lived out through His body, the Church. As Christ was given one mission by the Father, He in turn gives only one mission to His Church. The Church exists in the world for the same ultimate purpose for which Christ came - to reveal the glory of God to all men. - copied
D There is a common bond
1 Acts 2:44, 46a "Now all who believed were together, and had all things in common... with one accord"
2 1 Corinthians 12:12-13 "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. For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free—and have all been made to drink into one Spirit."
3 Someone wrote, "We are called the Body of Christ, not the collection of Christ's body parts."
E There is a common message - the Gospel of the grace of God
1 Acts 2:47 "And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved."
2 The church must preach the right message - the message of salvation by faith in Christ
3 The message of the devastatingly terrible nature of sin, Eze. 18:4; Rom. 6:23. It warns the sinner to turn his sin.
4 This proclamation the absolute sovereignty of God. God is the Author and Finisher of salvation. Jonah 2:9
5 The message that those who have been redeemed are to live obedient lives unto the Lord.
6 "The inner question of men's hearts for centuries has been, 'What must I do to be saved?' Some think by attainment; God says by atonement. Some declare by character; God says by the Cross. Some maintain by courage; God says by Christ. Some assert by trying; God says by trusting. Christ's answer is crystal clear: 'Ye must be born again.'" - copied
II THERE MUST BE COMMUNITY
A Within the body of Christ there is to be Care and Compassion as a blood bought, blood washed body.
B Acts 2:42 tells us that the early church was committed to fellowship