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Summary: This sermon views the church as a Fellowship, a Family, a Body, and a Flock.

What Is The Church?

“When Jesus came into the region of Caesarea Philippi, He asked His disciples, saying, ‘Who do men say that I, the son of man, am?’ So they said, ‘Some say John the Baptist, some Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.’ He said to them, ‘But who do you say that I am?’ Simon Peter answered and said, ‘You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.’ Jesus answered and said to him, ‘blessed are you Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my father who is in heaven. And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.’” Matthew 16:13-18(NKJV)

Did you know the word church is not found in the Old Testament. The first person that I know used this term was Jesus himself. He is the one who initiated the concept of church. In the New Testament the word church is used 73 times. It is a New Testament concept.

Before we look at what the church is let me say it is not. A social club, or a business, or a museum - you get the picture. It is not even a building. Did you know that that the first Christians did not even have the concept of the church as being a building? How could they, they had no buildings – but they still had churches.

What is the Church then? What does the Bible say?

1. The church is a fellowship.

2. The church is a family.

3. The church is a body.

4. The church is a flock, like a flock of sheep.

1. The Bible says the church is a fellowship.

Acts 2:42 "And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers."

Fellowship is not just something the church is - it’s something we do. In the dictionary the word “fellowship” is both a noun and a verb. In our church fellowship is both a noun and a verb also.

What is fellowship? The best definition is "Two fellows on the same ship." You’re headed in the same direction, so you get to know each other and you associate because you’re going in the same direction. That’s what fellowship is. Fellowship is all of us together heading in the same direction. As Christians, we’re all headed to heaven. A top priority in fellowship is harmony and unity. You can have unity without having uniformity. Have you noticed we’re all different? We have different colored hair. We’re different ages. God loves that. God loves diversity. Thank God we’re not all alike. It would really be boring if there was only vanilla in the world. I like 31 flavors. And so does God. He wants us to be in unity with one another.

”All of you be of one mind, having compassion for one another; love as brothers, tenderhearted, courteous." 1 Peter 3:8

The Bible teaches that anything that causes disunity is sin. There are a bunch of verses that says anybody that causes conflict in the church is sinning. When you cause conflict in a church, when you get Christians mad at other Christians, what you’re doing is destroying the fellowship. If you destroy the fellowship, you don’t have a church.

The Message Bible states 1 Peter 3:8 this way, "You should be like one big happy family full of sympathy toward each other, loving one another with tender hearts and humble minds."

2. The church is a family.

So because we’re a family, we should operate on the basis of relationships. How do we relate? Like a family that’s what the Bible says. 1Timothy 5:1-2 says, "Do not rebuke an older man, but exhort him as a father, younger men as brothers, older women as mothers, younger women as sisters, with all purity.” The Bible says we’re to treat each other like a family because the church is a family. Nobody elected you into your family. You’re not some committee. We’re not a country club. The Bible says we are family.

3. The church is a body.

"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." 1 Corinthians 12:12

Church membership is a commitment to other people.

There are many verses in Scripture that says the church is the body of Christ. We’re a body, not a business. We are an organism, not an organization. Therefore whatever your gifts and talents are you have been placed here to help the whole body. We are a body. Can I function without a hand? Sure I can – but not as well as if I have two healthy hands.

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