“Bible Basics – Lesson # 21 – The Church”

Posted: March 6, 2018 in Bible Basics, Church

Sing along – “O give me a church where folks in the lurch / Are encouraged, then healed from above; / Where seldom is heard a discouraging word, / And the truth is modeled in love.” [1]  Would you like to attend a church like this? Will you ever find one? Let’s spend a few minutes thinking about the church.  But first –

A typical American family was driving home from church one Sunday. Dad was fussing about the sermon being too long and sort of boring. Mom said she thought the organist played too loudly during the second hymn they sang. Sis, who was a music major in college, said she thought the soloist sang about a half a note off key during most of her song. Grandma said she couldn’t hear very well – since they were sitting toward the back. When they pulled in the driveway, little Willie, who had listened to all of this, started to fuss about the woman who sat in front of him with that big hat. Then he paused, nudged his dad, and said, ‘But, Dad, you gotta admit, it was a pretty good show for a nickel.’ Ouch!” Is the church you attend in the entertainment business or what? (See link below)

To help us get a proper perspective of the Church, we need to go to the Scriptures and ask some vital questions: Who…? What…? Where…? When…? Why…? How…?

First Mention. As Jesus was nearing the end of His earthly ministry, after the majority of the Jews (especially the religious leaders) had rejected Him as their Messiah (John 1:11, 12; 6:66; 19:15; Isaiah 53:1), He asked His 12 disciples what others were saying about Him. Some Jews thought He was John the Baptist, others Elijah, or perhaps Jeremiah. Then Jesus asked them who they thought He was. Representing the other disciples, Peter said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Matthew 16:16). Jesus told him that this information was revealed to Him by God the Father. Then Jesus talked about building His Church and told His disciples not to refer to Him any more as the promised Messiah because He was going to postpone the setting up of His kingdom on earth until a future date (Matthew 16:20-23; 21:9; 23:37-39; Zechariah 12:10). This didn’t go well with the disciples, and Peter rebuked the Lord for saying that He was going to the cross to die. The Lord in turn had to rebuke Peter for opposing God’s plan.

Meaning. The Greek word for “church” means “a called out assembly.” (See Colossians 1:18.)  God the Father, who is sovereign, chose some people from the human race to become the Bride of the Lord Jesus Christ who is the Bride-groom (John 6:37; 2 Corinthians 11:2). These people are not to be confused with Old Testament believers from Adam up until the time of Abraham, or with the nation of Israel, or the millennial believers who will trust in Christ as Savior in the future. Today, God sees humanity in three categories: the Jews, Gentiles (non-Jews), and the Church (1 Corinthians 10:32). Contrary to what many people think, the church doesn’t refer to buildings.

Members. The “True Church” began on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 1:5; 2:1 ff) and will be complete when Jesus Christ returns at the time of the Rapture (John 14:1-3; 1 Corinthians 15:51, 52). Initially the Church consisted of Jews. Then Samaritans (half-Jews) and Gentiles (non-Jews) were added to the Church (See Acts 1:8; 8:5-25; 10:1-11:18). All of them were saved the same way by believing in/on the Lord Jesus Christ alone, who died for our sins…and rose again bodily on the third day (Acts 16:31; 1 Corinthians 15:3, 4). No one is saved by his/her good works or by faith plus good works (Ephesians 2:8, 9; Titus 3:5).

History Of The Church. The seven local churches mentioned in Revelation chapters 2, 3 were actual churches that existed when John wrote the Book of Revelation. The messages to them were to be used to test the true condition of the angel (i.e. messenger, Pastor/teacher) and the church in which they found themselves. Each individual in these 7 churches also was to examine himself/herself to see what things they needed to change so they could be well pleasing to God. But there also seems to be a prophetic element that shows the progress of the spiritual state of the Church until the Lord returns for His Bride, the True Church (John 14:1-3; Ephesians 5:32). “It can be seen that [the church of] Ephesus (2:1-7), though a local church in the apostle’s day, is typical of the first century as a whole; [the church in] Smyrna (2:8-11) characterizes the church under persecution, e.g. from A.D. c. 100-316; [the church of] Pergamos (2:12-17), ‘where Satan dwells’ (2:13; compare 2:14, 15, and notes), is suggestive of the church mixing with the world, e.g. in the Middle Ages; [the church of] Thyatira (2:18-29) reveals how evil progresses in the church and idolatry is practiced; [the church of] Sardis (3:1-6) is representative of the church as dead, yet still having a minority of godly men and women, as during the Reformation; [the church of] Philadelphia (3:1-7) shows revival and a state of spiritual advance; and [the church of] Laodicea (3:14-19) is illustrative of the final state of apostasy which the visible church will experience.” [3] 

The Harlot Church. This future church will bring together apostate Christendom and the false religions of the world and will promote the One World Religion/Church and the One World Government of the Antichrist (Revelation 17, 18). The formative stages of this church seem to be in the making. It will take over and incorporate the religions of man shortly after the Rapture of the True Church.

Questions. Have you placed your faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, who died for your sins…and rose again bodily on the third day? Are you depending on any of your good works to get you into heaven (Titus 3:5)? Do you have assurance of your salvation (1 John 5:13)? If you have been saved by God’s grace through faith in Christ (Ephesians 2:8, 9; Titus 3:5), have you been baptized (immersed) to let others know that you are a true Christian (Galatians 2:20; Acts 8:13, 35-38; 10:47, 48; 16:30-34)? Have you dedicated your body to God as a living sacrifice (Romans 12:1, 2)? Are you involved in and are you being fed spiritually in a Bible believing local church that interprets the Bible normally, literally, historically, and grammatically? Do you have a desire to grow spiritually (1 Peter 2:2; 2 Peter 3:18)?  Do you know what you spiritual gift is and are you using it with love (1 Peter 4:10; 1 Corinthians 13)? If not, would you like to know so that you can serve God by serving others (Galatians 5:13; 6:10)?  

Help. We want to help those who are teachable and willing to change (2 Timothy 2:2). If you have questions and/or comments, contact us through our website: www.kelseypeach.com  If this article has helped you, please let us know and then share it with others. To receive future articles as they come out, click on “Follow.” Join us on “Facebook” or “Youtube.”

[1]  C. R. Swindoll, Growing Deep In The Christian Life, Multnomah Press, p. 371.   

[2]    https://believersweb.org/view.cfm?ID=1070

[3] – Adapted from the NKJV Scofield Study Bible, Oxford University Press, New York, p. 1720.

Purpose of local churchhttp://www.middletownbiblechurch.org/lochurch/eph412.htm

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s