The people of God
Ephesians 5.25: "Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church, and gave himself up for her, to sanctify her with the word, after purifying her with the baptism of water, to make appear before him that glorious Church, without stain, wrinkle, or anything like it, but holy and blameless."
Definition : The Church, in Greek "ekklesia" means: "the assembly" or "those called out of the world."
Matthew 16.18 Jesus said, "I will build my church, and the gates of hell will not prevail against it."
God's plan has always been to build a people. It is the fulfillment of his promises made to Abraham. The Church is the people of God throughout the nations of the world, it has a spiritual dimension, it is the sanctified Israel who is faithful to Christ. The body of Christ is the way God uses to make himself known to the world.
Ephesians 4.16 : "It is from him, and thanks to all the bonds of his assistance, that the whole body, well co-ordinated and forming a solid assemblage, gets its increase according to the force which suits each of its parts, and build himself in charity."
All the children of God participate in this edification, working in harmony with the fundamental principle, love. Each believer has different peculiarities and talents, being a unique living stone shaped in the image of the Son Jesus under the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
Ephesians 1.22 : "He hath put all things under his feet, and hath given him for a supreme ruler unto the church, which is his body, the fullness of him that fills all in all."
The Church is the body of Christ, of which he is the head and the guiding force; it is on this truth that it is founded. We form a universal body with our Lord in a spiritual dimension. The fundamental requirement for its good functioning is to testify to the Good News and to strengthen the bonds of communion between the brothers and sisters in all places.
Romans 16.5 : "Greet also the church that is in their house."
Paul refers to believers who gather in a house, a community of Christians. The universal Church is thus made up of all those who have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. She is representative, messenger and invested with the authority of the Lord. The assembly rests on the Word of the Lord by faith: the unity of the people of God.
Corinthians 12.13 : "Whether we are Jews or Greeks, slaves or free, we were all baptized into one Spirit to form one body and we all drank to one Spirit."
There are two main meanings for the Church in the Bible:
- a local sense: a community or an assembly.
- a universal meaning: the Church the whole of the redeemed.
It must be stressed that the assembly lives "by" and "from" the Word of God. This is his spiritual food. The preaching and teaching of the Word of God will therefore be his main activities.
Deuteronomy 5.22 : "These are the words which Jehovah uttered aloud on the mountain from the midst of the fire, the clouds, and the darkness, and he spoke to all your congregation, adding nothing."
Conclusion : The Church of God is alive and eternal, she is not a particular building or denomination. A "church" called Baptist, Lutheran, Catholic, etc., is not the Universal Church, but a "local church": a building. The Church of God is composed of all those who have received salvation through faith in Jesus Christ. Whoever is born again is part of the Body of Christ and has received the Holy Spirit as a token of that belonging.
Acts 2:47: "And the Lord daily added to the church those who were saved." Amen !