What is the church? Is the church a building? Is it the place where believers gather to worship? Or is the church the people—the believers who follow Christ? How we understand and perceive the church is quite important in determining how we live out our faith.
The Church in the New Testament
For the purpose of this study, we will look at the idea of “the church” in the context of “the Christian church,” which is a New Testament concept.
Jesus was the first to mention the church:
Simon Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” And Jesus answered 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 tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.(ESV)
New Testament Definition of the Church
The word “church” as rendered in the New Testament comes from the Greek term ekklesiawhich is formed from two Greek words meaning “an assembly” and “to call out” or “called out ones.” In summary, the New Testament church is a body of believers who have been called out from the world by God to live as his people under the authority of Jesus Christ (Ephesians 1:22-23). This group of believers or “the body of Christ” began in Acts 2 on the Day of Pentecost through the work of the Holy Spirit and will continue to be formed until the day of the rapture of the church.
Becoming a Member of the Church
The only qualification to become “a member” of the church is faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.
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