WHAT IS CHURCH?
The New Testament Greek word for "Church" is "Ekklesia" which means an assembly of the called ones. Our English word "Church" is derived from another Greek word "Kuriakos" meaning that which belongs to God. The Church therefore can be defined as the company of people (Heb. 12:23) called out of the world (2tim. 1:9, Eph. 2:1-6) who belongs to the lord or profess and tender allegiance to the Lord Jesus Christ (Rom 10:9, Eph. 1:22-23). The Church is a family!
The Universal Church
All people everywhere who believe in the Lord (1Jn 1:12) and have received and professed Jesus as Lord over their lives (i.e. born again) according to Romans 10:10 together form one universal spiritual body called the Church (Heb. 12:23; 1Cor. 12:20; Eph. 4:4). It means every born again person on the surface of the earth belongs to the Universal Church (body of Christ). The Word "Church" (i.e. the body of Christ) was first used by the Lord Jesus Christ as a promise; (a) It is to be His Church (b) He is going to build it Matt 16:18.
The universal church
* It is a spiritual body i.e. Invisible
* It is a physical body i.e. Physical
* Composed of physical bodies of believers
* It is One Headship is by Jesus Christ
* Membership is automatic; by becoming born again
The Local Church
After a person is born again and has automatically become a member of the Universal Church. God expects him to join other such believers in his locality or community to worship, study his word and fellowship together and stay under a Pastor. The local gathering or assembly of believers in any geographical location or community, under the spiritual leadership of God-called man or a Pastor, is what called THE LOCAL CHURCH (Romans 16:3, Rev. 2:1. 8, 12, 18). All the Churches mentioned in these verses are local Churches.
The local church
* It is a physical body i.e. Physical
* Composed of spirits of believers
* It is One
* They are many
* Headship is by God-called man (Eph. 1:22 & 23) - Pastor
* Membership is not automatic but by physical attendance
after being born again
The Qualities of a True Church:
The only authoritative source of information from God must be the Holy Bible, which is the word of God (Rev. 22:18-19).The central figure of all the preaching, teaching and worship must be the Lord Jesus Christ and no other (Jn. 12:13).Worship should not be made to angels, spirits, objects, saints, men (dead or alive) etc. (Mk. 10:18; 12:29-30; Rev. 9:20).The Bible must be preached for sinners to repent and give their lives to Jesus; and such converts must be taught to grow up spiritually to lead holy lives (Rom. 10:9 -13; Matt 7:16-20).The only mediator between the believers and God must be the Lord Jesus (1Tim 2:5).Prayer or worship must not be made through any image or object like candle, crucifix, water, rosary or any man or woman or prophet but only through the Lord Jesus Christ.
What the Church is not?
The Church called the Body of Christ is not the building but believers in Christ who meets together.
The Church does not necessarily refer to any group of people who read the bible or perform religious practices in any place. If such people are not born again and staying under the spiritual guidance of a God-called pastor they are not a Church regardless of their devotion.
The Purpose of a Local Church
A true church must teach and counsel people on how to live and operate in the society by godly principles; help the poor, widows and encourage its members to obey the laws of the land like paying taxes (1 Tim 5:13-16; Gal. 2:10).
1.The local church is to teach people to truly worship the living God and glorify Him on earth
2.The church is to evangelizes to the world with the gospel of Jesus Christ (Matt 28:19-20
Acts 5:42; Eph3:8) and minister divine healing.
3.The church is to train the members bringing them to maturity in Christian experience and ability (Eph. 4:11-12).
4.The local church also exists to assist people who are in need of physically, materially and financially.
The Responsibilities of Members of a Local Church Commitment
It is the responsibility of every member of the church to fine out from the Pastors what the vision, goals and programs of the Church are and be totally committed to success. (Pro. 16:3) Commit whatever you do to the Lord and your plans will succeed
Every Church member must find out from the Pastors what he can personally do to contribute to accomplish the total vision of the Church (Neh. 2:17-18).
Church membership means regular attendance, and full participation of members in its entire program. Members should guard against the temptation of attending only Sunday services or only major Church programs (Heb. 10:25; Acts 2:41-47).
Loyalty is needed for the Church to grow and be strong every member is supposed to submit to all authorities in the Church and to show undivided loyalty to the Church and the Head Pastor at all times. The set-up of the Church consist of several authorities such as, pastor and associate pastors, deacons / deaconess, departmental heads. Nevertheless, should the question of loyalty arise; your loyalty must go to the higher authority. “Follow my example as i follow the example of Christ”
(1 Cor. 11:1 (NIV). The Church needs prayer support of all its members. Every member therefore has the individual and collective responsibility of joining other members to pray for the Church, its vision and Pastors for the work to go on. The Church is called the house of Prayer (Acts 6:4; Luke 19:46; Rom 15:3, Phil. 1:19, Col. 4:2-4