The Universal Church and the Local Church
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 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 UNIVERSAL CHURCH
THE LOCAL CHURCH
It is a spiritual body i.e. Invisible
It is a physical body i.e. Physical
Composed of spirits of believers
Composed of physical bodies of believers
It is One
They are many
Headship is by Jesus Christ
Headship is by God-called man (Eph. 1:22 & 23) - Pastor
Membership is automatic; by becoming
Membership is not automatic but by physical attendance
after being born again
Misconceptions: 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 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.
The Purpose of a Local Church
1.The local church is to teach people to truly worship the living God and glorify Him on earth (Eph. 1:4-6).
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.
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).