What the word “church” means
With all the weight and pressures of their world weighing down on their minds, people expect the church to provide Bible-based answers that no other institution can provide. What is the Church? Over the past 15 years, megachurches have been sprouting up across America and the world. A megachurch is a large church with 2, or more worshippers at a weekly service. Most of these megachurches are lead by visionaries and business-minded and charismatic leaders.
Just about all of these megachurches broadcast their services over major TV networks, Internet and satellite radio. Many non-Christians and Christians view these programs and sometimes develop certain perceptions about church -- whether good or bad. If someone would visit most of the churches in America, they will come to realize that the voice choir and 10 piece Praise and Worship band does not exist. Looking even closer at your TV set, you will notice pews filled with top of the line multimedia equipment.
Is this what people want from a church? What do people want from churches? Unfortunately, there are those who view church this way. Church is more than just entertainment, having large numbers of people attending services or hearing messages of empowerment from the pulpit that makes one feel good. Church is the lifeline of any society. Church is a unique place that should instill change in people's lives. So what do people need from church? Meeting the Needs People need to have their spiritual, emotional and physical needs met. We are living in a crazy world today. More and more children are growing up in broken homes, unemployment is on the rise and Christians are sinking deeper into debt like never before.
Many churchgoers are struggling to make ends meet in their everyday lives, and we feel the pinch of reality just like everyone else. Believers are not exempt from trials of the world. We are living in perilous and drastic times. Drastic times call for drastic measures. Targeted small groups should be implemented in churches to be available to meet the needs in each believer's life. Irrespective of church size, each church can provide effective small group ministries and outreach services, even smaller churches can have and should have specialized small groups.
This momentum can then spread out beyond the walls of the church and be incorporated into the community where the church serves. To the best of its ability, the church can provide services, counseling and advice to those in need. At these Super Centers, one can purchase anything from cooking oil to car oil and from pet food to fresh produce. The convenience of having everything located under one roof is a multi-billion dollar secret. This is the true meaning of a convenience store. The Super Center customers are truly in love with this concept of everything under one roof.
I think the church is a type of Super Center. Whatever the situation, there is a Bible-based solution and counsel for each and every problem. I am not advocating that each individual church would have the expertise and know-how to deal with every situation. However, every church should have access to resources needful to guide an individual in the proper direction along with God's Word.
At times it is hard for single mothers to control their teenage children without the help of father figures. If these single mothers are churchgoers and there are no programs, seminars and sermons to help them in this area, then the church is not meeting their needs. The church should always strive to meet the needs of men and women as it brings the good news of the salvation message of Jesus Christ. The church truly is about people. One of the greatest lessons of meeting the people's need was demonstrated when the Messiah fed the 4, Mark 8: Jesus showed by His deeds the church's purpose and function.
He gave us the blueprint for successfully meeting the needs of the hearers. Before Jesus gave His sermon, He fed the "churchcomers. Both their physical and spiritual needs were met. This is the classical Jesus. Public Service Churches are a public service to the surrounding communities. They provide just about everything. In the summer of , our church covered a block radius around the church by going door-to-door introducing ourselves as the "community church.
We had an older woman who visited our church recently and said that for 25 years she has lived in the community and walked pass our church and never once took notice of our edifice.
What is the CHURCH?
One would believe that we have a small building, but our church is a huge 4-story brick building that takes up 2 lots and is by far the tallest building on our block. You may see a few of your friends in the lobby before or after the show and stop to chat. But even with all these amenities, many millennial Christians would rather just stay home in their pajamas, sip gourmet coffee, and maybe catch their favorite preacher online. One of my aims in this series is to change your understanding of the church from the prevalent consumer mindset to a biblical view so that you will commit yourself to a local church that, although imperfect, is seeking to be what the Bible prescribes.
In this message, my main point is that …. To be committed properly to the local church, you must understand biblically what the church is. There are simpler definitions, but in my opinion, they either are not comprehensive enough or they miss the mark in other ways. While I agree that God has always had a community of true believers, we need to understand that there is a distinct difference between the Old Testament people of God and the New Testament church, which is the body of Christ.
The church 1 is founded on the Lord Jesus Christ, 2 is called into being by the Holy Spirit, and 3 is to contain people of all races who thereby become one new people in the sight of God. The church is the God-ordained local assembly of believers who have committed themselves to each other.
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They gather regularly, they teach the Word, celebrate communion and baptism, discipline their members, establish a biblical structure of leadership, they pray and give together. Certainly the church may do more, but it is not less than this. Going back to my definition, note first that the local church is a gathering of those who believe in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord.
This means that the church consists of those who meet together because they believe the gospel. He promises that all who believe that Jesus died for their sins and was raised from the dead receive forgiveness of all their sins and eternal life as a free gift. Genuine saving faith includes turning from my sins and growing in obedience to the commandments given by Jesus and His apostles in the New Testament. This belief in the gospel is at the core of true local churches.
Also, those who have believed in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord are committed to meet regularly for worship, teaching, fellowship, and prayer. Also, from my definition: The local church is a gathering of those … who help make disciples of all people. This is the Great Commission that the Lord gave us Matt. Every Christian should be involved in the process of making disciples obedient followers of Jesus , whether locally or globally. This includes sharing the gospel with those outside of Christ, helping other believers grow in Christ, and being informed and committed to the cause of Christ worldwide.
The church in Jerusalem, Philippi, Corinth, Rome, etc. In many cases, there were probably too many believers to gather in one location each Sunday, so they met in numerous houses throughout the city. Probably each house church had at least one pastor or elder who was responsible for shepherding, oversight, and teaching that flock.
But the church in a city was viewed as one local church, governed by a plurality of elders. But the overall point is, the local church is a gathering of believers in Jesus Christ, under His lordship, and committed to one another to help fulfill His saving purposes. But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to myriads of angels, to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the Judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood, which speaks better than the blood of Abel.
The author was trying to impress on these Jewish believers in Christ, who were tempted to return to Judaism, the superiority of the church over the Old Covenant people of God. We are a part of this great company of all people everywhere who have believed in Jesus and His shed blood. While in one sense that includes Old Testament believers, who looked forward to Christ, in another sense there is a contrast between them and us, in that we are actually members of His worldwide body, the church.
You have no doubt had the same experience that I have had, where you have met someone from another country who is very different culturally than you are. They may only speak broken English. But when you discover that he or she is a believer in Jesus Christ, there is an instant bond of fellowship.
Although you both normally meet with believers in very different places around the globe and your church meetings may look very different, you both are members of the one universal body of Christ. There are dozens in the New Testament, but I pared it down to seven. Even at that, I can only comment very briefly:. This is perhaps the most familiar description of the church.
Paul uses it extensively in 1 Corinthians 12 to make the point that all believers are members of the one body of Christ. He states 1 Cor. Just as in a human body there are many members but each has a different function, so in the body of Christ. Each member has a spiritual gift to be used for the overall good of the body. Christ and the church Col. Do not lie to one another, since you laid aside the old self [man] with its evil practices, and have put on the new self [man] who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him—a renewal in which there is no distinction between Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave and freeman, but Christ is all, and in all.
Paul also states that Christ is the head of His body, the church Eph.
Also, the most important characteristic of bodies is that they are living. While bodies are highly organized, the organization is useless if there is no life. The church is the organic, living body of Christ. Its members must be alive spiritually through the new birth. Paul presents this image in his discussion of the respective roles of husbands and wives Eph.
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