The Nature of the Church Part One:
ekklesia NT:1577, from ek, “out of,” and klesis, “a calling” (kaleo, “to call”), was used among the Greeks of a body of citizens “gathered” to discuss the affairs of state.
“Ecclesia” was not the only Greek word Jesus could have used. He chose this particular one to refer to His Church.
“Ecclesia” is the most limited in concept in terms of an assembly. Jesus chose this word and not a broader one in reference to His assembly.
The Greek usage of this word had a narrower meaning than simply an assembly. The word used for a simple assembly, a mass of people, was “senagoga”. The word “ecclesia” was used to refer to those called together out of a larger multitude tor the transaction of business.
The word was used by the Greeks in reference to a body of people that not only were called out to assemble but this assembly also had with it, the authority to make binding decisions.
Cl Scofield wrote, an accurate definition of the word is, an assembly of called out ones, the word is used of assembly, the word itself implies no more. (Note; he was a Universalist in his doctrine on the church)
If the word itself implies no more! One must conclude then that the idea of something universal or invisible has come from men and not from Jesus Christ who first used it in the New Testament.
Jesus speaks to seven individual churches in the book of Revelation. These churches are represented by seven separate lamp stands. Even the imagery used depict the churches are separate, stand alone lamp stands instead of one massive lamp stand.
Seven golden lamp standsRevl:20 – 2:1
The Church is a local, visible, assembly of people covenanted together to do the work of God.
Each church is a standalone assembly headed by Jesus.
Jesus called out and established His Church.
Seashore callingsMatt 4:17-22
In Matt 4:19, Jesus says; “follow Me and I will make you fishers of men”. This is the commission of the Church!
All authority is given unto Me… Go you therefore… make disciples Matt 28:18-20
Jesus had the authority to baptize and make disciplesJo 4:1-2
Only the members of the Lords authorized assembly has the authority to make disciples!
I give unto you the keys – Authority Matt 16:19
Tell it to the Church… Whatsoever you bind Matt 18:15-18
Appoints apostlesLuke 6:12-16
Appointed first in the church, ApostlesICor 12:28
I will build My church Matt 16:18
The idea here is that He would build-up or strengthen the church. The church was in existence already at this time.
What material did He use? Jesus used the material prepared by John the Baptist.
People were saved and then baptized by JohnMatt 3:1-6
Salvation alone is not enough to be part of the church!
Church authority and Spirit power
You will be witnesses… but waitLu 26:46-49
The Holy Spirit came upon the assembly of 120 people on the day of Pentecost, empowering the church.
Acts 1:4-8, 15
3000 were added to the first church through repentance and baptism.Acts 2:37-41
The reception of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost was only to 120 people.
It was only for the Lord’s church.
There were more than 120 people saved before the day of Pentecost.
Jesus was seen by over 500 brethren after His resurrectionICor 15:4-6
To have the power and authority, that the presence of Christ in the Spirit gives us to do the work of God, we must be a member of a local church!
The practical work of the local church
The perfecting of the saints Eph 4:11-15
Of what practical use is the universal church?
The universal church doctrine has weakened the commitment of saved people to local churches…
There is no Church if there is no assembly! God’s people better learn that soon!
Forsake not the assembling…Heb 10:25
The institution of the church is spoken of in a universal way.
1 Cor 15:9
Eph 1:22, 3:10,3:21,5:23
Challenges to the universal church concept
Why is it called an assembly if it cannot assemble?
How do you become a member?
Can you be excluded from it and if so does that mean you have become lost?
In importance is it higher, lower or equal to the local church?
If one is excluded from a local church, is that one still a member of the universal church?
Does it, or should it, have a specific doctrine?
The Nature of the Church Part Two: The Body of Christ
The usage of the term “body” emphasizes our connection to Christ as part of the Church.
We are attached to Christ and we are attached to one another.
One flesh Eph 5:25-32
The wife or “bride” is spoken of as the same thing in this passage because they are the same thing.
Members of Christ 1Cor 6:14-20
melos (mel’-os); of uncertain affinity; a limb or part of the body:
KJV – member.
This word is used 3 times in verse 15 and throughout this book.
“Your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit”
This is the collective ownership of a singular body, the body under consideration is the church body of which we are “members”.
English grammar requires this to be speaking of the church body.
Bob and Jim own an office, verses, Bob and Jim own offices.
The Greek grammar could allow this to mean the singular body of the individual! With the Greek it is not definitive!
Many members1Cor 12:1-31
We are to work together as a body. Each member has its own unique talents to offer.
All of the body parts are connected and aware of one another. Vs. 25-27
Not all of the members of the mythical “universal church” are aware of each other nor do they suffer when one they do not even know exists suffers or do they rejoice…!
The Lord gave spiritual gifts to the Church.
The promise of the Father Lu 24:49
Repent and be baptized… the giftActs 2:38
Baptized and laid on hands Acts 19:5-7
Who can forbid water Acts 10:43-48
The edification of the body is what we are to strive for in what we do. The gifts were given for the edification of the Church 1Cor 12:7, 14:4-5, 22-23
The gifts mentioned in chapter 12 are to be demonstrated in an assembly situation, a church service so the church (assembly) will be edified!
Verse 13We are “Baptized into the body” not saved into the body.
Verse 27“Now ye are the body” – who is this letter written to? The local church in Corinth!
The body is to be the physical part of Christ on the earth.
We are to carry out the actions of Christ as we live on this earth, carry out the great commission.
We,the body of Christ, are to be empowered and led by the Spirit of Christ!
In Christ’s stead we implore you 2Cor 5:20
So send I you Jo 20:21
One bread one body 1Cor 10:16-17
If you believe in the local church you will believe in closed communion.
If you believe in the universal church you will believe in open communion.
If you believe in both you will be mixed up.
The Nature of the Church
Part Three: The Temple
The purpose of this lesson is to show the nature of the church as the temple of God.
The Church is called the house of God and the household of God. The reference to the household is teaching us about how we are to treat one another as members of the household. We are to love as brothers and sisters. We are to nurture the younger and weaker members. We are to love and forgive as brothers and sisters.
The Church is also a spiritual house. A spiritual house is a temple. As a spiritual house or a temple, it is very important in reference to our worship and service to the Lord.
In the Old Testament we see that the Temple was essential to acceptable worship and service to God. It could not be substituted with any other!
God gave specific instructions on how the Tabernacle was to be built. Ex 25:1-9
Examples of how God and God’s people reacted to deviations to His prescribed way.
Strange fire Lev 10:1-3
The alter of the Temple or Tabernacle is the only approved alter Josh 22:19
Saul was not a priest and he made an offering 1Sam 13:12-14
The Old Test things were a shadow of things to come Heb 8:1-6
These were serious issues that could not be altered without incurring the wrath of God!
Many may think it doesn’t matter how or where we worship and serve God but is it that what we would learn from the pattern of the Old Testament?
A spiritual house, a kingdom of priests 1Pe 2:1-5
Household…grows into a holy temple Eph 2:19-22
The sacrifice of your life is to be made as we give it in service as a member of the church.
The temple aspect of the Church is in reference to worship and sacrifice to honor and glorify God.
Living sacrifice “Holy” Rom 12:1-2
Holy and acceptable to God – Sanctification
(The Church) That He might sanctify it Eph 5:25-27
No more sacrifice for sin Heb 10:24-29
Walk in the light… 1Jo 1:5-9
The Temple is where God was to be glorified!
The heavens cannot contain God. 1Ki 8:27-29
The Glory of God is seen in the Temple because that is where He dwells!
The cloud comes with God’s glory Ex 40:33-35
Solomon’s temple filled with God’s glory 1Ki 8:10-13
Our Lord came back in the Spirit to have a special dwelling among His people
Made us to sit in heavenly places Eph 2:5-6
Why are the places heavenly? Because God is there!
Dwelling place of God through in the Spirit Eph 2:21-22
The glory of God is to be proclaimed by His people in His house.
Unto Him be glory in the church Eph 3:21
We are to reflect God in our lives and in doing so we glorify God.
Let your light so shine Matt 5:14-16
The Nature of the Church Part Four:
The purpose of this lesson is to show the Biblical teaching regarding the Church as the “bride” or “wife” of Christ.
As noted in the second lesson on the “body” there is a correlation between that lesson and this one.
The intimate relationship of a husband and a wife are used in many passages in the New Testament to refer to Christ and His Church.
They two are one flesh Eph 5:22-32
It must be noted that the church is not actually called the wife or bride in this passage rather the term “as” is used quite often. However there is a parallel made throughout the passage and then the statement;
This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church. Eph 5:32
A relationship now:
Joined to the Lord is one flesh 1 Cor 6:17
Joined to an harlot 1Cor 6:16
I never knew you Matt 7:21-23
The same word is used in many verses but it is interesting that this same word is used in reference
to Mary not knowing a man.
Knew her not Matt 1:25
I believe that those in Matt 7 are not known intimately by Christ as He knows His Church or espoused Bride.
Espoused to Christ 2 Cor 11:1-2
We are espoused to Christ when we become a member of a true church. We enter into a covenant relationship with Him, like marriage.
Betrothal (from Nelson’s Illustrated Bible Dictionary, Copyright (c)1986, Thomas Nelson
A mutual promise or contract for a future marriage (Deut 20:7; Jer 2:2; Luke 1:27).
The selection of the bride was followed by the betrothal, not to be entirely equated with the modern concept of engagement. A betrothal was undertaken by a friend or agent representing the bridegroom and by the parents representing the bride. It was confirmed by oaths and was accompanied with presents to the bride and often to the bride’s parents.
The betrothal was celebrated by a feast. In some instances, it was customary for the bridegroom to place a ring, a token of love and fidelity, on the bride’s finger. In Hebrew custom, betrothal was actually part of the marriage process. A change of intention by one of the partners after he or she was betrothed was a serious matter, subject in some instances to penalty by fine.
The most important instance of betrothal in the Bible is the one between Joseph and Mary (Matt 1:18-19). A Jewish betrothal could be dissolved only by the man’s giving the woman a certificate of divorce. A betrothal usually lasted for one year. During that year the couple were known as husband and wife, although they did not have the right to be united sexually.
Betrothal was much more closely linked with marriage than our modern
engagement. Butthe actual marriage took place only when the bridegroom
took the bride to his home and the marriage was consummated in the sexual
So we have a relationship now but there will be an even greater relationship later in eternity: The wedding to come
His wife has made herself ready Rev 19:6-9
Christ will marry the faithful of those in covenant relationship with Him.
The marriage has not happened yet, we are espoused.
Contrast the works of the Bride verses the works of those in Matt 7.
A term of unfaithfulness within a marriage is used in reference to a spiritually unfaithful relationship with the Lord and His Spirit.
Adulterers and adulteressesJa 4:1-5
The dwelling place of the bride
Come I will show you the bride Rev 21:9-10
The Bride dwells in the City
The Lord dwells in the city Rev 21:22-22:4
V 4 – His servants shall see His face
Holiness… without… no man will see the Lord Heb 12:1-17 (10, 14)
The Old Testament symbolism Ruth and Boaz
Ruth makes her choice Ruth 1:16-17
I may find favor. She was looking for grace and mercy. 2:2
Why have I found favor.. .since I am a foreigner2:10
Boaz supplies abundantly as she gleans in his field.
We must work, want and seek, but if we do God’s will He will supply above our
effort or expectation!
Ruth presents herself for marriage.
There is one closer 3:8-13
What she is doing is honorable tradition for that time period.
Boaz approaches the close relative.4:3-6
The closer relative cannot redeem her.
Boaz takes Ruth as wife. 4:13-18
Christ and the Church
Strangers and foreigners Eph 2:11-13
As soon as we came looking for mercy the Lord loved and blessed us.
She stayed only in his field, as he had requested.
She loved him and he loved her
If you love Me Jo 14:15-24
Boaz paid the price to redeem her and make her his own.
Christ also paid the price…Eph 5:2-3