Basic Bible Doctrine (Part 14) - The Local Church

X. The Local Church 1. A church is a congregation of people (Heb 2:12 c/w Psa 22:22; Act 7:38 c/w Exo 16:2). 2. There is more than one type of church found in the scriptures. A. In the last section, it was shown that baptism adds a person to the church. In this section, it will be shown which church is under consideration. B. The Bible speaks of the universal church comprised of all the redeemed from all time as the church (Heb 12:22-23). i. This is the whole family of God (Eph 3:15). ii. This church is the bride that Christ died for (Eph 5:25-27). iii. A person was added to this church by God's election before the foundation of the world (Eph 1:4 c/w Eph 5:27 c/w Eph 5:30) iv. This is not the church that a person is added to by water baptism. C. The Bible also speaks of local churches as the church (1Ti 3:15; 1Co 11:18; Act 14:27). i. Church - III. 10. A congregation of Christians locally organized into a society for religious worship and spiritual purposes, under the direction of one set of spiritual office-bearers. ii. There are many local churches (Act 9:31; Gal 1:2). iii. Each local church is the whole church (1Co 14:23). iv. There is no universal church on earth of which local churches are parishes like the Roman Catholic church or other denominational systems. v. This is the church that a person is added to by water baptism (Act 2:41,47 c/w Act 1:15). 3. The church (for the remainder of the outline, "the church" will refer to the N.T. local church) was built by Jesus Christ at His first coming (Mat 16:18). A. The church existed in a different form under the O.T. (Act 7:38 c/w Exo 16:2). i. Jesus reformed the church under Moses (Heb 9:10). ii. This was the true reformation. iii. Jesus built the N.T. church by completing and perfecting the O.T. church. iv. The principle of building the house of God when it was already started is found in the rebuilding of the temple after the Babylonian captivity (Ezr 3:11 c/w Ezr 4:3). B. The church is built upon Jesus, the chief corner stone, and upon the apostles (Eph 2:20; 1Pe 2:6-7; Isa 28:16). i. The church (the congregation) is the true building, not the brick and mortar building it meets in. ii. Each member is a lively stone of that spiritual house (1Pe 2:4-5). iii. The church is the house of God (1Ti 3:15). iv. It is His habitation where He dwells (Eph 2:21-22). C. The church is the temple of God (1Co 3:16 c/w 1Co 1:2). i. God dwelled in the temple in the O.T. (2Ch 5:14). ii. God dwells in the church (His temple) (1Co 3:16). D. Every true local church is the body of Christ (1Co 12:27 c/w 1Co 1:2; Eph 5:30). i. Every child of God is a member of Christ (1Co 6:15) and for a member to be nourished and to grow it must be joined to the body (Col 2:19). ii. That nourishment or edifying is done in the local church (Eph 4:12). iii. The church is where the sheep get feed (Act 20:28; 1Pe 5:2). iv. You may be in the body of Christ in an eternal sense, which is the body that He died for (Eph 1:22-23 c/w Eph 5:25-27), but if you are not a member of a local church, you are not in the body of Christ, the kingdom of God in this world, and you will not be able to connect with God and grow as a Christian. E. The church will never be destroyed and will be here world without end. i. The church is the kingdom of heaven/God which was prophesied by Daniel (Dan 2:44). a. The kingdom of God would be set up in the days of the fourth kingdom and would never be destroyed (Dan 2:44 c/w Dan 2:40). The four kingdoms were: 1) Babylon - the head of gold (Dan 2:32,38). 2) Meads and Persians - the breast and arms of silver (Dan 2:32,39). 3) Greece - the belly and thighs of brass (Dan 2:32,39). 4) Rome - the legs of iron and feet of iron and clay (Dan 2:33,40). b. In the days of the Roman empire (Luk 3:1-3), John the Baptist and Jesus came preaching the kingdom of heaven/God (Mar 1:15; Mat 3:2; Mat 4:17). c. The church is that kingdom of God that is entered by baptism (Mat 21:31-32 c/w Luk 7:29-30 c/w Luk 16:16; Act 2:41). d. The church is that kingdom where we eat and drink at Christ's table (Luk 22:29-30). ii. The church is the kingdom of the God of heaven which shall never be destroyed (Dan 2:44). iii. The church that Jesus built was that kingdom of heaven of which the gates of hell shall not prevail against it (Mat 16:18-19). iv. The church is that kingdom which cannot be moved (Heb 12:28). v. The church will last throughout all ages, world without end to give glory to God (Eph 3:21). vi. Jesus will be with the church always until the end of the world (Mat 28:20). F. There is no more important place to be on earth than in the church. i. The church is the house of God and the gate of heaven (Gen 28:16-22 c/w 1Ti 3:15). ii. We ought to seek God's kingdom first, before our own needs and desires (Mat 6:33). iii. The one thing that all Christians should desire of God and seek after is to be in the church all the days of our lives (Psa 27:4). iv. They that dwell in God's house are blessed (Psa 84:4). v. One day in God's house is better than a thousand anywhere else (Psa 84:10). vi. Our prayer should be David's: "Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever." (Psa 23:6).
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