What, or more appropriately who, is the church? The church is made up of people who believe and profess that Jesus is Lord and Savior. That is the short answer to who or what the church is, but I don’t think that summary does justice to what all that entails. Ephesians 5:30 identifies the church as the BODY of Christ and John 3:29 calls the church the BRIDE of Christ. Jesus DIED for the church (Ephesians 5:25) and He FOUNDED the church. Matthew 16:18 says, “And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the forces of Hades will not overpower it”. The “rock” Jesus is talking about is not Peter himself, but rather Peter’s confession that Jesus is the “Messiah, the Son of the living God!” (Matthew 16:16). The church is also the dwelling place of God’s presence (2 Corinthians 6:16; Ephesians 2:21-22). I don’t think you heard me. I said the church is the dwelling place of God’s presence! Just to be clear, let me say that another way. If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, then you are saved and the Holy Spirit of the One, True, Living God dwells inside of you! This realization should change everything! It should change the importance we place on gathering together as a local body of believers, the way we listen to and study His Word, and how we worship! This should also change the way we think, talk, and act as individual members of the body of Christ! As one commentator writes, “This is the God who spoke and the world came into being, the God who has absolute authority and sovereign power over all things in creation, the God who calls the stars by name and holds the nations in His hand—the all-powerful, all-knowing, indescribably great, infinitely holy God of the universe; and He considers us, the church, to be His people, His gathering, His household.”
What does the church do? In short, as the bride and body of Christ we are to submit to His authority and will, and go about doing His work. Jesus told us exactly what this looks like in Matthew 28:18-20 when He said to go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you. We take the gospel, the good news of Jesus’ work on the cross, to all the nations! We make disciples of all nations! We do this by showing the Word (with our lives and conversations), sharing the Word (with anyone and everyone), teaching the Word (in our day to day lives), and serving the world (making ourselves available to be used anyway God sees fit). We detect error and sin within the church and we declare truth in the church and to the world. So, let us live with purity and train for eternity through prayer and study of the Word of God. Paul said that training the body has limited benefits, but godliness is beneficial in every way (1 Timothy 4:8).
My prayer is that as individuals and as a church we will embody and reflect the character and goodness of Christ, that we are devoted to God’s Word, and that we remain on guard against false teaching while boldly proclaiming the Truth.