Below you will find notes from a study and talk i prepared a long time ago but it’s truths are still important today…

CHURCH…WHAT IS IT?!

Church as we know it today is far from what it was in the early church. Culture, location, time in history all make it impossible to imitate the early church even if we tried (we shouldn’t be attempting to simply copy anyway…) but there is scripture to give us a picture of what church at its core should be and it is important that we are serious about making sure our individual walk is a godly one in order to ensure our part in the functioning of the body is fulfilled

 

  • Many people today understand the church as a building. This is not a biblical understanding of the church. The word “church” comes from the Greek word ekklesia which is defined as “an assembly” or “called-out ones.” The root meaning of “church” is not that of a building, but of people

 

  • The church is the body of Christ, of which He is the head. It has no head except Christ and we are accountable to Him (Col. 1:18)

 

 

  • The body of Christ is made up of all believers in Jesus Christ from the day of Pentecost until Christ’s return. The body of Christ:

    1) The universal church – all those who have a personal relationship with Jesus. “For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink” (1 Corinthians 12:13). Anyone who believes is part of the body of Christ and has received the Holy Spirit as evidence. The universal church of God is all those who have received salvation

    2) The local church-all believers need fellowship and edification in a local church. Where we can commit to encouraging, teaching, and building one another up. 1:22, 23– the church is the current presence of Jesus on earth. The church must be filled with Holy Spirit in order to represent Jesus in our communities

 

FELLOWSHIP means – sharing, unity, close association, partnership, participation, society, community, contributory help, brotherhood. Godly fellowship brought together by Holy Spirit – cemented to Christ and each other

 

  • Bible times met in homes- Romans 16:5, 1 Corinthians 16:19, Colossians 4:15, Philemon 2 Small groups meeting in homes allows not only them, but us, to minister personally to one another. Special church buildings, programs, services, and crowds didn’t show up on the scene until several hundred years later. Yet providing a church keeps its focus on ministering personally to each other, it doesn’t matter where you meet

 

  • It is a fellowship of believers who are equal in God’s sight (Gal. 3:26-29).There are no privileges or distinctions made according to God based on race, gender, circumstances etc. We must work towards unity which involves not focussing on race, gender, circumstances etc. He considers us all as free in Christ (Gal. 5:1,6 – remaining in the freedom given to us and not becoming tangled up in bondage or the law but to instead concentrate on faith working through love)

 

  • Acts 2:42 teaches that continuously the church engaged in at least four activities: 1) devoting themselves to teaching, 2) to fellowship, 3) to communion, and 4) to prayer.

V42-47 summed up in three groups of three:

  1. Word, fellowship, prayer
  2. Sharing, giving, caring
  3. Praise, worship, evangelism

 

  • I Corinthians 14:26 – what we are instructed to do when we gather: “When you assemble, each one has a psalm, has a teaching, has a revelation, has a tongue, has an interpretation. Let all things be done for edification.” Everyone is encouraged to participate and bring something of edification to the fellowship. Church is not a spectator sport where only a few take part and an audience sits and watches. We all must encourage and build one another up by serving in some way

 

Body is to be built up by mutual effort of all members, all contributing in their own way. It creates stability and unity when we contribute in love for one another

 

 

  • Each member of the body is to blend his or her ability with the abilities of all other members to form the complete body of Christ. Romans 12 – all have different functions and gifts that corporately form the whole body. Use those gifts abundantly-v8 give liberally, show mercy with cheerfulness, lead with diligence…not simply doing it for the sake of it but giving it your all. V9-21 (not just for us to demonstrate in the body but to unbelievers too) no hypocrisy, hating evil, clinging to goodness, acting in brotherly love, demonstrating kindness to each other, serving God, rejoicing, patience displayed, steadfast prayer, distributing to those in need within the body, being hospitable, supporting one another in good and bad times, humility, peace where possible

 

I Corinthians 12-unity in diversity-different gifts, ministries and activities are manifested in order to bless and serve one another and God. Not for our own benefit. The church should be about giving not receiving.

 

  • 4:1-16 – quite an important focus is spiritual unity. Includes both being equipped and participating in ministry. We must do everything possible to keep unity within the body (v3). When we each live under the control of the Holy Spirit it should be natural for the body to work together in unity. Unity is at the heart of the Christian faith. Anything that causes division needs to be cut off. All leadership gifts (v11-16) are given by Jesus to equip, enable and prepare the whole body .

 

Psalm 133:1 – dwelling together in unity

John 17:20-23 – Jesus’ prayer for all believers before death was for us to be unified

 

Acts 4 talks about the body being of one heart and soul-the offering up of self and ownership for the benefit of others. To be of one heart means to be ‘in tune’ or ‘in sync’ with one another. To be of one soul is to be of one mind; to literally ‘breathe spiritually together’

 

CHURCH ISN’T CHURCH WITHOUT UNITY – doesn’t mean we all have to be the same. It is freedom to be your own personality in your service to God and each other

 

 

  • Acts 2:43 – body must operate under reverent fear of God. Must recognise God’s authority and power to do as He wills when He wills however He wills…causes us to stand in awe…desire only to please him because we recognise consequences of disobedience

 

 

  • Hebrews 10:24-25 teaches us the reason for gathering – stir one another to love and good deeds, encouraging one another. If in our fellowship we do not desire encourage and motivate each other to truly love one another and perform good deeds, then something is wrong

Individual members are bound together by their love for God and one another (Matt. 22:37-39; Eph. 4:2). This love is not mere lip service, but it is to be demonstrated by obedience to God (John 14:15) and to each other by serving one another (Gal. 5:13). We are family. Families take care of each other, watch out for each other- Eph 2:19.

 

That is literally all that is identified for the body. It is important for us to assess as individuals whether we are:

  • Looking to Jesus as head
  • Considering all as equal in Christ
  • Serious about teaching, fellowship, communion and prayer
  • Committed to serving each other and God through love
  • Passionate about building each other up
  • Bringing our own abilities and gifts for use
  • Seeking unity with others
  • Contributing to the fellowship when God gives us something to share
  • Living under the Holy Spirit’s control and guidance
  • Actively fearing God

 

A church made up of individuals serious about all of these things will be blessed by God. We are accountable to Him and so our lives need to reflect obedience and love. We represent Jesus to our communities and so whilst we are not to be burdened about perfection, we are to be committed to the heart of Jesus

 

 

Summary of fellowship to go away with

FELLOWSHIP means – sharing, unity, close association, partnership, participation, society, community, contributory help, brotherhood. Godly fellowship brought together by Holy Spirit – cemented to Christ and each other

 

Blu

CHURCH – What is it?