The church of God in Scripture is a spiritual body of believers who hold the faith of Jesus and keep the commandments of God. Under the lordship of Christ and the authority of His Word, the church exists universally and locally for purposes of worshipping God, preaching the gospel, nurturing believers, and serving humanity. Christians should participate in the churches’ mission by service to others and fellowship with believers.
Many people “go to church” each week. But what is the church? A building? A cathedral? A gathering of saints? We will see the church is the called out ones of God who have been baptized and have God’s Holy Spirit dwelling in them.
Jesus prayed to God the Father on his last night of human life on earth in John 17:11-12 to “Keep them in thine own name”. God’s name! 12 times in the New Testament we are given the name of the church, the “Church of God” (Acts 20:28; I Cor. 1:2; 10:32; 11:16, 22; 15:9; II Cor. 1:1; Gal. 1:13; I Thes. 2:14; II Thes. 1:4; I Tim. 3:5,15). By no other name will His church be known.
What is the ultimate mission of the Church of God? First and foremost it is to preach the gospel of the Kingdom of God (Matt. 6:33; Luke 9:1-2; Mark 16:15).
Jesus Himself is the head of the church (Eph. 1:22-23).
How was the church built? The church is built on the foundation of Jesus Christ, the prophets and the apostles (Eph. 2:19-22). The church is NOT a building but the people of God.
What is the church? The church is: those who are begotten children of God, those who have received the gift of the Holy Spirit of God. The church is made up of the spirit begotten sons and daughters of God and no other is a part of God’s holy church. One must repent and be baptized (see CSCOG7 Staff Baptism) and receive the gift of the Holy Spirit to be a part of the church. The church is the people of God, not a physical building with a steeple (Rom. 8:9 and 14- verse 9 gives a definition of what a Christian is-someone with God’s spirit dwelling in them). The church is “an assembly of persons who have been called out of the world by the doctrine of the gospel to worship the true God in Jesus Christ, according to His Word” (This We Believe p.62). Without God’s spirit dwelling in you means you are not a part of the church (Rom.8 all). The Greek word translated “Church” is ecclesia. The Greek word “ecclesia” simply means “called out ones”. The Church of God is made up of those people God has called out of this world (John 6:44).
The people of the church possess diverse spiritual gifts (I Cor. 12:4), with differing ranks of ministry and responsibilities (Eph. 4:11-13; I Cor. 12:28). There are qualified elders (I Tim. 3:1-7) and Deacons (I Tim. 3:8-13; Acts 6:1-7). All Christians must be working in harmony of spirit and doctrine (I Cor.1:10, 13; Heb. 10:25; I Cor. 12:13).
Jesus was very clear the church would never disappear as He said the “Gates of Hell (Hades) shall not prevail against it (Matt. 16:18). The church will survive until His return to usher in His Kingdom of God. Jesus Himself said he would return to His temple-the Church (Eph. 2:19-22). Just as the church is not a physical building to worship in the end time temple is the people of God’s Church.