GROWING IN THE GRACE OF THE LORD

(A study for new converts)

"WHAT IS THE CHURCH?"

LESSON 2

INTRODUCTION:
  A. This lesson will serve as an introduction to the church.
  B. Bearing in mind the importance of understanding the body of Christ.
 
DISCUSSION:
 
I. THE WORD "CHURCH" (MATTHEW 16:13-20)
  A. From the Greek word "ekklesia;" "ek" – meaning out of, and "klesis" – meaning a calling ("kaleo" – to call)
    1. Applied by the Greeks to any body of people called from their home or business.
    2. To the Greeks this word suggested a self-governing society; to the Jew, a theocratic, direction of God, society. (ISBE)
    3. The "ekklesia" of the New Testament is a society of those who are free because of obedience to the King (Romans 6:16-18).
 
II. THE CHURCH'S RELATION TO CHRIST IS THAT OF A BRIDE TO HER HUSBAND
  A. Read Ephesians 5:22-23.
  B. Of the relationship he says, "THE TWO SHALL BECOME ONE FLESH." He then adds, "This is a great mystery; but I speak concerning Christ and the church" (Ephesians 5:31-32).
 
III. THE CHURCH IS A BODY OF MANY MEMBERS OF WHICH CHRIST IS THE HEAD
  A. Read I Corinthians 12:12-27.
  B. As head over the body, Christ governs and presides (Colossians 1:18; Ephesians 1:22-23).
 
IV. THE CHURCH IS THE FAMILY OF GOD
  A. Paul referred to the church as "THE HOUSE OF GOD" (I Timothy 3:15).
  B. By "house," Paul did not mean a building, but a family. Several times the word "house" refers to family (Acts 10:2; 11:14; 16:15).
    1. Paul called the Ephesians "fellow citizens with the saints, and the household of God" (Ephesians 2:19).
    2. Sons and daughters of God (II Corinthians 6:18). God's sons and daughters would indeed be in His family.
    3. Therefore, when the Bible refers to the house of God, it is talking about the church.
 
V. THE CHURCH IS THE KINGDOM OF GOD AND CHRIST
  A. This kingdom was to come during the lifetime of some who walked with Jesus on earth (Mark 9:1).
    1. John preached about the kingdom coming (Matthew 3:1-2) — when?
    2. Jesus preached concerning its coming (Matthew 4:17) — when?
    3. The apostles preached about its coming (Matthew 10:5-7) — when?
    4. The seventy preached about the coming (Luke 10:9) — when?
  B. What does "at hand" mean? Mark 9:1 — in the lifetime. The night He was betrayed Jesus appointed unto His apostles a kingdom.
  C. Did it come?
    1. Revelation 1:10 — John was in it.
    2. Hebrews 12:28 — they had received it.
    3. Colossians 1:13-14 — they left darkness and were translated into it.
    4. I Corinthians 15:23-25 — when Christ comes He will deliver it up.
    5. I Thessalonians 2:12 — they were called into it.
 
VI. THE CHURCH AND THE KINGDOM ARE THE SAME PEOPLE
  A. The church is spoken of as being the same as the kingdom (Matthew 16:18-19).
  B. If the church and the kingdom are different, Christ built a church and then gave the apostles the keys to a kingdom.
 
VII. TERMS OF MEMBERSHIP
  A. Hear — Romans 10:17.
  B. Believe — Hebrews 11:6; John 8:24; Acts 16:32-34; Romans 5:1.
  C. Repentance — Luke 24:47; Luke 13:3,5; Acts 17:30-31; Acts 26:20.
  D. Confess — Matthew 10:32-33; Romans 10:9-10; I Timothy 6:12.
  E. Baptism — 1) To be saved (Mark 16:16); 2) For Remission of sins (Acts 2:38); 3) To get into Christ (Galatians 3:27); 4) To walk in a new life (Romans 6:4); 5) It is a burial in water (Colossians 2:13).
  F. Saved ones are added to the Lord's body (Ephesians 4:4; Ephesians 1:22-23; I Corinthians 12:13).
    1. Acts 2:47.
    2. Acts 5:14; 11:24.
 
VIII. CONCLUSION:
  A. The church is the body of Christ, having the same relation to Him that a bride has to her husband (Ephesians 5:22-23).
  B. The church is the "house of God" or the "family of God" made up of the "born again ones," making them His "sons and daughters."
  C. The church is the kingdom of God, "called out of the world" or "delivered from the power of darkness" (Acts 2:41, 47; Colossians 1:13-14).
  D. LET US ALL STRIVE TO LOVE, HONOR, AND PROMOTE THE CHURCH OF JESUS CHRIST!
 
 
QUESTIONS FROM LESSON TWO
 
    1. What does the word church mean?
    2. Explain the relationship between Christ and His church.
    3. Who is the head of the church? Why?
    4. Does I Corinthians 12:12-27 condone denominationalism?
    5. What is meant by "household of God?"
    6. What is the difference in "the Kingdom" and "the church?"
    7. Is it necessary to know about the church?
    8. Give the terms of entrance into the church.
    9. What is meant by the term "at hand" in reference to the church?
    10. At what point are people added to the church?
    11. Is it important to be in the church?