- Category: The Church: The Higher Calling
Theme Text– 'Those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.' (Romans 8:30)
1) Today, many think of churches as buildings. What is the Church actually, according to the Bible?
Jesus was the first to use the word 'church' in the Bible. The New Testament root word for 'church' is the Greek ekklesia. It means ‘the called-out’ or ‘a selection’.
Indeed. Jesus told his followers, ‘I have chosen you out of the world’ John 15:19.
The church is a group of people who have been 'selected' and 'called out' by Christ and have been set apart from the world.
2) How does the Bible describe the original churches?
- As the disciples grew in number, they gathered together for worship and fellowship. These groups of believers were called churches irrespective of their strength in numbers.
- These groups did not have any denominational names. They were identified by their locations - the church at Jerusalem, the church at Philippi, the church at Rome, the church that is in the house of Priscilla and Aquila.
- Paul describes Christ as the ‘Head over everything for the Church, which is his body’ - Ephesians 1:22-23. He symbolically depicts the Church as the ‘body’ of Christ –‘Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink.’ 1Corinthians 12:12-13.
3) How does one become part of Jesus Christ’s Church in the Bible?
The day of Pentecost, Peter told the good news about Christ to the Jewish crowd and issued a calling - “Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off, as many as the Lord our God will call to Himself.” (Acts 2:38-39 NASB).
Three thousand heeded his call and became part of the Church that day. Then the Church grew daily - ‘The Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved' (Acts 2:47 KJV).
As instructed by the Apostle Peter –
- They repented - A change of mind from the Old Testament to the New.
- They believed in Jesus putting their faith in him as the God-sent Christ, the Savior of mankind.
- They were baptized in the name of Christ – to dedicate their lives for Christ and his gospel of the Kingdom.
Thereby they became part of his Church, and as promised, they received the Holy Spirit.
The three steps to join the Church remain the same today.