Acts 2:47: praising God and enjoying the favour of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.
CHURCH is a group of people made by God who adds them to it. You might be the member of a local church, but God considers you as a member only when, you are born again and saved by the Word of God, through the life of the Lord Jesus Christ. God adds you as a member of HIS universal church, only when you are saved by God.
Church is something that God is building, and only God can add to it. The term church is used in the Bible, 79 times. The term church is derived from a Greek word known as Ecclesia, meaning, called out ones / chosen people. It is not a mere building or an individual, but it is an assembly, of people that are called out by God, so that they would belong to HIM.
Generally, people consider a building to be a church. That was so even in the Old Testament days; a temple was a holy place as the Ark of the Covenant was kept in it. But in the New Testament it is clear to us through the Word of God in John 4:23-24, that Jesus did not come to make a place holy, rather He came to make the people Holy.
(John 4:23-24) “Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.”
A church is a group of chosen people, who are called out by God to worship Him in spirit and in truth.
In the New Testament, God shifted the focus from a place of worship, to the purpose of worship and to the people of worship. What is the nature of a church? The Bible is very clear in the book of Acts 2:47 that “the Lord added to their number daily, those who were being saved”.
A true church is a growing church.
God is building His church around the world. The works of the Holy Spirit are awe-inspiring around the world, because a true church is a growing church.
The second most important nature of the church is, Lord Jesus Christ should be its head. It is not an individual, who should be the head of a church, but Jesus alone. This is clear in the Word of God.
In the book of Colossians 1:18 we read thus: “And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy”.
Wherever Jesus Christ (Word of God) is not the head, it is not a Bible-based church. Only a congregation led by the Word of God can be called a church.
The third nature of a church is stated in 1Corinthians 12:28.
“And God has placed in the church first of all apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healing, of helping, of guidance, and of different kinds of tongues.”
The first position, which God has given in church, is a pastor. A pastor is a God-ordained person, appointed to feed the people for their spiritual needs. Unless it is a God-ordained person, it will not be called as a church.
The fourth nature of a church is the gates of hell shall not overcome it.
In Matthew 16:18, we read: “And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.” Though problems are present around a church, they will not prevail over a church.
The fifth nature of the church is it is the Bride of Christ.
Ephesians 5:27 says: “and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless”. Jesus calls the church His Bride, because a church has a reverential position. As a bride of Christ, a church should be dedicated to Jesus alone.
The sixth nature of a church is it always says COME. In the book of Revelation it says: “The Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let the one who hears say, “Come!” Let the one who is thirsty come; and let the one who wishes take the free gift of the water of life.” A church should always call the unsaved people towards it and lead them to Christ.
The seventh nature of a church is unity. Psalms 133 says: “How good and pleasant it is, when God’s people live together in unity! It is like precious oil poured on the head, running down on the beard, running down on Aaron’s beard, down on the collar of his robe. It is as if the dew of Hermon were falling on Mount Zion. For there the Lord bestows his blessing, even life forevermore”.
Unity is an important nature of a church. A God-led church is always a united church.
Every true church is a growing and an evangelistic church. Be loyal to the place where God has called you. Respect the shepherd God has ordained over you. Be a group of people called by God, obey God and be faithful to HIM and HIS church.
The writer is the pastor in-charge of Bethel AG International Worship Center in Bangalore, India. More columns.