Just What is a Church?

Matthew 16:18; Hebrews 10:25


I.         Introduction

II.       Lesson


A.      Old Testament Preparation for the Church (Acts 7:37,38)


1.        What to believe was already given in the Old Testament (Jn 5:39)

2.        What the Jews were as a nation, the church is to be as a group

3.        How the Jews failed to follow the Lord by faith should be our warning

4.        God is only able to save people who know and believe the word of God


B.       Misconceptions about the Church


1.        That it is a building, or a Temple, or a holy place

2.        That it is the repository of faith – that to get faith, you come to “the church” (see Rom 10:17; Jn 17:17)

3.        That it is any one specific group only – or that it is not any specific group


C.       Christ’s Definition of His Kind of a Church


1.        A Gathering of His People (Jn 1:10-13; 10:27)


a.        Born again people

b.       Baptized people – sign of commitment


2.        Meeting in His Place (Mt 18:20)


a.        It is a regular gathering of believers to a place

b.       It is local – as much as possible

c.        For exhortation – not entertainment (Heb 10:25)


3.        Seeking His Presence (Mt 18:20)


a.        All is worthless if Jesus is not here

b.       He comes to a meeting with a purpose – to conform us to His own likeness


4.        Reflecting His Praise – it is a gathering for His pleasure


a.        We get a blessing for sure

b.       But we gather to be a blessing to Jesus – focus is on Him


5.        Obeying His Preaching


a.        The preaching of His Word (Mt 24:35)


1)       Testimonies are great

2)       Praying is fantastic

3)       Fellowshipping is wonderful

4)       But PREACHING is the Bees Nees (1Cor 1:17,18,22,23)


b.       All other reasons for gathering are dirt compared to the purpose of preaching


6.        Following His Plans – His ways of doing things – His will – according to His written word


a.        For our preparation – He knows what we need most

b.       For our protection – He designed church to be the BEST place to be when the doors are open – no other place is as safe – spiritually!

c.        All done according to the words of God – especially in the New Testament


1)       Not according to feelings

2)       Or to experiences

3)       Or according to headquarters - hierarchy

4)       But according to the clear instructions in the Bible!


7.        Participating in the World


a.        We don’t switch on in a church building, and then off again when we go home and to school

b.       We are what we are 24/7

c.        We affect the community we live it as


1)       Light

2)       Salt

3)       Voice


D.      If you find a group of believers doing these things, you have found a true church!


E.       So, Jesus Started His Church


1.        By Calling out people to follow Him (Mt 4:18-20)


a.        By faith – willing to obey His word

b.       Fully – not half-heartedly


2.        By Baptising them – see this also in the Jews out of Egypt


a.        Proof of their commitment

b.       Public identification with other believers


3.        By Teaching them – 3 ½ years


a.        From the word of God

b.       From His own life – our example


4.        By Changing them


a.        By His word

b.       Through each situation they face – nothing is an accident

c.        If a church is not seeing people’s lives changed, they are failing


5.        By Empowering them


a.        At Pentecost first

b.       Now available upon request (Lk 11:11-13; Eph 5:18)


6.        By Using them


a.        God uses all people – the unsaved, and the wicked

b.       God uses Christians especially


1)       Preaching

2)       Praying

3)       Paying - Financing their projects themselves


7.        By Sending them


a.        A church that is not evangelistic, dies

b.       A church that is not duplicating itself, is disobedient


III.     Conclusion