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Chapter 12

The Church

 

Chapter 12
THE CHURCH

The Church must be viewed from two perspectives. The church is not a physical body but a spiritual body. There is the local church, which is a physical expression of the Body of Christ where a group of Christians meet in a physical location. It may be a house, a particular building designated for meeting, a cave or whatever. The people are the church, not the physical structure. This is a local assembly of believers who have received His Word, been born again and are baptized. They come together for studying doctrine, prayer, breaking of bread and fellowship. Acts 2:41-42. 

Second, there is the “Church” which is universal and is made up of all born again believers on planet earth along with those who are in Heaven. If you are saved today, you are a member of this Church. Some have called it the “Invisible Church.”

There are two ordinances given to the church, baptism and The Lord’s Supper. These are not sacraments. That is, they have no ability to bring about salvation. In Luke 22:19. Jesus said, in reference to the Lord's Supper, "This do in remembrance of me." Some religions offer the bread and declare it to become the actual presence and body of Christ. However, we do not remember someone who is present but someone who is absent. The bread is only a symbol of His body that was broken for us on the cross. The cup is symbolic of His blood that He shed for our sin. Both are to be taken to remember what He did for us until He comes again for us. I Corinthians 11:24-29.

Baptism is to show that you have become a Christian, and the Lord’s Supper is to remember the Lord Jesus and what He has done for us until He comes again. These are to be exercised by believers only.

There were several gifts given to people for the purpose of ministering to the early local church that are listed in Ephesians. 4:7-8, 11. Since we have received the completed revelation of God’s Word in the Bible, the gifts of Apostles and prophets have ceased. Revelations and prophecies are no longer needed. Though some may declare to have a revelation or prophecy, it is a lie. In fact, any additional or contrary revelations are condemned. Revelation 22:18-19.

Every church is a local autonomy, and there is an organized structure within the local church, which includes deacons and bishops or elders (pastors) who are to lead, teach and shepherd the sheep. I Timothy 3:1-15. There is also authority given to the church to exercise discipline and dismiss people who choose to live in sin. I Corinthians 5:11-12

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