Churches - What is a Church?
What is a church? Is there a perfect church? Where should I go to church?
First I need to define "churches". Based on how people talk about "churches", they are talking about buildings, as in "I go to church", which is a physical location. Also, people refer to church as an activity that they do on Sunday or Wed night etc, as in "I go to church", meaning they sit in a pew or whatever else they do for an hour or more etc. Also people say, "I like my church", I take that to mean that they like the building, the pastor, what they hear and the people there.
So when I refer to "churches" here, I am referring to the buildings, the organization that runs it, the pastors and the people who go there. Now I would like to contrast that to the church built by Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ founded "the church" talked about in the wilderness and the New Testament. Here are some verses that refer to this:
Acts 7:38 This is he, that was in the church in the wilderness with the angel which spake to him in the mount Sina, and with our fathers: who received the lively oracles to give unto us:
Matthew 16:18 And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.
Matthew 18:17 And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican.
Acts 2:47 Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.
So that's all this page is about for now. I am defining what I mean when I write "churches" and also showing the scriptural use of the word "church" as used by the apostles of Jesus Christ, the foundation of the church.
Is There a Perfect Church?
Of the churches in the New Testament, there were problems and sins with many. That is, there were sins being committed by the people, by some or many in the church. . In the book Revelation, Jesus spoke to the seven churches. There were problems with 6 of the churches. Regardless, the church is only made perfect by the power of God, so nobody can boast of being perfect (and tell the truth). The very need we have, of not keeping the law of God, of sinning, requires us to have a Saviour. God is good and merciful. We boast in the redemption of Jesus Christ, the blood that purifies us from our sins, and of salvation by grace through faith in God.
Where Should I Go to Church?
I don't read in the Bible about people going to "church". Is the question "Going to church" making the word "church" to be a verb? Like going to "brush your teeth". Like...It's fun churching...? We go to fellowship with others. I don't read anywhere in Bible about "going to church". I think when phrases have to be invented that are not in the Bible, that it's likely because we are not following what God wants.
When I was a 2x2, we would say, "We're going to convention", but not "We're going to fellowship". We said "We're going to meetings.", we didn't say, "We're going to fellowship."
There is a lot in the Bible about fellowship.
Act_2:42 And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.
1Co_1:9 God is faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord.
1Co_10:20 But I say, that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to devils, and not to God: and I would not that ye should have fellowship with devils.
This verse is interesting, because you can have people who are fellowshipping, but it is with devils. Yikes!
2Co_6:14 Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?
2Co_8:4 Praying us with much intreaty that we would receive the gift, and take upon us the fellowship of the ministering to the saints.1Jn_1:7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.
It looks like fellowship is a natural occurrence that will happen when we walk in the the light as he is in the light. That has been my experience.
Here Paul writes about the fellowship of the ministering to the saints. I don't think that this is a particular building or denomination. It is all focused on obeying God, and loving the saints. I see that the word fellowship is important to understand and the word "church" because if we are going to use those words, they should be used according to their true meanings (esp in Bible context) so that kids especially are not confused.
Conclusion Regarding the Church
My conclusion is that the church is the body of believers in Christ. I believe that God knows who are his. I believe that we should be concerned with fellowshipping with believers wherever they are and most importantly worshipping God.
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|To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me. - Jesus Christ speaking to Saul, see Act 26:18, see Salvation through Jesus Christ.|