Study 8 Objective: What is the church, and what significance does it have to the believer?
Sometimes people can feel that their perception of truth is more valid than the received understanding of the church. Is this likely, bearing in mind that Paul identifies the church as the “ground of truth”? Church
is where truth is established through the teaching of the Word (John 17:17).
In reflecting the “fullness” of Jesus Christ, its living Head “who fills all in all” (Ephesians 1:22-23), the New Testament church was involved in acts of service (Acts 6:1-6; James 1:17, etc), community (Acts 2:44-45; Jude 12, etc), sacramental life (Acts 2:41, 18:8, 22:16; 1 Corinthians 10:16-17, 11:26) and worship (Acts 2:46-47; Colossians 4:16, etc).
Churches were involved in assisting each other, as demonstrated by the help given to the church in Jerusalem at a time of food shortage (1 Corinthians 16:1-3).
Upon close examination of the letters of Paul it is clear that the churches communicated and connected with each other. No church existed in isolation.
Study of New Testament church life reveals a pattern of congregational accountability to church authority. Each individual congregation was accountable to church authority outside its own immediate pastoral
or management structure. It can be noted that the church in the New Testament was a fellowship of congregations held together through collective accountability to the tradition of faith in Christ as taught by the
apostles (2 Thessalonians 3:6, 2 Corinthians 4:13).
If a group, claiming to be a church of Christ, is not grounded in truth, can it really be called a true church?
What pattern of accountability exists in your congregation?
The church is the Body of Christ and consists of all those recognized by God among the “churches of the saints” (1 Corinthians 14:33). This is significant to the believer as participation in church is the means by which the Father keeps us and preserves us spiritually until the return of
From the Statement of Beliefs of the Grace Communion International
"The church, the Body of Christ, consists of all who trust in Jesus Christ. The church is commissioned to make disciples of Jesus by reaching out in love to all people, nurturing and baptizing those who believe, and teaching believers to obey all that Christ commanded. In fulfilling this mission, the church is directed by the Holy Scriptures, led by the indwelling Holy Spirit, and looks continually to Jesus Christ, its living Head."
(1 Corinthians 12:13; Romans 8:9; Matthew 28:19-20; Colossians 1:18;
Barth, Karl. The Faith of the Church: A Commentary on the Apostles’ Creed according to Calvin’s Catechism. 1958. USA: Living Age Books.
Jinkins, Michael. 2001. Invitation to Theology. USA: InterVarsity Press.