Pastor's Blog: What is a Church?
This coming Sunday we will continue our journey in the Book of Philippians. I have mentioned that the church at Philippi would be a good one to model ourselves after. They were not perfect; no church is. But they understood the true Gospel, had great joy in serving God, and were committed to the Word of God. It should be our desire to be a New Testament church, adhering as closely as possible to the directions found in the Bible for the way we operate.
This week we will consider again the first two verses of the book, focusing on church membership, the saints, and church leadership, the bishops and deacons. We might consider what a true church really is. There are certain elements that help constitute a true church. One is certainly the preaching and teaching of God’s Word without compromise. A second is the proper administration of the church ordinances. A third would be that it practices church discipline.
Here are some thoughts on what a church is from an “Articles of Faith,” that I wrote for another church.
The Church - We believe that the church is a local body of regenerated, baptized believers. The term for church is ekkleisa, or "called out." It originally meant an assembly of people who were called together to consider matters of public interest. In the New Testament, the word was used to describe the church, which was a visible body of people gathered for a specific purpose. The word is never used in the New Testament to refer to a national or international body, group or organization. "The New Testament knows nothing of a nebulous, indefinable, invisible, scattered church. It only knows a church which has regular meetings (1 Cor. 5:4; 11:19, 33-34; 16:2; 14:19; Heb. 10:25); prescribed officers (1 Tim. 3:1-13; Eph. 4:8-11); observes tangible ordinances (1 Cor. 11:23-34); and disciplines its members (1 Cor. 5:4; Matt. 18:15-17)." (Jimmy Millikin, Christian Doctrine for Every Man, The King's Press, Southaven, MS, 1976, p. 85)
A Local and Visible Body - Therefore, we believe the church is a local and visible body, composed of true believers only (Acts 2:41-47), who have been scripturally baptized …. The local church is gathered together by the Holy Spirit for the purpose of carrying out the principles and precepts of the Word of God. The church is composed of members who have been saved by grace through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, and that they have submitted to the lordship of Christ. The church administers its own affairs and bows to no other human authority higher than itself.
My prayer is that you will join me in doing our best under the guidance of the Holy Spirit to make Tabernacle Baptist Church a true New Testament church.
Our seminar on spiritual gifts, called “Understanding Your Motivation for Ministry,” will continue this Sunday, at 5:30pm. This study is essential for our church at this time. The book, Your Reasonable Service, is available in the foyer. All the information regarding the costs are on the table with the book and other materials.
Attendance is up, offerings are good, and God is great! I am looking forward to what God will do at Tabernacle this coming Sunday. Please be present with your Bibles in hand as we worship the Lord together.
Blessings, YFJS, Bro Tom