I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. Matthew 16:13-19
The church is a congregation
The primary definition of a congregation is “an assembly of persons met for worship and religious instruction.
Many people today understand the church as a building or a denomination. The church is not a building; it is people, people with a purpose.
The biblical Greek word which was translated by use of the word church is ecclesia (Ecc – Out; Kaleo – Call), a called out assembly or a congregation. It is not some mystical invisible body. It is this ekklasia—this “assembly of the called-out ones” who have been redeemed by the sacrifice of Christ on the cross, and who believe and confess from the heart that Jesus is “the Christ, the Son of the living God”—that Jesus speaks of in this morning’s verse. It is this “church” that the Son of God, before He went to the cross, promised to build. And He here promises that it is the one thing on this earth—the one institution found among men—that will never pass away!
1 Peter 2:9 – But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light .
The church is a called out body of people who having trusted Christ as Savior assemble together for worship, instruction, service, observance of the ordinances, the proclamation of the Gospel, and whatsoever the Lord directs.
1 Peter 2:4-5 – Coming to Him as to a living stone, rejected indeed by men, but chosen by God and precious, you also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ
The Church Characterized as:
- “The body of Christ” –
Ep 1:22-23 22 And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, 23 Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.
- “The household of God” –
1 Timothy 3:15 15 But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.
Ephesians 2:19 Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God.
- “The Holy Temple of God”
Ephesians 2: 22-23 21 in whom the whole building, being fitted together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, 22 in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.
- “the Kingdom of Christ”
Colossians 1:13 Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son:
- “The Bride of Christ”
2 Corinthians 11:2 2 For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ.
- “The body of Christ” –
The church is for spiritual healing and restoration.
Isaiah 61:1-3 “The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon Me, because the LORD has anointed Me to preach good tidings to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; to proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn, to console those who mourn in Zion, to give them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they may be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that He may be glorified.”
Christ’s mission should be our mission. “Churches should all be about the business of heart care because it seems that Jesus was always about the business of heart care.”
The church “is for the broken and battered, the disillusioned and depressed.
It is for the blind and the lame. It is for those who seem to walk with a limp and speak with a lisp. It is for those who have lost their ability to hear or their desire to listen if they could. It is for those who long for something more, something better, and something real… The Church is where all of these people …come for healing and restoration.
The Church is for those who are hurting, therefore we must be in the business of healing. The Church is to be a place for restoration and reclamation.
Galatians 6:1 “Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted..”
The church is a unified body
John 17:20-21 “20 Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; 21 That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me..”
Philippians 1:27 “ Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ: that whether I come and see you, or else be absent, I may hear of your affairs, that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel;”
1 Corinthians 12:12 “ For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ..”
Church unity does not mean uniformity. We do not all have to look alike but we all have to work together in the same direction.
The church is a redemption center
Luke 14:23 ” And the lord said unto the servant, Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled..”
2 Corinthians 5:18-20 “18 And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; 19 To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. 20 Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God.”
C. A church without evangelism is a contradiction in terms, just as a fire that does not burn is a contradiction.
E. Our church ought to be a church where people encounter God, experience life transformation through the saving blood of the Lord Jesus Christ with each member fulfilling their call to be fishers of men.
The church is a community
Community – a group of people with a common interest interacting together and provide mutual encourage, counsel, and support.
The church is to be comprised of individuals from different backgrounds, races, and life experiences who help each other take the next step to victorious living in Christ.
Ephesians 4:11-16 “11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; 12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: 13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: 14 That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; 15 But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: 16 From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.”
The church is home
Ephesians 2:19 “So then, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of God’s household,”
- What is home? To some it is…
- “Safe familiar place”
- “Home is where the heart is”
- ” a place where I Feel a sense of belonging and security”
- “Somewhere I can be myself”
- “Home is somewhere I can open up”
- “Home is where I am loved”
B. The church is our home away from home
“To dwell above with saints we love, that will be glory,” But until the Lord returns the nearest thing to being at home in heaven is being a part of the local church.
Home is a place of safety, security, acceptance, belonging, familiarity and care. It is not a building with four walls. It is you and I being the family God intends for us to be.
1 Peter 3:8-9 “Finally, all of you be of one mind, having compassion for one another; love as brothers, be tenderhearted, be courteous not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing: but contrariwise blessing; knowing that ye are thereunto called…”
John 14: 1-3 Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. 2 In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.
Pastor Kurian Samuel and his family