TEXT: Eph. 5:25 … “As Christ also loved the Church and gave His life for it.”
The Bible does not recognize any one visible Church on earth as the Church. The Church which is His body consists of all regenerated souls, each one redeemed by His blood and transformed by the Holy Spirit. Only a small part of the Church is on earth, a great part has already gone to be with the Lord. The Church has no visible head on earth but an unseen head (Jesus) in Heaven. Matt. 16:18. The supreme work of God in this age is the gathering of the Church. Acts 15:14.
DEFINITION OF THE CHURCH
The Christian church is a New Testament beginning with Pentecost and ending probably with the rapture or second coming of Christ. The word church comes from the Greek word (Ecclesia) meaning; “to call out from” Christians are called out from the world system to be “in Christ” 1Cor. 1:2, “called to be saints.” This is the highest call for every Christian.
- The word church can refer to local group of believers. Philemon 1:2, Col. 4:15.
- The word church can also refer to the universal church 1Cor.15:9.
- THE VISIBLE CHURCH – this refers to those whose names are on the church roll no matter the denomination.
- THE INVISIBLE CHURCH – this refers to those in the LAMB’s book of life. Rev.21:27.
- THE LOCAL CHURCH – this refers to group of believers at any given location.
- THE UNIVARSAL CHURCH – this refers to all the churches at anywhere.
- THE ACTUAL CHURCH – this refers to the saint on earth struggling for perfection.
- THE IDEAL CHURCH – this refers to the perfect saints who have gone to heaven.
- THE MILITANT CHURCH – this refers to the truth church on earth.
- THE TRIUMPHANT CHURCH – this refers to the selection of the church in heaven.
CONDITIONS OF MEMBERSHIP IN THE CHURCH
- Repentance Acts 2:38, one ought to repent from his sins in order to qualify.
- Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord of one’s life. Matt.16:16-18, Acts 16:31.
- Baptism in the name the Trinity. Matt.28:19, Mark 16:15-16, Acts 22:16.
- Salvation, regeneration, the New Birth. Acts 2:47, “God does add the saved to the church every day…”
- They must continue in the Apostles’ Doctrine. Acts 2:42, Matt. 28:18-20.
UNITY IN THE EARTHLY CHURCH
- Unity because we worship the same father. JN.17:1-5
- Unity because the saved all belong to the son. JN.17:6-10
- Unity because all indwelt by the Holy Spirit. JN.17:11, JN.16:7, Rom.8:16
- Unity because the father, son and Holy Spirit are one, Mtt.3:16-17, 1JN.5:7.
- Unity because we live by the same word. JN.17:14-17
- Unity because this will cause unbelievers to believe. JN.17:21,23
- Unity because we shall live together in Heaven. JN.17:24.
The rapture of the church can take place any time from now. The church must purify herself having known that her departure is eminent. Every member should aim at perfection for that is God’s will for us. Matt.5:48.
APOSTLE DR. E. T. DODOH (JP).