Lesson 374: "Church"
Acts 2:42 describes the early church; “they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer”. The Church (body) is to teach biblical doctrine so we can be grounded in our faith. “Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming” (Eph. 4:14). The church (building) is to be a place of fellowship where Christians can be devoted to one another and honor one another (Rom. 12:10), encourage one another (1 Thess. 5:11), instruct one another (Rom. 15:14), be kind and compassionate to one another (Eph. 4:32) and most importantly love one another (1 John 3:11). This church “building” should be the gathering together place (Heb. 10:25), and there might be only two or three coming together in the name of Jesus (Matt. 18:20). Remember the “Church” is you and the building just walls to keep out the cold when you gather inside. And like “they” say; the more the merrier!
The church is a place where believers can observe the Lord’s supper, remembering Christ’s death and shed Blood on our behalf (1 Cor. 11:23-26). The concept of breaking bread (Acts 2:42) also carries the idea of having meals together. Wow! Now that is a concept in today’s church society! The final purpose, and always should be the first, and in-between purpose, is prayer (Acts 2:32). Notice they were DEVOTED to prayer! The commission given to the Church is proclaiming the Gospel of salvation through Jesus Christ (Matt. 28:18-20, Acts 1:8). The Church is called to be faithful in sharing the Gospel through word and deed (oops! That slowed down a few, right?) We can all talk the talk but not so many can or strive to walk the walk! The Church is to be a lighthouse in the community, pointing people towards the Savior; pointing not pushing, through prepared members (2 Pet. 3:15).
The Church is taught to look after orphans and widows in their distress and keep oneself from being polluted by the world (James 1:27). The Church is God’s Body and the Body is made up of many parts (1 Cor. 12:12-27). Each and every part of the Body plays a part in the work of God. I do not mean to imply that God’s work is play but for sure it can be enjoyable and the most rewarding work or play you will ever do. We are His hands (“do not be hasty in the laying on of hands and do not share in the sins of others. Keep yourself pure” (1 Tim. 5:22), His mouth (“out of the same mouth comes praise and cursing. My brothers this should not be” James 3:10), His feet (“guard your steps when you go to the House of God. Go near to listen rather than to offer the sacrifice of fools” (Ecc. 5:1) and “whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus” (Col. 3:17).