Study: Church Defined

BIBLE STUDY SUBJECT: “The Bride of Jesus Christ”

PURPOSE OF THE STUDY: The purpose of this study is to two-fold:

  1. To bring truth and understanding of WHAT and WHO the Bible says is the “Bride of Jesus Christ”;
  2. To provide the truths by which one is able to determine one’s own relationship with the “Bride of Jesus Christ”

4 WEEKS / 4 KEY POINTS OF THE STUDY:

  • Week 1: The Church: Defined
  • Week 2: The Bride: The Bride Groom and His Bride Revealed
  • Week 3: Husband and Wife: Jesus and His Church: Exemplified
  • Week 4: The Marriage: Consummated at the Wedding Feast

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August 14, 2016 READING: Revelation 21:9-27

BIG PROBLEM IN THE 21ST CENTURY: Many “church-goers” are deceived into thinking that they are members of the “Biblical” church:

  1. The instruction of the 21st century teacher / preacher is TODAY largely concerned with salvation- but has neglected to emphasize DISCIPLESHIP and teaching the Biblical truths of what is the “Church”
  2. “Church-goers” today are suffering spiritual “self-starvation” as the result of a “famine” of the Word of God. Instead of self-discipleship, they rely solely upon what enters their ears as the basis of their knowledge of God. “Belief” is formed NOT by the Word of God and instruction of the Spirit of God. Their “belief” is formed merely by “here-say” and personal interpretation based upon opinion.

WHAT IS THE CORRECT MEANING OF THE WORD “CHURCH”?

  • “CALLED OUT ONES / ASSEMBLED COMPANY OF” As the term is used in the New Testament, the word “church” means “called out ones” and / or- depending upon the context- the “assembled company” of called out ones.
    • In other words, when you read the text containing the word “church”, the context will tell you if the word is referencing the entirety of the Body of Christ that is Christ’s “Church” OR if the word is referencing a local congregation or assemble of followers of Jesus, i.e. the “church” in Corinth or the “church” in Ephesus.
  • “THE PLACE WE GO ON SUNDAY”: In  its  less  important  usage , Paul uses the term “church” in reference to  the local gathering  of  people,  among whom include people who are not  necessarily  Christians.
    • In the Galatian church are deserters from the faith 1:6
    • Jude writes to a church into which have crept false teachers of apostasy and a corrupt gospel Jude 1:4
    • In Romans Paul writes of people who profess to be people of God but who truly are not Romans 2:28-29 For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly, nor is circumcision that which is outward in the flesh; but he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the Spirit, not in the letter; whose praise is not from men but from God
  • “THE PLACE WHERE THE SPIRIT HAS GATHERED US”: In its more important  usage the term “church” refers to “ecclesia”, the original Greek word that came to be translated into the English word :church”. The true Church of Jesus Christ is:
    • a “house”  of  ..
      • 2 Corinthians 5:16-18 called out from  the  old creation  into  the  new creation,
      • being gathered by the  Spirit  into  one  organism  or  body  of  which  Christ  is  the  .. Therefore, from now on, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know Him thus no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation…
      • who is being sanctified to become the Bride revealed as the Lamb’s wife (Rev 21:9) Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls filled with the seven last plagues came to me and talked with me, saying, “Come, I will show you the bride, the Lamb’s wife.”
    • This “house” includes…
      • all those, and  only those who will be saved in the period  between  the  day of Pentecost  and the return of Christ to receive His own.

JESUS CHARACTERIZE HIS CHURCH AS THE “BRIDE”

As we have seen, not everyone who “goes to church” belongs to the church. However, there is mention of some who do NOT “go to church” that God has reserved a place in His Church. OBSERVE: From our reading of Revelation 21:9-27, take note of #4 below referencing Revelation 21:24…

  • First, notice that the “Church” is is referenced here as the “bride”. To whom does the “bride” belong? V 9: “Come, I will show you the bride, the Lamb’s wife.”
  • How does Jesus who is dictating this letter tell John to describe the “bride”?
    1. As a city...V 10: “…he showed me the great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven…”
    2. A city without a temple…V 22: “…I saw no temple in it, for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple…”
    3. A city absent of the need of light…V23 “…for the glory of God illuminated it. The Lamb is its light…”
    4. A city containing “saved nations”…V24 “…the nations of those who are saved shall walk in its light, and the kings of the earth bring their glory and honor into it…”
    5. A city containing nothing unholy or impure…V27 “…there shall by no means enter it anything that defiles, or causes an abomination or a lie…”
    6. A city containing only those who belong to Jesus…V27 “…only those who are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.”
      1. Additional references: Isa 35:8; 52:1; 60:21; Joel 3:17; Php 4:3; Rev 3:5; 13:8; 20:12; 22:14-15

WHAT DOES THE BIBLE HAVE TO SAY ABOUT THE “ORGANIZATION” OF THE CHURCH AND THE WAY BY WHICH THE “CHURCH” AND ITS MEMBERSHIP IS FORMED??

  • While Biblical text points to organized churches in the world with their memberships, these should not be confused with the one Church of which Christ is the Head and all believers members in particular.
  • There is little said in the Bible regarding the organization of churches,  though  there  is  nothing  written  to  oppose  it;  there  is  nothing  written  in  the  Bible  as  to  membership  in organized
  • The Bible’S emphasis is upon:
    • the true Church..
    • that membership which is formed by the baptism with the Spirit.
  • Acts 2:47; 11:26 “…And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved…and the disciples were first called Christians in Antioch….”

CHECK OUT Discipleship 7: Church

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