the doctrine of the church
By Andrew E. Courtis
What is a Church?
When people talk about church, we might think of the building we meet in on Sundays. But that is not the church. The Church is the people who have been forgiven of their sins and who love the Lord Jesus Christ. These people who are all around the world meet with groups of other Christians, and these are called churches.
The Bible has lots of different names for the Church. Let’s looks at two different ways the Bible describes the church. Sometimes it is called a “Body” (Rom. 12:4-8; 1 Cor. 12:12-31). It is called a body because people in the church need each other and because they need to be led by the Head of the body (Col. 1:19). Another word is a “bride” (Eph. 5:25-27; Rev. 19:7-9). The church is a bride because the Lord Jesus Christ loves the church, leads the church and cares for the church.
Who is in charge of the Church?
The boss of the church is the Lord Jesus Christ. He is in charge of the church because He bought the church. How did He buy it? Not with money, but with His own blood (1 Pet. 1:18-19). As the boss of the church the Bible calls Jesus the Head of the church (Eph. 1:22; 4:15; Col. 1:18).
Who leads a Church?
Even though the Lord Jesus Christ is in charge of the church, He has allowed certain people to lead the churches. The Bible has different names for these people, pastors and elders. Pastors and elders are to be men who live according to 1 Tim. 3:1-7 and Titus 1:5-9. Their job is to teach the Word of God (1 Tim. 5:17) and to lead (Heb. 13:7, 17) and care (1 Tim. 3:5) for the church. You need to pray for your leaders and respect them (1 Thess. 5:12-13).
Why is Church important?
The church is important because Jesus bought her with His own blood (1 Pet. 1:18-19) and loves her (Eph. 5:25). Because those who have been saved are a part of the church, they are to help in the church with the gifts God has given them (Rom. 12:4-8). Some people have speaking gifts and others have serving gifts (1 Pet. 4:10-11). God gives people different gifts so that they can help the church grow and obey God’s Word.
What are the Lord’s Supper and Baptism?
The Lord’s Table and baptism are two special commands given to the church by the Lord Jesus Christ (Matt 26:26-29; Matt. 28:19). They remind us of the work the Lord Jesus Christ has done for those who are forgiven of their sins and they show His people that they belong to Him.
The bread and wine at the Lord’s Supper remind us of the perfect life lived by the Lord Jesus Christ and of His death on the cross. It is a time to remember the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ (1 Cor. 11:24-25). The water of baptism reminds us of how God cleans the hearts of sinners (Titus 3:5) and makes them a new person through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ (Col. 2:12).