What’s The Church For?

Ephesians 1:22-23 (NLT) says:

God has put all things under the authority of Christ and has made him head over all things for the benefit of the church.   And the church is his body; it is made full and complete by Christ, who fills all things everywhere with himself.”

What is the church?

If we ask the question, ‘what’s the church for?’ we must firstly ask, ‘what is the church?’

What do you think is the church? Have a look at the videos here to see if you share the same ideas!

What is the Church?

What is the Church?

Build Your Kingdome Here

Let the Church Arise

You see, if you ask most folk on the street that question, they will probably answer, “it’s the building on the corner (or somewhere) where people go on a Sunday.”   But that’s not the Biblical definition of the church.

God has put all things under the authority of Christ and has made him head over all things for the benefit of the church.   And the church is his body; it is made full and complete by Christ, who fills all things everywhere with himself.

Ephesians 1:22-23 (NLT)

The word, church, is derived from the Greek word, ‘ekklesia.’   In the literal sense, it is an assembly of citizens.   It is made up in two parts – “ek” meaning “out of,” and a verb “kaleo” meaning “to call out.”   According to Wikipedia, this was replaced with “assembly, congregation, council or convocation.”

The first mention of ekklesia in the Bible is early in the first few books of the Torah.

Remember the day you stood before the Lord your God at Horeb, when he said to me, ‘Assemble the people before me to hear my words so that they may learn to revere me as long as they live in the land and may teach them to their children.’

Deuteronomy 4:10 (NIV)

But that first mention of an “assembly” refers to earlier, when Moses addressed the people after receiving the Ten Commandments.

Then Moses went down to the people and repeated all the instructions and regulations the Lord had given him.   All the people answered with one voice, “We will do everything the Lord has commanded.”

Exodus 24:3 (NLT)

This was the first church gathering!   This was the first assembly – those who were called out by God – they were His people, and they were gathered together to hear from Him.  

The first time in the New Testament that the word, ekklesia, is used is by Jesus when He asks people who they think He is.   Simon Peter says: “You are the Messiah, the son of the living God.”   Jesus replies:

… you are Peter (which means ‘rock’), and upon this rock I will build my church.

Matthew 16:18 (NLT)

No buildings were involved!   The church in the Old Testament was a gathering, and assembly, all those people who were called out by God to be His people.   And the church in the New Testament, also, is a gathering and assembly of all those people who are now called out by God to be His people.   And it’s built on His rock – Peter – a disciple of Jesus.   And guess what – Jesus is still building, and today He is building on us – you and me, His disciples.   His church is built upon us, and we are His church.

You are citizens along with all of God’s holy people.   You are God’s family.   Together, we are his house, built on the foundation of the apostles and the prophets.   And the cornerstone is Christ Jesus himself.   We are carefully joined together in him, becoming a holy temple for the Lord.   Through him you Gentiles are also being made part of this dwelling where God lives by his Spirit.

Ephesians 2:19-22 (NLT)

We are the temple of God, where He lives by His Holy Spirit.   We are His church.   In the Old Testament, God’s Spirit and His Glory resided in the most holy of holies, in the Temple.   Nobody could enter the inner Temple, apart from the High Priest, and it was divided from the outer Temple by a veil, carefully crafted from special material and hung by gold hooks on an acacia wooden frame (Exodus 26).  

In the New Testament, at the time of Jesus’ crucifixion, the veil was torn.

The curtain in the sanctuary of the Temple was torn in two, from top to bottom.   The earth shook, rocks split apart, and tombs opened.

Matthew 27:51-52 (NLT)

This account of the veil being torn is repeated in Mark 15:38 and Luke 23:45.   It happens at the very time of Jesus’ death.   And at that time, Jesus became our High Priest, and it is through Him we now come to God.

Since we have a High Priest who has entered heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to what we believe.   This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings we do, yet he did not sin.   So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God.   There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.

Hebrews 4:14-16 (NLT)

It was the responsibility, in the Old Testament, of the High Priest to take our sacrifices to present them to God, asking for His forgiveness and His mercy.   Today, we need no mortal man (or woman) to petition God on our behalf – we take our petitions and our requests to our High Priest – Jesus – who has presented Himself as the one and only atoning sacrifice needed for all our past, present and future sin.   We are made spotless through Him, and because of Him.   There is no other way.

For you know that God paid a ransom to save you from the empty life you inherited from your ancestors.   And the ransom he paid was not mere gold or silver.   It was the precious blood of Christ, the sinless, spotless Lamb of God.

1 Peter 1:18-19 (NLT)

How can the head be the corner?

So, if the head of the church is Jesus, how can Jesus be the cornerstone?

You are coming to Christ, who is the living cornerstone of God’s temple…   And you are the living stones that God is building into his spiritual temple.

1 Peter 1:4-5 (NLT)

Look!   I am placing a foundation stone in Jerusalem, a firm and tested stone.   It is a precious cornerstone that is safe to build on.   Whoever believes need never be shaken.

Isaiah 28:16 (NLT)

According to Wikipedia, “the cornerstone is the first stone set in the construction of a masonry foundation.   All other stones will be set in reference to this stone, thus determining the position of the entire structure.”   There couldn’t be a better definition of Christ as the cornerstone.   He is the first stone set in the construction of His church. 

All the other stones are set in reference to, and in relation to Christ.   He is the Head of the church and He is the first stone, the Cornerstone.

But the Bible also refers to Jesus as being the keystone, according to a few translations, notably the Bible in Basic English (BBE) version (https://biblehub.com/topical/k/keystone.htm).  

Because it is said in the Writings, See, I am placing a keystone in Zion, of great and special value; and the man who has faith in him will not be put to shame.

1 Peter 2:6 (BBE)

I like to think of it as building a bridge.   The keystone in the building of a stone bridge is the largest stone, which is set dead centre of the structure.   All the other stones either side are there to support this one central stone.

If you look very closely at the picture, you can see the central stone in this archway is larger than the others around it.   This is the keystone.   This is how the corner is also the head – Jesus, the Cornerstone and the Keystone in some Bible translations, is the Head of the church.   Everything else built around Him, is there for one purpose only and that is to uplift Him, to set Him on high, to support Him – as He is our reference, our guide, and our support.   We look to Him for direction; we look to Him for where we belong, and we look to Him for our position and purpose.

Read further to find more, including …

  • The early church

  • The work of the church

    • Ministry to the body of Christ

      • Hospital for sinners and souls who hurt

      • Teaching

      • Encouraging

      • Sharing in meals (including the Lord’s supper)

      • Prayer

      • Performed many signs and wonders

      • Shared everything with each other

    • Ministry to the world

      • Charity

      • Evangelism

    • Ministry to God

      • Worship

      • Discipleship

      • Baptism

      • The Lord’s Supper

  • A glorious church

  • The church (united) could change the world

See you soon, Be Blessed.

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External Resources

Other articles from various sources:

 

If you find any resources (or produce any resources) you would like to see here – please let us know.

Ministry Mates

Certificate of Completion

A Certificate of Completion is awarded to those who complete the Discipleship Programme. 

In order to qualify for a certificate, you must answer the questions asked at the end of each module, and send them to us at Misfits Ministries. 

Module 11 Questions

  1. What do you think the church is for?
  2. What is your role in the church?
  3. Where does your local church struggle, and why?
  4. What would you change in your local church, if you could?
  5. How is what you have learnt going to change things for your future?
Email your answers to disciple@misfitsministries.co.uk. Thank You, see you soon, God Bless.

Chosen Discipleship Groups – Go Deeper

Additional material and resources are available to those who are running Chosen Discipleship Groups to follow the Discipleship Programme.

You might also consider subscribing to the following reading plan on YouVersion prior to discussing this module:

What Is the Church? | Devotional Reading Plan | YouVersion Bible