The Church we find in Scripture

A simple look at the Church (the Body of Christ)

The dynamics of salvation is wide and the topic of ecclesiology  (the study of the church) is probably wider still. I would like to keep things as close to the truth of scripture as possible yet keep things as simple as I can.
I appreciate there are many views and theological arguments put forward on this subject  and  I have probably heard them all. But since leaving a church fellowship in 2009 I have found it necessary to re- examine, study and source material looking into what scripture really says about what church is, the function of church and how the church should be today.

How are we added to the church?
Quite simply when God saves a person He adds them to the Church  known as the body of Christ.
Christ is head of the body and everyone who has been added is a member of the body. As a member of the body and in accordance to a measure of faith given by the Holy Spirit each member is to function and exercise their gift  when assembling together or as the Lord leads in any given situation.  [1Cor 12; 13; 14, Rom 12].
There is no sign up membership required for "By one spirit we are all baptized into one body."  So how is one saved? A person must repent unto God and believe in Jesus Christ. It is worth pointing out here that we are exhorted in scripture to take up our cross and follow Jesus, so repentace is not a one of but part of our life changing process.
The work of the Holy Spirit is to add us to the Church. It is something man can not do but something God does {1Cor12:13, Eph 2:8-9}

Spiritual gifts and the individual work of the members of the body.

Eph2:10  says " we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them."

These gifts are for the purpose of edifying the body of Christ. Some gifts are for equipping the body for the work of service ( ministry) The detail  is found in Eph 4:8-16
As a member of the Body of Christ we must believe "There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling;one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who [is] above all, and through all, and in you all." [Eph 4:4-6]
We must understand by these verses that there is and has been since Christ first coming one true church and that the Spirit of Christ has been at work and is working in His Church and through His Church today and that God the Father is the Father of all.We are all son's of God having the Spirit of Christ. (The only begotten Son) We call Him our Father. {Rom 8}

So often the experience of most Christians is that church is something we go to or attend and although it should not be necessary to point out that Church is not a physical building I have to say that for many that's all it is.
We read in scripture of the Spirit of Christ gifting the members of His body for service and edification. However so often and in most cases when we come together the normal thing we see and experience is one person doing it all and the rest passively sitting by. 
In fact, the most the other members of the body can expect to do, is either stacking the chairs or making the teas and coffees. This is not biblical church.
I do not want to sound discouraging and there is a place for serving in practical ways.
But  we have missed the whole point of the church coming together, that is to edify one another by playing our part in the gathering. As Peter said "As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another" 1Pet 4:10
 And Paul says in 1Cor 14:26 "How is it then, brethren? Whenever you come together, each of you has a psalm, has a teaching, has a tongue, has a revelation, has an interpretation. Let all things be done for edification".

Unity
The unity of the church is expressed in the diversity of differing parts working under one head, who is Christ. They are gifted by His Spirit for a purpose.
In Eph 4 Paul is teaching us that we as individual members of the body are to walk in a certain way the description is worthy then he describes the fruit of Holy Spirit.  He says "I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, 2 with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, 3 endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace".

Paul concludes by saying we must endeavour to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. Unity of the spirit is carried out by all parts functioning by the same Spirit. The Spirit is one of Love, Truth, faithfulness etc The fruits of the Spirit being demonstrated whilst the members function together. This of course is described as "the bond of peace".


Eph 4 concludes "And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, 12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, 13 till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; 14 that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, 15 but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head–Christ– 16 from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.


There is one true united universal Church and there are many local Churches. It is the local church that I would like to consider. and as I mentioned previously what we have seen in Church today and have done for many years is a one man ministry. The word minister is that of a servant. I do not want to put down or discredit the sincerity of good men who have copied the one man at the top format from others who have replicated the model from their mentors but I do want to see a church that functions with all the body parts doing their bit with Christ at the head instead of one man being all parts of the body. Don't you?

 1Cor 12:4-31 and verses 20 &21 tells us plainly there are many members, yet one body. 21 And the eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you”; nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.”  
This is a serious matter and I appreciate it is a difficult task to seek to have the church function as it should. But nevertheless that is what we must do.
We find many examples in scripture about Christian conduct and how we must conduct ourselves before God, the world, in the workplace, and whilst we have fellowship. See all 1Peter and 1:15 says
"but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, 16 because it is written, “Be holy, for I am holy.”

As and end note may I point out that there is today much talk about unity and joining churches together regardless of belief, this is ecumanism. Furthermore there is an inter-faith movement to unite all religions together. Basically there is an anti christ church being founded and needs to be avoided.
As Christians our unity must be one of truth.  Jesus prayed that we would be sanctified in this truth and that His word is the truth. (John 14:6;15:26;17:17-19) See this link Bill Randell teaching about Ecumanism.

Is there a Biblical way describing how the church to should meet?
  
Interesting that Jesus said in Matt 28:18 And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.19 “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,20 “teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.
Perhaps Jesus only meant the early Church, But what about Paul? He came along a bit later after Jesus met him on the road to Demascus.
Paul was  instructed by Jesus to give instrution to the churches as to how they should meet in 1Cor 11:2 he said this to the church at Corinth.
"Now I praise you, brethren, that you remember me in all things and keep the traditions just as I delivered
them to you"
Furthermore Paul reminded them in 1 Cor 14: 37 "If anyone thinks himself to be a prophet or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things which I write to you are the commandments of the Lord".
As  members of the church are we serious about the commandments of the Lord? what about His commandemant on how the instructions for church is to be followed?


Church for the Church only. A serious issue.
Continueing the line of Church I should add here my conviction of believers only meetings.
There is a hyperthetical point Paul raises in 1Cor 14:22-25. That if an unbeliever or uninformed come into the meeting. This is a what happens if situation but not to be the norm.
The scripture is clear. We are to go into all the world and preach the gospel to every nation. Starting outside our front door. (if you have one) The point is churches have adopted the idea of inviting non believers in so they can be entertained, preached at and invited to make a descision for Jesus and invite Jesus into the life. (non of which is seen in scripture).
Church is for believers. Period. Church is the body of Christ. Our fellowship is with one another and with God the Father and Jesus the son. 1John 1:1-4. If a person has not been added to the church by the Spirit of God then they are not in the body. Period.
The unsaved are still in the power of darkness, where as the saved have be conveyed into the kingdom of the son of His Love. (Love meaning Agape) Col1:13. This is unequal yoking.

There must be times set apart when opportunies are made to outreach to the unsaved and each church needs to decide how this should be done but it's not to be a church meeting.
I was saying to my daughter who does tap dancing. What would she say if a few people turned up in their football gear and started kicking a ball around during her tap class? She said in so many words"that they wouldn't be welcome as it was not a football game and they had no right to be there.
Then why do christians keep inviting unbelievers to church meetings. Edification can only take place beteeen one believer and another by and through the spirit of Christ. One of the main reason for coming together is edification not outreach to the unsaved.

Interesting what we find in Ezek 44:5-8 Seems to me that God was angry about the "uncircumcised in heart" coming into the sanctury. The term uncircumcised in heart has to do with new birth.
I don't believe we are at liberty to bring in whom we like into a Church meeting as we are the temple of God and the Spirit is at work amonst His people in a special way.

This is a serious issue and it needs to be addressd.

Consider this yes as believers we should consider the meaning of the parable of the wheat  & tares.
But how about the parable of the wedding banquet. Matt 22. Only those chosen have robes of righteousness.



Below are some links to the teaching by Beresford Job.
Beresford is from the Chigwell Christian  fellowship  he has provided some very clear teaching that will sort out so much of the mess we have found ourselves in regarding what Church is and what we are to do when we meet.


The links below are from http://www.house-church.org



The Apostles' Tradition  (Documented  information)







The Traditions of the Early Church Fathers - The Heart of the Problem!





The Apostles' Tradition MP3

Pt 1
Pt 2
Pt 3
Pt 4
Pt 5
Pt 6

 Biblical Church MP3 

Pt 1
Pt 2
Pt 3
Pt 4