Many people today understand the church as a building or denomination which is very wrong. Paul refers to the church as the body of believers. The body of Christ is comprised of two aspects; first we have the universal church which consists of all those who have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. “For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink” 1 Corinthians 12:13 This verse says that anyone who believes is part of the body of Christ and has received the Spirit of Christ as evidence. The universal church of God is all those who have received salvation through faith in Jesus Christ. Secondly we have the local church described in Galatians 1:1-2 “Paul an apostle-not from men nor through man, but through Jesus Christ and God the father, who raised him from the dead-and all the brothers who are with me, to the churches of Galatia:” In Galatia there were many churches which refer to as local churches which includes catholic church, Baptist church etc.
The purpose of the church
The church is to teach biblical doctrine so that we can be grounded in our faith. Ephesians 4:14 tells us, “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.” The church is to be a place of fellowship, where Christians can be devoted to one another and honor one another Romans 12:10, instruct one another Romans 15:14 be kind and compassionate to one another Ephesians 4:32 encourage one another 1 Thessalonians 5:11 and most importantly, love one another 1 John 3:11. Another commission given to the church is proclaiming the gospel of salvation through Jesus Christ Mathew 28:18-20. The church is called to be faithful in sharing the gospel through word and deed. The church is to be a “lighthouse” in the community, pointing people toward our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. The church is to both promote the gospel and prepare its members to proclaim the gospel 1 peter 3:15. The other purpose of the church is described in James 1:27, “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” The church is to be about the business of ministering to those in need. This includes not only sharing the gospel, but also providing for physical needs (food, clothing, shelter) as necessary and appropriate. The church is also to equip believers in Christ with the tools they need to overcome sin and remain free from the pollution of the world.