Thursday, July 11, 2024

The Church of God (Acts 20:17-38

"… shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood" (Acts 20:28).

First Corinthians gives us a broad look at the inner workings of the church. From this epistle, we find that the church is diverse in its many gifts, that it is composed of various offices, that it functions in an orderly fashion based on the authority structures God has designed, that it comprises a variety of people, rich and poor, Jew and Gentile, male and female, and that it is unified by the Spirit of Christ, by one faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. To gain even more insight into the nature and mission of the church of Christ, we will examine the meaning and purpose of the church during the next six studies. In a day when the church is reduced to a mere social institution, or to a business with CEOs and bottom-line agendas, or to a massive self-help organization concerned more with psychoanalysis than the preaching of the Gospel of Christ, we need a reminder of the true nature, mission, and vocation of the church.

First, we must understand that the church is not a building. Ecclesia, the biblical term for church, means “the called out people.” The church is a gathered group of people God has chosen from before the foundation of the world to be sanctified by His Spirit. God’s people are a holy people not because they are perfect and sinless, but because they have been called out from the world and gathered together under the banner of Jesus Christ to worship the one and only God. Those who have been redeemed are brought into the family of God, adopted, and called His sons. They no longer belong to the world, but they belong to God’s family (Gal. 4). As a result, they act differently, they believe differently, and they treat one another differently—no longer as strangers, but as family members.

Second, no other institution on the face of the earth is called the Bride of Christ. No other has received the promises of eternal life, the blessings of a relationship with Him, and the love that comes from being unified with Him by the power of His Spirit. So great is Christ’s love and mercy, that He gave up His life for an adulterous people. Despite our unworthiness, He set His name upon us and promises to present us holy and spotless before the Father.

What is your attitude toward the church? Is it just another social institution? Do you consider other Christians to be family? Do you have little tolerance for the church because of the people’s sin? Make a list of wrong attitudes or ideas you have and pray that God will give you a greater love for Him and His people.