What a Church IS & What Church Members ARE
We want to answer the following questions from a strong Biblical standpoint:
- What Is a Church?
- What is a Church Member?
- What are a Church and it’s Members like?
- What are the purposes of the Church?
A definition of a church:
‘An assembly or fellowship of born-again and called-out followers of Jesus Christ banded together for common spiritual purposes.’
The Church (Universal) is composed of all Spirit Indwelt members of Jesus Christ’s body from all nations and languages and generations. (Eph. 5:25,29,32)
The Church (Local) is a Body of Christ followers committed to one another in Biblical love, unity, values and purposes. (Col 4:15)
Ways the Bible refers to what a Church is:
Body / Bride / Family / Flock / Temple / Kingdom
Kingdom – Authority Structure
(Matt. 16: 13-20; Matt. 8:1-5; Matt. 13:44; Rom. 14:17; 1Cor. 4:20; Heb 12:28)
Temple – Worship Lifestyle
(I Cor 3:16; 1 Cor. 6:19-20; II Cor 6:16; Eph. 2:19-22)
Flock – Shared Condition
(Luke 12:32; Acts 20:28-29; I Pet 5:2-3)
Family – Bond of Care
(Rom 8:15; I John 1:3; Rom 8:16-21; Gal 3:26-29; 1 John 5:1-2, I John 3:1-2)
Bride – Exclusive Relationship
(John 3:28-30; Rev 21:2; Eph. 5:25-33; Rev. 19:6-9)
Body – Common Union
(I Cor 12:12-27; Rom 12:3-4; Eph. 3:6; Eph. 4:11-15; Col. 3:14-15)
The Church (Universal) is composed of those who have Biblically Converted to Follow-ship of Jesus Christ, those given new birth by the Holy Spirit, and joined together in covenanted community.
Not everyone ‘In Church’ is part of the Biblical Church (Universal), some are being discipled to become part one day, some are false confessors, some are consumers, some are experimenters…
What are Local Church Members like?
Identity flows from Biblical Conversion & Discipleship
Christian (One who is a ‘Little Christ’)
Believer (One who’s faith is proven by action, a ‘By-Lifer’)
Disciple (One who is a committed learner & follower)
Saint (One made Holy)
Beloved (One of special affection & relationship)
Brother / Sister (One of the Family)
Local Church Membership, based on Scripture
#1. Local Church Membership IS Biblical: Christian Life is ‘Church Life’
#2. The Local Church IS it’s members: Nothing More, Nothing Less
#3. The Lord’s Supper is only for Members of the Church Universal practiced locally
#4. It is the Official & Intimate representation of Christ’s Sovereignty in your life
#5. Local Membership is the expression of allegiance & identity for Christ’s Disciples
#6. It enables the embodiment & experience of Biblical Christianity (bride, family…)
#7. It is how you love, serve, know and are known by Jesus Christ’s Body locally
#8. It disciples us in ‘Follow-ship’, coming under ordained authority of A Local Church Body
#9. It enables ‘Spiritual Accountability’ for leaders as to those they are responsible for
#10. It allows for ‘Restoration & Guidance’ through Church Discipline
#11. It gives Christian life it’s structure for Discipleship and Service
#12. It gives us a vehicle to display our united witness to The Gospel of Jesus Christ
#13. It binds us together in ‘Worship as Lifestyle’.
What are the Biblical Requirements & Blessings of Local Church Membership?
Acts 2:36-41 The Requirements: they received, understood, and affirmed the gospel of Christ presented to them; conviction and godly sorrow led to repentance; Spirit Indwelling; they were baptized as a public testimony of their new life in Christ and then stayed in community…
Acts 2:42-47 The Blessings: doctrine, fellowship, communion, prayer, experiencing God at work, unity, privilege of serving and loving others, gladness in God, being used by the Lord to extend salvation to others. All of these happened as part of a local body meeting regularly (with the same people!)
The Church Provides:
A Relational Workshop / A Discipleship Platform / A System of Accountability / A Unity of Mission / A Set of Shared Values / A Shared Identity / A Community for Expression of Gifts / A Way to Cooperate in the Blessing Others / A Family that Displays God’s Glory
Information from ‘Church Membership’ By Jonathan Leeman