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What is the Church?

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What does Jesus' church look like?

Here are some of the things we recommend you consider when looking for Jesus’ church. In Acts 2:42, after baptism, the first church “devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.” They loved each other, helped each other, met together, and shared the good news of Jesus with others. The church grew more and more in number (2:43-47; 4:4). Over the next thirty years, the book of Acts gives the story of how the church grew throughout the Mediterranean world. As people everywhere were hearing the same Gospel (Good News) truth of Jesus, believing and obeying it, congregations of believers (churches) were formed.

Two thousand years later, the church exist where people (1) hear the same message of Jesus that the apostles preached, and (2) give the same response of obedience in faith, repentance, and baptism. That’s what makes the church of Jesus Christ. This is the church that Jesus said He would build, that He purchased with his blood and of which He is the head (Matthew 16:18; Acts 20:28; Ephesians 1:20-21).

After baptism, this group of believers (church) should worship and serve the Lord as the first churches did as recorded in the New Testament. This is true worship “in spirit and in truth” (John 4:23-24). They met together on the first day of the week (the day of Jesus’ resurrection, commonly called Sunday) to “break bread,” a term referring to the communion of bread and fruit of the vine (Acts 2:42; 20:7). This was commanded by Jesus when he said, “Do this in remembrance of me” (Luke 22:19-20; 1 Corinthians 11:23-26). The churches sang “psalms, hymns and spiritual songs” (Ephesians 5:19), prayed (Colossians 4:2), gave and received teaching (Matthew 28:20), and encouraged and built each other up in the faith of Jesus (1 Corinthians 14:1-35; 1 Thessalonians 5:12-22). The members shared love and resources and helped one another (Acts 4:32-34). They shared the Good News of Jesus with everyone they could (Acts 5:28; 8:4; 28:23-31). The churches were led by spiritual men called overseers, or elders (Acts 14:23; 20:28; Philippians 1:1). They were committed to following Jesus in everything.

These churches in New Testament times were united by their obedience to the teachings of the apostles. Jesus prayed that all his followers be united through the apostles’ words (John 17:20). Since Jesus “is the same yesterday and today and forever” (Hebrew 13:8), his word remains forever true (I Peter 1:23-25). When we today listen and obey the teachings of the apostles as found in the New Testament, we are united to Christ and to everyone else who does that.

If you’d like to study more on the instructions Jesus gave for His church, you can check out our course “Seeking the Family of God.”

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What is the Church?

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