Jesus established the church. The church is a gathering of believers, not a building. The church is people. The Bible uses several important terms to describe how churches relate to one another and to God, and how a church is to function.
The church is a family, and we relate to one another as brothers and sisters. God is our Heavenly Father.
see Philemon 1:1-2
The church is a flock, led by shepherds (pastors), and we all follow Jesus, our Great Shepherd.
see 1 Peter 5:1-4
The church is a body, and we all are an important part of the body. Jesus is the head of the body.
The church is a fellowship, friends who partner together for the sake of the gospel. Jesus is our perfect example.
see Hebrews 10:24-25
We see a picture of a healthy church in Acts chapter 2. This is the kind of church that everyone wants to be part of, the kind that makes you say, “I’d go to that church!”
The truth of the matter is that God desires for every church to follow the example of this first-century church. For them, the church was not a building. It was clearly the gathering of God’s people, whether they met in homes, on the steps of the temple complex, or anywhere. Everywhere they went, there went the church!
As you read Acts 2:41-47 (below), notice these four things:
41 So those who accepted his message were baptized, and that day about 3,000 people were added to them. 42 And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread, and to the prayers. 43 Then fear came over everyone, and many wonders and signs were being performed through the apostles. 44 Now all the believers were together and held all things in common. 45 They sold their possessions and property and distributed the proceeds to all, as anyone had a need. 46 Every day they devoted themselves to meeting together in the temple complex, and broke bread from house to house. They ate their food with a joyful and humble attitude, 47 praising God and having favor with all the people. And every day the Lord added to them those who were being saved.
Relationships. A church is to have strong relationships with God and each other. The church in Acts 2 related to God (they praised Him) and they related to one another (they had favor with all the people). They valued relationships. Every church should value relationships.
Attitudes. Christ-honoring attitudes such as joy and humility should be evident in every church. A church should have a holy reverence for God, being amazed at His work in their lives and the lives of those who are not even followers of Jesus yet. A church should have faith in their great God.
Activities. A church should be a group that prays together, studies God’s Word, shares meals together, celebrates the Lord’s Supper, meets in each other’s homes, sacrifices to meet other people’s needs, worship God together, share the good news of Jesus with others, and baptize new believers.
Results. What were the results of the first-century church relating to God and one another with the right attitudes and doing the right activities? The results were amazing:
- needs were met
- lives were changed
- miracles happened
- people were saved
I’d go to that church!