The New Testament church is the church Christ promised to build in Mt. 16:18, “And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it”. The church is a part of God’s great plan of redemption.
There is one church with many congregations spread throughout the world. In Eph. 4:4 we find there is “one body”. Then in Eph. 1:22-23 we discover that the body = church.
“There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling (Eph. 4:4). … “And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all (Eph. 1:22-23). (Emph. Added)
There are many congregations made up of many members but all are in the one church built by Christ.
“For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office: So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another (Rom. 12:4-5). (Emph. Added)
See also 1 Cor. 12: 13ff
Christ has all authority over the church and He commands the church (made up of many members) to preach/teach the truth which is the word of God.
And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power (Authority, ASV) is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world (Mt. 28:18-20).
“Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine (2 Tim. 4:2).
“And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (Jn. 8:32).
“Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth” (Jn. 17:17) (Emph. Added)
In future lessons we want to build upon the thoughts presented in this short article. We want to look at some of the current problems in our society and determine what responsibility the church has in light of these issues. We also want to look at the relationship between civil authority and Christ and His church.
Who has the final say in moral issues that plague our society, God or man?
Leon Brashear, Braggs church of Christ, Braggs OK