The Church Lesson 2: Gathered Believers

The ChurchMatthew 16:18

18 And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.

When we consider the church, we speak about denominations, buildings, worshippers, Christians at large, followers of Christ, deacons and elders, pastors, servers, business meetings, communion, weddings and baptisms, salvation messages and calls of repentance, community outreach, shut-in visitations, prayer, fellowship, ministering to the sick, the lonely and the lost, anointing with oil, Sunday School studies, Bible study, youth group, nursery, mid-week services, and the like?

Could we then say that this is what the church is?

The Scriptures mentions the church meeting in public places, (Acts 2:46).

Four times the New Testament also references a church that meets in someone’s house, (Romans 16:3-5).

These house churches are not comprised of just those household members though. They have deacons and elders, overseers and bishops. They have members gifted with spiritual gifts who are using those gifts during these church services.

So we see from the scriptures that the term church does not apply to a specific location or building, or any specific set of practices, but it does involve believers meeting together, in person somewhere for the purpose of worshipping the Lord.

The simplest definition of the church, from a Biblical viewpoint is gathered believers.

In fact that’s what the word church, in the Greek or the Hebrew means: a congregation of believers, congregated believers, gathered believers.

When Jesus spoke to Peter about building “my church”: the word church in that passage means: a gathering of citizens called out from their homes into some public place; an assembly of Christians gathered for worship in a religious meeting

For the purpose of our studies, I will be defining the church in this manner.

The Church: a gathering of believers in Christ, called out from their homes into some corporate assembly; locally or throughout the world; for the purpose of worshipping the Lord together.

In other words: to be a part of “the church” you cannot solely be sitting at home watching Christian TV or church services and never engage in fellowship with other believers for the purpose of worshipping the Lord together. Does that mean people that live in isolated areas or shut-ins don’t belong to the church? No, that would be crossing into an area of legalism, where we read meaning into the scriptures to develop doctrine that suits our purposes.

Being a part of the corporate gathering of believers is for our benefit and for Christ’s glory, designed to fulfill a big picture purpose that only he can clearly comprehend. Being a part of a church is not a punishment or some form of legalistic membership rite. It’s not a checkbox on our checklist of salvation requirements. It is however an act of obedience to the command and the directives of the one we call our Lord.

We “the church”, may not all be gathered in the same location or sing the same songs; but we are gathered together, wherever we may be in the world, with like-minded followers of Christ, drawn together to corporately worship the Lord; all bound together by one single truth: Jesus is the Christ, the son of the living God.