We started with a broad look at foundations. Now we move on to the church as a whole.
What do we understand the Church to be?
We first look at the church as a whole because everything here applies when we look at our own, local church.
A. The Church is Present and Active
Just as God is immanent (permanently present and apparent as He sustains the universe), the church is permanently present on the earth. It is clear and apparent in His work, as it invades the darkness and sustains His Word.
From the time of Jesus’ death, resurrection, and ascension, together with the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, up until today, the church has always existed.
There is not a moment when His body was not present and active on the earth.
B. Church is Community
As Christians, we don’t go to church. We are the church. But we’re not called to function as isolated units.
Jesus calls His church His body:
As that body what we can do gathered together far surpasses what we can do alone.
So we gather, meeting at certain times in a building we may call our church. What a privilege to have such a place, and what a privilege to be part of a local church community!
The church is by its very essence a community. Disconnecting from the church community weakens the body, and weakens the person who disconnects.
C. The Church is Not Perfect
Because we are not perfect – the only perfect one is Jesus.
Yet Jesus started the church with imperfect people, and He’s trusted it to us for 2 000 years.
The New Testament is not a story of a faultless church where everything worked perfectly all the time.
So if we miss it, if we make mistakes as individuals or as a group, it’s OK. That’s human.
What matters is what we do next: Recognise our errors, get back to the Word, and get on with the purpose of the church.
D. The Church is God’s Way
– of caring for His sheep, the ones who have received Jesus as their personal Saviour and Lord.
– of growing and equipping them for His purposes.
– of reaching the rest of the world that Jesus died for, those who have not yet come to know Him.
One person on their own cannot reach the whole world. One local church cannot be all things to all men.
But one church, any church – regardless of size – united in purpose and vision, can do great things.
The members of that local body can do what God has called them to do, both corporately and individually, and the world will be impacted.
This is where we come in as a local church.