What is the strongest organization on Earth? It is the church. Composed of every person who has received Jesus Christ into his or her life, the church is also called the Body of Christ or the Bride of Christ. It is the one organization for which He gave His life (Ephesians 5:25).
The Bible describes the church in two senses:
- The universal church, which refers to all true Christians
- The local church, which is an individual group of Christians who gather for worship, instruction, and mutual encouragement.
Bible Study: The Universal Church
- Paul frequently compares the church to a body. Who is the only head? (Ephesians 5:23) Who are the members? (I Corinthians 12:27)
- How does Christ see the church? (I Corinthians12:12-13)
- As members of His body, how should we feel toward each other? (I Corinthians 12:25-26) Name some specific ways we can express these feelings.
- Read Acts 1:6-11 carefully. According to verse 8, what is to be the church's great concern?
Where does the Bible say Jesus went physically? (Verse 9)
Describe in your own words how Jesus will come again for His church. (Verse 11) Who knows when that will be? (Verse 7, and Mark 13:32-33)
Although Jesus is spiritually present in our hearts, He is also with God the Father in Heaven. In the future, He will return to judge the world and rule the nations (Matthew 25:31-32). In the meantime, the church is to be His witness on Earth and bring as many people as possible into a personal relationship with with Him.
- In light of this, what should be one of your main purposes while here on Earth?
The Local Church.
- What are Christians not to do? (Hebrews 10:25)
- We are saved by faith. But the church has two simple, yet meaningful ordinances that we are to observe: baptism and communion. According to Matthew 28:18-19, why should we be baptized?
What is the purpose of the communion service? (I Corinthians1:23-26)
- Write your own one-sentence description of each of the following local churches:
Thessalonica (I Thessalonians 1:6-10)
Laodicea (Revelation 3:14-17)
Just as some New Testament churches are dynamic and others are powerless, so it is today. Not all churches are vital, and great variety exists within a single denomination. To stimulate your Christian growth, you should attend a church that exalts Christ, teaches the Bible, explains clearly what a Christian is and how to become one, and provides loving fellowship.
- What could happen to your spiritual growth if you do not attend church regularly or attend a church that is powerless?
- Give at least two reasons why it is important for us to be part of a local church.
- If you are not active in a local church, plan right now to get involved. Ask your Christian friends to recommend dynamic churches. Write the church names here:
- Pray over the list.
- Ask God to help you select the best one for you.
- Visit each until your prayerfully decide on one.
- Then look for ways to serve the Lord in your church.
Adapted from The 10 Basic Steps Toward Christian Maturity, by Bill Bright, co-founder of Campus Crusade for Christ. © Cru. All rights reserved.