FOUNDATION TOPIC

What Is Church?

Most people know church as a building, but it’s more than that. The Bible describes the church as a people who have been called out and gathered by God, under his Word, for the purpose of worshiping him together. Discover what the Bible tells us about the church—truly the most incredible organization in the world.

Related Topics
What's on this page?

Welcome to the family.

The church is not an institution, but a people spread throughout the whole world who trust in Jesus.

Theme Verse
Ephesians 2:19-22 NIV

Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.

Short Content

The Only Place You Can Find True Hospitality

One of our friends loves to explain the origin of the word hospitality. Notice, this word includes the word hospital. He likes to define the experience of hospitality as leaving somewhere better than when you arrived, whether that’s someone’s home, an event, or merely a personal interaction.

We all know the sweet relief of someone putting our insecurity to rest with a warm welcome, and sending us on our way better than how we came.

When we turn from the Old to the New Testament of the Bible, a man named Jesus enters the scene. His cousin looks at him from a distance and identifies him as the promised rescuer “who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29 ESV). The four Gospels in the Bible identify this man as God who became man, to suffer, die, and rise from the dead, so that he could do us an incredible service—bring people back to God (1 Peter 3:18).

Jesus is the ultimate hospital. He came to heal our wayward, sinful, sick hearts, to make us into new people who have his same heart. He came to change us into people with whom he can share his heart. Meaning, to know him, we first have to understand that we need him.

This Jesus said, “I came not to call the righteous, but sinners” (Matthew 9:13 ESV).

The church refers to the group of people who know that they are sinners in need of a Savior, who have believed in Jesus for the forgiveness of their sins—who have personally experienced his hospitality.

Contrary to popular opinion or the experience of many, the true church is a group of people who are not “put-together.” Biblically speaking the church refers to those who go to Jesus to be put back together—made entirely new actually (2 Corinthians 5:17; John 3:3).

Jesus isn’t for the self-righteous and self-sufficient, the needless, and the okay. Jesus is the sinner’s hope, the sufferer’s strength, and the sorrowful’s comfort. His people, the church, are those who have received his eternal hospitality, and who then live to welcome others into the home of Christ through faith in him.

As those who have received the mercy of God through Jesus Christ, our mission is to tell others of his great love for them, whether that’s family, neighbors, or people around the world (Matthew 28:19-20; Acts 20:24; Philippians 3:8).

Jesus tells a religious leader of his time, “whoever has been forgiven little, loves little” (Luke 7:47 NIV). Because we have been forgiven of an eternal debt of sin against a holy and good God, and have been welcomed by God as his children, as his family and friends, we love him!

And through his Word, the Bible, we come to know him better day by day and become more like him as he lives in us and changes us.

What is called “Christianity” is not a religion, it’s a relationship with God himself through the person of Jesus. It’s a life inside the hospital of Christ, where first we are served, and then we join him in his service to others.

We are his hands and feet to the hurting—his body—people bought with his blood, and out of our great love for him, we desire you to belong to his church too. Jesus can give you the sweet relief of forgiveness and eternally put to rest the insecurity you have before Almighty God. But he won’t merely do that. He’ll also welcome you into his home—forever. But you must come as a sinner in need of the Savior; you must let him serve you, and trust him to send you off better than you came.

Jesus answered him, “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. (John 14:23 ESV)

by Bibles.net 

OPEN
YOUR BIBLE

LETTERS TO THE EARLY CHURCH

There are 21 letters in the Bible's New Testament

Paul addressed nine letters to established groups of believers in specific cities, some of the very first churches.

Letters instructing pastors

about church gatherings and leadership.

What Is the Church?

DEFINITION

Video: 6 Min
by Mark Dever at Capitol Hill Baptist Church
Quote

What Do You Believe About Church?

Heidelberg Catechism, Q&A #54

1. What do you believe concerning the holy catholic Christian church?

2. I believe that the Son of God,[1] out of the whole human race,[2] from the beginning of the world to its end,[3] gathers, defends, and preserves for himself, [4] by his Spirit and Word,[5] in the unity of the true faith,[6] a church chosen to everlasting life.[7] And I believe that I am [8] and forever shall remain a living member of it.[9]

[1] John 10:11; Acts 20:28; Ephesians 4:11-13; Colossians 1:18.
[2] Genesis 26:4; Revelation 5:9.
[3] Isaiah 59:21; I Corinthians 11:26.
[4] Psalm 129:1-5; Matthew 16:18; John 10:28-30.
[5] Romans 1:16; 10:14-17; Ephesians 5:26.
[6] Acts 2:42-47; Ephesians 4:1-6.
[7] Romans 8:29; Ephesians 1:3-14.
[8] I John 3:14, 19-21.
[9] Psalm 23:6; John 10:27, 28; I Corinthians 1:4-9; I Peter 1:3-5.

See quote source
Article: 30 Min

The True Church!
5 Unshakable
Truths About
the Church
for Discouraged
Believers

by J.C. Ryle, adapted by Bibles.net

Verse
1 Peter 2:9-10 ESV

But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. Once you were not a people, but now you are God's people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.

Video: 2 Min
by J.I. Packer at Crossway
Quote

The Visible vs. Invisible Church

by R.C. Sproul

The visible church may be distressingly and sorely fractured and fragmented into all different kinds of denominations and groups, but the invisible church is the true body of Christ. Everyone who is in Christ, and in whom Christ dwells, is a member of this one universal church.

See quote source
Definition

What Is the Church?

The church exists in two modes: gathering and scattering. The church is the people of God bought by the blood of Jesus who gather to, for, and around him, and scatter on mission with him. As a church scattered we endeavor to be faithful to Jesus in every area of our lives.
Verse
Ephesians 5:25-27 ESV

Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.

Article: 10 Min

What Makes a Church a Church?

by Jonathan Leeman at Crossway

Quote

The holiest moment
of the church service
is the moment when
God’s people –
strengthened by
preaching and sacrament –
go out of the church door
into the world
to be the church.

We don’t go to church,
we are the church.

Why Should I Belong to a Church?
Verse
Hebrews 10:24-25 ESV

And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.

Video: 2 Min
by Trip Lee at The Gospel Coalition
Verse
1 Corinthians 12:12-13 ESV

For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit.

Contemporary

If We Are the Body

by Casting Crowns
Article: 8 Min

The Christian
Life Is the
Belonging Life

by Bibles.net

Verse
Ephesians 3:10-12 NIV

His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms, according to his eternal purpose that he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord. In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence.

Quote

Every local church
that preaches
the true gospel
is a part of the most
dynamic movement
the world will ever know.

Owen Strachan
Infographic

The Purpose of the Church

What exactly does the church do? Find out in this graphic! Feel free to download it to your device, or share it on social media! 

Article: 7 Min

The Church As Means of Grace

Here are four outward-focussed purposes for every church. 

by Mark Dever at Lifeway Research

Messages: 39 Min

Belonging

by Adrian Schoonmaker

Article: 7 Min

6 Reasons
Why Membership
Matters

by Kevin DeYoung at The Gospel Coalition

Video: 3 Min
Quote

What Is Christian Community?

by Dietrich Bonhoeffer, from his book "Life Together"

What determines our brotherhood is what that man is by reason of Christ. Our community with one another consists solely in what Christ has done to both of us. This is true not merely at the beginning, as though in the course of time something else were to be added to our community; it remains so for all the future and to all eternity. I have community with others and I shall continue to have it only through Jesus Christ.

The more genuine and the deeper our community becomes, the more will everything else between us recede, the more clearly and purely will Jesus Christ and his work become the one and only thing that is vital between us. We have one another only through Christ, but through Christ we do have one another, wholly, for eternity.

See quote source
Quote

A church is not
a group of friends

you’ve picked,
it’s a group of
brothers and sisters
God has picked for you.

Michael Horton

Rock

Brother

by NEEDTOBREATHE feat. Gavin DeGraw
Article: 10 Min

What Are the
Responsibilities
of Church
Membership?

by Matt Emadi at 9Marks

Verse
Ephesians 4:11-13 NIV

So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.

Video: 17 Min
by The Village Church Resources
Article: 8 Min

Welcome to the Exile,
It’s Going to Be Ok

by Alistair Begg at The Gospel Coalition

Quote

Why Do You Go to Church?

by Charles Spurgeon

Some go to church to take a walk;
some go there to laugh and talk.
Some go there to meet a friend;
some go there their time to spend.
Some go there to meet a lover;
some go there a fault to cover.
Some go there for speculation;
some go there for observation.
Some go there to doze and nod;
the wise go there to worship God.

See quote source
Article: 10 Min

5 Bad Reasons to Go to Church

by Greg Morse at Desiring God

Messages: 54 Min

How to Go to Church

by Britt Merrick

How Do I Find a Good Church?
Books
Article: 18 Min

Mark Dever’s
Original Letter
to a Church Plant
on ‘The 9 Marks
of a Healthy Church’

by Mark Dever, contributed to Bibles.net by The Gospel Coalition

Quote

Five Essential Components of a Church Service

from Mark Dever in his book "The Deliberate Church"

Church leaders who have been committed to seeing the church reformed according to God’s Word down through the ages have had a common method: read the Word, preach the Word, pray the Word, sing the Word, see the Word (in the ordinances--baptism and communion).

Often referred to by theologians as the elements of corporate worship, these five basics are essential to the corporate life, health, and holiness of any local church.

See quote source
Image

I rejoiced
with those
who said to me,
“Let us go
to the house
of the Lord.”

Psalm 122:1 NIV

Hymns

The Church's One Foundation

by Indelible Grace Music
Messages: 55 Min

The Sabbath
and Why
We Worship
on Sunday

by John MacArthur

by Dr. Ken Ramey and Dr. Richard Caldwell, 14 Min

RESOURCE

Church Finders

We do not personally endorse every church that you will find on the following sites. However, we have found these websites and ministries to be biblically rooted and reliable. They will whittle down the options for you and give you choices for churches to visit. 

    Cart