2 Peter 1:1 Simon Peter, a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ, to them that have obtained like precious faith with us through the righteousness of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ:
2 Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord,
3 According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue:
4 Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.
5 And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge;
6 And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness;
7 And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity.
8 For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
To obtain a clear understanding of what the Church is and to have a greater
appreciation for it.
When was the New Testament Church established?
Read Acts 2:1- 4, 37- 42.
2 And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.
2 And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting.
3 And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them.
4 And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.
36 Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made the same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.
37 Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?
38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.
39 For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.
40 And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation.
41 Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.
42 And they continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.
43 And fear came upon every soul: and many wonders and signs were done by the apostles.
44 And all that believed were together, and had all things common;
45 And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need.
46 And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart,
47 Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.
● The New Testament Church came into existence on the day of Pentecost.
● Peter preached the first sermon of the New Testament Church and laid out
the plan of salvation in Acts 2:38.
● This is the first time in scripture that people received the baptism of the Holy
Spirit. It was on this day (Day of Pentecost) that around 3,000 were baptized in Jesus’ Name, and God added them to the Church.
● These believers continued steadfastly in the Apostles’ Doctrine
What is the foundation of the Church?
Read Matthew 16:16-18.
Matthew 16:16-18King James Version
16 And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.
17 And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.
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.
● Peter received a divine revelation of who Jesus was.
● Upon this revelation, Christ built His Church.
● Please note, the Church is NOT a building, but it is the Body of Christ.
What is the purpose of the Church?
Read Ephesians 4:11-16
Ephesians 4:11-16 King James Version
12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:
13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:
14 That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;
15 But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:
16 From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.
● God gave gifts to the Church for the perfecting of the saints so that they can be equipped for the ministry.
● We are the Body of Christ and we are fitly joined through God’s love for the purpose of building up one another and working together in unity.
● The ministry of the Church is to reach the lost (Mark 16:15).
● The Church needs to live for what Jesus died for.
Psalm 68:6. “God setteth the solitary in families: he bringeth out those which are bound with chains: but the rebellious dwell in a dry land.”
● The Church is a family.
● The Lord does not want us to be on our own but to be connected to a Body
Read 1 Corinthians 12:12-22.
King James Version
12 For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ.
13 For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.
14 For the body is not one member, but many.
15 If the foot shall say, Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body?
16 And if the ear shall say, Because I am not the eye, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body?
17 If the whole body were an eye, where were the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where were the smelling?
18 But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him.
19 And if they were all one member, where were the body?
20 But now are they many members, yet but one body.
21 And the eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no need of thee: nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you.
22 Nay, much more those members of the body, which seem to be more feeble, are necessary:
● We are all members of the Body of Christ
Romans 12:5. “So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.”
One reason that the Lord created the Church is so that we would have a place to
grow. We have been put in a Body of Believers
so we can learn from one another,
help one another,
rejoice with one another,
sorrow with one another,
and absorb the love of God
by interacting with one another.
The other members of the Body are our brothers and sisters. Because we interact with one another, the Lord can use this interaction to perfect us in His love.
Just like natural siblings sometimes have differences, brothers and sisters in Christ can also have differences.
In the natural, brothers and sister sometimes have disagreements, arguments, jealousies, strife and upsets. This also happens in the Body of Christ.
However, God will use these situations to perfect our character, which in turn, helps us to grow.
Leaving a church for this reason and going to another church will not solve the problem in us. Only when we learn to forgive and forget, as Christ forgives and forgets, can we grow up in Him. Christ taught us to pray, in the Lord’s Prayer, “”forgive us as we forgive others.” Is that what you really want?
Do you really want Christ to forgive you as you forgive others?
You can only pray that if you allow Him to perfect you in your dealings with others. These things are learned in the Church.
Our attitude must be that we will agree to suffer for each other’s perfection.
If a member leaves the Body, that member will die. You can see this in the natural.
This illustration in the natural was clear years ago before doctors knew how to
reattach a member of the body that was detached.
When a person’s finger was cut
off from the body, the member died, but the body still lived. It is the same in the
Body of Christ.
If a member leaves the Body, the member will die but the Church will go on.
What is the power of the Church?
Read Ephesians 1:17-23, 2:5-6.
Ephesians 1:17-23King James Version
18 The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints,
19 And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power,
20 Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places,
21 Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come:
22 And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church,
23 Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.Ephesians 2:5-6King James Version
5 Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)
6 And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:
● God wants us to have a clear understanding of His ministry, so that we have a better understanding of who we are in Christ and what our purpose is.
● Christ is far above ALL principality, power, might, dominion, and every name
that is named. All things are under His feet.
● Christ is the Head of the Church. His Church is His Body, and we are members of that Body.
● We sit together in Christ Jesus far above ALL principalities, power, might,
dominion, and every name that is named.
● This is why we can do all things through Christ which strengthens us
(Philippians 4:12), and that greater is He that is in us than he that is in the
world (1 John 4:4).
Read Matthew 18:18-20.
19 Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven.
20 For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.
● The Church has the authority to bind and loose.
● The Church is powerful in the spirit of unity through the Name of Jesus.
Should the Members of the Body assemble together?
Hebrews 10:25. “Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.”
● The Members should all come together, and this is the Church.
● It is a place where we are fed, learn, grow, and perfected in Christ.
● God has set you in a family that pleases Him.
During this level, find your place in the Body of Christ.
This study taken from the writings of UPCI missionaries and edited and enhanced by Lois McQuinn. @All rights reserved by and for the UPCI in the original format.