What is the church?

The word ‘church’ used in the Bible is translated from the Greek word ἐκκλησία (ekklésia) meaning an assembly, or ‘called out ones’, the body of the true believers. The Greek word ekklesia (Strongs G1577) does have the meaning of an ‘assembly’, but its primary meaning is the ‘called out ones’. It is derived from ek meaning ‘from out of’ (Strongs G1537) and a derivative of kaleo ‘to call aloud or call forth’ (Strongs G2564). (All bold are my emphases added. King James Version Easy-Reading Bible (KJVER) used.)

Acts 7:48  Howbeit the most High dwells not in temples made with hands; as says the prophet,

1 Corinthians 3:16 Know you not that you are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? 17 If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple you are.

1 Corinthians 6:19  What? know you not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which you have of God, and you are not your own?

The stones of God’s church are made of flesh, humans who believe in Him.

Matthew 16:15-18  He says to them, But whom say you that I am? 16 And Simon Peter answered and said, You are the Christ, the Son of the living God. 17 And Jesus answered and said to him, Blessed are you, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood has not revealed it to you, but my Father which is in heaven. 18 And I say also to you, That you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.

The rock which Jesus builds His church on is the fact, which Peter stated, that Jesus is the Christ.

1 Corinthians 1:2  Unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours:

Acts 2:47 Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.

Acts 7:38 This is he, that was in the church in the wilderness with the angel which spake to him in the mount Sinai, and with our fathers: who received the lively oracles to give unto us:

2 Corinthians 6:14-19  Be you not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship has righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion has light with darkness? 15 And what concord has Christ with Belial? or what part has he that believes with an infidel? 16 And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? for you are the temple of the living Godas God has said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 17 Wherefore come out from among them, and be you separate, says the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, 18  And will be a Father to you, and you shall be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.

The church are living stones, not brick and mortar. The church is the assembly of those who love and obey God and live according to His way.

1 Peter 2:5  You also, as lively [living] stones, are built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.

1 Peter 2:9-11  But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that you should show forth the praises of him who has called [Greek: kaleo] you out [Greek: ek] of darkness into his marvellous light: 10 Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy. 11 Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul;

Here we see the two Greek words that make up the Greek word ekklesia meaning the ‘called out ones’. They seek holiness and separation from the world. They will not join with the world, which means join with the vain pursuits of worldly things.

Revelations 18:4  And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that you be not partakers of her sins, and that you receive not of her plagues.

This verse is a direct reference to those in apostate churches (assemblies who do not follow God), especially and particularly to those in the Roman Catholic Church and others like them. Come out of the false church who have introduced many pagan traditions into their doctrines. The Roman Catholic Church is the most serious offender, because that organisation claims absolute leadership of Christianity in this world yet it is utterly corrupt in sin.

2 Timothy 2:4  No man that wars entangles himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who has chosen him to be a soldier.

The members of the true church are soldiers who fight the good fight for God to save the lost from their ultimate fate if they do not repent and turn to God.

2 Timothy 2:19 Nevertheless the foundation of God stands sure, having this seal, The Lord knows them that are his. And, Let every one that names the name of Christ depart from iniquity.

God knows His children—they are his true church—the believers. This means a church is not a building or an organisation of men but an assembly of believers.

James 4:4 You adulterers and adulteresses, know you not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.

Spiritually partaking of the worldly sins is seen by God as adultery because we are married to Christ. God calls friendship of the world hatred of God.

Acts 11:26  And when he had found him, he brought him to Antioch. And it came to pass, that a whole year they assembled themselves with the church, and taught much people. And the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch.

Acts 20:28  Take heed therefore to yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost has made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which He has purchased with his own blood.

Members of the church are all saved believers, not those who attend a building on Saturday or Sunday.

1 Corinthians 11:22  What? have you not houses to eat and to drink in? or despise you the church of God, and shame them that have not? What shall I say to you? shall I praise you in this? I praise you not.

Clearly those who attend a building for the purpose of eating the wafer and drinking the wine are not members of the true church. The true church are one body who together celebrate the sacrifice Christ made for us on the cross in the communion as a memorial only and not as some pagan ritual as the Roman Catholic Church does.

1 Corinthians 12:28  And God has set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues.

Here it is a reference to an assembly of believers, not a building or an organisation. The gifts of the spirit are given for the functioning of the believers. Where the true church is these gifts also will be present. And the primary purpose of the gift of the Holy Spirit is to make us a witness to spread the good news message.

Acts 1:8 But you shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and you shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judæa, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.

The true church is a witnessing church that preaches the gospel to the unsaved. They care less about themselves than others and are willing to ‘die daily’ (1 Corinthians 15:31) to themselves to get out the message to the lost.