Heb 10:24 Church Study Guide Part 2 BC 1/01
I. What is a church? Why does it exist? How important is it?
In the OT, the temple was central, because that’s where one found the presence of God, where the light of His glory was primarily seen, and where members of the community of faith went to worship and be edified. An unholy temple, defiled by the presence of sin, hindered God from being present and glorified.
The NT refers to the assembly of believers, the church, as the new temple of God. That is where His glory is to be seen and faithful believers are edified. Similar to the OT temple, an unholy church, defiled by the presence of willful sin, hinders God from being present and glorified. That’s why the Lord Jesus threatens the sin-tolerating churches of Revelation 2-3 with removal of their lampstand, because their defilement by tolerated sin prevent His glory from being manifested.
In what way(s) does a NT church display the supernatural glory of God to the world around them? The power of God is seen in a supernatural love and unity among followers of Jesus Christ, that would not occur except for the working of the Holy Spirit. The members of the Body are then equipped to serve, as Christ’s ministers, both each other’s needs as well as those around them.
(1) Continuation--it is God's purpose for the church to continue to do and to teach what our Lord Himself began to do while in His physical body here upon the earth (cf. Acts 1:1).
(3) Demonstration--in addition to displaying the truth of God to men, it is also God's intention to display before the angelic hosts the manifold wisdom of God (Eph. 3:10).
(4) Glorification--it is through the church that God seeks to bring glory and praise to Himself (Eph. 3:21).
To put the matter very simply and directly, God has chosen to carry out His program in the world in this age through the church. He has far too much at stake to leave men to their own wisdom and carnal devices in the matter of the church. God has given to us an authoritative charter for the church, and that charter is the inspired, infallible, and inerrant Word of God, the Bible, and particularly the New Testament.
A. What’s the purpose of the church?
1. How do you see that purpose reflected in the NT (especially the commands in the epistles, and don’t forget Rev 2-3)?
2. How does the word for church (called out assembly) and the images Body, Bride, Temple, Household help us understand the church?
4. What did Jesus mean when He said: “I will build my church…”? Mt 16:18
B. What makes a church a church?
1. What differentiates a church from a Bible Study? From a club, or a service organization?
2. How do the NT authors use the concept of the “universal church” to guide the behavior of recipients/readers in a “local church”?
3. Does Christ being in the midst of people create a church? Do two or three people gathered in Christ’s name constitute a church? What is the context and meaning of that phrase in MT 18?
4. Critique the view that “the church is anything that moves someone toward Christlikeness”. (Understanding II below will help answer this.)
II. What is the/a Church supposed to do? How do you see the NT church(s) carrying out that purpose?
A. What are the most emphasized or repeated commands given to the church in the NT?
1. How do you see the Church obeying those commands? How do they relate to the Great Commission (Mt 28:18-20)?
2. How would you express the “mission” of the church as specified in the NT?
3. Define unity. About what were the NT believers to be unified? See/Study the outline from Spring 2000 Retreat “Biblical Unity”
4. How does being “members of one another” fit with your understanding of unity?
5. How should issues of non or dis-unity be resolved?