What’s God Saying About the Church?
To learn more about Marvin Yoder, please visit his website.
As a kid attending a very traditional church, I didn’t see the importance of church. Much of the church life I saw was a social event for people to visit. For me, going to church meant that after the service I get to play ball with my friends. Now, in my adult years I attend a Spirit-filled non-denominational church where the focus is on helping people in their spiritual walk with God.
The word “church(es)” is mentioned 108 times in the New Testament. The 1st time the word “church” is mentioned in the Bible is in Matt. 16:18 (NKJV), “And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.” In this verse Jesus presents the idea that Church should be a transformational, life-changing entity. We are living in the Church Age, a time when God is focusing on building strong local churches.
Today, some churches are flourishing and growing while others are plateaued. Some are unhealthy, and others need outside help if they’re going to make it. Every denomination has their own ideas about what the Church should be or should be doing. Numerous advisors and consultants give their thoughts about what the Church should be and do in blogs, podcasts, websites, books, etc.
Recently, I read a number of books, emails, websites, and blogs on the subject of the Church. I observed many (often diverse) thoughts about the Church. Some predicted doom and gloom for the future of the Church. Others focused on exposing the flaws and faults of the Church. Still others projected trendy or even outlandish ideas that had nothing to do with the Bible.
It seemed impossible for me to integrate all they said we should do into the Church. The thought came to me, “Who’s right about church? They can’t all be right.” And then another thought came to me, “What does the Bible say about the Church?”
18 Things the Bible Says About the Church
- Jesus Himself will build the Church (Matt.16:18).
- The powers of hell shall not prevail against the Church (Matt 16:18).
- The Church continued daily with one accord (Acts 2:46).
- The Church interacted with one another and help meet each other’s needs. (Acts 2:46-47).
- The Church was the central focus of the people-a central part of their life. (Acts 2:46-47).
- God brought increase to the Church (Acts 2:47).
- The Church assembled together (Acts 11:26).
- The Church taught the Word (Acts 11:26).
- God-appointed ministers led the Church (Acts 13:1, Acts 14:23).
- Constant prayer was made by the Church (Acts 12:5).
- The Church sent out people to minister (Acts 15:22).
- Every church member is to do their valuable and significant part (Eph. 4:16).
- The Church is to be healthy, growing, and full of love (Eph. 4:16, NLT).
- The Church is to be sanctified (Eph. 5:26).
- The Church is to have the supernatural power and gifts of the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:8, 1 Cor. 12:7-11).
- The Church is to minister healing to those who need it (Mk. 16:18, Jas. 5:14).
- The Church is to be concerned with reaching the lost (Matt. 28:19).
- The Church is to be holy and glorious (Eph. 5:27).
These eighteen truths paint a picture of who God intended the Church to be: a transformational, life-changing entity through which God helps mankind. The challenge is for each pastor to ask the Holy Spirit how to implement these Biblical truths about the Church into their congregation so they can be transformational and help people’s lives to be changed.
The Church Must Depend Upon the Holy Spirit
Jesus told the disciples in Acts 1:4-5 (NKJV), “. . . Not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the Promise of the Father, “which,” He said, “you have heard from Me; for John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”
In essence, Jesus told the disciples, “Don’t try to do Church without the Holy Spirit.” Logistically, the Church is too big for mankind alone to take care of. The Church has too many needs for man to fix by himself. So when we talk about who the Church should be, we ought to consider what the Holy Spirit can do to help us:
- He is always with us to give us help, strengthen, counsel, and comfort (Jn. 14:16-17).
- He teaches us the Word (Jn. 14:26).
- He brings us recall of the Word (Jn. 14:26).
- He points us to Jesus and His redemptive work at the Cross (Jn. 15:26).
- He makes things better for us (Jn. 16:7).
- He brings conviction (Jn. 16:8-11).
- He brings revelation of the Word and of the future (Jn. 16:12-13).
- He glorifies, uplifts, and exalts Jesus (Jn. 16:14-15).
- He gives us power to do God’s will and meet needs (Acts 1:8).
- He intercedes for us (Rom. 8:26-27).
What God is saying about the Church is the same as in the beginning. Times have changed, but God’s Word is still true. We all need the Holy Spirit to help us be the Church that God spoke of in the Bible. Let’s depend upon the Holy Spirit to transform us, and then help us offer transformational, life-changing ministry to those who come to our churches. Our prayer is that everyone would receive and walk in God’s blessings and plans for their lives!