Doctrine (Part 6). Ecclesiology.
The Church is the unique community of God (1 Peter 2:10). The Church is not a human invention, but a miraculously designed, God-ordained body of believers on a mission (1 Pet 2:9). Jesus established this community, saying he would build his Church (Mat 16:18).
The Church is both local and universal. Scripture’s use of ecclesia includes, but is not limited to, a small or big group of believers. There is a very real virtue in the meeting of local, like-minded Christians, in local churches, as well as a genuine universal camaraderie with all who bear the name Jesus through out the world (Mat 5:14).
God’s desire is to establish solidarity to humanity through the reconciliation of sinners through the blood of Jesus (Eph 2:14-19). This Kingdom of God invades the principles and powers of the kingdom of this dark age (Mat 12:28). The mission of the Church is a particular assignment interwoven into the framework of its design. Christ was sent to earth for the purpose of redeeming the world (1 John 4:10). Likewise, the Church is sent into the world to worship God and tell the story of his redemptive work (Mat 28:19). The Church is on a mission, called by God, we are in fact “the called out ones.”
The church is meant to proclaim the Word of God, administer the ordinances, and exercise authority (1 Cor 5). Falling in line with God himself, the prophets, Jesus Christ, and the apostles, the church shares the main function of preaching the Word of God, specifically the Gospel (1 Tim 4:2; Gal 1). Along with the primacy of this task, believers must corporately celebrate and reflect on the atoning sacrifice of Jesus as well as anticipate his return through the taking of the Lord’s Supper (1 Cor 11:23-32). Finally within the prime framework of the church, elders are to exercise accountable authority over each other and the congregation through church discipline (Mat 18:15-20).
Generally speaking the Church is the tool of God that constantly, steadily strengthens the reign of Christ as King on earth, increasing the influence and visibility of his Kingdom (Mat 16:13-20). The specific tasks that propel such a movement include the reconciling of everyone to Christ (Eph 1:9-10), making of disciples (Luke 24:47), baptizing believers (Acts 2:38-41), fostering fellowship (Acts 2:42), instilling kingdom virtues (Mat 6:33), establishing new churches (1 Cor 5:13), communicating with one another (Acts 15:23-30), and continually caring for the widows and orphans (Jam 1:27).