We believe that the Church is that body of believers who have received, and are being led by, the Holy Spirit. The true Church of God is a spiritual organism. Its biblical name is "the Church of God." We believe that the mission of the Church is to preach the gospel (good news) of the coming Kingdom of God to all nations as a witness, and to help reconcile to God such people as are now being called. We believe that it is also the mission of the Church of God to strengthen, edify and nurture the children of God in the love and admonition of our Lord Jesus Christ (Acts 2:38-39, 47; 20:28; Romans 8:14; 14:19; Ephesians 1:22-23; 3:14; 4:11-16; 1 Corinthians 1:2; 10:32; 11:16, 22; 12:27; 14:26; 15:9; 2 Corinthians 1:1-2; 5:18-20; Galatians 1:13; 1 Thessalonians 2:14; 2 Thessalonians 1:4; 1 Timothy 3:5, 15; Mark 16:15; Matthew 24:14; 28:18-20; John 6:44, 65; 17:11, 16).
The word church is translated from the Greek word ekklesia, which is derived from the verb kaleo (meaning "to call") and with the prefix ek (a preposition meaning "out of"). It means a body of people who have been "called out of," just as Israel was called out of Egypt to assemble before God (Acts 7:38). In the first New Testament occurrence of ekklesia, Jesus promised to "build [His] church." It is the presence of the Holy Spirit in the minds of the members (1 Corinthians 2:12-13; Ephesians 4:3-6) that identifies the Church of God as a unique assembly of people.
The Church of God began on the Day of Pentecost after the ascension of Jesus Christ. God poured out His Spirit on the disciples who were assembled together on that day in obedience to Christ's command to remain in Jerusalem (Luke 24:49; Acts 2:1-4; Acts 5:32). Over the next several days, God "added to the church daily those who were being saved" (Acts 2:47).
Jesus said, "No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him" (John 6:44) and unless "it has been granted" by the Father (verse 65). Therefore, no one can "join" the Church. Rather, God initiates the process by leading a person to repentance and baptism for the remission of sins and giving the gift of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38), through which a person is placed into the Church.
Since it is the indwelling presence of God's Spirit that identifies and unifies God's people (1 Corinthians 12:12-13), the Church is a spiritual organism. Ephesians 2:19-22 describes the Church as a "holy temple." Each individual member is also a "temple of the Holy Spirit" (1 Corinthians 6:19).
Jesus Christ is the living Head of the Church, which is often described as "the body of Christ" (1 Corinthians 12:27; Ephesians 1:22-23; 4:12; Colossians 1:18). The Bible refers to the entire Body of Christ or an individual congregation as "the church of God," or "churches of God" when referring to more than one congregation.
Jesus has commissioned His disciples to preach the gospel to the world (Mark 16:15) and make disciples of all nations (Matthew 28:19). Christ calls us out of the evils of this world (John 17:15-16) and sets us apart by the truth of the Word of God (verse 17). He also sends us into the world (verse 18) to preach the gospel of the Kingdom of God for a witness (Matthew 24:14).
The preaching work of the Church, coupled with the combined testimony of individual lives of Church members, provides a powerful message of hope and illumination to a darkened world (Philippians 2:15; Matthew 5:14-16). Members of God's Church are His "special people" (Titus 2:14; 1 Peter 2:9), transformed by the renewing of their minds through the power of God's Holy Spirit (Romans 12:2).
The Church also provides a haven for fellowship (Acts 2:42; 1 John 1:7), encouragement (Hebrews 3:13; 10:24) and spiritual nourishment (Ephesians 5:29; Colossians 2:19). God has given spiritual gifts to every member for the edification of the body (Romans 12:3-8; 1 Corinthians 12:4-28; Ephesians 4:7-8, 11-16). These gifts are to be exercised with love (1 Corinthians 13:1-3). Loving one another establishes members' credibility as disciples of Jesus Christ (John 13:34-35).
The biblical name for the Church is shown to be "Church of God." On 12 occasions in the New Testament the term Church of God is used to identify the spiritual organism identified as God's people, spiritual Israel. The precedent for using descriptive phrases along with the name "Church of God" is clearly established in Scripture. We read of the "church of God which is at Corinth" (1 Corinthians 1:2; 2 Corinthians 1:1), "the churches of Galatia" (Galatians 1:2), and the "church in Cenchrea" (Romans 16:1).
Jesus promised that His Church would never die (Matthew 16:18) and that He would never leave nor forsake us (Hebrews 13:5). He promised to be with His people "even to the end of the age" (Matthew 28:19-20), empowering them to do His work. When Christ returns to this earth to establish the kingdom of God, His Church will rule with Him (Revelation 2:26; 3:21; 5:10; Daniel 7:22, 26-27), having become teachers and judges (1 Corinthians 6:1-3).
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