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The Nature
Of The Church
(Part One)
Seeing the distinction between the
individual, collective, and universal as shown
in the Scriptures.
• When Peter proclaimed “Thou art the Christ,
the Son of the Living God”;
• Jesus revealed that He would build His church.
• The word for “church” is the Greek ekklesia
• This word means assembly, gathering, mob,
people coming together for a purpose or as a
The Church
• Romans 12:3-8, 1 Corinthians 12:12-27,
Ephesians 4:4-6, 5:23-32,
Hebrews 12:1, 22-24
• Throughout the New Testament, descriptions
of the church as such, the Body of Christ, the
people of God, etc., maintains an important
vagary (not really specific).
The Church
• Emphasis is often placed on the singularity and
unity of the church:
• Christ has but one Body; its different parts
function together as one.
• Yet Paul is writing to the church in Rome, and
then the church in Corinth, and the church in
• Churches in the plural denoting more than one.
The Church
• To this end we often make distinctions between the "church
universal" and the "local church“.
• Church universal: the one Body of Christ spoken of
whenever emphasis is placed on the singularity or
uniqueness of the collective people of God.
• Local church: a collective of Christians in a given specific
place and time who frequently assemble with one another,
spoken of specifically whenever emphasis is placed on a
singular group of Christians meeting in one place (e.g.
church in Rome) or multiple such groups in a larger area
(e.g. churches of Galatia).
The Church
• While this distinction must be made in many
places in the Bible;
• In order to make sense of what is revealed in
Scripture we must remember that the Apostles
never explicitly make the distinction:
• they speak of the “ekklesia” in both senses
without qualification!
• The ideal: a given local church is the reflection of
the members of the church universal in that time
and place.
The Church
• In reality, some of the members of a given local
church may not actually be part of the universal
• Perhaps some members of the universal church
living in that area at that time do not meet with
that one specific local church.
• Discussions of the relationship between
individual Christians and the local church are
important and, Lord willing, will be had at
another time.
The Church
• Yet an often less discussed and emphasized
discussion involves the relationship between the
individual Christian and the church universal.
• Understanding the nature of this relationship
proves even more important in our age of
developed communication technology
connecting people around the country and the
world as never before!
The Church
• Therefore, what is the relationship between the
individual Christian and the church universal?
• What is the constitution and nature of the church
• What sort of relationship exists among the
members of the church universal?
• What are the responsibilities of an individual
Christian to the church universal?
Conclusion (Part One)
• How do we manage our responsibilities as an
individual Christian to both the church universal
and to the local church?
• Our next lesson will discuss the Universal Church
and our part of the relationship.
• Learning about the Church is so very important
• Because there is a lot of ignorance and
misunderstanding concerning this subject.
• Invitation.