What is the church of Christ?
The Church of Christ is People The Greek word translated church is EKKLESIA. This word is a compound word consisting of a preposition EK, which means out of, and KLESIS derived from the verb KALEO, which means to call. What does this all mean? It means that church literally is a called out people. The church of Christ has nothing to do with a building! In Acts 11:22 it is recorded that many in the city of Antioch were believing in Jesus and the “…news about them reached the EARS of the church at Jerusalem…” Certainly everyone knows that a building doesn’t have ears, but you know what does have ears? People!
The church of Christ refers to people who through obedience to the gospel message of salvation in Jesus Christ have been CALLED OUT of sinful darkness to obtain and receive eternal life. The apostle Peter states this eloquently when writing to the church saying, “…you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light…” (1 Peter 2:9).
The church of Christ is a chosen race of people called out by God through the gospel (2 Thessalonians 2:14) and only through the gospel to gain the glory of Jesus Christ (2 Thessalonians 2:14). The church of Christ is a holy nation whose citizenship is in heaven (Philippians 3:20), whose mortal bodies will be transformed into a glorified body at the coming of Jesus (Philippians 3:21). The church of Christ is a people for God’s own possession set apart as holy and sanctified through Jesus as the apostle Paul states when writing to the church of Christ at Corinth, “…to the church of God which is at Corinth, to those who have been sanctified in Christ Jesus, saints by calling…” (1 Corinthians 1:2).
The church of Christ is a royal priesthood or a kingdom of priest to render service to God as the apostle John states in the book of Revelation, “…John to the seven churches that are in Asia…from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and ruler of the kings of the earth. To Him who loves us, and released us from our sins by His blood, and He has made us to be a kingdom, priests to His God and Father…” (Revelation 1:4-6).
The Church of Christ is NOT a Name
The church of Christ is a designation of relationship; it does not speak of who the people are but to whom the people belong. Jesus said in Matthew 16:18 (after Peter had confessed Him as the Christ) that, “…upon this rock I will build My church…” Jesus in this one verse claims ownership of the people who would be called out through the gospel. In Acts 20:28 it states that the church was, “…purchased with His own blood…” In 1 Corinthians 6:20 the apostle Paul writes to the church stating, “…you have been bought with a price…” The church of Christ is a called out people who have been purchased by the blood of Christ. They are the possession of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit bought through the sacrificial blood of Jesus.
The church of Christ is the body of Christ. In Ephesians 1:22-23 the apostle Paul writes concerning the exalted Christ that, “…He [God] put all things in subjection under His [Jesus] feet, and gave Him as head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all…” Paul writes to the church in 1 Corinthians 12:27, “…you are Christ’s body, and individually members of it…” The relationship the church of Christ has to Jesus is that they are His body and Jesus as stated in Colossians 1:18, “…is the head of the body, the church…” Just as a body is subject to the head and the head is master over the body so also is the relationship of Jesus and the church.
The church of Christ is the “bride” of Christ. The church and Jesus share a unique relationship like that of a husband and wife. Paul writes in the book of Ephesians concerning this similarity stating, “…For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ is head of the church, He Himself being the savior of the body. But as the church is subject to Christ, so also wives ought to be subject to their husbands in everything, Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she should be holy and blameless…” What and amazing relationship to be in! The church of Christ is a people who belong to Christ, they have an intimate relationship and union with Him, and are holy and blameless!
The church of Christ is Universal
The church of Christ does not have an address or a phone number because it is not a building but a called out people. The church of Christ consists of all people who are saved through faith in the gospel of Jesus Christ. Membership to the church of Christ is available to everyone and rejects no one. Membership in the church of Christ is not acquired through committee vote, specified number of classes, or by application. Terms of membership in the church of Christ has not and will not change. Anyone can become a member of the church of Christ and enjoy the relationship with Jesus and the status before God that each member of the church shares.
To become a member of the church of Christ one must hear and understand the gospel of Jesus Christ (Romans 10:17) and trust only in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus to sufficiently atone for their sin (2 Corinthians 5:21). A person must repent of their sinful life and turn to God, making the commitment to live according to His will before their sins can be forgiven (Acts 3:19). A person must confess with their mouth that Jesus is Lord (Romans 10:9-10). Finally a person must be baptized for the forgiveness of their sins (Acts 2:38). When a person does this they are added to the body of Christ, the church (1 Corinthians 12:13). The Lord is the one who does the adding to the church (Acts 2:41, 47). The church of Christ is the people of God who through the blood of Jesus are saved from the penalty of their sin (Acts 2:47).