Church in English refers to assembly of people called out for a very genuine purpose that is to seperate from the world and to be one in the mind of God.
Church is derived from Greek word Ku-ri-a-kos which means belonging to Lord and if one looks in to scripture this word occurred only two times in New Testament 1 Cor11:20 referring to lords supper and in Rev 1:10 referring to the Lord's day. When we consider the
Hebrew word Gahal means just an common assembly translated in Septuagint as Ecclesia, which can be any assembly.
The Greek word eccelesia means assembly in a political sense which is not referring to people but congreation which means people who are not part of assembly they were not referred to ekklesia. In New Testament the derivation of Greek word is used for
called out people i.e., kalew to call and Ek out of, which is very secular meaning of that assembly.
Vine's complete expository dictionary explains,
with reference from strong concordance
ekklesia (ἐκκλησία, 1577), from ek, “out of,” and klesis, “a calling” (kaleo, “to call”), was used among the Greeks of a body of citizens “gathered” to discuss the affairs of state, Acts 19:39. In the Sept. it is used to designate the “gathering” of Israel, summoned for any definite purpose, or a “gathering” regarded as representative of the whole nation. In Acts 7:38 it is used of Israel; in 19:32, 41, of a riotous mob. It has two applications to companies of Christians, (a) to the whole company of the redeemed throughout the present era, the company of which Christ said, “I will build My Church,” Matt. 16:18, and which is further described as “the Church which is His Body,” Eph. 1:22; 5:23, (b) in the singular number (e.g., Matt. 18:17, rv marg., “congregation”), to a company consisting of professed believers, e.g., Acts 20:28; 1 Cor. 1:2; Gal. 1:13; 1 Thess. 1:1; 2 Thess. 1:1; 1 Tim. 3:5, and in the plural, with reference to churches in a district.
There is an apparent exception in the rv of Acts 9:31, where, while the kjv has “churches,” the singular seems to point to a district; but the reference is clearly to the church as it was in Jerusalem, from which it had just been scattered, 8:1. Again, in Rom. 16:23, that Gaius was the host of “the whole church,” simply suggests that the “assembly” in Corinth had been accustomed to meet in his house, where also Paul was entertained. See church.
paneguris (πανήγυρις, 3831), from pan, “all,” and agora, “any kind of assembly,” denoted, among the Greeks, an assembly of the people in contrast to the council of national leaders, or a “gathering” of the people in honor of a god, or for some public festival, such as the Olympic games. The word is used in Heb. 12:23, coupled with the word “church,” as applied to all believers who form the body of Christ.
3. plethos (πλη̂θος, 4128), “a multitude, the whole number,” is translated “assembly” in Acts 23:7, rv. See bundle, company, multitude.
New Testament records the unique character or nature of the group assembled and their focused reason that draw that particular assembly together, scripture references are as follows,
Acts 19:39,41 - This was the assembly of Heathen's gathered for political purpose.
Acts 7:38 - This was the group of Isralites assembled to receive Gods law through Moses.
Ephesians 1:22-23 - Here the assembly is Church the Christs body.
Romans 16:5 ; 1 Cor 16:19 ; Colossians 4:15 ; Philemon 2 - Here the group of people were local house Church assembly.
Concept of Church
Church been categorised as universal church (invisible) and Local (visible) Church.
Heb 12:23 refers to universal church which serves the body of Christ where on earth or in heaven. Local Church stands for a Church in a house. In fact in
1 Cor 1:2 several house Churches comes to picture and they were addressed as one local Church in a city of Corinth. Yet the singular word Church can be designated to several Churches in a region see
Acts 9:31. The concept of local Church can include a group in a single house / several groups in a city / many groups in a region. Hence with no offence the local Church is referred to visible groups that comes in contact with each other.
Universal Church includes all believers in heaven or on earth.
Local Church is particular assembly who's primary position is to keep relationship with God through Christ.
Visible Church is Local Church in various areas.
Israel and Church are different to one another,
lets see the contrasts briefly,
CPBC states, Israel is promised nation and occupies four-fifths of scripture, while Church occupies bit more than one-fifth highlighting its primary role in New Testament.
Church belongs to Christ, its purpose is divine and is to win souls to Christ who reign with Him in heaven at new creation (at His return), as Israel was God's covanant and earthly nation which will remain till the earth is restored back to its original state.
Purpose of Church
Mission of Church is to,
To Glorify God,
- By Worship (John 4:23, Phil 3:3, Rev 22:9)
- By prayer and praise (Ps 50:23)
- By Godly life (John 15:8, 1 Peter 2:9, Titus 2:10)
To Edify Itself,
- To build on the body of Christ (Colossians 2:7)
- Individuals also build up in most holy faith (Jude 20)
- Use proper material in building Gods spritual temple (1 Corinthians 3:10-15)
To Purify Itself,
- God the father divide righteousness with unrighteousness (John 15:2, 1 Corinthians 11:32, Hebrew 12:10)
- Carry out Church discipline (Acts 5:11, Romans 16:17, 1 Corinthians 5:6-8,13; 2 Corinthians 2:6 ; Thessalonians 3:16,14 ; Titus 3:10 ; 2 John 10 ; Revelation 19:7)
To Educate its Constituency
- Believers should be taught to observe all commandments which Christ commands (Matthew 28:20 ; Philippians 4:8 ; 2 Timothy 2:2)
To Evangelize the World
- (Luke 24:46-48 ; Acts 1:8 ; John 4:28-38 ; Matthew 9:36-38)
- To Act as a Restraining & Enlightening force in the World,
- Believers are light of the world (Matthew 5:13)
- Believers are custodians of his truth (2 Corinthians 5:19)
- Church should hold to word of life and to struggle for the truth (Philemon 2:16, Jude 3)
To Promote all that is Good,
- Separate from the World (2 Cor 6:14-18)
- Do good to all the house hold of God (Galatians 6:10) (Acts 10:38-43)
True Religion is based on Faith
Religion in broader sence can be very political and self made by man for his own benifits. But in narrow and Biblical way it is very unique and specific relationship with God and carrying out responsibilities between God and man divinely.
Jude defines beliefs of Christians is based on faith.
One of the authors write:
- Real religion gives to other
- Real religion Says, others first
- Real religion Says, Servitude
- Real religion Says, accept the burden of self that others might be relieved of that burden.
- Real religion Says, not I, but Christ.
Looking back, Judiasim was the religion of Jews.
- Acts 26:5 - lived as Pharisee
- Gal 1:13 - lived as Jews
- James 1:26-27 - Pure religion
Christianity is based on the faith
- Jude 1:3 - The faith
Bases of Chritianity walks in this way,
- Acts 9:2 - as a prisoner.
- Acts 22:4 - unto death & into prisons.
- Acts 18:26 - honoured.
- 2 Peter 2:2 - Harmful way.
In conclusion Religion can send one to hell if not understood its relational behaviour.