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Distinguishing the Universal and Local. Characteristics of “the Church” . The Word “ Church” …. From the Greek word ekklesia , which means “an assembly” Used most commonly in the N. T. in two primary ways:

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Characteristics of “the Church”


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    1. Distinguishing the Universal and Local Characteristics of “the Church”

    2. The Word “Church”… • From the Greek word ekklesia, which means “an assembly” • Used most commonly in the N. T. in two primary ways: • The universal church – Consisting or composed of the of souls that have been redeemed by the blood of Christ • The local church – Comprised by Christians within a certain geographical location laboring and worshiping together as a congregation of God's people

    3. The Characteristics of the church • Our understanding of the church can be improved by: • Contrasting the universal church with the local church • Observing and taking note of how the Bible describes the two

    4. Distinguishing the Universal and Local “the Universal Church”

    5. Began on the day of Pentecost… • In Jerusalem, following the death, burial, resurrection, and ascension of Christ - Acts 2:1-47 • “And as I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell upon them, as upon us at the beginning.” - Acts 11:15 (NKJV)

    6. Enter only by being “added” by the Lord… • One cannot join the church by being voted in – Acts 2:41, 47

    7. No “Earthly Headquarters” • 1Peter 2:4 Coming to Him as to a living stone, rejected indeed by men, but chosen by God and precious, 5you also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. • Ephesians 2:19-22

    8. There is only “one” church in the “universal” sense… • The church (universal) is the body of Christ - Ephesians 1:22-23 • There is only one body - Ephesians 4:1-6

    9. Death does not put an end to our membership… • Hebrews 12:22-23 • Philippians 1:21-23 • 1Thessalonians 5:9 “For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, 10 who died for us, that whether we wake or sleep, we should livetogether with Him.”

    10. The Lord is in charge of His “membership directory” • Hebrews 12:22 “But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, to an innumerable company of angels, 23 to the general assembly and church of the firstbornwho areregistered in heaven, to God the Judge of all, to the spirits of just men made perfect” • 2Timothy2:19 “Nevertheless the solid foundation of God stands, having this seal: "The Lord knows those who are His," and, "Let everyone who names the name of Christ depart from iniquity.”

    11. Comprised of all the saved –everywhere… • Ephesians 5:25-27 • John 15:2-6 • “So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth.” – Rev. 3:16 • Revelation 22:18-19

    12. The “Universal Church” • Began on the day of Pentecost • Members are added by the Lord • Has no “earthly” headquarters • There is only one! • Death does not end our membership • The Lord is in charge of its Membership • It is comprised of all the saved - Everywhere

    13. Distinguishing the Universal and Local “the Local Church”

    14. Begins when people join themselves together… • Just as the church in Antioch began later than the church in Jerusalem - Acts 11:19-26 • While the universal church began in Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost, local churches have made their start at different places & different times!

    15. One enters by “joining” the church • That is what Paul wanted to do when he went to the church in Jerusalem - Acts 9:26-28

    16. There is an organizational structure with the “local church” • Philippians 1:1  Paul and Timothy, bondservants of Jesus Christ, To all the saints in Christ Jesus who are in Philippi, with the bishopsand deacons: • Acts 14:23, 20:17, 28

    17. There are “many” churches in the local sense… • Romans 16:16 • Galatians 1:1 “Paul, an apostle (not from men nor through man, but through Jesus Christ and God the Father who raised Him from the dead), 2 and all the brethren who are with me, To the churches of Galatia:”

    18. Death does affect membership in the local sense… • When Stephen died, he was no longer a member of the Jerusalem church, Acts 8:1-2

    19. Human discretion involved with acceptance of membership… • 3 John 9 “I wrote to the church, but Diotrephes, who loves to have the preeminence among them, does not receive us. 10 Therefore, if I come, I will call to mind his deeds which he does, prating against us with malicious words. And not content with that, he himself does not receive the brethren, and forbids those who wish to, putting them out of the church.”

    20. Comprised of both saved and lost – in specific locations… • Revelation 3:1-4 • 1Corinthians 1:2 “To the church of God which is at Corinth, to those who are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all who in every place call on the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours:” • 1Thessalonians 1:1 “Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy, To the church of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.”

    21. Why study the church? • Why study these differences between the universal and thelocalchurch...? • To better understand how the word 'church' is used in the Bible • To avoid misconceptions in our thinking when using the word 'church' • When we are aware of the differences, we are also better equipped to identify the New Testament church when we see it today!