Some thoughts on the Church 2014 by Jack Kettler
It is important to note that the Church is the Object of Christ's love:
“... as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it” Ephesians 5:25. “That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish” Ephesians 5: 27.
He will present the Church to himself in the presence of the Father as the fruit of His obedience to the Father's will, for the elect on whose behalf He obeyed the law, (active obedience) and again for the elect whose sins He shed His blood, and died upon the cross (passive obedience) to the satisfaction of the Father.
The word church in the New Testament is the translation of the Greek word ecclesia and is synonymous with the Hebrew kahal in the Old Testament. Kahal is translated Ecclesia in the Greek Septuagint version of the Old Testament. Both words simply mean an assembly in their most basic meaning, and do not necessarily have anything to do with public worship. The context determines the meaning.
Ecclesia is used in the following ways in the New Testament:
Ecclesia is translated “assembly” in the basic ordinary way in Acts 19:32,39,41. In this case, you had Demetrius and fellow craftsmen assembled against Paul with the town clerk appeasing the people and keeping order.
It is the whole body of the redeemed, or all those whom the Father has given to Christ, the invisible catholic or universal Church in Ephesians 5:23,25,27,29 and Hebrews 12:23.
It can be used for a few Christians associated together, in Romans 16:5 and Colossians 4:15.
It can be used for Christians in a particular city, regardless if they are assembled together in one place or in several places for worship, and are thus an ecclesia. The disciples in Antioch, forming several congregations, were one Church in Acts 13:1, in addition, we see the “Church of God at Corinth” 1 Corinthians 1:2, also the “Church at Jerusalem” in Acts 8:1 and the “Church of Ephesus” in Revelation 2:1.
Ecclesia can also be used for the whole body of professing Christians throughout the world as seen in 1 Corinthians 15:9, Galatians 1:13, and Matthew 16:18 are the Church of Christ.
Christ's Church is both “visible” and “invisible.”
Chapter 25 Of the Church in the Westminster Confession explains how the Church “visible” is comprised of all those throughout the world that profess the true faith, together with their children. It is called “visible” because its members are known and its assemblies are public. In the visible Church, there is a mixture of “wheat and chaff,” or of saints and unconverted sinners. God has commanded His people to organize themselves into visible assemblies, with constitutions, officers, ordinances governing worship, and discipline for the purpose of making known the gospel of His kingdom, and of gathering in all of the elect from the uttermost parts of the earth, Mark 13:27.
Each one of these organized assemblies that pledges fidelity to Christ, is part of the visible Church, and together with their children constitute the universal visible Church. A credible profession of faith involving membership vows is required for an adult to be a member of the visible Church. This Church is also called “the kingdom of heaven,” whose characteristics can be seen in the parables found in Matthew 13:24-52.
In comparison, the Church “invisible” consists of the whole number of the elect that have been, are, or shall be gathered into one universal body under Christ, the head thereof. The Church is the body of Christ. It is called “invisible” because the greater part of those who are members in it are already in heaven or are yet unborn, and also because it's members still on earth cannot with certainly be distinguished this side of heaven because of the mixture of “wheat and chaff.”
The Church is universal and is perpetual. Christ's Church is pictured as the stone in Daniel 2:35. This stone becomes a mountain and fills the whole earth. This is the kingdom that can never be destroyed and is Christ's Church, Daniel 2:44. In the parable of the mustard seed, we see the Church and how it will become a great tree is seen in (Matthew 13:31-32). Christ's Church will advance in History and the “Gates of Hell” shall never prevail against Her, Matthew 16:17.
For additional research:
The Church Of Christ
A Treatise on the Nature, Powers, Ordinances, Discipline, and Government of the Christian Church
"James Bannerman's 'The Church of Christ' is the most extensive, standard, solid, Reformed treatment of the doctrine of the church that has ever been written. It is indisputably the classic in its field. Every minister and elder should own a copy, and church members would also be much better informed if they perused it carefully. How many church problems would be alleviated if churches used Bannerman as their primary textbook for their understanding of what the church is and for their modus operandi!" - Joel R. Beeke
In every thing we do, we should strive to bring honor to Christ and to advance His Kingdom on earth! Amen!
Mr. Kettler is the owner of http://www.Undergroundnotes.com where his theological, philosophical and political articles can be read.