What is the church’s role according to the bible? That is a big question. I turned to the Bible to find answers. In my reading, I discovered 8 profound things The Bible says about church.
I have been attending church since I was a baby. Growing up in the church, it’s easy to believe I know what Church is and what it’s supposed to be. Some of these beliefs are based on tradition and not the Bible.
As an adult, it’s my responsibility to know what is the church’s role and purpose according to the Bible.
8 profound things The Bible says about church
11 Now the Berean Jews were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.
This verse encourages each and every one of us to study scripture for ourselves and to see if what we have been learning from church leaders is true.
As such, I have come to believe certain things about Church- not just from what I practice and know but from what the scripture says about it.
What is “the church”?
Before I delve into writing about the purpose and role of the church, it’s important that we define what “the Church” is.
13 But now in Christ Jesus you who formerly were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. …18 for through Him we both have our access in one Spirit to the Father. 19 So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God’s household, 20 having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the corner stone, 21 in whom the whole building, being fitted together, is growing into a holy temple in the Lord, 22 in whom you also are being built together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit.
These verses tell us that when a person turns away from Sin towards God, they become part of God’s household. When we become part of His household we are then fit together with other people who know God to create the temple of God.
This temple of God is not a building, but a people.
For the sake of this blog post, anytime I talk about “The Church”, I am referring to the Temple of God.
The Temple of God is not a building or one person. The church is made up of many people who are fit together in Christ.
Another way to describe it is “the universal church”. This describes all Christians who know God.
A “local church” is one gathering made up of people who know God. These people usually meet in a specific physical building that is also referred to as the church. To make sure that we are all on the same page, I will try my best to say: universal church, the local church, and the church building.
8 Things the Bible Says about Church
1. Jesus is the head of the church
Most local churches are usually part of a larger denomination and have some sort of government/ leadership structure in place.
These government structures are good and have a purpose. But, is very important to remember that the bible is very clear that there is not one person who is the head of the church. The head of the church is Christ Himself.
22 And He put all things in subjection under His feet, and gave Him as head over all things to the church, 23 which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.
17 He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. 18 He is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything.
2. The presence of Jesus is not dependent on numbers
When choosing a local church, it might be tempting to believe that larger churches are more “spiritual” because of their numbers.
But the Bible does not support this.
Matthew 18:20 ESV
For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.”
God knew that we would be obsessed with numbers. How many people go to a church, how many people get saved, and so on a so forth.
I think that is why He added this verse to scripture. God wanted us to know that numbers don’t matter.
A local church that has 4-5 people has just as much importance to God as one that has thousands of attendees.
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3. Jesus uses us to build His Church
I am always amazed at God. He has no use for us and can grow His church on His own. But He uses us to build His church.
13 But now in Christ Jesus you who formerly were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. …19 So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God’s household, 20 having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the corner stone, 21 in whom the whole building, being fitted together, is growing into a holy temple in the Lord, 22 in whom you also are being built together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit.
God knows that there are some things we might not understand without word pictures. So, He made sure to add lots of word pictures to describe how He wanted things to work.
In this word picture, a building is used to describe the church. God is the cornerstone, the apostles are the foundation, and the rest of us are bricks built together to make a dwelling of God.
4. We all have a part
In the verses above, they described the use of all Christians to build a dwelling of God. But that is not where it ends. We are not just bricks sitting and waiting. We are all given a part.
Ephesians 4:11-16 (NASB)
11 And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, 12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ; 13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God,…15 but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ, 16 from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by what every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love.
These verses are describing something known as spiritual gifts. When we come to know The Lord as our savior, we are given spiritual gifts. The verses then continue and describe how a body has many parts. Each part needs to work properly for the body to function.
God is the head of the body, and we are members of that body. We each have a role to play. If we don’t do our role, then the whole body suffers.
It amazes me that God created us to need each other. We can’t be a body on our own. We need each member to work as one body.
5. God wants us to meet together
When reading about the church, it is evident that there is a blueprint to follow and some general instructions we should follow.
One is that God desires us to meet together.
Hebrews 10:24-25 ESV
And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.
God’s desire for us to meet together may sound obvious, but in today’s world, I think we need to remember that God wants us to meet together in one room.
With the internet, it’s easy to believe that we are “doing church” because we listened to a sermon online and had spiritual conversations online.
Those things are all good things, and I encourage you to continue those things. But, there is something to be said about meeting together in one space worshipping God together.
God knows we need each other and we can’t do that solely online.
6. We are to be united
Unity is something that should be found in local churches and the universal church.
So many times, we let disagreements and traditions separate us into smaller and smaller factions. But, this was not what God had in mind.
He wants all Christians to be united together.
God does not want us to cause disunity and wants us to watch out for those people who would cause divisions.
Romans 16:17 ESV
I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them.
The bible makes it clear that the church (universal church) is one body and that we are to work together.
12 For even as the body is one and yet has many members, and all the members of the body, though they are many, are one body, so also is Christ. 13 For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, and we were all made to drink of one Spirit.
25 so that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. 26 And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it.
So often, I see a division between denominations and groups. Instead, we should focus on the thing that unites us which is Christ.
Can you imagine what our witness as Christians would be if all denominations would work together for one common goal? It would be an amazing testimony of God’s work in all of us.
7. The church is to have Godly leaders
One of the most important things to look for when going to a church is Godly leadership.
The Bible sets some pretty high standards for leaders.
3 It is a trustworthy statement: if any man aspires to the office of overseer, it is a fine work he desires to do. 2 An overseer, then, must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, temperate, prudent, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, 3 not addicted to wine or pugnacious, but gentle, peaceable, free from the love of money. 4 He must be one who manages his own household well, keeping his children under control with all dignity 5 (but if a man does not know how to manage his own household, how will he take care of the church of God?), 6 and not a new convert, so that he will not become conceited and fall into the condemnation incurred by the devil. 7 And he must have a good reputation with those outside the church, so that he will not fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.
8 Deacons likewise must be men of dignity, not double-tongued, or addicted to much wine or fond of sordid gain, 9 but holding to the mystery of the faith with a clear conscience. 10 These men must also first be tested; then let them serve as deacons if they are beyond reproach. 11 Women must likewise be dignified, not malicious gossips, but temperate, faithful in all things. 12 Deacons must be husbands of only one wife, and good managers of their children and their own households. 13 For those who have served well as deacons obtain for themselves a high standing and great confidence in the faith that is in Christ Jesus.
These verses are pretty intimidating to read. Sometimes I think- is there anyone who actually meets these requirements? God calls us to walk in all His ways. As leaders of the church, they should strive to follow God.
Nobody is perfect and no leader (except God) is perfect. Expecting perfection from our leaders is unrealistic. But, we should hold our leaders to the standards listed above.
8. God is the one who grows the church
In recent years I have seen Christian pastors “go viral” and strive for more likes, more followers, and so on. With that sort of mindset, it’s easy to think that it’s a person who will grow the church.
But that is not true!
No one man is responsible for people joining the church. The only person who can grow the church (local or universal) is God.
1 Corinthians 3: 5-9 NKJV
5 Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers through whom you believed, as the Lord gave to each one? 6 I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase. 7 So then neither he who plants is anything, nor he who waters, but God who gives the increase. 8 Now he who plants and he who waters are one, and each one will receive his own reward according to his own labor.
9 For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, you are God’s building.
We all have a part to play. We can sow- preach God’s word, we can water- teach people about the bible. But only God is responsible for saving people and making people grow in their faith.
As a Christian who has been saved for a long time, one of my goals is to decide based on what scripture says. That is why I shared with you 8 profound things the Bible says about Church.
In the comments below, share your thoughts on what the bible says about church.
Please share this post with others. Thank you.