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The sanctuary built by Moses and the subsequent Temple built by Solomon were considered holy and sacred buildings, because God’s presence was manifest there. The Temple was the center of Israelite worship. When they were unable to pray in the temple itself, they were to direct their prayers toward the Temple. In the New Testament the Temple is applied spiritually to the church as a community of believers and not to a building. The Greek word translated church is ekklesia, which means ‘called out ones.’

The Church Community

1. In speaking of the Christian church what does Paul call it? 1 Corinthians 3:16-17

“Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit lives in you? ... God’s temple is sacred, and you are that temple.”

The individual believer is also described as “a temple of the Holy Spirit” (1 Corinthians 6:19).

2. Upon who is the church built? 1 Corinthians 3:11; Ephesians 2:19-21

“For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ.” “Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God’s people and members of God’s household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord.”

The church is also described as the body of Christ, with Jesus as its head (Ephesians 5:23, etc.).

3. What unity exists “in Christ”? Galatians 3:28; 1 Corinthians 12:13

“There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” “For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body — whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free.”

The Function of the Church

4. What four things were involved in the early church worship? Acts 2:42

“They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.”

5. What is the central teaching of the church? 1 Corinthians 15:1-4; Romans 5:8; Eph 2:8-9

“Now, brothers, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you …[by which] you are saved … For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures.” “While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast.”

6. How does the church care for the needy? Acts 2:44-45

“All the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need.”

7. What Great Commission did Jesus give to the church? Matthew 28:19-20

“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

Membership in the Church

8. Who can join God’s church? John 1:12

“To all who received him [Jesus], to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.”

In their song “Somewhere I belong” Californian group Linkin Park sing, “When this began I had nothing to say / And I'd get lost in the nothingness inside of me / I was confused / And I let it all out to find that I'm / Not the only person with these things in mind … / I want to find something I’ve wanted all along / Somewhere I belong.”

Church is the family of God — a community for worship, for fellowship, for belonging.

Bible Discovery by Errol Webster. Reprinted with permission by SIGNS. Biblebay © 2001-2014, Westlake Village, CA.