What’s A Church?

America is made up of churches, but the wide range of differences in churches makes me wonder what the church really is .

Where should we go to decide what the church is and what it should be?

As I’ve often told my congregation, my mother reminded me often that “We are a New Testament church.” By that, she meant that we should look to the church of the New Testament to serve as the example of the church in the present day. She, and many Biblical scholars, believed that God had established His church and that the function and beliefs of the early church should be ours as well.

How did the early church function?

First, the church was founded on the teaching of the Apostles and prophets. As God revealed Himself and showed them Himself, they continued to teach what the Apostle’s received. That teaching today comprises the New Testament. That’s what my mother meant by being a New Testament church. As we follow the Apostle’s teaching, we will remain united and steadfast in the work of God.

Second, the church of the New Testament centered everything on Christ. Over and over again, the Apostles had the opportunity to make everything revolve around them. They steadfastly refused to do so. Instead, they placed Jesus at the center of everything. This is abundantly clear in Acts 2 and 3 where Peter spoke for the Apostles and proclaimed Jesus.

Third, the church saw its power only in terms of God Himself. He had given the church His Spirit. As they functioned in His power, they would be successful in service and in evangelism.

Finally, the Apostles repeatedly gave evidence of the resurrection of Jesus. They existed only because God had raised Jesus from the dead. Paul saw that without the resurrection we have no power and no real reason to exist. Without the resurrection, our faith is in vain.

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About Waylon

I am the senior pastor of First Baptist Church, Covington, Louisiana, a position that I have held since 1989.

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Verse of the Day

[The Birth of Jesus Foretold] In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.” — Luke 1:26-28 (NIV)