MEMORY VERSE:† ďBut you are not like that, for you are a chosen people. You are a kingdom of priests, Godís holy nation, his very own possession. This is so you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light.Ē (1 Peter 2:9)
I. QUESTION: WHAT IS THE CHURCH?
ANSWER: The Church is not a building. The church building is a place where the Church meets. The Church is Godís people throughout the whole earth. It is made up of all those who truly believe in Jesus, and follow him. The church is Godís own people. (1 Corinthians 1:2; 2 Corinthians 6:17-18; Ephesians 1:22,23; 2:22; Hebrews 12:23)
II. QUESTION: FOR WHAT PURPOSE WAS THE CHURCH ESTABLISHED?
1. To worship God. (Acts 2:42-47; Revelation 5:13; 1 Corinthians 12:13)
2. To build up the believers. (Ephesians 4:11-12; 1 Corinthians 12:28; 14:12)
3. To spread the Good News. (Acts 1:8; Matthew 28:19,20)
III. QUESTION: HOW MANY KINDS OF CHURCH ARE THERE?
ANSWER: There are two kinds of church:
1. The Universal Church: This is the worldwide body of believers who truly believe in Christ. (1 Peter 2:9)
2. The Local Church: This is the individual bodies of believers who meet together regularly to worship, grow, and evangelize together. This can include home churches. (Acts 2:42; Romans 16:3-5; Philemon 1:2)
IV. QUESTION: IF THERE IS NO CHURCH BUILDING, CAN WE STILL CALL IT A CHURCH?
ANSWER: Those who are Godís people are the Church. Whether they have a building to meet in or not, they are still the Church. The emphasis in Scripture is on the importance of believers meeting together, not where they meet. (1 Corinthians 1:2)
V. QUESTION: WHAT OTHER NAMES ARE THE CHURCH CALLED?
1. The body of Christ. Jesus is the head, but we are the body. That means we, the Church, are the hands, feet, etc. of Christ on this earth. Since he is in heaven, we collectively are his representative on the earth. Each of us has a role in the body. (1 Corinthians 12; Romans 12:5; Colossians 1:18)
2. The Temple of God/the Holy Spirit. (1 Corinthians 6:19-20; Ephesians 2:19-21)
3. The Bride of Christ. (2 Corinthians 11:2; Revelation 22)
VI. QUESTION: WHAT ARE THE ORDINANCES OF THE CHURCH?
ANSWER: The church has two ordinances: Water baptism and Holy Communion.
VII. QUESTION: WHAT IS THE MEANING OF BAPTISM?
1. Baptism symbolizes that the flesh, the sinful old man, has been crucified and buried with Jesus.
2. Baptism also symbolizes that just as Jesus was resurrected, we also have new life in Christ. (Romans 6:1-14)
VIII. QUESTION: WHAT ARE THE QUALIFICATIONS FOR WATER BAPTISM?
1. You must believe in Jesus. (Mark 16:16; Acts 8:36-38)
2. You must study the teachings of Jesus. (Matthew 28:19; Hebrews 6:1-2)
3. You must also understand these teachings. (Acts 8:30-31, 36-38)
IX. QUESTION: WHAT IS THE MEANING OF HOLY COMMUNION?
ANSWER: Holy Communion helps us to remember Jesusí death. Jesus himself instituted this ordinance. (1 Corinthians 11:23-26)
X. QUESTION: WHAT DOES HOLY COMMUNION SYMBOLIZE?
1. The bread symbolizes the body of Christ that was broken so that we could have wholeness of life. The grape juice symbolizes the blood of Christ, through which we receive forgiveness of our sins, and all of the blessings of God. The bread and juice do not actually become the body and blood of Jesus, but are reminders to us. (Matthew 26:26-28)
2. Communion symbolizes the fact that we, the Church, are the body of Christ, one body. (1 Corinthians 10:16-17)
3. Communion reminds us that one day we will feast with Jesus in heaven. (Matthew 26:26-29; Revelation 19:9)
4. Communion announces Jesusí death to the world, and it reminds us and the world that Jesus will return. (1 Corinthians 11:26)
XI. QUESTION: WHAT ATTITUDE DO YOU NEED IN ORDER TO TAKE COMMUNION?
1. You must examine yourself to make sure that all of your sins have been confessed. (1 Corinthians 11:28-30)
2. You must make sure that you donít hold any grudges against anyone, because Communion shows the unity of the church. (Matthew 5:23,24; 1 Corinthians 10:16-17)
3. You must be sure that you are not involved in idol worship. (1 Corinthians 10:19-22)