Defining The Church I. Defining The Church Louis...

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    Defining The Church



        I.    Defining The Church

Louis Berkoff - “The Church consists of those who are partakers of Christ and of the blessings of salvation that are in Him.”

Wayne Grudem - “The church is the community of all true believers for all time.”

      A.  Key Biblical Words

            1.   Hebrew - qahal - a gathering in response to God’s purposeful call.

Exodus 35:1  Moses assembled all the congregation of the people of Israel and said to them, "These are the things that the Lord has commanded you to do. 

Numbers 16:26  And he spoke to the congregation, saying, "Depart, please, from the tents of these wicked men, and touch nothing of theirs, lest you be swept away with all their sins." 

Deuteronomy 9:10  And the Lord gave me the two tablets of stone written with the finger of God, and on them were all the words that the Lord had spoken with you on the mountain out of the midst of the fire on the day of the assembly. 

Bruce Milne - “The early Christians saw their historic precedent in the dynamic notion of qahal, the people of God assembled in response to the direct calling of God.”

            2.   Greek - ekklesia - called ones, called out ones.

1 Peter 2:9  But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. 

Bruce Milne - “The church is essentially the living community of those who have responded to the call of God, and therefore not the formal ecclesiastical structure immediately brought to mind today in the word church.”


      J. Rodman Williams

·         Called out - out of darkness, out of sin, out of the kingdom of darkness

·         Called together - called out to join

·         Called for - the church is purposeful (obedience, mission)

·         Called to - the Lord Himself to be reconciled, adopted, etc.

      B.  The Church and the Kingdom


The kingdom of God is the rule of God and the sphere of blessing in which that rule is realized.  Although God rules over all His rule is acknowledged and manifested differently among different people.  How do the church and the kingdom relate?  What is their connection?  Jesus talked primarily about the kingdom but the epistles primarily about the church.

Kindom 5 characteristics

King, agenda, laws, subjects territory

Old testament - David, live separate, torah, national Israel, Palestine

Jesus, great commission, 2 great commands, church, whole world

I. Howard Marshall (DJG) - “The concept of the kingdom of God implies a community.  While it has been emphasized almost ad nauseam that the primary concept is that of the sovereignty of kingship or actual rule of God and not of a territory ruled by a king, it must be also emphasized that a kingship cannot be exercised in the abstract but only over a people.  The concept of the kingship of God implies both the existence of a group of people who own him as king and the establishment of a realm of people within which his gracious power is manifested.”

George  eldon ladd - “In summary, while there is an inseparable relationship between the Kingdom and the church, they are not to be identified.  The Kingdom takes its point of departure from God, the church from men.  The Kingdom is God’s reign and the realm in which the blessings of his reign are experienced; the church is the fellowship of those who have experienced God’s reign and entered into the enjoyment of its blessings.  The Kingdom creates the church, works through the church, and is proclaimed in the world by the church. There can be no Kingdom without a church - those who have acknowledged God’s rule - and there can be no church without God’s Kingdom; but they remain two distinguishable concepts:  the rule of God and the fellowship of  men.”






C.  The Church And Israel

What is the relationship of the church to OT Israel?  A separate people (dispensational)?  To be included in the church?  Swallowed up by the church? 

James Montgomery Boice  - “Strictly speaking, the church is the creation of the historical Christ and therefore dates from the time of Christ.  But the church has roots in the Old Testament and cannot be understood well without that background.”

Wayne Grudem - “Even though there are certainly new privileges and new blessings that are given to the people of God in the New Testament, both the usage of the term ‘church’ in Scripture and the fact that throughout Scripture God has always called his people to assemble to worship himself, indicate that it is appropriate to think of the church as constituting all the people of God for all time, both Old Testament believers and New Testament believers."

Wayne Grudem  - “This present church age, which has brought the salvation of many millions of Christians in the church, is not an interruption or a parenthesis in God’s plan, but a continuation of his plan expressed throughout the Old Testament to call a people to himself.”

The church is the fulfillment of Israel, the promise of the Abrahamic Covenant (Genesis 12:1-3, Genesis 15) realized in the New Covenant.  Israel is included in the church, it is not separate from the church.  We are united with the true Israel, i.e., all OT saints, those who were saved as they, in faith, looked forward to the promise of Christ.

In the end, the people of God are defined by their relationship to Christ - Israel in their faith in the coming fulfillment of the promise, the church in their faith in the actual fulfillment.  See Ephesians 2:11-22, 3:6

Romans 2:28-29 For no one is a Jew who is merely one outwardly, nor is circumcision outward and physical.  But a Jew is one inwardly, and circumcision is a matter of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter. His praise is not from man but from God.

Romans 4:16-18  That is why it depends on faith, in order that the promise may rest on grace and be guaranteed to all his offspring—not only to the adherent of the law but also to the one who shares the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all,  as it is written, "I have made you the father of many nations"—in the presence of the God in whom he believed, who gives life to the dead and calls into existence the things that do not exist.  In hope he believed against hope, that he should become the father of many nations, as he had been told, "So shall your offspring be." 

Romans 9:6-8   But it is not as though the word of God has failed. For not all who are descended from Israel belong to Israel,  and not all are children of Abraham because they are his offspring, but "Through Isaac shall your offspring be named."  This means that it is not the children of the flesh who are the children of God, but the children of the promise are counted as offspring. 

Romans 11:17-24  But if some of the branches were broken off, and you, although a wild olive shoot, were grafted in among the others and now share in the nourishing root of the olive tree,  do not be arrogant toward the branches. If you are, remember it is not you who support the root, but the root that supports you.  Then you will say, "Branches were broken off so that I might be grafted in."  That is true. They were broken off because of their unbelief, but you stand fast through faith. So do not become proud, but stand in awe.  For if God did not spare the natural branches, neither will he spare you.  Note then the kindness and the severity of God: severity toward those who have fallen, but God's kindness to you, provided you continue in his kindness. Otherwise you too will be cut off.  And even they, if they do not continue in their unbelief, will be grafted in, for God has the power to graft them in again.  For if you were cut from what is by nature a wild olive tree, and grafted, contrary to nature, into a cultivated olive tree, how much more will these, the natural branches, be grafted back into their own olive tree.

Galatians 3:29  And if you are Christ's, then you are Abraham's offspring, heirs according to promise.

Galatians 6:16  And as for all who walk by this rule, peace and mercy be upon them, and upon the Israel of God.

Hebrews 11:40  …since God had provided something better for us, that apart from us they should not be made perfect.

1 Peter 2:9-10  But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.  Once you were not a people, but now you are God's people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.

Millard Erickson - “To sum up then the church is the new Israel.  It occupies the place in the New Covenant which Israel occupied in the old.  Whereas in the Old Testament the kingdom of God was peopled by national Israel, in the New Testament it is peopled by the church.  There is a special future coming for national Israel, however, through large scale conversion to Christ and entry into the church.”

ISBE - “Theologically, there is only one church, for Christians are now fellow citizens of the saints and of the household of God, built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets.  If there is a distinction, it is that of fulfillment as compared with promise, but not of a different purpose, covenant, basis, consecration or goal.”






      II.    The Manifestations Of The Church

There is only one universal Church but that Church manifests itself differently when viewed from the perspective of God and man.


      A.  The Invisible And Visible Church

This was a Reformation question.  The Roman church would assert that the institutional church (as opposed to any local congregation ) was the true church, i.e., the church was the one visible organization that had descended from the apostles in an unbroken line of succession.  The reformers insisted that the church was ultimately invisible (the elect) but temporally visible in the form of the local church.

1.      The invisible church is composed of all people in heaven and earth who have ever been, or ever will be,  God’s people.  Another way to say this would be to say all the elect from the foundation of the world.  The church as seen by God.

Hebrews 12:22-23  But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable angels in festal gathering,  and to the assembly of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, 

2 Timothy 2:19  But God's firm foundation stands, bearing this seal: "The Lord knows those who are his," and, "Let everyone who names the name of the Lord depart from iniquity."

2.      The visible church is composed of those who outwardly attend a church and who show outward evidence of inward spiritual change.  The church as seen by the human eye.

1 Corinthians 1:2  To the church of God that is in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints together with all those who in every place call upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, both their Lord and ours:

J. Rodman Williams speaks of the spiritual (invisible) and social (visible) aspects of the church.  A helpful distinction.

            3.   The true church is invisible.  Ultimately, only God knows all that belong to Him.

Within any local church there can be some mixture of true believers, professors of faith that are not truly converted and genuine inquirers.  Jesus' parable of the wheat and the tares (Mat 13:24-30) and His statement, "Not everyone who says to me Lord, Lord, will enter the kingdom of heaven", reflect this possibility.

Louis Berkoff - “The invisible Church is the Church as God sees it, a Church which contains only believers, while the visible Church is the Church as man sees it, consisting of those who profess Jesus Christ with their children and therefore adjudged to be the community of the saints.  This may and always does contain some who are not yet regenerated.”

Louis Berkoff - “The Church is said to be invisible, because she is essentially spiritual and in her spiritual essence cannot be discerned by the physical eye; and because it is impossible to determine infallibly who do and who do not belong to her.”

ISBE - “We are not to harden this distinction into a human judgment concerning the true Church and the purely nominal, as though we could know the secrets of the heart and thus anticipate the last judgment.  It is striking that in the NT those who confess Christ are addressed as believers and brethren irrespective of the ultimate sincerity of their profession and sometimes in defiance of the evidence of their conduct and beliefs (e.g., the Corinthians).  The Reformers normally maintained this biblical usage by defining the visible Church as the company of believers in which the Word is faithfully preached and the sacraments are duly administered, but by refraining from any corresponding or counter balancing pronouncements on the invisible Church.”

NDT - “The church may be defined as God sees it, the so-called ‘church invisible’.  This is composed of all whose names are in the Lamb’s book of life.  The ‘church visible’, on the other hand, is the church as we see it, the family of believers.  This distinction guards against equating membership in the church visible with salvation, or, on the other hand, disregarding public identification with God’s people.”

      B.  The Universal And Local Church 

We see this distinction in Paul’s image of the body of Christ.  In Ephesians 1:22-23 the body is the church universal, but in 1 Corinthians 12:27 the body is the Corinthian church.

            1.   The universal church is composed of all people on earth who are believers.

            2.   The local church is those believers assembled in one area, house church, city church, etc.

This is people gathered together in a particular locale who have committed themselves to practically walk out their Christian life together.  This commitment is to the spiritual authority God places in the local church, relationships with the other believers God joins us together with and the various works of service that we are to perform within the mission of that church.  The local church is important for five reasons.

                  a.   It provides a place to put our commitment to God into practice.

      b.         It provides a context for us to mature.

                  c.   It provides a place for us to discover and practice our particular ministry or giftings.

      d.         It provides us protection from doctrinal error and the deceitfulness of sin.

e.   It provides a place to demonstrate the gospel.

f.    It provides a place to grow and cultivate the gospel.

Why join the church.

      1 – Bible speaks of people joining the

J. Rodman Williams - “The church universal is invariably expressed in the local church.  For the church is always a gathered body of believers in a particular location…The local church, accordingly, is not just one part or fragment of the church universal.  It is not somehow a lesser, perhaps even inferior, assemblage of the whole church.  Rather, it is actually the total church in its individual expression.  Every local gathering, however small or large, is the church of Jesus Christ and is therefore complete in Him.”

Millard Erickson - “ We should note that the individual congregation, or group of believers in a specific place, is never regarded as only a part of component of the whole church.  The church is not a sum or composite of the individual local groups.  Instead, the whole is found in each place.”

Karl Schmidt (in Erickson) - “Each community, however small, represents the total community, the church.”

3.  The local church is assumed throughout the NT

In writing scripture, membership in a local church was assumed.  Unfortunately we live in a day when the church is so misunderstood that this can no longer be assumed. People will say – “Show me where it specifically says that I have to join a local church.”  The Bible never specifically says this but…

a.       People are said to be added to the church

b.      The church at…suggests a particular body in a particular location

c.       One anothers assume a close relationship

d.      Call for demonstrated unity (know you are disciples by love) assumes commitment

e.       The idea of giving being to the local church while giving outside is not required but voluntary

f.        Sacraments and church discipline assume that who is in and who is out can and should be determined

g.       Elders are always local and are to be submitted to assuming a local congregation of people

Hebrews 10:24-25  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.

     III.    The Nature Of The Church

      A.  The Church Is One

“I will build my church.”  Singular not churches!

1 Corinthians 1:13  Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul? 

1 Corinthians 12:12  For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. 

1 Corinthians 12:20  As it is, there are many parts, yet one body.

Romans 12:4-5  For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function,  so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. 

John 10:16   And I have other sheep that are not of this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd. 

John 17:20-26  "I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word,  that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me.  The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one,  I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me.  Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world.  O righteous Father, even though the world does not know you, I know you, and these know that you have sent me.  I made known to them your name, and I will continue to make it known, that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them."

            1.   Rooted in Christ

It is reality that, because of our relationship to Christ, we are one with all other Christians.

1 Corinthians 12:27   Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it. 

Galatians 3:27-28   For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.  There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 

1 Corinthians 1:2  To the church of God that is in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints together with all those who in every place call upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, both their Lord and ours:


ZPE - “The unity of which the NT speaks is not manufactured, but maintained.  It already exists as the creation of the Holy Spirit.  The Church is one because Christ its Lord is one, and all who are united to Him are also united to one another.”

Bruce Milne - “The true unity in the Holy Spirit of all regenerate people is a fact, irrespective of outward denominational disunity.  The call for unity in the NT is therefore a summons to ‘keep’ the fundamental oneness of life which the one Spirit has imparted through regeneration…The unity of the invisible church is an accomplished fact, given with salvation.”

Louis Berkoff - “The church forms a spiritual unity of which Christ is the divine head.  It is animated by one Spirit, the Spirit of Christ; it professes one faith, shares one hope, and serves one King.”

            2.   Does not demand uniformity

This does not mean unity of organization - one world church.  Nor uniformity of practice.  It is a theological and spiritual unity grounded in our common relationship with Christ. Unity of spirit and purpose but diversity of function.

There can be no unity where the basic doctrines of salvation, deity of Christ or scripture are not truly taught.  For example, with cults But there can be unity when there is disagreement over other matters, church government, forms of worship, ministry emphasis, “non-essential” doctrine, etc.

Bruce Milne - “For the NT, unity is based on conscious commitment to the revealed truths of apostolic Christianity.”

EDT - “Unity, however, does not demand uniformity.  Indeed, from the beginning the church has manifested itself in many local churches…The challenge for Christians today is to live in unity without insisting that our worship, structure, and theology be more uniform than that of the NT church.  Unity is possible when we stop thinking of our church or denomination as the vine and all others as the branches.  Rather, Jesus is the vine and all of us are branches.”

                                    Boice quote – problems of organizational unity.


            3.   It is the basis for fellowship

Unity expresses itself in goodwill, fellowship, and love for other Christians and churches; even cooperative efforts and support when possible.

Ephesians 4:1-6  I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called,  with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love,  eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.  There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call— one Lord, one faith, one baptism,  one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. 

Philippians 2:1-2  So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy,  complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. 

            4.   The shame of divisions

Unity can be threatened at both the universal and local level.  Think how fights within and among churches have harmed the witness of the church in the world. 

See 1 Corinthians 1-4 for Paul’s teaching on divisions in the church.  Especially…

1 Corinthians 1:10  I appeal to you, brothers, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgment. 

      B.  The Church Is Holy

1 Corinthians 1:2  To the church of God that is in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints together with all those who in every place call upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, both their Lord and ours:   1 Cor. 11:

It may seem odd, given what is to follow, that Paul would call this church holy.  This doesn’t mean that the church is sinless.  It speaks of holiness in the positional sense that it then worked out in a progressive way.

            1.   The Church’s holy position

                  a.   The church is holy as she is considered in Christ, i.e., accounted holy before God because of Him.

1 Corinthians 1:30 He is the source of your life in Christ Jesus, whom God made our wisdom and our righteousness and sanctification and redemption. 

2 Thessalonians 2:13  But we ought always to give thanks to God for you, brothers beloved by the Lord, because God chose you as the first fruits to be saved, through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth. 

1 Peter 2:9   But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. 

                  b.   The church is also holy because of the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit.

1 Corinthians 3:16-17 Do you not know that you are God's temple and that God's Spirit dwells in you?  If anyone destroys God's temple, God will destroy him. For God's temple is holy, and you are that temple.

            2.   The Church’s holy calling

Bruce Milne - “A Church’s relationship with Christ the church’s head will be expressed in the moral character and tone of their common life and relationships.  A church which is a stranger to holiness is a stranger to Christ.”

Colossians 3:12 Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, 

1 Peter 1:15-16  …but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct,  since it is written, "You shall be holy, for I am holy." 

ISBE - “It is the holiness given to the Church as the people that in Jesus Christ is called out, cleansed and consecrated to divine service…The holiness of the church is to find expression in sanctified life and consecrated service.”

EDT - “To be holy is to be separated from what is profane and to be dedicated to the service of God.”

                        2 Cor. 11:, Hebrews 10:14, Col. 3:12










      C.  The Church Is Catholic


This means universal or referring to the whole, i.e., it is not limited to nation or group of people but includes - every tribe, tongue, nation, etc.  Neither is it limited to any one place like Jerusalem - John 4 - this mountain or Jerusalem?  Neither, spirit and truth.

Galatians 3:28  There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 

Colossians 3:11 Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all, and in all.

Revelation 5:9 And they sang a new song, saying, "Worthy are you to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation….

EDT - “To speak of the catholicity of the church is thus to refer to the entire church, which is universal and which has a common identity of origin, lordship, and purpose…While the local church is an entire church, it is not the entire church.  As catholic, the church includes believers of past generations and believers of all cultures and societies.”

NDT - “The NT church is catholic or universal: it is not limited geographically as Israel was, and it joins in one fellowship people of every sort.  The church cannot exclude from its membership any who credibly confess Christ.  Sectarianism that limits church membership to any race, caste, or social class denies catholicity.”

ISBE - “It means that Jesus Christ died for all classes without distinction, so that in His Church there are no external qualifications of age, sex, generation, descent, or status.  In Him these distinctions have no reality.”

Edmund Clowney - “Catholicity means that the church is Christ’s.  We cannot exclude those whom he welcomes, or welcome those whom he excludes.”

      D.  The Church Is Apostolic

This does not mean direct succession from Peter.  Rather it means that the church is based on the doctrine of the apostles as handed down from Jesus himself.  This points to Christ himself as the chief apostle.  Apostolicity is not divorced from Him.

Hebrews 3:1   Therefore, holy brothers, you who share in a heavenly calling, consider Jesus, the apostle and high priest of our confession, 

Ephesians 2:20  …built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, 

Ephesians 3:4-5  When you read this, you can perceive my insight into the mystery of Christ,  which was not made known to the sons of men in other generations as it has now been revealed to his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit. 

1 Timothy 3:15  …if I delay, you may know how one ought to behave in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, a pillar and buttress of truth. 

NDT - “The apostolicity of the church refers to its foundation on apostolic teaching.”

J. Rodman Williams - “This attribute of the church points to the criterion of the church’s life - namely that the church always stands under the normative character of the original apostles’ instruction and direction.”

ISBE - “This implies rather more than genealogical descent of organization or ministry from the apostles.  It means that the apostles, with the prophets, are the foundation of the Church.  They are the first and authentic witnesses of Jesus Christ…They are thus the criterion of true proclamation and teaching.  The true Church may be recognized by its fidelity to apostolic testimony and doctrine…In other words, apostolicity means the preservation and honoring of Holy Scripture.  Where Scripture is read and preached as the basis of evangelism and edification and the supreme rule of faith and practice, there is the apostolic Church.”

EDT - “The church can be one, holy and catholic only if it is an apostolic church.” 

Edmund Clowney - “The church carries the apostolic gospel down through the centuries and around the globe.  What it bears is neither a memory of the gospel enshrined in tradition, nor a new gospel, appropriate to a later age, but the apostolic gospel, recorded in the inspired words of the New Testament.”

     IV.    The Marks Of The Church

This first became important with the second century heresies.  It became an issue again during the Reformation.

Louis Berkoff - “Little need was felt for such marks as long as the Church was clearly one.  But when heresies arose, it became necessary to point to certain marks by which the true Church could be recognized.”

R.C. Sproul - “Since the world is dotted with thousands of distinct institutions called churches, and since it is possible for institutions as well as individuals to become apostate, it is important to be able to discern the essential marks of a true and legitimate visible church.  No church is free from error or sin.  Only in heaven will the church be perfect.  But there is a significant difference between corruption, which affects all institutions, and apostasy.  Therefore, to protect the care and nurture of the people of God, it is important to define the marks of a true church.”

      A.  True Preaching Of The Word

Louis Berkoff - “Ascribing this mark to the Church does not mean that the preaching of the Word in a Church must be perfect before it can be regarded as a true Church.  Such an ideal is unattainable on earth; only relative purity of doctrine can be ascribed to any Church.  A church may be comparatively impure in its presentation of the truth without ceasing to be a true church.  But there is a limit beyond which a Church cannot go in the misrepresentation or denial of the truth, without losing her true character and becoming a false Church.  This is what happens when fundamental articles of faith are publicly denied, and doctrine and life are not more under the control of the Word of God.”

Edmund Clowney - “The great mark of the church is in the message it proclaims: the gospel of salvation from sin and eternal death through the cross and the resurrection of Jesus Christ,  who alone is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.  A preacher proclaiming the gospel in a market-place does not fulfill the New Testament description of the church, however.  As Calvin affirms, the gospel must be heard and heeded as well as proclaimed.  There must be a community of believers showing the root of faith in the fruit of love.”



      B.  Proper Celebration Of The Sacraments

These also serve as “membership controls” (Grudem) whereby people are admitted into and continue in the visible church.

      C.  Faithful Exercise Of Church Discipline


Within the true church, Grudem (Ch. 45) makes a helpful distinction between more and less pure churches.  Gives twelve factors - a great evaluation tool.

Wayne Grudem - “The purity of the church is its degree of freedom from wrong doctrine and conduct, and its degree of conformity to God’s revealed will for the church.”

·         Biblical doctrine (or right preaching of the Word)

·         Proper use of the sacraments (or ordinances)

·         Right use of church discipline

·         Genuine worship

·         Effective prayer

·         Effective witness

·         Effective fellowship

·         Biblical church government

·         Spiritual power in ministry

·         Personal holiness of life among members

·         Care for the poor

·         Love for Christ

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