In this video, Pastor Ted Wilson and his wife, Nancy, share what the Bible teaches about the church, specifically what it is, how it began, and what its purpose is today.
In Genesis, God created Adam. But "it is not good for man to be alone," so he created Eve to be his companion. And together, they worshipped God as their Creator.
"From the earliest times, God-fearing families in the lineage of Adam, Seth, Noah, Shem, and Abraham were the guardians of His truth. These households, in which the father functioned as the priest, could be considered the church in miniature. To Abraham, God gave the rich promises through which this household of God gradually became a nation. Israel's mission was simply an extension of that given to Abraham: To be a blessing to all nations, showing God's love for the world" (Seventh-day Adventists Believe: An Exposition of the Fundamental Beliefs of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, p. 167).
Through Israel, God desired to create the largest church on earth where representatives of all nations would gather to worship, learn of Him, and preach to their own people the message of salvation. Unfortunately, Israel fell into idolatry, nationalism, and pride, hence, failing in its mission.
Then, Jesus came into the world and died on the cross, signifying the end of Israel's mission but inaugurating the Christian church and its mission to proclaim salvation through His redeeming blood. Everyone was invited to accept this gift of salvation and become a part of His church.
Meanwhile, the Bible uses metaphors to describe the church. In Ephesians 2:16, the cross reconciles all believers "to God in one body." In 1 Corinthians 12:13, believers are "baptized into one body." In Colossians 1:18, Christ is the "head of the body," and in Ephesians 5:23, the "head of the church." These statements emphasize the unity of the church and the relationship among its members.
In addition, 1 Corinthians 3:9 refers to the church as "God's building." Also, Ephesians 2:20, 21 explain that it has been "built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief Cornerstone, in Whom the whole building, being fitted together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord."
Still, the church is described as a bride with Jesus as the bridegroom. "I will betroth you to Me forever; yes, I will betroth you to Me in righteousness and justice, in lovingkindness and mercy" (Hosea 2:19). "'Return, O backsliding children,' says the Lord; 'for I am married to you'" (Jeremiah 3:14). Also, Jesus "loved the church and gave Himself for her" (Ephesians 5:25).
Finally, the church is a family that unites heaven and earth. "For this reason, I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, from Whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named…" (Ephesians 3:14).
In connection to this, the twelfth fundamental belief of the Seventh-day Adventists states: "The church is the community of believers who confess Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour. In continuity with the people of God in Old Testament times, we are called out from the world; and we join together for worship, for fellowship, for instruction in the Word, for the celebration of the Lord's Supper, for service to humanity, and for the worldwide proclamation of the gospel. The church derives its authority from Christ, Who is the incarnate Word revealed in the Scriptures. The church is God's family; adopted by Him as children, its members live on the basis of the new covenant. The church is the body of Christ, a community of faith of which Christ Himself is the Head. The church is the bride for whom Christ died that He might sanctify and cleanse her. At His return in triumph, He will present her to Himself a glorious church, the faithful of all the ages, the purchase of His blood, not having spot or wrinkle, but holy and without blemish."
To learn more about this fundamental belief, visit www.adventist.org/the-church/. Also read Ellen G. White's The Acts of the Apostles at www.egwwritings.org, particularly the first chapter entitled "God's Purpose for His Church."
In closing, God has given us the wonderful privilege of being part of His church. He invites us to unite with Him in proclaiming the gospel into all the world. Let us also invite others to be part of this church and thank Him for this gift.