An Introduction To The Church That Jesus Built

One of the great promises that Jesus made while he was alive was that he would build his church. The world church can have many meanings, but the predominant meaning in the New Testament is that of a group of people, an assembly, or a congregation. With this definition in mind we want to learn what this assembly means to the world today.

The two books of the New Testament which speak the most directly to the nature of Jesus' church are the books of Ephesians and Colossians. These books, or letters, were written by the Apostle Paul and can be considered as "bookends" to the apostle's thought regarding the church. In the book of Ephesians, Paul describes the relationship between Jesus and the church using several different metaphors (body, building, household), by focusing on the church as being the people redeemed by Jesus. In the book of Colossians, Paul describes the church in much the same way, but his emphasis is on Jesus as being the head of the church, his body. So, while the overall teaching of the two books is remarkably similar, the emphasis of each letter is different in a subtle, but very significant way.

In these two beautiful letters we learn volumes of information about the Lord's church (and many volumes have been written about these two letters!). We learn that the church was in the mind of God from the beginning of creation. We learn that no one single metaphor is capable of describing the relationship between Jesus and his people. We learn that this relationship was created by God's initiative, and it is only by his grace that we enter into this relationship. We learn in a deeper way that this relationship was made possible by the blood of Jesus which he gave on the cross. We learn that to be included in this relationship we must share, or participate in, the death of Jesus in our own life. Then, having become a part of this body, or a piece of the building, the members of the church are called upon to live radically different lives from those who are still in the world, or in other words, outside of this new relationship.

As members of the church of Christ in Aztec, then, we make several proclamations. We believe in the creating and redeeming work of the all powerful God. We believe that, in his greatest act of selfless love, God sent his Son, Jesus, to redeem, or save, mankind. We proclaim our faith that Jesus died, was buried, and that in three days time he was resurrected and that he proved his resurrection in many different ways to many different people. We believe that Jesus did build his church, or call his people to Him. We believe that we are called to enter this one assembly by the grace of God, and that we are sealed by God's spirit when we participate in the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus through the beautiful act of baptism. We admit that, while we are called upon to lead lives of holiness and separation from the world, we often fail and therefore require Jesus' blood to continually cleanse us. We gather together, then, to share these common beliefs, to thank God for his incomparable gift, to seek and to proclaim forgiveness, and to encourage each other to live lives faithful to our redeemer.

Our weekly services are centered around these thoughts. In the Lord's supper we are reminded of the sacrifice of Jesus, but also we proclaim his resurrection and the hope we have of eternal joy with him. We sing songs of joy, but also of confession and repentance. We pray for forgiveness, and we seek the Lord's blessings. And we focus our minds on God's word as the only sure guide for our new lives in Christ.

This has been just a brief introduction to the nature of the church of Christ. If you have a question about the church, please email your question to the address listed on our homepage.