Although the first Christian churches did not emerge until long after the death of Christ, the Bible does outline the meaning, function, and role of the church. The Bible is clear about the importance of church in creating a sense of community, of offering a safe haven where believers can worship, and for helping preserve and spread the Word of God. Christians in Jacksonville go to Church because intuitively they know Jesus clarified the significance of church best: “For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them,” (Matthew 18:20). What else does the Bible say about Church?
1. Church is a physical structure. Although Peter is the apostle most closely linked to the Church, it was Paul who stated that Church is a physical structure with Christ as the “cornerstone”: “Built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord,” (Ephesians 2:20-21).
2. Jesus is the shepherd; the Church is His flock. The shepherd metaphor appears in the New Testament because it accurately clarifies the role of Jesus to His followers. The metaphor also encapsulates the relationship between church leaders and the Christian community. “Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood,” (Acts 20:28).
3. The Church is a microcosm for the human community. Christians in Jacksonville work together to create a better and more unified world through their participation in Church. “So we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another,” (Romans 12:5).