The church is NOT a building made up of literal materials, nor is it a denominational system; the church is “made up of saved believers in the Lord Jesus Christ.” We see this truth in Acts 2:47, “And the Lord added to the church those were being saved” (NKJV). We can say that “the church is not an ORGANIZATION, but a LIVING ORGANISM.” The church is looked at in THREE ways in Scripture.

 1) The BODY of Christ, as we see in Ephesians 1:22-23, “And He (God the Father) put all things under His (Christ’s) feet, and gave Him to be HEAD over all things to the CHURCH, which is His BODY, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.” I would encourage you to read 1st Corinthians 12 and Ephesians 4:1-16 where we learn that each believer has a spiritual gift that was given to them by Christ, the Head of the Body, in order to serve Him for the blessing of mankind and for the edification of all believers as the Body of Christ. Each believer is guided by Christ (our spiritual Head) in their service to Him, just as each member of our physical body is directed by our head/brain.

2) The HOUSE of God, as we see in Ephesians 2:19-22, “Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the HOUSEHOLD of God, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief corner stone, in whom the whole BUILDING, being joined together, grows into a holy TEMPLE in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together for a DWELLING PLACE of God in the Spirit.” In the Old Testament, God dwelt inside the “holy of holies” of the tabernacle/temple, but today (in the “church age”) He LIVES INSIDE BELIEVERS! The Apostle Peter speaks of this in 1st Peter 2:4-5, “Coming to Him (Christ) as to a living stone, rejected indeed by men, but chosen by God and precious, you also, as LIVING STONES, are being built up a SPIRITUAL HOUSE, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.” So, we are “the HOUSE of God” and as such we are God’s TEMPLE where our main function is to WORSHIP HIM.

3) The BRIDE of Christ, as see in Ephesians 5:25-27, “Husbands, love your WIVES, just as Christ also loved the CHURCH, and have Himself for HER, that He might sanctify and cleanse HER with the washing of water by the word, that He might present HER to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that SHE should be holy and without blemish.” Here we see the church referred to as HER, for she is the BRIDE of Christ. The apostle Paul referred to this truth in 2nd Corinthians 11:2, “For I am jealous for you with godly jealousy. For I have BETROTHED you to one HUSBAND, that I may present you as a CHASTE VIRGIN to Christ.” The church is presently in the “engagement period,” but the “wedding day” is coming after we are taken home to glory. We read of that wonderful event in Revelation 19:7-9, “Let us be glad and rejoice, and give Him glory, for the MARRIAGE of the Lamb has come, and His WIFE has made HERSELF ready. And to HER it was granted to be arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints. Then he said to me, ‘Write: Blessed are those who are called to the MARRIAGE SUPPER of the Lamb!’”

In summary, the church is the “BODY of Christ” which speaks of SERVICE. The church is the “HOUSE of God” which speaks of WORSHIP. And the church is the “BRIDE of Christ” which speaks of INTIMACY, for the church will have the closest relationship to Christ than any other group of believers. The Bride of Christ “will reign with Christ” just as Eve shared dominion over the earth with her husband Adam (see Genesis 2:18-23; 1:26-28 with Revelation 2:25-27; 3:21; 20:4a, 6). (DO)  (521.5)