That is a very good question! It is important to see that the “church of God,” which is made up of every believer in the Lord Jesus Christ, is looked at in three different ways:

  1. The “House of God”: As the “house of God”, the church is be characterized by ORDER, DISCIPLINE and WORSHIP, as seen in the following scriptures. 1st Timothy 3:14-15 say, “These things I write unto you…so you may know HOW TO CONDUCT YOURSELF IN THE HOUSE OF GOD, which is the church of the living God” (NKJV). 1st Peter 4:17 states, “For the time has come for JUDGMENT TO BEGIN AT THE HOUSE OF GOD.” 1st Peter 2:5 declares, “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.”
  2. The “Bride of Christ”: As the “bride of Christ” the church is brought into a CLOSE RELATIONSHIP WITH CHRIST that is marked by love and intimacy. In Ephesians 5:25-33 we see that the marriage relationship on earth illustrates “Christ and the church.” Verse 31-32 read, “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife. And the two shall become one flesh. This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church.” We have a lovely picture of the church’s relationship with Christ in the Song of Solomon. I would encourage you to read this “love story” where Solomon and the Shulamite woman speak of Christ and the church.
  3. The “Body of Christ”: As the “body of Christ” the church is marked by SPIRITUAL GROWTH and a TESTIMONY to the world. In 1st Corinthians 12 the Lord uses the “human body” to teach us about the “body of Christ.” The main lesson is that just as the human body has many members that function for the development of the whole body, so the body of Christ has many members (all believers!) who are to function for the spiritual growth of the whole body. In order for the body of Christ to function properly the Spirit of God has given each member a spiritual gift and if each believer uses his/her own gift it will profit the whole body. Verses 4-7 read, “There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are differences of ministries, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of activites, but it is the same God who works in all. But the manifestation of the Spirit is GIVEN TO EACH ONE FOR THE PROFIT OF ALL.” We have this same truth presented in Ephesians 4:11-12: “And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for THE EDIFYING OF THE BODY OF CHRIST.” Verses 14-16 go on to say, “That we should no longer be children…but, speaking the truth in love, MAY GROW UP IN ALL THINGS INTO HIM WHO IS THE HEAD—Christ—from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which EVERY PART DOES ITS SHARE, CAUSES GROWTH OF THE BODY FOR THE EDIFYING OF ITSELF IN LOVE.”

When the body of Christ is functioning properly and there is spiritual growth, it will be a TESTIMONY to the world. When the Lord Jesus was here, He was the “Light of the world” and the “salt of the earth.” In His absence His desire is for His spiritual body to be a witness on earth. In Matthew 5:13-14 He said, “You are the salt of the earth…You are the light of the world.” The world can’t see Christ, but they can see us (His body), and we have the privilege and the responsibility of showing Christ to a world of lost sinners. Consider Paul’s words to the Corinthian church, “You are our epistle written in our hearts, KNOWN AND READ BY ALL MEN.” Paul is teaching them that their lives were a witness to the world of Paul’s teaching among them, but it also includes the thought that the church, as the body of Christ, is A WITNESS TO THE WORLD OF CHRIST, their Lord and Savior. One has said that “Men may not ever read about Christ in the Bible, but they are ‘reading our lives’ and hopefully they see Christ in us.” (255.7) (DO)