Jesus Christ first used the term “church” in Matthew 16:18 and then again in Matthew 18:17. Church is again used in Acts 2:47 describing the amazing work of salvation that God was accomplishing among the Jews after the sermon preached by Peter:
…. praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved. Acts 2:47
Those early believers gladly received Peter’s words and were baptized. Afterward they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine, fellowship, breaking of bread, and prayers.
41 Then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them. 42 And they continued steadfastly in the apostles; doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and prayers. Acts 2:41-42
In these verses we see Who adds to the church and what the church does. In order to find another definition of the church in the Scriptures we must go to Paul’s first letter to Timothy to give him instructions about the orderly behavior of the church.
…but if I am delayed, I write so that you may know how you ought to conduct yourself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth. 1 Timothy 3:15
Paul wrote this to Timothy after giving him instruction about establishing churches in Ephesus. It is interesting to note that after Paul had enjoined Timothy to remain in Ephesus he also commanded Timothy to charge some to teach no other doctrine. (1 Timothy 1:3)
The “church” today not only has thrown off the God ordained practices of His church, but has become a reservoir of false teaching and evil practice. What many profess to be a church is simply a gathering of, for the most part, unbelievers, set on doing their own will and not on doing God’s will. They reject the Word of God and desire to be taught smooth things that require no repentance and faith.
1 I charge you therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom: 2 Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. 3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; 4 and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables. 2 Timothy 4:1-4
When those who claim to be Christians reject the Word of God and instead embrace the vain opinions of men they are showing by their actions that they are neither believers in Jesus Christ nor that their gathering together constitutes His church. By definition from the Holy, inspired, infallible Word of the Living God the church is the pillar and ground of the truth and any “church” that ceases to be such has ended its existence as the church of the Living God.
If you are attending such a “church” I would urge you on the authority of God’s Word to flee from such an assembly of evil doers.
17 Now I urge you, brethren, note those who cause divisions and offenses, contrary to the doctrine which you have learned, and avoid them. 18 For those who are such do not serve our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly, and by smooth words and flattering speech deceive the hearts of the simple. 19 For your obedience has become known to all. Therefore I am glad on your behalf; but I want you to be wise in what is good, and simple concerning evil. And the God of peace will crush Satan under your feet shortly. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen. Romans 16:17-19
14 Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? 15 And what accord has Christ with Belial? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever? 16 And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God. As God has said: I will dwell in them and walk among them. I will be their God, and they shall be My people. 17 Therefore “Come out from among them and be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean, and I will receive you.” 18 “I will be a Father to you, and you shall be My sons and daughters, Says the Lord Almighty.” 2 Corinthians 6:14-18
Are we stronger than God? Will we prosper spiritually if we consort with unbelievers and do not hold them accountable to God’s Word? Obey the Lord and stand up for His truth! Reject the lie and bless the Lord!