What is the church?
In the New Testament, the word “church” is used of God’s people who have been saved by God’s grace alone through faith alone in Jesus Christ alone. There is the universal church and the local church. The universal church is made up of all believers in all places. All who are truly saved belong to the church universal. Therefore, the universal church consist of all who have been regenerated by the Holy Spirit, who have placed their faith in Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of their sins, and who are thus children of God. However, most of the references to the church in the New Testament refer to the local church. The local church is the universal church gathered in local congregations or assemblies. It is the visible expression of the universal church and exists to exalt the Triune God, edify believers, and evangelize unbelievers. The Bible is very clear that all who are truly saved should be part of a Biblical, doctrinally sound local church.
What are the purposes of the church?
First, the church exists to exalt the Triune God. The church does not assemble together to entertain people. The church comes together for the purpose of extolling the person and work of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. Our worship is intended to lead believers into a greater understanding of the character and attributes of God, and our worship service is built around exalting Him. The service centers on the preaching of God’s Word, the Bible, because it is God’s revelation of Himself. Therefore, Grace Fellowship Church is committed to worship (John 4:23-24).
Second, the church exists to edify the saint. Ephesians 4:11 tells us that God gave “pastor-teachers” to His church for the purpose of equipping the saints to do the work of the ministry. That equipping process comes through a systematic, life-changing exposition of the Scriptures. We believe that only through the study and application of God’s Word can man’s life be changed. As God’s people are sanctified (progressively made more and more like our Savior) by living and applying the truth of God’s Word (John 17:17), then they will be equipped to build up and edify the body of Christ (Ephesians 4:11-16). Therefore, Grace Fellowship Church is committed to the teaching and preaching of the Word of God and to making disciples (2 Timothy 4:1-5).
Finally, the church exists to evangelize the sinner. The Bible clearly teaches that all men are at enmity with God and need to be reconciled to Him through Jesus Christ. The only way sinful man may be saved from the penalty of sin is through repentance and faith in the Gospel message. We desire to be faithful to God’s command in Matthew 28:18-20 to reach our world for Jesus Christ in order that people may come to Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. Therefore, Grace Fellowship Church is committed to evangelism and missions.