Lesson 3 – The Church and Church Membership – Lesson

Lesson 3

My Church

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Our relation to the church is directly influenced by our understanding of the church.

Why go to church? Why do we have a church? What is its importance?

God makes much of the church in this age. It is God’s institution for worship, service, evangelism, missions, and for every other God-given spiritual ministry. Nothing can substitute for the local church. God has a goal, aim, purpose, and place for the church; we need to understand its ministry.

The meaning of the word Church

The word church comes from the Greek word ecclesia, which means to “call out.” The church is literally “called out ones,” or those who are saved and belong to the Lord. It means to “bring together’ and to “call out from among”.

Over one hundred times the usage of this word in Scripture had to do with the local church. This is where God puts the emphasis for this age.

The word does not mean (1) to be religious, (2) to distinguish denominations, (3) to refer to sects, or (4) to denote the building or meeting place.

It definitely is used to refer to saved people. Therefore, the people are the church. Thus in Scripture it is primarily dealing with a particular assembly of the saved (Acts 20:28; I Timothy 3:15, 16; Ephesians 2:19; I Corinthians 1:2; II Corinthians 1:1; Galatians 1:2).

The purpose of the church

1. To bring glory to God (Ephesians 3:21; 1:6,12)

2. To develop its members spiritually (Acts 20:28-32; 11:23-26)

3. To be God’s pillar and foundation of the truth (1 Timothy 3:15)

4. To evangelize the world (Acts 1:8; Matthew 28:18-20)

The blessing of the church

1. It will deepen your fellowship (Acts 2:41, 42; 12:5; I John 1:3, 4)

2. It will guard against your backsliding (Hebrews 10:24, 25; Proverbs 14:14;  Jeremiah 2:19, 21)

3. It will enlarge your service (Acts 4:23-31; 6:1-8; 11:19-26; 13:1-4)

4. It will strengthen your testimony (Acts 15:41). Cf. John 20:24, 25 – the absence of Thomas in the upper room.

5. It will deepen your prayer life (Acts 1; 4:23-31; 12:5)

6. It is a place for souls to be saved.

The church, then, is a group of baptized believers in a community who are banded together for the purpose of preaching the Gospel, observing the ordinances (Baptism and the Lord’s Supper), and building up the members to bring glory to God.

The other references to the word church in the New Testament refer to the “body of Christ” or the “bride of Christ,” who will be gathered together unto Him when He comes again (Colossians 1:18, 24; Revelation 19:7-9; Ephesians 5:25, 26).


In examining the New Testament, we find that membership in a local church is taught and practiced because:

1. Our participation in Christ necessitates it.

a. Christ founded the church (Matthew 16:18). He founded it for our benefit and blessing and for His glory.

b. Christ is the Head of the church (Colossians 1:18). We are His body (Ephesians 5:30). As members of the body of which He is the Head, we must participate in the church.

c. Christ loved the church (Ephesians 5:25).

2. The additions to the church require it.

Anyone who knows arithmetic knows that you cannot add a definite number to an indefinite number (Acts 2:41, 47).

3. The business of the church cannot operate without — Acts 6:1-5.

When a church is making a decision, who does the voting? Can you have an election without a definite list?

Even churches who boast in not having a membership still work up lists of elegible boters and must have a basis for doing so. This, them, is really their membership list.

4. The discipline of the church rests upon it.

Matthew 18:17 —

“And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican.”

In this verse God refers to a definite group of people is a definite place. If the member neglects to hear the church – a definite body – something happens. It would be impossible to put someone out of an organization of which he was not a member.

I Corinthians 5:4 —

“In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when ye are gathered together, and my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ, …”

In this verse Paul tells the church at Corinth how to deal with one of its own members.

5. The organism  of the church demands it.

In I Corinthians 12:12-17 Paul is speaking of the “one body.” He refers to various parts of the body. He was not speaking of something future, for it existed right then and there.

Of what was Paul speaking? Obviously he was referring to the local church.

a. This letter was written to a local church.

First Corinthians 1:2 states that the letter was addressed “Unto the church of God which is at Corinth.”

b. All the way through the letter, Paul has been dealing with specific problems. This letter had to be written to a local church with definite problems. Paul could not have written any part of this letter to the future church because these believers will neither necessarily work together nor against each other.


When Paul described the church in I Corinthians 12, we realize he was writing to people who make up a local church. An individual is either a member or he is not a member. We are not all fingers, nor are we all ears. But we are either attached or unattached. Not to be a member of a local a Bible -preaching church is contrary to Christ’s plan for our lives. What are you doing in this regard?

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Lesson 3 – The Church and Church Membership – Assignments

My Church

Growing in Grace – Lesson 3 Print out here

Lesson 3

The Church and Church Membership


1. Memorize Hebrews 10:25. Also, we suggest you memorize I Corinthians 15:58.

2. Read John, chapters 15-21. Note the number of times you find a form of the word believe. Record this information under “NOTES”.

3. Answer the following questions in your own words:

1. What must true believers not neglect? (Hebrews 10:25)


2. What is the right attitude in worship services? (Psalm 122:1)


3. List somethings the early believers did as they met together.

Matthew 18:19-20



I Corinthians 16:1-2


I Corinthians 11:23-25



4. Why should we be concerned for one another? (Romans 12:5)


5. What attitude should the Christian have toward his pastor and other spiritual leaders? (I Thessalonians 5:12-13; Hebrews 13:7)



6. In addition to the apostles and prophets, list those responsible to build up the church. (Ephesians 4:11-12)



7. What two truths do we learn about the church in I Timothy 3:15?




1. Promises I have found in John 15-21 that were a real blessing to me (List at least three):

1. _________________________________________________________________


2. _________________________________________________________________


3. _________________________________________________________________


2. A truth I received from my daily reading of John 15-21 that I applied to my life that day:

Day 1 – John 15 _______________________________________________________

Day 2 – John 16 _______________________________________________________

Day 3 – John 17 _______________________________________________________

Day 4 – John 18 _______________________________________________________

Day 5 – John 19 _______________________________________________________

Day 6 – John 20 _______________________________________________________

Day 7 – John 21 _______________________________________________________

3. The verses in which I found a form of the word believe:









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Lesson 2 – Baptism – Lesson

Lesson 2


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“Then they that gladly received His word were baptized; and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.”  -Acts 2:41

This verse tells us that those who believed on the day of Pentecost were baptized following their salvation.  Every believer should be baptized following his salvation. We have several Biblical reasons that make baptism important.


Christ is our example – Matthew 3:13-17.

The Lord Jesus Christ Himself was baptized. He said to John the Baptist, “Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness” (Matthew 3:15). Baptism was important to the Lord Jesus Christ, and He is to be our example so that we can follow in His steps (I Peter 2:21). Under The Meaning of Baptism we will consider the meaning of Christ’s baptism a little more in detail.

Christ commands us to be baptized.

In the Great Commission that Christ gave, we find that the Lord required the church to baptize those who believed. “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:  Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you” (Matthew 28:19-20). This commission to the church commands that Christians go to witness to the world. The church is to baptize the converts, and those converts are to win others and see them baptized.

The disciples of Jesus practiced baptism.

“When therefore the Lord knew how the Pharisees had heard that Jesus made and baptized more disciples than John, (Though Jesus made and baptized not, but his disciples)…” (John 4:1-2)

The early church practiced baptism.

1. The Jewish converts in Jerusalem – Acts 2:41

“Then they that gladly received his word were baptized.” Those who heard the Word and received Christ were baptized.

2. The converts in Samaria – Acts 2:12

“But when they believed Philip preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women.”

3. The Ethiopian eunuch converted and baptized – Acts 8:38

“And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch/ and he baptized him.

4. Saul converted and baptized – Acts 9:18

“And immediately there fell from his eyes as it had been scales: and he received sight forthwith and arose, and was baptized.

5. Cornelius and his house – Gentiles converted and baptized – Acts 10:48

“And he [Peter] commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord.”

6. Philippian jailer and his family saved and baptized – Acts 16:33

“And he took them the same hour of the night, and washed their stripes: and was baptized, he and all his, straightway.”

7. Ephesian disciples saved and baptized – Acts 19:5

“When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.”

8. Corinthian believers baptized – Acts 18:8

“And many of the Corinthians hearing believed, and were baptized. In I Corinthians 1:14-15 Paul said that he baptized a few converts in Corinth. He revealed that the Corinthian church did baptize converts but that they did not need to be divided over the personality of the preacher who baptized them.

9. Roman believers baptized – Romans 6:4

“Therefore we are buried with him by baptism unto death.”

10. Colossian believers baptized – Colossians 2:12

“Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him.”


Baptism is an identification with Christ.

As the believer is put under the water, he pictures the death and burial of Christ. As he comes up out of the water, he pictures the resurrection of Christ. “Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life” (Romans 6:4). Baptism is a testimony to those witnessing by the baptizing that this believer is trusting Christ in His death on the cross for sin and in His resurrection from the tomb for a life of victory. Baptism pictures our identification with Christ in His death, burial, and resurrection.

Baptism is similar to a wedding ring.

A Wedding ring does not make us married. It is simply a symbol to the world that we are married. It is a symbol that the person married belongs to someone. Baptism is a symbol to the world that we are married. It is a symbol that the person married belongs to Someone – that we belong to the Lord.

Baptism is a step of obedience to God’s direct command. It is a public testimony of salvation in the blood of Christ as we trust in His death, burial, and resurrection (I Corinthians 15:1-4).

Then baptism is a public testimony that we want to live for Christ in the new life we have in Him (Romans 6:1-6). It is also a means of blessing, for it surely adds joy to our salvation decision.

Baptism does not save.

We are not saved by baptism. If you have accepted Jesus Christ as your Saviour, you are on your way to Heaven whether you get baptized or not. Only the blood of Christ can redeem – not the water of baptism. Baptism is the outward symbol of the inner work which has already taken place in the one who has trusted Christ.

Christ was baptized.

Though He gave us an example through His baptism, Christ was baptized for an identification different from ours.  He went out to John and was baptized in the Jordan River. John was baptizing men who confessed they were sinners and who repented of their sins. When Jesus came to John, He identified Himself with sinners. It was a picture of what He would accomplish at Calvary when He was baptized with death for our sins. When Jesus told John, “Suffer it be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfill all righteousness,” He was announcing that the only way that there could be righteousness would be through His death, burial, and resurrection. He opened His earthly ministry with baptism, which pictured the fact that He would become identified with sinners, take their sins in His own body (I Peter 2:24), and pay the penalty of death for those sins on the cross. He closed His earthly ministry with His death on the cross. He came to die for us, and this is shown as He opened and as He closed His ministry.


The only scriptural baptism is that which uses immersion. The very Greek word for baptism, “baptizo,” means “to dip, to plunge under, or to submerge.” The scriptural expressions such as “much water” (John 3:23), “down…into the water” (Acts 8:38), and “coming up out of the water” (Mark 1:10) give proof that baptism is by immersion.

The only baptism that can picture death, burial, and resurrection is immersion. “Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life” (Romans 6:4).


Baptism to be scriptural must follow salvation.

In Acts 8:36, 37 the Ethiopian eunuch asked Philip, “See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized?” Philip answered, “If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest.” The eunuch had to believe before he could be baptized. The one requirement for baptism is that a person be saved before he is baptized.

Therefore, baptism of infants who are not old enough to believe is totally unscriptural. Baptism is for believers only. Please note again the verse at the head of this chapter – “Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls” (Acts 2:41).

Also, a person who was baptized before he was saved is not scripturally baptized. I was put under the water when I was twelve years old. Then I was saved when I was twenty-one years old. I realized that my being immersed before I was saved was not scriptural baptism, and I requested baptism after I was saved, you are not scripturally baptized, and you need to be identified with Christ in baptism followed salvation.

Baptism must precede church membership.

The three thousand saved and baptized on the day of Pentecost were added to the church. Baptism is the first test of obedience after salvation. A believer gives testimony by his baptism. If he refuses to testify for the Lord to baptism, does he deserve to be recognized as an obedient disciple? We dare not pick the ways we will testify but take the Scriptures as the rule for our testifying.


Romans 6:4 gives the answer: “Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.

Baptism should be followed with a new walk. We should have transformed lives so that the world can see the difference. This should involve our church fellowship, our stewardship, and our Christian growth.

I close this lesson with a quote by the late Dr. M. R. DeHaan in his booklet, Water Baptism:

“In the early days of the church… baptism was a declaration that the believer was definitely identifying himself with that group of people who were called Christians and were despised and hated. To be a Christian meant something. To identify yourself with those who were called Christians meant persecution, maybe death; it meant being ostracized from your family, shunned by friends. And the one act which was the final declaration of this identification was BAPTISM. As long as a man gathered with Christians, he was tolerated, but when once he submitted to baptism, he declared to all the world. I BELONG TO THIS DESPISED GROUP, and immediately he was persecuted, hated, and despised. In baptism, therefore, the believer entered into the fellowship of the sufferings of Christ. A person might be a believer and keep it strictly a secret and thus avoid unpleasantness and suffering, but once he submitted to public baptism he had burned his bridges behind him.”

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Gif Credit to Source: Jimmie Tullis at ebibleteacher.com

©2012  Mark Davis

Lesson 2 – Baptism – Assignments

Growing In Grace – Lesson 2 Print out here

Lesson 2


  1. Memorize Romans 6:4 and I Peter 2:2,3
  2. List at least three promises that were a blessing to you from your reading of John 8 – 14. Record under #1 of your “NOTES” on a separate page.
  3. List one truth received during your reading each day that was a blessing to you and could be applied to your life that day. Record this under #2 of your “NOTES” on a separate page.
  4. Read John, chapters 8 – 14, noting the number of times you find the word believe. Please record your findings under #3 of your “NOTES” on a separate page.
  5. Answer the following questions in your own words on a separate page.
    1. What was the one requirement that Philip gave of the Ethiopian eunuch for him to qualify to be baptized? (Acts 8:36-37) ___________________________________________________________________________
    2. How soon after salvation were people baptized in New Testament times? (Acts 8:36 – 38, 16:33) ___________________________________________________________________________
    3. What is the significance of baptism? (Romans 6:4) ___________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________
    4. Why did John baptize in a certain place? (John 3:23) ___________________________________________________________________________
    5. What does the Greek word baptizo mean? ___________________________________________________________________________
    6. What does baptism symbolize? ___________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________
    7. What kind of life should follow baptism? (Romans 6:4) ___________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________


  1. Promises I have found in John 8 – 14 that were a real blessing to me (List at least three.):
    1. ___________________________________________________________________________  ___________________________________________________________________________
    2. ___________________________________________________________________________  ___________________________________________________________________________
    3. ___________________________________________________________________________  ___________________________________________________________________________
  2. Truths I received from my daily reading of John 8 – 14 that I applied to my life each day:

Day 1 – John 8 ______________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________

Day 2 – John 9 ______________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________

Day 3 – John 10 ______________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________

Day 4 – John 11 ______________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________

Day 5 – John 12 ______________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________

Day 6 – John 13 ______________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________

Day 7 – John 14 ______________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________

3.   The verses I found in John 8 – 14 in which there is a form of the word believe: ___________________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________________

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©2012  Mark Davis




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