6.2.2 The beginning of the church of Christ

Everything that church is, and everything on which it is based, has its origin in the person and deed of Jesus Christ, who both is and brings salvation. "But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons" (Galatians 4: 4-5). Jesus, the Son of God, was born as a human being into God's chosen people of the old covenant. God became Man–He entered into human history and became part of it.

He called human beings to follow Him, gathered disciples, preached the kingdom of God, revealed Himself–for example, in the Sermon on the Mount–as a lawgiver, healed the sick, fed the hungry, raised the dead, forgave sins, and promised and sent the Holy Spirit.

The incarnation of God in Jesus Christ is the essential prerequisite for the existence of church. All other events pertaining to the foundation of the church are founded upon, and have derived from, this event: the choosing of the Apostles (Luke 6: 12-16), the establishment of the office of Peter (Matthew 16: 18), the institution of Holy Communion (Matthew 26: 20-29), the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, and the great commission (Matthew 28: 19-20).

The first historical manifestation of the church of Christ was on Pentecost, with the outpouring of Holy Spirit. Apostle Peter preached in the power of the Holy Spirit and the first congregation came into being. Baptism, forgiveness of sins, and the receiving of the gift of Holy Spirit are elements that impart salvation on the path of redemption (Acts 2: 38). The early Christians "continued steadfastly in the Apostles' doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers" (Acts 2: 42). These characteristics are of decisive importance for the church of Christ.

SUMMARY

The church of Jesus Christ has been established on earth by the Lord Himself. (6)

The term "church" is used to describe a Christian place of worship, a local parish, or a Christian denomination. In the theological sense, however, the term refers to the church of Jesus Christ. (6.1)

Those human beings who belong to the church of Jesus Christ have been called forth by God for eternal fellowship with Him. (6.1)

The purpose of the church of Jesus Christ is, on one hand, to make salvation and eternal fellowship with God accessible to human beings and, on the other hand, to bring worship and praise to God. (6.2)

Already in the Old Testament there are many references to the church of Christ. (6.2.1)

The letter to the Hebrews also interprets the old covenant–with its law, sacrificial service, circumcision, and priesthood–as a "shadow", that is, a foreshadowing, of the new covenant. Thus the old covenant already intimated that which has become reality in the church of Jesus Christ in the new covenant. (6.2.1)

Everything that church is, and everything on which church is based, has its source in the person and deed of Jesus Christ. The incarnation of God in Jesus Christ is the essential prerequisite for the existence of church. (6.2.2)

In history the church of Christ was first revealed on Pentecost with the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. (6.2.2)

The early Christians continued steadfastly in the Apostles' doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers. These characteristics are decisive for the church of Christ. (6.2.2)

See also