Chizuru Lowell Odoemelam | via Meditate On These Things, April 2014
The church of the New Testament differs a great deal from the church of the Old Testament. The Church of the Old Testament was called the church in the wilderness (Acts 7:38). It was a national church. It had its beginning from Mount Sinai, and it is sometimes referred to as Judaism. But the church of the New Testament has identifying features from the Scriptures.
It has a divine origin. There is not an institution without a beginning. The prophets of old foretold this church (Isaiah 2:2-4; Micah 4:1-2; Daniel 2:31-45). God purposed it before the foundation of the world (Galatians 1:15-16; Acts 26:22-23; Ephesians 3:1, 10-11). John the Baptist and Jesus Christ spent their time here on earth preparing its establishment (Matthew 3:1-3; 11:17). Also Christ promised to build it (Matthew 16:18), and finally this church had its establishment on the Pentecost day following the resurrection of Christ in the year 33 AD.
The church of the New Testament has a name. It is being called by many designations such as kingdom of Christ
(John 18:36), body of Christ (Ephesians 1:22-23), house of God (1 Timothy 3:15), temple of God (Ephesians 2:21-22), church of God (1 Corinthians 1:2; Acts 20:28), and church of Christ (Matthew 16:18; Romans 16:16). What belongs to God belongs to Christ (John 17:10).
The worship of the New Testament Church must be according to New Testament Scriptures. Items of worship are teaching and preaching (Acts 2:42-47), the Lord’s Supper (Acts 20:7; Luke 22:17), singing (Ephesians 5:19; Colossians 3:16), collection (1 Corinthians 16:1-2), and prayers (Acts 12:5; 20:36).
The church of the New Testament is organized locally (Acts 14:23; Titus 1:5; Acts 20:28; 1 Peter 5:1-4). Officers of the church locally are elders (1 Timothy 3:1-7; Titus 1:5-9) and deacons (1 Timothy 3:8-13) and universally evangelists (Ephesians 4:11). The elders feed the local church with God’s word (Acts 20:28) and oversee the flock (1 Peter 5:1-3). The deacons serve the church, assisting the elders (Acts 6:1-7; 1 Timothy 3:8-13). Evangelists preach the word (2 Timothy 4:2).
Mission of the Church
This has to do with the work of the church.
Evangelism (Matthew 28:19-20; 2 Timothy 4:2; 2:2; Romans 10:14-15). The church is a sending agency (Acts 13:1-3; Philippians 1:5; 4:15-18).
Edification, to build up. The church should have a teaching program (Ephesians 4:15-16). And they are to edify the body through worship (Acts 2:42; Ephesians 5:19; Hebrews 10:25), teaching God’s word (Matthew 28:18-20; 2 Timothy 2:2; 4:1-5), proper discipline (Titus 3:10; 1 Corinthians 5:1-13; 2 Thessalonians 3:6, 14, 15; Romans 16:17-18), and proper love and regard for one another (Ephesians 4:29-32; 1 Corinthians 10:23-33).
Benevolence, the church takes care of it’s needy members not unbelievers (Acts 6:1-3). These needy members are qualified (1 Timothy 5:9-10, 16). In times of emergency, local churches contributed to needy members of other local churches (Acts 11:27-30; Romans 15:25-27).
Entrance into the Church
Entrance is upon hearing the gospel (Acts 8:12), believing the gospel (Acts 8:12-13; Mark 16:15-16), repenting from sins (Acts 2:38; 11:18), confessing faith in Christ (Acts 22:10; 8:37), and being baptized into Christ (Acts 2:41; 8:38; 10:48). When anyone does all of the above five items, he is known as one who has been called out of the world by the gospel of Christ into one body or church or kingdom (Colossians 1:12-13; 2 Thessalonians 2:13-14).