We saw last time that the church is composed of the people that God has called out of their sins and into His kingdom. We want to look further at who these people are, where they come from, and their purpose as a called out church.
And when he had taken the book, the four beasts and four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers of saints. And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth.Revelation 5:8-10
The church of Jesus Christ is composed of people from every family, language, tribe, and country. There is no geographical, cultural, or ethnic barrier that defines the church. The church of Jesus Christ is composed of all the redeemed.
And it came to pass, that, as Jesus sat at meat in his house, many publicans and sinners sat also together with Jesus and his disciples: for there were many, and they followed him. And when the scribes and Pharisees saw him eat with publicans and sinners, they said unto his disciples, How is it that he eateth and drinketh with publicans and sinners? When Jesus heard it, he saith unto them, They that are whole have no need of the physician, but they that are sick: I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.Mark 2:15-17
Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.1 Corinthians 6:9-11
The church is composed of people who used to be horrible sinners. There is no sin except a total rejection of Christ that prevents someone from being a part of the church of Jesus Christ. The church is full of former thieves, adulterers, homosexuals, and the like.
For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.Galatians 3:26-29
Not as though the word of God hath taken none effect. For they are not all Israel, which are of Israel: Neither, because they are the seed of Abraham, are they all children: but, In Isaac shall thy seed be called. That is, They which are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God: but the children of the promise are counted for the seed.Romans 9:6-8
The church is not unified around a particular ethnicity or social status. We are unified because of Jesus Christ.
Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do? Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call. And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation. Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.Acts 2:37-41
Baptism is not required for salvation (for example, the thief on the cross.) However, baptism is a requirement to be considered part of the church. If you have truly repented and believed in Jesus Christ, you will follow Him in baptism. If you refuse to be baptized your profession of faith should be questioned.
But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness; But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God. Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men. For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: That no flesh should glory in his presence. But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.1 Corinthians 1:23-31
God has called the rejects of the world to be His chosen people. We must be very careful to never reject an unconverted man based upon our world’s standards. Jesus redeems such people to show His glory.
And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.Matthew 28:18-20
And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.Mark 16:15
The church is called to go and bring others to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. So we see that the church is a group of people from every sinful, cultural, national, linguistic, and ethnic background that have been brought to repentance and faith in Christ. They have followed the Lord in baptism and now exist to bring others into the church. This is all done for the glory of Jesus Christ.