1Cor. 1:2 ¶ To the church of God that is in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints together with all those who in every place call upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, both their Lord and ours
The New Testament word for church is ECCLESIA. It is full of shades of meaning describing the life we have been called to enjoy. This word for church describes a little bit of who we are, the called out ones. We have been called out of one culture into another, we are set apart by God to display His glory. There are several vivid pictures of the church in the scriptures that describe different aspects of who we are. First we are called the body of Christ. Paul describes how each one of us are one part of the unique body of Christ. None of us are self sufficient, we need each other. Just as the hand needs the arm and the foot needs the leg, every member of the body of Christ is vital for us to be useful in the work of God.
Secondly, we are called the bride of Christ. This communicates several beautiful truths. Just as the marriage relationship represents the most intimate of human relationships, being called the bride of Christ speaks of our intimate relationship with the Lord. We are one flesh with Him just as a bride and a groom, bone of His bone and flesh of His flesh. This relationship also implies righteousness displayed by the wedding garment. We must be clothed with the righteousness of God that comes by grace through faith, there is no other way for us to enter into this life of intimacy with the Lord.
The third picture of the church is the temple of God. Peter says it like this, “As you come to him, a living stone rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious, you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ”. Each one of us are living stones in the temple of God. Why do we exist? We exist to be a habitation of the glory of God. The world needs to experience this supernatural life. We are in the world but not of it. We are here to present another alternative community to this world so others can also join the ECCLESIA, the called out ones.