New City Catechism Week 48 Resources

Week 48 Question:

What is the Church?

Week 48 Answer:

God chooses and preserves for himself a community elected for eternal life and united by faith, who love, follow, learn from, and worship God together. God sends out this community to proclaim the gospel and prefigure Christ’s kingdom by the quality of their life together and their love for one another.

Week 48 Verse:

2 Thessalonians 2:13


My brethren, let me say, be ye like Christ at all times. Imitate him in public. Most of us live in some sort of publicity; many of us are called to work before our fellow-men every day. We are watched; our words are caught; our lives are examined, taken to pieces. The eagle-eyed, argus-eyed world observes everything we do, and sharp critics are upon us. Let us live the life of Christ in public. Let us take care that we exhibit our Master, and not ourselves—so that we can say, "It is no longer I that live, but Christ that lives in me." Take heed that you carry this into the church too…. Be like Christ in the church. How many there are of you…seeking pre-eminence? How many are trying to have some dignity and power over their fellow Christians, instead of remembering that it is the fundamental rule of all our churches, that there all men are equal—alike brethren, alike to be received as such. Carry out the spirit of Christ, then, in your churches, wherever ye are; let your fellow members say of you, "He has been with Jesus."

Charles Haddon Spurgeon (1834–1892). An English Baptist preacher, Spurgeon became pastor of London's New Park Street Church (later Metropolitan Tabernacle) at 20 years of age. He frequently preached to more than 10,000 people with no electronic amplification. Spurgeon was a prolific writer and his printed works are voluminous—by the time of his death he had preached nearly 3,600 sermons and published 49 volumes of commentaries, sayings, hymns, and devotions.

From the sermon “Christ’s People—Imitators of Him” in Sermons of the Rev. C. H. Spurgeon (New York: Sheldon, Blakeman & Co.,1858), 263–264.

Video Commentary

NCC Q48: What is the church? from The Gospel Coalition on Vimeo.


Supporting Scriptures

Matthew 16:18-19; Matthew 18:15-20; John 17:21-23; Ephesians 3:10


My daily prayer, honoured brethren, shall be…that in the days wherein we see so many fall from the truth, and oppose it, on the one hand; a great indifference as to the things of God, leading captive so many on the other; so few remaining, made useful to God in their generations by a conjunction of zeal for the truth, and ability unto its defence;…you may receive help from above, and encouragement to engage you by all means possible to spread abroad a savour of the gospel of Jesus Christ, and to labour continually that the truths of God…may not be cast down, nor trampled on under the feet of men…. That you may not faint, nor wax weary, notwithstanding all the opposition, contempt, scorn, you do or may meet withal: nor even be turned aside to corrupt dalliances with error and falsehood…but keeping close to the form of wholesome words, and answering the mould of gospel doctrine, whereunto you have been cast, may shine as lights, in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation; knowing that it is but yet a little while, and he that shall come, will come, and will not tarry; yea, come, Lord Jesus, come.

John Owen (1616–1683). An English Puritan theologian, Owen went to Oxford University at 12 years of age, gained his MA at 19, and became a pastor at 21. Years later he was appointed Vice-Chancellor of the University. He preached to parliament the day after the execution of King Charles I, fulfilling the task without directly mentioning that event. He wrote numerous and voluminous works including historical treatises on religion and several studies on the Holy Spirit.

From “The Doctrine of the Saints’ Perseverance Explained and Confirmed” in The Works of John Owen, edited by Thomas Russell, Volume VI (London, 1826), xxix–xxx.