The church is not just the building where we gather to corporately worship God. The church is the people, the followers of Christ. We are the church—the body of Christ.
Mark Dever, Pastor of Capitol Hill Baptist Church in Washington, DC, noted what the Bible says about the church’s identity. Dever said,
“Christ founded the church (Matt. 16:18), purchased it with His blood (Acts 20:28), and intimately identifies himself with it (Acts 9:4). The church is the body of Christ (1 Cor. 12:12, 27; Eph. 1:22-23; 4:12; 5:20-30; Col. 1:18, 24; 3:15), the dwelling place of his Spirit (1 Cor. 3:16-17; Eph. 2:18, 22; 4:4), and the chief instrument for glorifying God in the world (Ezek. 36:22-38; Eph. 3:10).
Finally, the church is God’s instrument for bringing both the gospel to the nations and a great host of redeemed humanity to himself”(Luke 24:46-48; Rev. 5:9). (The Church: Gospel Made Visible 2012, xi).
Indeed, the church bears the glimpse of the coming kingdom of God; it is not the kingdom itself but the church participates in it. Moreover, the church bears the good news to the world.
The proclamation of the good news—the greatest love—is solely given to the followers of Christ. Overall, the distinguishing mark of the church is love. The church ought to exemplify a loving community (John 13:34-35; 1 John 4:7-21).