The church exists in a covenantal relationship with God through Jesus Christ. This new covenant is established by God and God alone with his covenant partners, or Christ-followers who have heard the gospel of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, have repented of their sins, have embraced Jesus Christ by faith, have been baptized in the name of the triune God, have received forgiveness of their sins and the gift of the Holy Spirit, and have been incorporated into the church of Jesus Christ (Acts 2:22-47). By means of this covenant, God binds himself to his covenant partners, who in turn observe binding obligations toward him. To the church Christ has given two signs of this covenant relationship: baptism, the sign of entrance into the new covenant relationship with God and into the covenant community, the church; and the Lord’s Supper, the sign of ongoing new covenant relationship with God and the covenant community, the church.
 Allison, Strangers and Sojourners, 124.
The lecture notes are here:
The greetings are addressed “to the church of (the) Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” No such address had ever been written or read before, for the community to which it was directed was a new thing in the world. The word translated “church ” was certainly familiar enough to all who knew Greek: it was the name given to the citizens of a Greek town assembled for public business; it is the name given in the Greek Bible either to the children of Israel as the congregation of Jehovah, or to any gathering of them for a special purpose; but here it obtains a new significance. The church of the Thessalonians is a church in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. It is the common relation of its members to God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ which constitutes them a church in the sense of the Apostle: in contradistinction from all other associations or societies, they form a Christian community. The Jews who met from Sabbath to Sabbath in the synagogue were a church; they were one in the acknowledgment of the Living God, and in their observance of His law; God, as revealed in the Old Testament and in the polity of Israel, was the element or atmosphere of their spiritual life. The citizens of Thessalonica, who met in the theatre to discuss their political interests, were a “church”; they were one in recognizing the same constitution and the same ends of civic life; it was in that constitution, in the pursuit of those ends, that they found the atmosphere in which they lived. Paul in this Epistle greets a community distinct from either of these. It is not civic, but religious; though religious, it is neither pagan nor Jewish; it is an original creation, new in its bond of union, in the law by which it lives, in the objects at which it aims; a church in God the Father and in the Lord Jesus Christ.
 James Denny, The Epistles to the Thessalonians (1899), 8-9.
The lecture notes may be found here:Lesson 5 The Church is a Creation-3
The Holy Spirit uses the power of the Word of God to make, development and sustain the Church. It is not programs, schemes, gimmicks, or personal charisma which creates the Church. Now, one can gather people in one place and can do churchy things without the Spirit; but only the Spirit can do the real work of the Church.
The lecture notes may be found here: Lesson 4 The Church is Empowered by the Spirit
The church is to be centered on this inspired sufficient, necessary, truthful, clear authoritative, and productive Word of God. As P.T. Forsyth urged “If we are not going to use our Bibles, it is of no use building our Churches.” …Paul emphasizes the preaching of good news (vv. 14-16) because “faith comes from hearing and hearing through the word of Christ” (v. 17). Accordingly, Forsyth exhorts the church: “Our first business is neither to gather men nor to move them but to preach in the speech of our time …the universal and moving Gospel. Let it gather them, and let it stir them. The first condition of a true revival is a sound Gospel. To revive the Church revive its Gospel as given once for all in its Bible.” –Greg Allison
The lecture notes are here: Lesson 3 The Church is Logocentric-2
The New Testament church met together for a specific purpose. Paul urges his readers that whatever they do, they should “do all to the glory of God” (1 Cor 10:31). Therefore, the church exists to glorify God. Everything the church does should be done with the purpose of glorifying God and exalting Christ. At the same time, however, Paul emphasizes the need for believers to be edified because when believer were edified or built up, then God receives glory (1 Cor 12). There are at least five main ways this purpose is accomplished. First, the church glorifies God through worship which involves reading and preaching God’s word (1 Cor 1:23-24; Col. 4:6; 1 Tim 4:2), praying (1 Tim 2:8), singing (Eph 5:19; Col 3:16-17), taking a collection (1 Cor 16;22; 2 Cor 9:612) and celebrating the Lord’s Supper (1 Cor 11:17-34). Second, the church glorifies God through fellowship, which includes bearing one another’s burdens (Gal 6:2; see also Acts 2:42; Heb 10:24-25). Third, the church glorifies God through discipleship, which includes equipping all believers (Eph 4:11-12) and training new leaders (1 Tim 2:2). Fourth, the church glorifies God through service, which includes using one’s spiritual gifts (1 Tim 4:14). Finally, the church glorifies God through evangelism and missions. Jesus gave his disciples the Great Commission (Mt 28:19-20) and Paul expected the churches he planted to share the good news with others.
 Benjamin Merkle, ed., “Paul’s Ecclesiology,” in Paul’s Mission Methods: In His Time and Ours, ed. Robert L. Plummmer and John Mark Terry (Downer’s Grove: IVP, 2012), 58.
The lecture notes may be found here: Lesson 2 The Church is Doxological
This is the first lecture of nine part series of the doctrine of the church. The course will give an overview of the basic ontology of the Church: what the church is in its being, its essence (as opposed to what a church does)
“The preeminence of the church in God’s scheme of things could hardly be stated more vigorously than in several texts in the Epistle to the Ephesians. With moving rhetorical power Paul says in the closing verses of chapter 1 that God (the Father) has designed Christ as Lord of all creation ‘and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way’ (Eph. 1:22,23 NIV).
“Later he goes onto say that though God’s justice and wisdom in providence may have been ‘hidden for ages in God who created all things,’ it is His purpose that ‘through the church the manifold wisdom of God might be made known to the principalities and powers in heavenly places’ (Eph. 3:9,10, RSV).
“Further on, he says that the church was from eternity so cherished by the Son that He ‘loved the church and gave himself up for her’ (Eph. 5:25 NIV). As for the Holy Spirit’s interest in the church, Paul explains that members of the church are ‘sealed with promised Holy Spirit’ (Eph. 1:13), and that by virtue of Christ’s reconciliation through that Spirit, we all ‘have access …to the Father’ (2:18), and that the Spirit is the spiritual presence in us that brings forth ‘fruit … in all that is good and right and true’ (Eph. 5:9).”
 Robert Duncan Culver, Systematic Theology: Biblical and Historical (2005; repr., Geanies House, Fearn, Ross-shire: Christian Focus Publication, 2006), 800.
The lecture notes may be found here: Lesson 1 Introduction to the Church-3