Sermon No: 117475-THE BIBLICAL CHURCH



SERMON TOPIC: THE BIBLICAL CHURCH

Speaker: Gavin Paynter

Language: ENGLISH

Date: 26 September 2021

Topic Groups: ECCLESIA, THE CHURCH

Sermon synopsis: Christians are instructed to fellowship with other believers.

Heb 10:25 (NIV) not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another--and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

The recipients of the letter of Hebrews were being persecuted for their faith. Maybe some had stopped fellowshipping because of their fear of persecution and possible death.
Many have stopped fellowshipping today because of their fear of infection and possible death by a virus. Even when there are no restrictions or eased restrictions they don’t fellowship.

THE BIBLICAL CHURCH

Christians are instructed to fellowship with other believers.

Heb 10:25 (NIV) not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another--and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

The recipients of the letter of Hebrews were being persecuted for their faith. Maybe some had stopped fellowshipping because of their fear of persecution and possible death.

Many have stopped fellowshipping today because of their fear of infection and possible death by a virus.

Even when there are no restrictions or eased restrictions they don’t fellowship.

Christian fellowship is something that (in countries with religious freedom) would typically be done in a building we call a church.

Christian fellowship is something that (in countries with religious freedom) would typically be done in a building we call a church.

But the term “church”, as we understand it, was unknown in Jesus’ time.

So what did Jesus mean when he said, “on this rock I will build My church [ecclesia], and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.” (Matt 16:18, NKJV)

THE BIBLICAL CHURCH

WHAT THE CHURCH IS NOT

THE CHURCH IS NOT: ISRAEL

Israel was in existence since the time of the patriarchs. The church was established by Christ.

Matt 16:18 (NKJV) … on this rock I will build [oikodomeō] My church…

Jesus speaks of building it using the future tense. “I will build” is “oikodomeō” in Greek and is a Verb-Future Indicative Active. *

* biblehub.com/ interlinear/ matthew/ 16-18.htm

THE CHURCH IS NOT: ISRAEL

It is “built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone” (Eph 2:20, ESV) so it is an entity that came into existence after the ministry of Christ.

A cornerstone is laid first – not after the building is partially built.

THE APOSTLES

THE PROPHETS

JESUS

CHRIST

THE BIRTH OF THE CHURCH

The Day of Pentecost marked the birth of the Church. The OT saints are not part of the Church.

THE CHURCH - UNEXPECTED

Not only did the church not exist then – the church and the actual ministry of Christ were not expected.

Eph 3:1-5 (ESV) For this reason I, Paul, a prisoner of Christ Jesus on behalf of you Gentiles— assuming that you have heard of the stewardship of God’s grace that was given to me for you, how the mystery [mystēriou] was made known to me by revelation, as I have written briefly. When you read this, you can perceive my insight into the mystery of Christ, which was not made known to the sons of men in other generations as it has now been revealed to his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit.

THE CHURCH - UNEXPECTED

The interim kingdom, or ‘Church Age’ was not foreseen by the OT prophets. They sometimes refer to both the 1st and 2nd Coming in the same passage. In this figure, the 1st and 2nd Coming are depicted as mountains and both can be seen by the OT prophets, although they appear as one mountain. The Church Age is a valley that cannot be seen by the OT prophets. From their perspective, those in the valley can see the valley and both mountain peaks of the 1st and 2nd coming.

THE ISRAEL OF GOD

A simple concordance search of the word ‘Israel’ in the NT will reveal that the writers never equated the church with the nation of Israel and that the terms are not used synonymously, the only debatable passage being Galatians 6:16 (although it is doubtful that the phrase “Israel of God” refers to the church here as some claim.)

THE CHURCH IS NOT: A CONCERT

And there’s nothing wrong with concerts! It’s just that Christian worship is not a concert. Christian worship is a collective, communal, congregational practice–and the gathered sound and harmony of a congregation singing as one is integral to the practice of worship. *

Worship has often been replaced by a band entertaining a passive congregation and this – rather than the sermon - has often become the main focus. But a church service doesn’t need to be conducted like a well-polished, carefully-choreographed Broadway musical.

* www.thegospelcoalition.org/ blogs/ justin-taylor/ the-difference-between-congregational-worship-and-a-concert/

“Self-improvement must not be confused with the pursuit of kingdom righteousness.” ~ Don Carson

“Self-improvement must not be confused with the pursuit of kingdom righteousness.” ~ Don Carson

Marshall Segal writes:

Self-improvement feels so exhilarating, so hopeful, so liberating — at least in theory (or in Nike ads). But resolutions can become Band-Aids we slap on to avoid really deepening our relationship with Jesus. We feel like better Christians, even though we’re no closer to Christ, and therefore no closer to addressing the heart behind our restlessness, insecurity, and guilt. *

* www.desiringgod.org/ articles/ how-christian-is-self-improvement

THE CHURCH IS NOT: A SELF-HELP INSTRUCTION CENTRE

Is there anything distinctly Christian about self-improvement?

Is there anything distinctly Christian about self-improvement?

Christian resolutions and disciplines are not about self-fulfillment or self-preservation, but about increasing our capacity to die to self in the name of love. *

What makes Christian “self-improvement” any different than every other kind of health and wellness regimen? The “self” being improved suddenly becomes a servant of others — a humble, intentional, joyful worker for others’ joy in Jesus. The apostle Paul could have said, “[Make no personal growth resolutions] from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others” (Phil 2:3–4). *

* Ibid.

THE CHURCH IS NOT: A SELF-HELP INSTRUCTION CENTRE

THE CHURCH IS NOT: A DATING CLUB

While church is certainly a good place to look for an eligible marriage partner, this is not the primary purpose of church gatherings - and not the main criteria when choosing a place to fellowship.

DATING CLUB

Matt 21:13 (NKJV) And He said to them, “It is written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer,’ but you have made it a ‘den of thieves.’ ”

Matt 21:13 (NKJV) And He said to them, “It is written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer,’ but you have made it a ‘den of thieves.’ ”

THE CHURCH IS NOT: A DEN OF THIEVES

PRAYER – NOT PROFITEERING – IS THE PURPOSE OF OUR FATHER’S HOUSE.

The pastor says, “If you give R100 you’ll get R1000 in return. If you give R1000, you’ll get R10000. If you give R2000, all your debts will be cancelled.”

THE CHURCH IS NOT: A DEN OF THIEVES

The pastor says, “If you give R100 you’ll get R1000 in return. If you give R1000, you’ll get R10000. If you give R2000, all your debts will be cancelled.”

He appeals to the greed in people. The mentality is if you want something from people show them how they will profit from it.

Concerning the last days, Paul writes, “People will be… lovers of money” (2 Tim 3:1-2). He warns of a false doctrine of those who “think that godliness is a means to financial gain” i.e., the prosperity doctrine:

1 Tim 6:3-10 (NIV) If anyone teaches false doctrines… men of corrupt mind, who have been robbed of the truth and who think that godliness is a means to financial gain… For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil.

THE CHURCH IS NOT: A COMMUNITY CENTRE

The church is NOT primarily an Activity Centre with programs for all ages.

THE CHURCH IS NOT: A COMMUNITY CENTRE

The seventh church mentioned in Revelation was in Laodicea. It presented a state of lukewarmness, indifference, materialism and apostasy which characterizes much of the Western Church today. Christ is shown as being outside the church – knocking on the door.

Like Laodicea, in many of the Western churches today we have a lot of programs but no Christ! Paul says that in the last days people will “have a form of godliness but denying its power.” (2 Tim 3:1-5) i.e., occupied with religious ritual which has lost the significance.

THE CHURCH IS NOT: A MOUTHPIECE FOR A POLITICAL PARTY

Jesus and the apostles spent surprisingly little time trying to influence the government.

In fact, Jesus rejected the idea of becoming the government when they wanted to make him their political leader. And rather than incite people against the Romans, he encouraged them to pay their taxes.

While Christians can and should be involved in politics, this is not the mandate given by Jesus to the Church.

Liberation Theology was introduced in Latin America Catholic churches in the late 1950’s and adopted by many predominantly Black churches in the 1960’s.

Under Pope John Paul II, even the Vatican was critical of Liberation Theology's borrowings from Marxism and its implied endorsement of violence.

THE CHURCH IS NOT: A POLITICAL PARTY FOR SOCIAL JUSTICE

Liberation Theology includes the idea of collective salvation - a concept that emphasizes the restoration of whole cultures and societies to what they believe is the correct socioeconomic structure, namely, Marxism.

In contrast, the Bible teaches personal salvation or individual salvation i.e., God redeems those individuals who believe in Jesus Christ as Saviour (Rom 10:9).

THE CHURCH IS NOT: AN EXCLUSIVE CLUB

The church is not an exclusive club for holy people. Sinners should be welcome to come and hear the gospel.

Mark 2:17 (NIV) On hearing this, Jesus said to them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”

THE CHURCH IS NOT: A DENOMINATION

Our currency system is divided into various denominations: R10, R20, R50, etc. Our political system is also denominated into parties: i.e., the ANC, the DA, the ACDP, etc.

From these examples we see that the word “denomination” signifies a division or a segment. A church denomination is larger than any local church, but smaller than the redeemed as a whole.

THE CHURCH IS NOT: A DENOMINATION

The NT speaks of the church embracing both:

the local church:

Rom 16:5 (ESV) Greet also the church in their house…

and the whole body of Christian believers.

Eph 5:25 (ESV) Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church…

but not a denomination…

THE CHURCH IS NOT: A BUILDING

While in English, the word “church” is used of both a building and a group of people, this was not the case in the Greek NT.

The English word “church” derives from the Greek “kyriake” and means Lord’s house. This refers to a building and is not the word used by Jesus in Matthew 16.

The Church existed before we had buildings and it can survive without them.

The Greek word “ecclesia” translated as “church” in the NT means “a called-out assembly or congregation”.

In English, we go to church – and we are the church.

But the word translated “church” in the NT is always the congregation – it never refers to a building.

Rom 16:5 (NIV) Greet also the church [ecclesia] that meets at their house.

THE CHURCH IS NOT: A BUILDING

THE CHURCH IS NOT: THE CLERGY

The common use of the word “church” in 16th century England, could refer to the pope, cardinals, legates, bishops, abbots, or monks.

The reformer and Bible translator William Tyndale quoted a commonly heard saying, “You must believe in holy church [i.e. the clergy], and do as they teach you.” Tyndale argued that “church” should be used for “the whole multitude of all them that receive the name of Christ to believe in him and not for the clergy only.”

The Church is an Ecclesia i.e. ASSEMBLY or

WHAT IS THE CHURCH?

CONGREGATION

CONGREGATION

In William Tyndale’s Bible (1526), the first English New Testament translated directly from Greek, he more correctly translated “ecclesia” as “congregation”.

Matt 16:18 (Tyndale) … and apon this rocke I wyll bylde my congregacion …

GEMEINDE

Tyndale was following the lead of Luther in his translation of the Bible into German. Luther avoided the word Kirche, preferring instead Gemeinde [“community”, “town” or “parish”].

Matthaeus (LUTH1545) 16:18 … und auf diesen Felsen will ich bauen meine Gemeinde ...

Both reformers wished to avoid a word which in the popular mind referred to the Roman Catholic Church.

THE REACTION

Tyndale’s translation received much criticism from the Roman Catholic bishops especially Thomas More, who was the spokesman for English Roman Catholicism. In 1529 More wrote a treatise in which he attacked Tyndale for supposedly “mistranslating” several words of theological importance, one of which was Tyndale’s rendering of “ecclesia” as “congregation.”

Tyndale had no objection to the word “church” but he observed that the word was used in different senses in 16th century England, and that some of these were promoted falsely by the Roman Catholic clergy to their own advantage.

ENGLISH BIBLES

Since the word “church” might mislead readers, Tyndale did not use it in his English translation.

Although the KJV generally follows Tyndale, when the translation project started in 1604, Archbishop Richard Bancroft was appointed the principal overseer and he issued a list of 15 instructions to the translators. Item 3 was as follows:

The old ecclesiastical words to be kept, as the word church, not to be translated congregation. *

Most modern English Bibles have followed the lead of the KJV (rather than Tyndale) in translating ecclesia as “church” although in the Greek NT it is used of a congregation of people – not necessarily in a building.

* http:// thekingsbible.com/ Library/ InstructionsToTranslators

THE ASSEMBLY

The Greek “ecclesia” is the origin for our English words ecclesiastical (“pertaining to the church”) and ecclesiology (“the study of doctrine concerning the church”).

But in the NT, the word refers to any assembly of people, Christians or not. E.g. In Acts 19, ekklesia refers to the convening of the pagan citizens of Ephesus gathered by Demetrius.

Acts 19:32 (ESV) Now some cried out one thing, some another, for the assembly [ekklesia] was in confusion... [cf. 19:39, 41)

“CALLED-OUT” ASSEMBLY

But in most places, the context indicates that ecclesia is referring to the people who are believers – whether in a gathering or not. E.g. In 1 Corinthians 15:9 Paul says that he had persecuted “the church [ecclesia] of God.”

Acts 11:26 (ESV) … For a whole year they met with the church [ecclesia] and taught a great many people. And in Antioch the disciples were first called Christians.

Regarding the etymology of the word “ekklesia”, it is a compound of two segments:

Ek: a preposition - “out of”

kaleo: a verb - “to call”

“CALLED-OUT” ASSEMBLY

Hence “ecclesia” is derived from the term: “to call out.”

Throughout the Greek world and right down to NT times (cf. Acts 19:39), ekklesia was the designation of the regular assembly of the whole body of citizens in a free city-state, “called out” by the herald for the discussion and decision of public business. *

J. H. Thayer: “a gathering of citizens called out from their homes into some public place; an assembly”.

Theological Dictionary of the New Testament: The citizens [in Greek society] are the ekklesia, i.e., those who are summoned and called together by the herald. This teaches us something concerning the biblical and Christian usage, namely, that God in Christ calls men out of the world.

* www.christiancourier.com/ articles/ 1500-what-is-the-meaning-of-ekklesia

THE CHURCH IS: AN EMBASSY

It is, by Jesus’s own royal prerogative, the embassy of the kingdom of heaven to this rebellious world. This reality is mostly lost on Christians today, and yet that’s essentially how the Bible describes it. *

* www.thegospelcoalition.org/ article/ the-church-is-an-embassy-not-a-social-club/

Ambassadors represent another country or kingdom (the kingdom not of this world) and it is our responsibility to reflect the “official position” of the kingdom of heaven. The message we present is reconciliation to God.

2 Cor 5:20 (NIV) We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.

Is that the message we present?

THE CHURCH IS: AN EMBASSY

Then, just as a king would do for an ambassador, Jesus gave that church the right to speak with his authority. That’s what he meant when he said the church would hold the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and that whatever it bound or loosed on earth would be bound or loosed in heaven (Matt. 16:19; cf. 18:18). In effect, Jesus was giving his church a royal charter of authority; it and it alone would be his embassy on the earth. Finally, he commissioned it with a charge that, until he returned, that embassy was to be about the work of proclaiming his gracious kingship and making disciples of all nations (Matt. 28:18–20). *

* Ibid.

THE CHURCH IS: AN EMBASSY

Jesus sent us into the world:

John 17:18 (NIV) “As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world.”

He gave us a mission:

Matt 28:19-20 (NIV) “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.”

And we are told to be devoted to that mission:

1 Cor 15:58b (NIV) Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labour in the Lord is not in vain.

THE CHURCH IS: AN EMBASSY

THE CHURCH IS: A FAMILY

Matt 12:49-50 (NIV) Pointing to his disciples, he said, Here are my mother and my brothers. For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.”

THE CHURCH IS: A FAMILY

Eph 2:19 (ESV) So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God

Uphold the family name

1 Tim 3:15 (ESV) If I delay, you may know how one ought to behave in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, a pillar and buttress of the truth.

Families spend time with one another.

Acts 2:46 (ESV) And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes ...

THE CHURCH IS: A FAMILY

Families love one another

Rom 12:10 (ESV) Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honour.

Families stick together and look out for one another

Gal 6:10 (ESV) So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.

Rom 12:13 (ESV) Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality.

Acts 2:47 (ESV) And all who believed were together and had all things in common. And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need.

THE CHURCH IS: AN ARMY

1 Tim 6:12 (NIV) Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses.

2 Tim 4:7 (ESV) I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.

THE CHURCH IS: AN ARMY

We will have to endure battle hardship.

2 Tim 2:3 (ESV) Share in suffering as a good soldier of Christ Jesus.

Our focus is on the battle and pleasing our commanding officer.

2 Tim 2:4 (ESV) No soldier gets entangled in civilian pursuits, since his aim is to please the one who enlisted him.

THE CHURCH IS: AN ARMY

We’re not at war with sinners, but with the spiritual powers of darkness.

Eph 6:12 (ESV) For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.

1 Pet 5:8 (NIV) Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.

THE CHURCH IS: AN ARMY

We are a conquering army.

Rom 8:35-39 (ESV) Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? …No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

THE CHURCH IS: AN ARMY

Matt 16:18 (NKJV) on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.

This does not mean that the govern-mental system of Satan would not be able to defeat the church. While this is true – it is not what this verse is about. Satan is not in hell (he is the prince of this world) and so “the gates of Hades” does not refer to Satan’s dominion. It means that the church would not have to go to Hades, as believers formerly did in the Old Covenant (Luke 16). Christ paid the price for sin, took the keys of Hades (Rev 1:18), liberated the captives and led them to heaven (Eph 4:8).

The church is a mystery that did not exist in the Old Covenant.

The church is a mystery that did not exist in the Old Covenant.

Eph 3:7-10 (ESV) Of this gospel I was made a minister according to the gift of God’s grace… To me, though I am the very least of all the saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, and to bring to light for everyone what is the plan of the mystery [mystēriou] hidden for ages in God … so that through the church the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known …

Mystēriou is “a mystery, secret … once hidden but now revealed in the Gospel” (Strong’s).

THE CHURCH IS: A MEANS OF REVEALING GOD’S WISDOM

THE CHURCH IS: A MEANS OF REVEALING GOD’S WISDOM

God’s ultimate plan is to bring “all things in heaven and on earth” under the authority of Christ:

Eph 1:9 (NIV) he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfilment—to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ.

God is using the church as his instrument in that regard:

Eph 3:10-11 (NIV) His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms, according to his eternal purpose which he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord.

THE CHURCH IS:

An assembly (gathering) or congregation

An embassy

A family

An army

The revelation of God’s wisdom

So the church is:

Body

Bride

Branches

Building

It is also:

THE CHURCH IS: A BODY

The church is the Body of Christ :

Col 1:18 (ESV) And he is the head of the body, the church…

Why is the Church called a body?

We are ONE body – this shows unity of purpose.

1 Cor 12:13 (ESV) For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit.

Col 3:15 (ESV) And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body…

Yet we are MANY members.

1 Cor 12:19-20 (ESV) If all were a single member, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, yet one body.

THE CHURCH IS: A BODY

Sometimes people shy away from the words “church member,” as if membership is a concept foreign to Scripture, something the church ripped off from a fitness gym or something. But the fact is, “membership” is right at the heart of the Bible’s description of the church. It’s a concept having to do with the body, which is arguably the Bible’s most important way of describing the church and its life.

1 Cor 12:12 (ESV) For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ.

To be a member of a local church is to be vitally connected to it, to feel what it feels, to contribute to its life, to be a part of it in a fundamental and even intimate way. *

* thegospelcoalition.org/ article/ the-church-is-an-embassy-not-a-social-club

THE CHURCH IS: A BODY

The members have different roles and giftings.

1 Cor 12:27-30 (ESV) Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it. And God has appointed in the church first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healing, helping, administrating, and various kinds of tongues. Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? Do all possess gifts of healing? Do all speak with tongues? Do all interpret?

THE CHURCH IS: A BODY

God determines the roles

1 Cor 12:18 (ESV) But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose.

Our giftings are for the common good.

1 Cor 12:4-7 (ESV) Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who empowers them all in everyone. To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.

THE CHURCH IS: A BODY

We need each other

1 Cor 12:21-22 (ESV) The eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you,” nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” On the contrary, the parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable…

1 Cor 12:16-17 (ESV) And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would be the sense of hearing? …

THE CHURCH IS: A BODY

The members care for other members of the body.

1 Cor 12:24-25 (ESV) … But God has so composed the body, giving greater honour to the part that lacked it, that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another.

We empathize and rejoice with other members.

1 Cor 12:26 (ESV) If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together.

Just as we care for our physical body, so Christ cares for his body – the Church.

Eph 5:29 (NIV) After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church

THE CHURCH IS: THE BRIDE OF CHRIST

The church is in submission to Christ:

Eph 5:24 (NIV) Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.

Christ loves the Church

Eph 5:25 (NIV) Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church…

Christ provides for the Church

Eph 5:28-29 (ESV) In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church…

THE CHURCH IS: THE BRIDE OF CHRIST

Christ redeems the Church

Eph 5:25-27 (NIV) Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.

THE CHURCH IS: THE BRIDE OF CHRIST

Adam’s bride came from his side. (Gen 2:21-24)

Metaphorically, Jesus’ bride came from his side.

John 19:34 (ESV) But one of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear, and at once there came out blood and water.

His blood that was shed would redeem his bride – the Church.

Rev 5:9 (NIV) … because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased for God persons from every tribe and language and people and nation.

THE CHURCH IS: THE BRANCHES

John 15:1 (NIV) “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener.

If we bear no fruit, we will be removed from the vine.

John 15:2 (NIV) “He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.”

THE CHURCH IS: THE BRANCHES

We bear fruit only if we remain in Christ:

John 15:5b (NIV) “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.”.”

THE CHURCH IS: THE BRANCHES

If we do not remain in Christ, we will wither spiritually.

John 15:6 (NIV) “If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned.”

THE CHURCH IS A (SPIRITUAL) BUILDING

Eph 2:19-22 (ESV) So then you are … built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.

This is referring to the establishment of the church. Once the cornerstone and foundations are laid, we build on that – we do not put another foundation upon an existing one. Thus Jesus and the original apostles and prophets constitute the foundation which the church builds on.

As a spiritual building – it is built out of living stones – you and me.

1 Pet 2:5 (NIV) you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.

THE CHURCH IS A (SPIRITUAL) BUILDING

THE CHURCH IS: A PLACE WHERE JESUS HAS PREEMINENCE

Jesus has preeminence in the church, not the super-hero pastor or God’s man of power for the hour.

Col 1:18 (ESV) And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent.

THE CHURCH

CHRIST

Body

Head

Bride

Groom

Branches

Vine

Building

Cornerstone

Unless otherwise stated, Scripture quotations are taken from the NIV: THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB: New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation Used by permission. (Lockman.org)

Scripture quotations are taken from the ESV: Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.




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