We've released a new version of SermonCentral! Read the release notes here.
Text Illustrations
The people of God:


Individuals, and in a state of distinctness from all the nations amongst which, in their calamitous dispersion, they are scattered; but they have no national existence -- no king, no country, no organization, no government, no political being. Just so the great community of believers -- God’s spiritual commonwealth -- had no being; for the members who now compose it stood in no covenant relation to God, and they had no bond of union, no spiritual incorporation among themselves. Reverse the statement and you have their present condition. For, in the first place, all believers, by virtue of their faith in Christ, are in covenant with God. God and believers walk with each other in amity. Whereas once there was alienation and enmity, there is now mutual love. They have taken Him to be their God, and He has taken them to be His people. And then, secondly, being in covenant with God, all believers are in union with each other. This second conjunction flows by a necessary consequence from the first; for, being reduced under one sovereignty, they necessarily compose one community. While they were estranged from God, they were estranged from one another. Now of this commonwealth of the faithful, many things may be said.


1. God places Himself at its head. As He stands in close connection with every individual member of it, so He establishes a connection, not less close, between Himself and all the members collectively. He originates the community, and He governs it.


2. It is composed of all believers. This great community excludes from its fellowship none whom Christ does not exclude from salvation. All the saints are your fellow subjects in that kingdom. Not all the saints on earth simply, but the saints also in heaven.


3. The blessings of the new covenant constitute its privileges. These blessings consist in whatever is obtained through the blood of Christ; all "spiritual blessings in heavenly places," or heavenly things; things, that is, which have a heavenly origin and nature, and a tendency to prepare us for heaven. Hence all believers are justified and sanctified.


4. Heaven is the place of its perfect development, and its everlasting home. It is never seen as a whole on earth. Here it has never existed otherwise than in detachments, and separated portions. And these never stay long. God’s people are gathered out of the world, collected into little fellowships, trained, sanctified, and then drafted away to the great meeting place of the redeemed.


(from The Biblical Illustrator Copyright (c) 2002 AGES and Biblesoft, Inc.)