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Summary: Who is our family? Who is God's family? What is a family? What is church?

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#8: Church

What is the church? Russ Blowers is a minister who is active in his local Indianapolis Rotary club. At club meetings each week a member gives a brief statement about his job. When it was his turn, Russ said: "I’m with a global enterprise. We have branches in every country in the world. We have our representatives in nearly every parliament and boardroom on earth. We’re into motivation and behavior alteration – changed lives is our main product. We run hospitals, feeding stations, crisis pregnancy centers, universities, publishing houses, and nursing homes. We care for our clients from birth to death. We are into life insurance and fire insurance. We perform spiritual heart transplants. Our original Organizer owns all the real estate on earth plus an assortment of galaxies and constellations. He knows everything and lives everywhere. Our product is free for the asking, because there’s not enough money to buy it. Our CEO was born in a hick town, worked as a carpenter, didn’t own a home, was misunderstood by his family, hated by enemies, walked on water, was condemned to death without a trial, and arose from the dead—and I talk with him every day."

WORSHIP PLAN:

MUSIC: The Church’s One Foundation – w/ Scripture and reading

But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. 1 Peter 2:9

Some things that the Church is NOT:

 The Church is not a political Kingdom.

 The Church is not a building

 The church is not an exclusive club

Sin: Damaged people’s nature, damaged society, damaged creation.

Wilcox: God’s grand plan – Restoration of Holy People, holy society, and holy creation.

The first was accomplished by Jesus, the second by the church, and the third at the New Heaven and New Earth.

That’s how and where we fit. As the church, we are a “called out assembly.”

The word “ekklesia” In greek means “a called out gathering.”

We are a group of people from various backgrounds, genetics, races, economic levels… brought together by our love for Jesus, our common salvation, and our desire to work together with Him for His Kingdom.

This is why we are to pray “Your Kingdom come, your Will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”

Pictures of the church:

1. Flock: It is to follow in submission and trust.

2. Temple: It is to be a spiritual dwelling place for God.

3. Family: It is to live in love and relationships.

4. Body: It is to work in unity and diversity, to be the hands of Jesus.

5. Bride: It is to grow in beauty and holiness, to be ready at all times.

Three foundational truths about the church:

1. There is a difference between A church and THE Church.

“…I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.”

Matthew 16:18

Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior…

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.

Ephesians 5:23, 25-27

Theologians have always distinguished between the “church visible”, the organization we call the church here on earth, and the “church invisible”, the true company of those who are truly saved.

This means:

A church may have hypocrites, but there are no hypocrites in THE Church.

A church may close, but THE Church will not.

A church may be selfish, but THE Church is not.

A church may be from a denomination, but THE Church is universal.

You can be a member of A church, and NOT be a member of THE Church.

2. The Church is all those who follow Jesus.

When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, "Who do people say the Son of Man is?"

They replied, "Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets."

"But what about you?" he asked. "Who do you say I am?"

Simon Peter answered, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God."

Jesus replied, "Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven. And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. Matthew 16:13-18

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