Summary: This sermon unpacks the nature of the Church
Article 26: The True Nature of the Church.
Over the next three weeks we are going to be unpacking the doctrine of the Church we will be looking at the true nature of the Church ~ The Marks of the Church ~ and the true purpose of the Church. Today we are looking at the Nature of the Church answering such questions as . What is the Church? How do we belong to the Church? Who builds the Church? How Did originate? Where is the Church?
There are many Metaphors for the Church;
• Eph: 3.14 as a family with God as our Father.
• Rev: 21: 2. As a bride with Christ as the Bridegroom.
• 1Cor12: 27 As a Body Eph 1;22—23;4;15-16. Again but with Christ as the head.
• 1Pet: 2.5 As Living stones with Christ as the chief cornerstone.
• 1Pet2; 4-8 A group of priests
• Jhn15; 5 as branches belonging to the vine
• Jhn10: 10 As Sheep that belong to the good Shepherd
These metaphors reveal the richness of Gods Church .
What do you think some of the other metaphors mentioned stir us towards?
• The Church as a bride should motivate us towards greater purity, love and submission to Christ.
• As a family to closer bonds of fellowship.
• As a Body the inter dependence upon one another
• As stones to be built up together correctly with good foundations in Christ.
• As priests together the call to Holy living and acts of service.
• As branches being connected to the true vine , bearing fruit in our lives.
• As Sheep the need to stay close, prone to wander, our Good shepherd cares and leads his Church in paths of Righteousness.
So what is the Church? Often I get the opportunity to ask people are you a Christian? And one of the most common responses is well I go to Church........ As if entering a building somehow makes you a Christian. Of course the answer is no....... I often go into a garage, it doesn’t make me a mechanic or I go into a Bank, it doesn’t make me a banker. These are but buildings, Church is always the people within it not the building
1) The Church is a community of believers from all time
The Church is not a man made institution; it is Gods household (Eph 2;19) 19Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God's people and members of God's household. The New Testament does not put emphasis upon the building or as the true Church but upon people, who have been truly saved.
How do we belong to the Church? Paul says Christ loved the Church and gave himself up for her (Eph5;25) This implies that the true Church is all those who Christ died to redeem, this includes all believers throughout time. With Christ as the Head of that Church~ So great is Gods plan for the Church he has exalted Christ to a position of highest authority for the sake of the Church. (Eph; 1:22-23.) 22And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, 23which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.
So although people may come and enter into this building and that is our desire, they don’t truly become part of Gods spiritual Church until they have been redeemed by Christ through his atoning death and found in him (Eph.2:21-22) 21In Him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. 22And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit. So not until an individual truly repents and believes do the belong to the true community called the Church.
• “Some people may well call themselves, Baptists, Anglicans or Methodists, and think they belong to the Church, some people may do endless good works & consider themselves part of the Church, some people might regularly attend or the ordinances of their particular denomination and consider these things as entitling them to be a Christian and belonging to the Church. But the Big Question people need to ask themselves, “Am I part of this new community called the Church. Am I actually in Christ?” This is how we truly become part of the Church~ we might be part of this Baptist assembly here this morning but are we part of Christ’s community. That’s why as a Church we are called to examine ourselves before we enter into the Churches ordinances (communion~ Baptism). They should only be undertaken by those who are redeemed through the blood of Christ.
Whose Church, who builds the Church?