Summary: This message examines some of the analogies the Bible uses to describe the church.
The Pictures of the People of God (Church)
"upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it." (Mt 16:18)
INTRODUCTION: Jesus often spoke in parables or analogies in order to help us understand the ways of the Kingdom of God. When describing the Church he uses many “Pictures” that give a different “snapshot” of his purposes and plan. Most people see church as a “PLACE” instead of a part of God’s “PLAN”. When many think of church, they think of a place where they are:
HATCHED where someone throws water at them.
MATCHED where someone throws rice at them.
DISPATCHED where someone throws dirt at them.
The word “CHURCH” is found 77 times in the New Testament. It is described as:
1. A PEARL OF GREAT PRICE Mt. 13:45,46
“the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls: Who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it.”
> THIS DESCRIBES IT’S PRECIOUSNESS.
God valued the church above the life of his own son.
"Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers;" (1 Pet 1:18)
2. A HOLY TEMPLE Eph 2:20-22
"And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit."
> THIS DESCRIBES THE POWER OF THE CHURCH. God Empowers us by His presence.
3. A FLOCK OF SHEEP
"Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom." (Luke 12:32)
"Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood." (Acts 20:28)
"Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind;" (1 Pet 5:2)
> THIS DESCRIBES THE PROBLEMS OF THE CHURCH.
A. ANYTHING THAT INVOLVES PEOPLE INVOLVES PROBLEMS.
Failure is inevitable, fruit is optional.
The difference is whether we learn from our problems.
> A failure, within God's purpose, is no longer really a failure. Thus the cross, the supreme failure, is at the same time the supreme triumph of God, since it is the accomplishment of the purpose of salvation. Paul Tournier (1898-1986)
B. GOD APPOINTS PASTORS TO PROVIDE:
1) Protection “Take heed…to all the flock…” Acts 20:28-30; 1 Tim 6:12; 2 Tim. 4:7
2) Provision “Feed the Flock of God.” 1 Peter 5:2
3) Direction “Taking the oversight…” 1 Peter 5:2;
"Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God: whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation." (Heb 13:7)
4. A FAMILY Eph 2:19; 3:15
“Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God;…Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named," (Eph 3:15)
> THIS DESCRIBES THE PRIVILEGE OF THE CHURCH.
A. OUR RELATIONSHIP TO HIM.
1) Adopted (Gal. 4:6) "that we might receive the adoption of sons."
2) Accepted (Eph. 1:6) " he hath made us accepted in the beloved."
3) Advanced (Rom 8:17) "And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together."
B. OUR RELATIONSHIP TO HIM RELATES US TO EACH OTHER.
1) We become part of his family making us brothers and sisters.
Christ's love demands unity among His believers.
Example: The sequoia trees grow 300 feet tall with trunks of over 100 feet circumference. They have shallow roots. They must interlock to stand.
5. A BRIDE Eph. 5:22-32; Rev. 19:7
> THIS DESCRIBES THE PURITY OF THE CHURCH.
A. PURE 2 Cor 11:2 "For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ."
1) The Partnership of our Purity: 1 John 1:9; Rev 19:
a) Our Part: Confession “His wife hath made herself ready” Rev 19:7
b) God’s Part: Cleansing “to her was granted that she should be arrayed…” Rev. 19:8
B. SECURE Mal. 2:16 "For the LORD, the God of Israel, saith that he hateth putting away:“
"What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder." (Mat 19:6)
6. A BODY 1 Cor. 12:27 "Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular."