Summary: A Sermon about the nature of the blessed church.

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MATT 16:13-18

Jesus said, “I will build my church”(Greek. Ecclesia). The word in the New Testament is used to designate any assembly, whether it be political (Acts 19:39), Christian (Ephesians 1:22-23), or national (Acts 7:38). It means a “called-out assembly” or “congregation.” God called Israel out of Egypt; they congregated in the wilderness; they were “the church in the wilderness.” Today, God calls the redeemed out of the world to congregate in worship. This church is in the world, but not of the world. Furthermore, we are not to be like the world!

Unlike the church in the wilderness, the church that Jesus is building will never cease. He said, “The gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” His church is not synonymous with Religion. It is in religion the same way which it is in the world, but not of it. Religion is made up of those who profess to be Christians, but they know not Christ as personal Savior (Matt 7:21-23 "Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” II Tim 3:5 “Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.” Titus 1:16 “They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate.”). Only blood-washed, born-again, Spirit-baptized believers constitute the church that Jesus is building. It is called a:

A. Mystery: Eph 3:3 4 “How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words, Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ)” Eph 5:32“This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church.” I Cor 1:18 It is mysterious to the lost.

B. Membership: Eph 4:25 “...for we are members one of another.” Rom 12:4 5 “For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office: So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.” I Cor 6:15 “Know ye not that your members are the members of Christ?” I am glad to be a church member... a member of the church, therefore, I have a right to be a member of a church, and I am given the great privilege to be a member of this church!

C. Ministry: It is the place where the ministry of Paul, Peter, and every other apostle was housed. They were ministers of the local church. Six times in Acts he refers to the church’s work as a ministry. Eph 4:11-12 “And he gave some, prophets; and some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ.”

D. Message Center: a place to hear “thus saith the Word of God.” It Is A Filling Station for dry souls!

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