Summary: Some people do not always possess the kind of positive view of the church that Father God does. Learning to look at the church as he does is really important for us.
WHAT DOES GOD SAY ABOUT THE CHURCH ?
Many opinions circulate concerning the church both outside the church and inside.
some Christians have negative views of the church.
Some have even ‘retired’ from church life, they no longer attend or are involved in ‘Church’ in any way, but they still regard themselves as Christians.
Key truth: God created the church for EVERY believer to be an active member, assisting the establishment of a healthy body and reaching out to a sick world.
Defining the ‘CHURCH’
In our country of Great Britain today, what the church really is can be a confusing question.
Our state church has become secularized.
People no longer have a positive impression of the church.
People no longer consider membership of the church to be a matter of spirituality.
Therefore trying to clarify and communicate who really is a member of the church can be uncomfortable.
Yet the Bible is clear …… The church consists of all those who have accepted Jesus Christ as their Lord and Saviour and walk in love and relationship with him.
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. Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. (1 Peter 2:9-10)
The word for church is ‘ekklesia’ meaning a ‘called out’ people. It speaks of a uniqueness that separates these people from others. That uniqueness is the work grace has achieved in our lives.
That’s a bit little of background to the question I want to ask this morning …..
What does God say about the church ?
Whatever the condition of the church might be in your eyes or anyone else’s the truth is that God has a more positive view of the church than You or I.
Reading: Ephesians 5:21-30
Whatever the condition of the church may be to some people God has a far more positive view of His church. We find in the bible what God has said about his church
I OWN HER
This reference to the church as ‘her’ is not a sexist statement but an indication of one of the great illustrations of God’s relationship with the church.
The church is seen in the New Testament as the bride of Christ.
God says that he is the church’s owner
The church was and is God’s idea and creation, therefore ownership is his.
If anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of God’s church? (1 Tim 3:5)
If I am delayed, you will know how people ought to conduct themselves in God’s household, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of the truth. (1 Tim 3:15)
All we can ever really claim to own are buildings and bank accounts - God owns the people and it is only they who will accompany him into eternity.
So often churches have been damaged, their members hurt because of those who mistakenly believed that they owned something that has always been the exclusive possession of God.
For all the various names that are used to describe and identify churches today only one is the true title of he church …… THE CHURCH OF GOD !
To the church of God in Corinth, together with all the saints throughout Achaia
(2 Cor :1)
I LOVE HER
Whatever you think about the church - GOD LOVES THE CHURCH - and we ought to
Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her (Eph 5:25)
His willing act of sacrifice is as clear an indication of his love for the church as you will ever see.
The New Testament references to the church as the bride of Christ remind us of God’s love for the church.
God’s continual patience with the church’s times of unfaithfulness are practical evidence of his love and commitment.
As a result of this we need to understand that when the church is hurt, God is too.
It also serves us well to note that He is committed to the protection of his church.
I will contend with those who contend with you, and your children I will save. (Isaiah 49:25)
If you asked God what he had to say about the church he’d say “I love her”
I’LL BUILD HER
Amid the lovely sentimental feeling that we derive from the knowledge that God loves his church we must never forget that he has a very real purpose for the church.
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. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven. (Matt 16:18,19)