Summary: biblical descriptions of the church
Intro: what is the common thought associated with the word church. A steeple, pews, stain glass windows, pipe organ or hymnals. When Jesus said, I will build my church, what did he mean? Tonight, continuing on Bible basics, let’s explore the meaning and purpose of the church.
What is the Church
Ekklesia- assembly of spiritual citizens —congregation of believers, fellowship of saints. None of these are designations of a physical building, but of the community of Jesus Christ. A fellowship of followers of Jesus.
I. A Spiritual Force-Matthew 16:18- I will build my church and the gates of hell will not prevail against it.
a. this couldn’t be a church structure, because Satan couldn’t be defeated by a building. The church is first and foremost a spiritual force against the power of darkness in this world.
b. Jesus is the contractor of the real church, He is the builder of this
Spiritual building, not made with hands. Jesus builds lives, this church is the spiritual network of believers throughout the world.
c. Spiritual army, the satanic forces of this world will be defeated by the church.
II. His Spiritual Body—Colossians 1:18—He is the head of the body, the church. Here is the next picture of the church, Jesus is the head, the church is His body.
a. the church is placed here to carry out the plan and purpose of Jesus Christ. It is a spirit led organism, not a man made organization. The church operates and functions for the sole purpose of carrying out the will of God in this world.
b. The body functions to be his hands, his arms, his feet—as he walked as one man carrying out God’s plan, now we as the body function as a whole to carry out the plans of Jesus Christ.
c. Everyone is equally important in the body of Christ, it takes all parts to be a whole. I Corinthians 12:27-28—the church is placed in this world as his body, with many different gifts and abilities to spread this gospel into all the world.
III. His Personal Bride—Ephesians 5:25-27—here is another beautiful picture of the church, the bride of Christ. Our relationship with Christ isn’t just as the body carrying out the work of Christ, but the Bride who is in love with Christ.
a. to be a member of the church, the requirement is a love relationship with the Bridegroom. It isn’t a church card or roll, but an active, living, loving union with Christ as Saviour.
b. Without spot or wrinkle- Jesus is perfecting His bride, preparing her for the wedding. Our relationship with Jesus Christ must be loved based, not just work related.
c. The question anyone should ask, am I in love with Jesus Christ? To be part of the church, you must be one who is looking for his appearing. Fasting, mourning is all about that longing for re-union with Christ. Jesus said, they can’t fast while I am with them, but when I am gone, then will they fast.
IV. Priesthood of the Believer—I Peter 2:9—here is the last picture we will discuss tonight on the church. Jesus is the High Priest after the order of Melchizedek, an endless priesthood, we function under the High Priest as His holy order of priest in this world.
a. we make intercession on the behalf of others—as one of God’s priest in this world, you are to offer up prayers and intercessions for others. This is not just the call of the Pastor, but every believer is part of this royal priesthood.
b. Representatives of Jesus Christ—as the Old Testament priest represented God in this world, the new testament believer represents Christ in this world.
c. Authority—all power has been given unto me, go ye therefore—Matthew 28;18-20 The Great Commission is the sending out into all the world, the priesthood of believers. What we bind on earth, shall be bound in heaven, what we loose on earth, shall be loosed in heaven.
Close: the church is a spiritual force in this world, it is His body carrying out his mission, it is his bride preparing herself for his return, it is the royal priesthood, representing Christ in the world.
This is the true picture of the church, that’s the church that Jesus builds.