Here are four messages I delivered in 2010 exalting the Bible’s view of the Church. It was originally planned as a 7-lesson series, but was shortened to four. Following this series I will post two additional sermons I delivered in 2012 and 2013 as follow-ups to this series.
1. The Church in God’s Eternal Plan – “His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms, according to his eternal purpose which he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Ephesians 3:10-11) This morning we begin a seven lesson series we call, “7 Things to Know about the Church!” Our first message focuses on the role of the church in God’s eternal purpose. Some religious groups teach that the church is simply a “stop gap measure” by God until He can bring in the Kingdom at Christ’s second coming. Many groups and individuals seem to believe the church should be whatever they want it to be – in organization, worship, practice, finances, and purpose. Paul’s statement in Ephesians 3 (above) says that “through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known.” The church reflects God’s planning, wisdom and purpose! It is not an afterthought or temporary measure.
2. The Church Is God’s Chosen Institution – In I Timothy 3:15 Paul talks about “…God’s household, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of the truth.” While “the church” is the most common biblical name for God’s people, we can see how great the church is by considering some of its other designations – God’s household (family), the body of Christ, the temple of God, the kingdom of Christ, and the bride of Christ! Just like derogatory names show someone’s disrespect, these names for the church show the great importance and value of the church to God.
3. God’s Plan and Pattern for the Church – “Upon this rock I will build my church.” – Jesus (Matthew 16:18) Though we know only a little about the early adult life of Jesus, everyone seems agreed that he was a carpenter like his stepfather, Joseph. There are numerous references in His teachings which agree with this – references to ox yokes, building on foundations, beams in an eye, etc. Therefore, when He promised He would build His church, we would be reckless to even suggest that He would build it without a plan and blueprint to work from. This lesson focuses on the plan and pattern that God and Jesus had for building the church, a plan and pattern still in force today.
4. We Must Love the Church – “Love the brotherhood of believers.” (I Peter 2:17) “Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.” (Ephesians 4:3). If we truly love the church that Jesus built, that He shed His blood for, and that He calls His body, then we will make every effort to maintain its unity and peace. Sadly, many seem to have less respect for the unity and peace of the church than they do for getting their own way or “doing their own thing.” Today, in our final lesson in this series on the church, we look at the many scriptures which emphasize our responsibility to the Lord’s church.
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