THE LIVING WORD TRANSCRIPT
Program Air Date - 1-4-04
LESSON TITLE: THE CHURCH WHICH JESUS BUILT: "CHRIST'S DESCRIPTION OF HIS CHURCH"
Good morning! Let me welcome each of you to our program this morning. It is always a privilege to have you with us to hear the Living Word of God. We are excited that you have chosen to give this time of sacrifice to our God. Won't you take advantage of every opportunity this morning to give your own reverence to God, as we together offer this time of worship to Him. May all things be done, to God, for God and unto His glory. Let's begin our offering to God with a prayer!
One of the greatest blessings we have through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is that we have been offered such amazing grace from our God. This morning we want to begin with a song that helps us to focus on this important topic which makes us all victorious through Jesus Christ. So, won't you join in with the congregation at this time as we sing together, "Amazing Grace."
(SONG # 1)
We just finished singing a song that proclaims to the world that we are victorious, through the grace which God offers in Jesus Christ. Another important aspect of Christianity which makes us victorious is our faith in the Lord, which we must prove every day through our obedience to God. Guess where this idea comes from? Listen if you will to these Words from the Bible, found in 1 John 5:4, where it says, "For whatever is born of God overcomes the world."
And this is the victory that has overcome the world, our faith. Notice that because of our faith we can and have overcome the world. This means we have chosen God and put Him first. We have set God at the top of our priority list and put the things of this life after Him.
Also consider those things which we have overcome in this world or in this life. What about the trials and tribulation that come our way? Consider, the problems and heart aches we often suffer. And what about the sin and wickedness that completely surrounds us in our day and time? The reality is we have been able to endure these things, make corrections and even put them behind because of our great faith in our Creator above. Therefore, He is there with us, beside us, helping us every step of the way.
Another verse which helps us with this encouraging idea is found in Romans 8:35-37, where Paul said, "Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written: 'For Your sake we are killed all day long; We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.' Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us." With God on our side we truly are more than conquerors, because there is nothing in this life that can really harm us or affect us as long as we have the Lord on our side! As Paul further said, "If God is for us, who can be against us?"
Now, let me ask you, could their be any greater motive than this to cause us to follow the Lord Jesus Christ? Could anything encourage us more to want to do His Will? If you are not a follower of God, choose today to do that which is according to His Word. Knowing that through your faith and obedience to His Will, you surely will be victorious in this life!
This morning, we will again continue our series of study which is entitle, "The Church Which Jesus Built!" Our specific lesson today is: "Christ's Description Of His Church!"
So please stay with us this morning and after our next song together, I will return and lead us in our main thoughts of the day. But for now let's join together in our second song of the morning. The name of this hymn, "Anywhere is Home."
(SONG # 2)
Speaker: Ray Sullins
It's a great blessing also to continue with our studies today in relationship to the church that our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ built. In fact, the first lesson that we looked at just a few weeks ago was the fact that Christ did build His church. The Bible is clear about that and that He is the one that not only spoke about it there in the New Testament but also in prophecy. It is clear that someday the Lord would come, that He would establish His church, His kingdom and that it would be a kingdom that would never be destroyed. In fact, we also saw the concept of the pattern, the need that we must understand that there is a clear and true pattern for the church The Bible is given to us by God Himself and it helps us to know all things pertaining to life and godliness and therefore know what He would have us to do, a pattern laid out. Not only through the commands that are given there in the New Testament, but also the examples, the examples of the New Testament church, the New Testament Christians, as well as the great inferences that are given there, implications by Paul and others of things that were proper, things that were right in relationship to God.
So this morning we want to continue our discussion of the church which our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ built, He founded, the pattern that He laid down. We want to talk specifically today about the descriptive terms that our Lord used for His church.
In fact, I find it interesting that throughout all of the discussion that we have in relationship to Biblical things that God always used concepts and ideas and terms that were truly very deep and meaningful, things that weren't just maybe half-hazard or lighthearted or had no meaning, but when He used a name or a title, so to speak, they always implied something like something that was done. For instance, you might notice the concept that is often referred to as a bishop, an elder in the church, an elder being an older one, the implication of one is more mature and wise. The idea also given of an elder as an overseer, one who watches over and cares for like caring for the flock. All these things in the word "bishop or presbyter" certainly are as well implied there. You see the descriptive nature of these terms. Well the same thing is true in relationship to the church.
So let's look at a few of these words this morning with the concept of the church itself. Well we read there that the church was the "called out." In fact, if we were to go back to the original Greek word and look at what it means, that is "Ecclesia" itself, we find there that it means to be out of call, or called out as we would say in the English, one that is brought out of wash, out of darkness and placed into the church, the kingdom. Well, you say, "I'm just not so sure about that. I'm not sure that that's what happens." Well, there's a verse that we've read now several times in Colossians 1 and verse 13 that says that "we have been delivered from the power of darkness, taken out of the darkness and conveyed or put into the kingdom of His dear son." Now think about that for a moment. It says that there is a church. We are called out of what? Darkness. Brought out of a darkness that is sinful and wrong and wickedness, those worldly things, the abuses of the world and the evils thereof. But yet, then we are brought out of that and placed in what? The church. The called out. Called out of darkness into Christ, into the Lord. Because of Christ, He places us in that church.
And this kingdom concept here, if you'll notice in Colossians chapter 1 and verse 13, it clearly states that this is something that is already being done. He says there, "You are taken out of darkness and put into a kingdom." What kingdom? Some kingdom had to have been established. No doubt it is the same kingdom that Jesus spoke about. IN Matthew 16, we have clarified where He said, "I will build My church," My Ecclesia, My called out. Those who I will bring out of the world and place into My what? My body or, here the concept, kingdom. In fact, the next verse there after 18 is 19 and again in Matthew 16 and 19, He goes on to say that "the keys to the kingdom, I will put you in the church and I will give the keys to that kingdom or that church to Peter and the other apostles because of their gift, their knowledge from the Holy Spirit."
Well in these things then we see that it would be established. We see in Acts chapter 2 the Holy Spirit did come with all power. They spoke in tongues. People heard and they were repenting and being baptized as were told there in Acts chapter 2, verse 38 as they were commanded by those who were pricked to the heart and cried out, "What must we do?" And then in Acts 2:47, "those that were being saved were being added to the church," once again. The church.
Now if we go back to Colossians 1 again, that same kingdom that is mentioned there in verse 13 that says that "we are brought out of and put in or conveyed into the kingdom." Verse 18 goes on to say that "that kingdom is the body." In fact, not only does it clarify that it's the body there, but it says, "the body which is the church of our Lord." Now, what does that tell us? It tells us that these words are synonyms. They mean the same thing. They refer to the same thing, the church, the kingdom, the body. All of these things are the same. And as we have been studying already, that is how we find that the Christ, the Son of God was the proper head, the proper one to really show us and to show all mankind how much He loved us by dying for us and then by being head of His church. Now we've already looked at that in our first lesson, but there again in the same verse, verse 18 it says that "Christ is the head of the body, which is His church." He is the head of the kingdom. He is the head of the body. He is the head of the church.
So that brings us to that other word that we've mentioned just a few times. Not only the church, not only the idea of this kingdom, but also the body. The body. The body of Christ. When you look at a body, what do you see about a body? You see that a body has a head. A body is controlled by that head because the mind is in the head and it allows us to act and to work and to think and to say the things that we say and do the things that we do. Well the body of Christ is often referred to as something that is clear and pure and right in the eyes of God. As we look at the precious body of Jesus, we see so many things about this body that are descriptive in nature. Besides the concept that Christ is the head, if He's the head then there is in like-manner a body. He's the head of the what? The body. The church. The kingdom. And then we as Christians, we are told in several places such as Romans chapter 12 that "we are the body." He is the head and we are body. Doesn't that make sense when we start thinking then about the church? The church is the called out, the saved, and that Christ is the head. He's the head with the body, that Christ and His church really are one, that He is over the church.
Well there in Romans chapter 12 no doubt that the very idea that Paul was trying to get out as he encouraged the Roman brethren to understand that as followers of God, as those who had demonstrated their faith and become children of God, that they are those who are in one body, and individual members of one another.
Paul said the same thing to the Corinthians in 1 Corinthians as he clarified to them that they were in the one body in chapter 12 and verse 20 that "they were individual, peculiar people in the church..." yet what? "...in one body and having one head."
Then what about this church? What about this kingdom? What about this body? When you look at a king, when you look at a kingdom, when you look at subjects, would again the church show forth that? Certainly. Who's the king? Christ. Who are the subjects? We are the subjects. What is the kingdom? Again, the church, the body of Christ, the saved. Well again, you see all of these descriptive terms, they show us so much about not only who God is and what His church is about, but our position, who we are as those subjects, as those called out, as those under the head as we are in the body. So again, these terms help us so much to not only understand more about who our Christ is, our Lord, but also in understanding our part in the equation. What is it that God thinks of me? What is it that He feels that I am in His service?
What about the concepts of the family of God or the household of God? In Ephesians 2 and 19 we are called "His house, the household, the body." There again, the household concept. When you look at a household, what do you have? You have a father. You have a mother. You have children. Doesn't the Bible refer to us that children of God? Yes again, and in very endearing terms. Who is the husband? The Bible says Christ. Who is the bride? Who is the one who is under the husband? The church, the called out, the saved. Again, these terms helping us to understand that yes, we have a father that we should be close to. We have a husband that we should be close to. We are a part of a body and you can't separate the parts of the body and them still be okay. They have to remain together. They have to work together. They have to love together. They have to accomplish all things together. That's the same thing that we find about God's precious and wondrous church.
Another term that I might mention briefly is the idea of God's temple and how that even our own bodies are referred to as the temple of God and how that the spirit of God dwells in His temple. Should that be strange to us? Certainly not, because even under the old law God dwelled in His temple. In the tabernacle, in the holy of holy's, God was always there. As we are His temple, He as well dwells in us. The church is the temple of God. It is that which houses the saved and most precious living souls, the most wondrous part of God's creation, His followers. So yes today, we make up a better temple than the temple of old, than something that is seen or felt or something made of gold. We make up a temple that is made of the love of God and our obedience to God.
Peter also does us a great service there in 1 Peter chapter 2 and verse 9 when he refers to the church as "a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a special generation, people who are unique and different and one of a kind." We as the children of God are that and we are the priests of God. We are those who no longer have to go through another man, but who ourselves as His children, as his wife, as His body go directly to the Father through Jesus Christ Himself, the only High Priest. We as His priests serve as those in the royal priesthood, as those in the holy nation.
Do you understand here? Do you hear the terms? Do you know more then about what we are, who we are, who we are in Christ Jesus, that we have been called out of the sin and darkness of this world and placed into the church, the kingdom of His dear Son just as they were brought out of darkness and conveyed or put into the kingdom, the body of Christ of whom He is the head, He is the father of as we are in the family of God and we are the children and fellow heirs and sons of God? Do we understand the concepts of the temple and the body of Christ and those as a holy nation as we exemplify Jesus in all that we do to show forth our creator so that when people see us, they know by our terms and the things that we do and the things that we say that truly we are workers. We exemplify in all that we do who our Lord is. Are you doing all that you can in your life to show forth your Jesus, to show forth your Christ?
(SONG # 3 - "Be With Me Lord!")
Let me thank you again for choosing to be with us today, in this offering to God. I hope our time together has been an encouragement and blessing to all of us. We invite you back every Sunday morning at 7:30, as we commit ourselves to this worship to God!
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May we all consider the precious terms which our Lord used to identify His Church. Furthermore, may we use these identifying terms to not only understand more about His Church, but to also refer to it properly. Thanks be to God for His wondrous Church!