Adult Bible B.L.A.S.T Week Three “The Church” cont. -10/15/17
ILL: A mega-church in California made headlines when they canceled all of their worship services over the weekend. Rather than meeting together in an air-conditioned sanctuary, they closed its doors for what they called a “Weekend of Service,” providing churchgoers the opportunity to actually show the love of Jesus in their community.• Of the 7,000 believers who attended the church, over 5,500 of them showed up Sunday morning to live out their commitment as they tackled 139 community service projects at 70 different sites all throughout North San Diego County.
The senior pastor said, • Our weekly service projects and our Weekend of Service is simply one more way to help our members understand that church is what we are, not just something we go to… • What we tell people is—this week, we’re going to be the church instead of just going to church.”
Question: Why might that not be a bad idea for more churches to do?
There are simply far too many Christians out there who have this mistaken belief that church is just something that you go to for 75 minutes on Sunday morning. The truth is• You don’t go to church; you are the church! • The church isn’t a place; it’s the people! • The church isn’t something that opens or closes with a prayer. • The church isn’t something you attend; it’s something you are. • The church isn’t a place; it’s the people.
Jesus said…• You are the salt of the earth. (Matthew 5:13)• You are the light of the world. (Matthew 5:14)• You are…a city set on a hill. (Matthew 5:14)
We are the church! It’s up to us (you and me) to be the mouth, the hands, and the feet of Jesus—to be the church! • Of course, getting involved in the community and doing service projects, is only part of what it means to be the church. • Being the church also means being like Jesus, being a part of God’s family and giving of ourselves and our means.
B. Visible and Invisible Church
Question: When I use the phrases Visible Church, and Invisible church, what am I talking about?
The word church is used in two ways. “Church” can be used in reference to all Christians, or a specific congregation. Jesus uses “church” both ways:• In Matthew 16:18 And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. Jesus promises to build His church, speaking of Christians everywhere who would respond to the gospel call.• In Matthew 18:17 If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector. Jesus uses the word “church” regarding Christians in a local congregation.
C. Metaphors for the Church
Question: What is a metaphor?• Metaphors are examples of figurative language that are used to communicate truth through analogies. It uses the formula _____ is ______
There are several metaphors that are used in reference to the church, which help to define what the church is and how it functions.
Question: What are some of the metaphors found in Scripture that is a picture of the relationship between Christ and the Church?
1. The church is the body of ChristOf all the NT writers, only Paul uses this term.
Read: Colossians 1:18 And He is the head of the body, the church.
Read: Ephesians 5:23 For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, His body, and is Himself its Savior.
Read: Colossians 2:19 and not holding fast to the Head, from whom the whole body, nourished and knit together through its joints and ligaments, grows with a growth that is from God.
Read: Romans 12:5 So we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.
Question: What do these texts tell us about the relationship between Christ and the church?
• As a physical head directs the physical body so also Christ directs the church. • The body of Christ image also reveals our connection to Christ and to each member of the church. We are members of the same body and joined together. • There is no spiritual nourishment apart from being a part of the body of Christ.• As the body of Christ we have a responsibility to do our part in the function of the church.
Read: Acts 9:4 And falling to the ground, he heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?
Question: Who is speaking to Paul here? JesusQuestion: What is being done to the ‘me’ here? PersecutionQuestion: Who was Paul physically persecuting? Christians in the local churches
So, do you see it?• When Paul was persecuting Christians and on the road to Damascus Jesus appeared to him. • Jesus didn’t ask Paul why are you persecuting Christians or the church? • He asks Paul, “Why are you persecuting me?”
Jesus is so connected and identified with the church that persecuting the church is the same as persecuting him.
Above all, we must understand that the church is the Body of Christ and that each of us has a specific function and role within that body.
2. The bride of ChristWhile the church is never directly called the bride of Christ, it can be seen in the Apostle Paul’s writings.
Read: Ephesians 5:22-27, 32 Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, His body, and is Himself its Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands. Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her, that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that He might present the church to Himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church.
Read: Revelation: 19:7-9 Let us rejoice and exult and give Him the glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His Bride has made herself ready; it was granted her to clothe herself with fine linen, bright and pure, for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints. And the angel said to me, “Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.” And he said to me, “These are the true words of God.”
Question: What does this metaphor tell us about the relationship between Christ and the church?
• The imagery of a bride communicates both intimate relationship and purity.• There is a strong and deep sacrificial love between Jesus and His church.• Jesus is preparing us to be forever united with Him.• We are told to submit to Christ.
3. The church is a templeRead: Ephesians 2:19-22 So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the cornerstone, in Whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. In Him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.
Question: What does this text tell us about the relationship between Christ and the church?
In the Old Testament, the Temple was the place where God dwelt among the people of Israel• Then the cloud covered the tent of meeting, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle. And Moses was not able to enter the tent of meeting because the cloud settled on it, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle.” (Exodus 40:34–35, ESV)
The church as a temple then would communicate that holy God indwells it and even individual members of it • Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you?
It expresses our relationship to God as priests who render spiritual service to Him.