Sunday,February 5, 2017 am                                                      NT Church 2017 Index


The Church Described (2)


We have begun a study of the New Testament church.   We are in the midst of defining and understanding exactly what the church is.  Last week we noted a few descriptions that help define the character of the church – we noted the church is 1) A called out body, 2) A body with unified parts, and 3) A kingdom – with Christ as our King, His laws as our rule, etc.   Today we continue noticing some more descriptions of the church. 

 I.                     The Household of God

a.       Another description of the church is that of a family.  We are described as the household of God – Ephesians 2:19, 1 Tim. 3:15 (house or family of God).  Ephesians 3:14 – the whole family of God.

b.       We are described as brethren with God as our Father – 2 Corinthians 6:18
And we are His children – Romans 8:16-17, 1 John 3:1

c.        Our entrance into this family is via “the new birth” – John 3:3-5, and terms like adoption are used in scripture – Romans 8:15, Galatians 4:5, Ephesians 1:5.  As such we are heirs with Him.

d.       As a part of the household of God – we are called upon

                                                   i.      To be obedient to our Father – 1 Peter 1:14

                                                 ii.      To be and accept His chastening as needed – Hebrews 12:3-11

                                                iii.      To act like a godly family – 1 John 4:7 (love one another), 4:20-21

                                                iv.      We wear His name proudly – Acts 4:11-12, 11:26, 1 Peter 4:15-16

 II.                   The Vineyard of the Lord

a.       In many of His parables, Jesus related the kingdom to a vineyard and to farming. 
Matthew 20:1-16 – where laborers are rewarded at the end of the day, regardless of when they are hired.
Matthew 21:28-32- parable of two sons.  The one that repented and went was described as obedient
Matthew 21:33-44 – parable of the landowner.  NOTE: In these latter parables, the vineyard at hand could be Israel, but note in both cases it is taken from them and given to others (i.e. the church).
Matthew 13:1-9, 18-23 – the parable of the sower.  About a sower broadcasting seed in a field of hearts.

b.       1Corinthians 3:9 – you are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, you are God’s building.   This is a passage about growth and our responsibility to plant and water, and let God take care of the harvest.

c.        John 15:1-8 – Jesus describes Himself as the true vine and the Father as the vinedresser.  We (as individuals) are the branches in Him producing fruit.   We are to abide in Him and produce fruit.  If we fail to produce fruit, we are cut off from the vine and cast into the fire and burned.

d.       As part of God’s field –

                                                   i.      We are to abide in Him.  NOT in another.  Jesus is the ONLY way to heaven – John 14:6

                                                 ii.      We are to produce fruit – we are to be growing and seeking to increase the harvest by reaching others.  The church is instrumental in sowing the seed –
1 Thessalonians 1:8 – commended because from them the word of God had sounded forth cf. Philippians 1:4-5 (they supported Paul in preaching the gospel);

                                                iii.      At the end of the day, we will be “harvested” – cf. Matthew 13:24-30 – the Parable of the wheat and tares.  Explained – 36-43 – in the end, the good and bad are separated.  The bad burned and the good saved. 

 III.                 The Temple of God

a.       The tabernacle/temple was God’s design for the place where He intended His people to worship Him.  Both were given considerable attention under the Old Law.  In Exodus 25:8-9 the Lord instructs the people to make Him a sanctuary where He might dwell in their midst.  And it was to be made according to His pattern.  Deuteronomy 12:5, as they prepared to enter the promised land, they were told the LORD would chose a place to put His name for His dwelling place.  It would be a place of sacrifices, tithes and offerings.  In time, that place would become Jerusalem
AND eventually, the LORD permitted Solomon to build the temple, a more permanent structure, but with virtually the same purpose as the tabernacle.  It too was with a pattern from God – 1 Chronicles 28:10-12, 19-20.  The point being that this was obviously God’s will.  We now know that He had something better in mind – namely, the church! 

b.        Ephesians 2:21-22, 1 Corinthians 3:16-17 – both passages make reference to the church as the temple of God.  Hebrews 8:1-2 ties this to the true tabernacle in heaven (remember how we noted the church universal is a relationship of all who are saved).   We are even told in Heb. 8:4-5 that this is what God had in mind when He gave instructions for the tabernacle.

c.        The temple, was a place of worship to God.  There were priests and sacrifices and commanded assemblies.  It was a place where God was reverenced and worshipped. 

d.       The church as the temple:

                                                   i.      Built by God’s instructions with Christ as the chief cornerstone – 1 Corinthians 3:9-11 where Paul speaks of being God’s building.  Paul built upon the foundation of Christ.
Ephesians 2:20 speaks of Jesus Christ as the chief cornerstone.
1 Peter 2:6-7, Peter elaborated upon this noting Jesus, rejected by the Jews became the chief cornerstone. 

                                                 ii.      We are living stones in this temple – 1 Peter 2:4-5.  Ephesians 2:19-21 again elaborates on this noting we are being fitted together into a whole building, growing into a holy temple.

                                                iii.      We are a dwelling place for God -

                                                iv.      We are priests – 1 Peter 2:5, 9 – a priesthood

                                                  v.      As part of this temple, we worship God – 1 Peter 2:5 - to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God., Hebrews 13:15-16 – offering sacrifices of praise

We are the living sacrifice ourselves – Romans 12:1-2.
ONE of the works of the church is worship!  We can do this because of this priesthood.

 IV.                 The Bride of Christ

a.       Again, this is an analogy we have emphasized recently.  There are two analogies to this – as one already married to Him, and as His betrothed (engaged awaiting a final “marriage”).

b.       Ephesians 5:22-33 – where Christ and His church are compared to the relationship between a husband and his wife.  In this text we are reminded of not only our responsibility, but His love for us.

c.        As the bride of Christ:

                                                   i.      We belong to Christ and are subject to Him – He is head over us and thus we must submit to His will.

                                                 ii.      We keep ourselves pure and faithful – 2 Corinthians 11:3 – I have betrothed you to one husband, to be presented a chaste virgin to Christ.  Ephesians 5:25-27.

                                                iii.      To bear fruit – Roman 7:4 – bear fruit to God! 

                                                iv.      In the end – there will be a final marriage feast – Revelation 21:9, 22:17, 19:9 – Blessed are those who are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb.


And thus we find some of the descriptions of the church.  May we understand the character of her and our responsibilities to her by the way she is described.    And let us seek to do our part to fulfill them.