120415 nt vistas 16 the church
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120415 nt vistas 16 the church



Lesson 16 of 26 in a series of New Testament Vistas. This sermon was presented at Palm Desert Church of Christ on April 15, 2012, by Dale Wells.

Lesson 16 of 26 in a series of New Testament Vistas. This sermon was presented at Palm Desert Church of Christ on April 15, 2012, by Dale Wells.



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  • 16. Church“I will build my church, and the gates of hell will not prevail against it”What actually is this “church”?Not a building/denomination/human organization“Assembly of true believers” – Ekklesia = called out (of the world). Patterned after Synagogue = gathered together.Not individually the church — disciples assemble together“True believers” — not everyone who goes to a “church building” is part of the true churchAugustine: “Many sheep are without and many wolves are within”
  • Many metaphors — the four most common (actually, two pictures, each with two parts)Goal #1: Define the church biblically and not according to human traditionIs this building a “sanctuary”? (Acts 7:48)Acts 7:48 NIV84 "However, the Most High does not live in houses made by men…Goal #2: Enjoy God’s vision of what the church isAllow that vision to motivate us to act like a biblical churchFirst: Christ is the “head” of the church
  • Christ is the authority over all things — his churchMatthew 28:18 NIV84 Then Jesus came to them and said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.
  • Not a democracyThis is not some religious organization where we all have a voteWe do not have the option of making the church into what we think it should be
  • Jesus is the head, boss, ruler, LORDWe are called to implement what He thinks the church should beHis churchSo easily forgottenPowerful preachers: start well but use pulpit to gain favors — sexual/monetarySecretary/Janitor: wrestles control of the church from the elders by subterfuge of working behind the scenes and swaying members to their way of thinkingMembers: who by virtue of their age (old think young should defer; young think they are the future of the church), giving, social status, think they own the church and can make it be whatever they wish
  • Christ is the head of his church – Presents a challenge to leadersEvery person — elders, staff, layperson — submits to God’s authority as expressed in God’s WordPuts church leadership in a difficult positionCalled to lead — put God’s plan in place — cannot be afraid to lead – even if it means alienating people who refuse to follow.The question that leaders must ask is “What would God have us do?” NOT “What will assure us of smooth sailing?”And yet we must fear the reality that power seduces people into doing things because they can, rather than because they are right.Also, power can lead to corruption of the gospel at our hands – it can lead us to teach the parts of the gospel that are palatable to our hearers, but be silent as to the parts that make our hearers uncomfortable or angry.
  • In our leading, we submit to God’s vision for His churchOur job, by the grace of God, is to move toward the center of that bullseye
  • Christ is the head of the church; We are the body attached to the head; We are the body of ChristThis is part of the imagery of the Lord’s Supper. We often think of the physical body of Christ on the Cross. Consider Paul’s analogy:1 Corinthians 10:16-17 NIV84 Is not the cup of thanksgiving for which we give thanks a participation in the blood of Christ? And is not the bread that we break a participation in the body of Christ? (17) Because there is one loaf, we, who are many, are one body, for we all partake of the one loaf.Paul uses the metaphor of the body to describe our roles with respect not only to Christ, but also to each other.
  • The human body has a variety of needs — walk, talk, seeTherefore, it has many different parts to meet those different needsFeet, mouth, eyes
  • So also the church is Christ’s bodyChrist’s body has a variety of needsTherefore it has many different parts (you and me) to meet those different needs.
  • We all together are to work for the “common good” of Christ’s body
  • Prophesying – preaching (prophets primarily preached, they did not normally predict future events)ServingTeachingEncouragingGivingLeadingMercy — unusual ability to cry with those who are hurtingAdministration — like working with detailsService — care for the needs of the peopleTeaching — lead us to the center of the bullseye
  • Worst thing that can happen is for part of the human body not to do its part“Take a break” Eyes – blindKidneys — dialysisPancreas — insulin dependent diabetic
  • Same is true for Christ’s bodyThose equipped to encourage — remain silentThose equipped to serve — refuse to participateThose equipped to give do not give — puts a tremendous load on the rest of the body80/20 principle: 20% of the people do 80% of the work; 80% of the people do only 20% of the work20% do 80% of the giving; 80% do 20% of the giving
  • Best thing that could happen is for all of us, to work together, for common goodChurch is not about what you can do for me — we do for each other“Ask not what Christ’ body can do for you; ask what you can do for Christ’s body.”Symphony — everyone playing in balance and harmonyWe all together are to work for the “common good” of Christ’s body
  • 3. The Church is a “Family”For some people that is a frightening thoughtDysfunctional or abusive backgroundI deal with these dysfunctional families every day: Children having children; Parents behaving as children. I end up parenting the parents in about 20 cases every morning. I lecture, discipline, punish, etc.That’s about 5,000 families every year.
  • God is into relationshipsChrist didn’t die for things — world, people — our priorities as wellVertically: Father — sons/daughters; children — 1 John 3:1Horizontally: brothers/sisters
  • God’sfamily has theperfectFather — childrenmay be messed upAlwaysloves/ disciplines properlyNevertoobusy, never abuses
  • God is into “Community” Heb 10:24A Native American elder once described his own inner struggles in this manner:"Inside of me there are two dogs. One of the dogs is mean and evil. The other dog is good. The mean dog fights the good dog all the time."When asked which dog wins, he reflected for a moment and replied, "The one I feed the most."Power of sin and the flesh — drag us down and destroy us, if possiblePower of God’s Spirit working in our regenerate heartWhich one is the strongest? The one you feedIf we are going to be a biblical community, then we must stir up …Feed the good dog — Encourage one another toward holiness
  • How? Romans 8:5-6What do you set your minds on?Set before your eyes? Fill your days with?Things of the world — voyeurism; violence; materialism — never satisfyDoes the TV, wallet, calendar pass the Phil 4:8 test?
  • 4. God’s family has a home — we are the temple of GodIndividually and corporately, we are the temple of God
  • 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 talks about our bodies – as individuals – being God’s temple (You, singular)NIV 2012 makes it clear that he is talking about our bodies as individuals – in the context of individual sin.1 Corinthians 6:19-20 NIV Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; (20) you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.1 Corinthians 3:16 talks about us, collectively, e.g. the church, as the temple of God (You, plural)NIV 2012 alsomakesthisclearer: 1 Corinthians 3:16 NIV Don't you know that you yourselves are God's temple and that God's Spirit dwells in your midst?
  • Worship in the very presence of God — Look like? Rev 5:13-14God is on the throne (Rev. 4). The Lamb is presented (Rev. 5). All of heaven’s inhabitants worship the Lamb in God’s presence.Revelation 5:9-14 NIV84 And they sang a new song: "You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased men for God from every tribe and language and people and nation. (10) You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God, and they will reign on the earth." (11) Then I looked and heard the voice of many angels, numbering thousands upon thousands, and ten thousand times ten thousand. They encircled the throne and the living creatures and the elders. (12) In a loud voice they sang: "Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise!" (13) Then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all that is in them, singing: "To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be praise and honor and glory and power, for ever and ever!" (14) The four living creatures said, "Amen," and the elders fell down and worshiped.This is going on right now — eternal worship service in heaven.When we worship at PDCOC, we are called to enter into that serviceQuestion isn’t: did I “like” the worship — not right question“Was I able to enter into the heavenly courts and worship the Lamb?”“Was I able to declare who the Lamb is and what the Lamb has done?”
  • 2. In this temple we are called to holiness - Isaiah 6 — reminds us of sinIsaiah 6:1-7 NIV84 In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord seated on a throne, high and exalted, and the train of his robe filled the temple. (2) Above him were seraphs, each with six wings: With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying. (3) And they were calling to one another: "Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory." (4) At the sound of their voices the doorposts and thresholds shook and the temple was filled with smoke. (5) "Woe to me!" I cried. "I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the LORD Almighty." (6) Then one of the seraphs flew to me with a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with tongs from the altar. (7) With it he touched my mouth and said, "See, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for."2 Cor 6:16b-18 — call to holiness2 Corinthians 6:16-18 NIV84 What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: "I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people." (17) "Therefore come out from them and be separate, says the Lord. Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you." (18) "I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty."Starve the wicked dog — Feed the regenerate dog — Phil 4:8Philippians 4:8 NIV84 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.
  • We are the church of the living God — assembly of true believersBuilt by Christ and will never be destroyed1. Christ stands at its head — authority2. His body — variously gifted members of the divine Symphony3. Family — relationships — stirring up each other to love and good works4. Temple — worshipping in his presence; walking in his holinessWhat else can the world possibly offer to compete with this vision of who we are in Christ?Only lies, deceit, and empty promisesLife

120415 nt vistas 16 the church 120415 nt vistas 16 the church Presentation Transcript

  • Colossians 1:18 NIVAnd he is the head of the body, the church; he is thebeginning and the firstborn from among the dead, sothat in everything he might have the supremacy.
  • Ephesians 1:20-23 NRSVGod put this power to work in Christ when he raisedhim from the dead and seated him at his right hand inthe heavenly places, far above all rule and authorityand power and dominion, and above every name that isnamed, not only in this age but also in the age to come.And he has put all things under his feet and has madehim the head over all things for the church, which is hisbody, the fullness of him who fills all in all.
  • Christ is head ofthe church
  • Not ademocracy Christ is head of the church
  • We must submit to him Not ademocracy Christ is head of the church
  • We must Leadership’s submit to challenge him Not ademocracy Christ is head of the church
  • We must Leadership’s submit to challenge him God’s vision Not a vs. Humandemocracy Christ is desires head of the church
  • 1 Corinthians 12:12-27 NIVThe body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts;and though all its parts are many, they form one body.So it is with Christ. 13 For we were all baptized by oneSpirit into one body–whether Jews or Greeks, slave orfree –and we were all given the one Spirit to drink.
  • 1 Corinthians 12:12-27 NIV14 Now the body is not made up of one part but ofmany. 15 If the foot should say, “Because I am not ahand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for thatreason cease to be part of the body. 16 And if the earshould say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong tothe body,” it would not for that reason cease to be partof the body.
  • 1 Corinthians 12:12-27 NIV17 If the whole body were an eye, where would thesense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear,where would the sense of smell be? 18 But in fact Godhas arranged the parts in the body, every one of them,just as he wanted them to be. 19 If they were all onepart, where would the body be? 20 As it is, there aremany parts, but one body.
  • 1 Corinthians 12:12-27 NIV21 The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!”And the head cannot say to the feet, “I don’t need you!”22 On the contrary, those parts of the body that seemto be weaker are indispensable, 23 and the parts thatwe think are less honorable we treat with special honor.And the parts that are unpresentable are treated withspecial modesty, 24 while our presentable parts needno special treatment.
  • 1 Corinthians 12:12-27 NIVBut God has combined the members of the body andhas given greater honor to the parts that lacked it, 25so that there should be no division in the body, but thatits parts should have equal concern for each other. 26 Ifone part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part ishonored, every part rejoices with it. 27 Now you are thebody of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.
  • Human body has needs – walk, talk & see• Parts to meet needs• Feet, mouth, eyes
  • Human body has Body of Christ has needs – walk, talk & needs see• Parts to meet needs • Parts to meet needs• Feet, mouth, eyes • You and me
  • 1 Corinthians 12:7 NIVNow to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is givenfor the common good.
  • Romans 12:4-8 NIVJust as each of us has one body with manymembers, and these members do not all have the samefunction, 5 so in Christ we who are many form onebody, and each member belongs to all the others. 6 Wehave different gifts, according to the grace given us.
  • Romans 12:4-8 NIVIf a man’s gift is prophesying, let him use it inproportion to his faith. 7 If it is serving, let him serve; ifit is teaching, let him teach; 8 if it is encouraging, lethim encourage; if it is contributing to the needs ofothers, let him give generously; if it is leadership, lethim govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him doit cheerfully.
  • Human body: Healthy – parts work as planned Diseased – parts fail to work
  • Human body: Christ’s body: Healthy – Healthy – parts symphony, balance work as planned & harmony Diseased – parts Diseased – parts do fail to work not work
  • Ephesians 4:11-13 NIV84It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to beprophets, some to be evangelists, and some to bepastors and teachers, (12) to prepare Gods people forworks of service, so that the body of Christ may be builtup (13) until we all reach unity in the faith and in theknowledge of the Son of God and becomemature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullnessof Christ.
  • 1 John 3:1 NIVHow great is the love the Father has lavished onus, that we should be called children of God! And that iswhat we are! The reason the world does not know us isthat it did not know him.
  • Hebrews 12:7-8 NIVEndure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as hischildren. For what children are not disciplined by theirfather? (8) If you are not disciplined--and everyoneundergoes discipline--then you are not legitimate, nottrue sons and daughters at all.
  • Hebrews 10:24 NIVAnd let us consider how we may spur one another ontoward love and good deeds.
  • Romans 8:5-6 NRSVFor those who live according to the flesh set their mindson the things of the flesh, but those who live accordingto the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. 6To set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set themind on the Spirit is life and peace.
  • Philippians 4:8 NIVFinally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever isnoble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever islovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent orpraiseworthy–think about such things.
  • We are God’s Temple1 Corinthians 6:19-20 NIV84 Do you not know thatyour body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is inyou, whom you have received from God? You are notyour own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honorGod with your body.1 Corinthians 3:16 NIV84 Dont you know that youyourselves are Gods temple and that Gods Spirit livesin you?
  • We worship in the presence of God
  • We are called to holiness