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Ecclesiology: The Church I. The Nature of the Church II. The Church Universal III. The Church Local I. The Nature of the Church The Church and the Kingdom of God FIRST — We want to mark at the beginning the relationship of the Church and the Kingdom of God.
Ecclesiology: The Church • I. The Nature of the Church • II. The Church Universal • III. The Church Local • I. The Nature of the Church • The Church and the Kingdom of God • FIRST — We want to mark at the beginning the relationship of the Church and the Kingdom of God. • What is the kingdom of God? Well, it is best defined as the rule of God.
WHERE is the Kingdom of God? • The kingdom of God is present wherever God is reigning. • What is the relationship of the Church to the kingdom? • Surely it is this: the Church is an expression of the kingdom but is not to be equated with it. The kingdom of God is wider and bigger than the Church. Lloyd-Jones, D. M. (1998). The church and the last things (4). Wheaton, Ill.: Crossway Books. • The Great Division: The World and the Church • QUOTE: DML-J Authentic Christianity p. 77 (1st U.S. ed.) (77). Wheaton, Ill.: Crossway Books.)
The World — Human beings trying to organize themselves and their lives without God. • The Church — Men and women who have been taken from the world, though they still live in it, and are joined to this other body of people whom they resemble in most essential respects— the Christian church. • The Greek word which is translated ‘church’ is the term ekklesia = ‘those who are called out’ — ‘called together’. • In Greek culture this word was not used exclusively of Christians
It was used to speak of those called out of society for some particular function and purpose. • We can translate ekklesia by the word ‘assembly’. • EXAMPLE: In Acts 19 we have the account of a riot a meeting that took place that in Ephesus which almost became a riot • The town clerk calls it an assembly, an ekklesia — because a number of people had come together. • REMEMBER — The Holy Spirit did not just inspire thoughts — He breathed out the very words to be used in the Scriptures.
He — by divine choice — took this word — ekklesia • And did to THIS word what He loves to do • Take things common and fallen — and because of the Cross of Jesus — give to them divine meaning and purpose. • Elevate them — use them — to speak of the most glorious works and expressions of God. • EXAMPLE: grace – common greek greeting. • The Holy Spirit chose to use charis to speak of the matchless and undeserved kindness of God in saving us
In so doing He has forever ELEVEATED that common word — giving it divine meaning and purpose. • He does the same with the word ekklesia • He chooses THAT word to identify and speak of those called out of the world to be the EXPRESSION of the rule of God in a world that is totally outside of that rule. • SO we have this GREAT DIVISION • The ekklesia and the world
II. The Church Universal • Eph. 1:22-23 And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, 23Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all. • That is the Church universal • The whole number of the redeemed who look to Christ as their life and their authority. • In this sense there could never be such a thing as churches.
There is only "one body" (Ephesians 4:4) — thus there is only ONE Church, • Within the Church Universal ALL are on level ground BEFORE Christ and IN Christ • III. The Church Local • Philippians 1:1 To all the saints in Christ Jesus WHO ARE IN PHILIPPI • They have a SPIRITUAL POSITION • IN CHRIST • But they have a GEOGRAHICAL ADDRESS.
These people — gathered OUT of the world — placed INTO Christ — were placed into communities • CRUCIAL: The word "church" in the NT never refers to a building or a place --- It always refers to a people: • Either the total number of believers who have ever lived (Eph 1:22-23 and 1 Cor. 12:28) • Or a local group of those believers in a particular city and/or in a particular house. • Acts 11:22 refers to the"church in Jerusalem," • 1 Corinthians 1:2 refers to the "church of God which is at Corinth,"
1 Corinthians 16:19 says, "The churches of Asia send greetings. Aquila and Prisca, together with the church in their house, send you hearty greetings in the Lord." • In Colossians 4:15 Paul sends greetings "to Nympha and the church in her house." • And Paul's letter to Philemon is also addressed to "the church in your house.” • SO — we have THE CHURCH UNIVERSAL • The universal body of Christ including all believers of all times --- the saints IN CHRIST
THEN — we find the CHURCH LOCAL --- • Christians associated because of their geographic togetherness in a city…. • Sometimes so few in number that they could all meet in one home. • CRUCIAL INSIGHT:People often CONFUSE the Church with the church. • As you read and study the New Testament • 1.) You see the clear distinction between the CHURCH UNIVERSAL and the CHURCH LOCAL
2.) You can not miss the FACT that God’s plan for exalting Jesus in worship, the Word, in missions --- lies solely with the local assembly. • That being said --- What is it that CONSTITUTES a local church? • I would define a local church like this: a group of men and women who • recognize the lordship of Jesus Christ • are truly born again • and as such are members of the unseen spiritual Church, the true body of Christ.Lloyd-Jones, D. M. (1998). The church and the last things (7). Wheaton, Ill.: Crossway Books.
These men and women meet regularly • > to worship God through Jesus Christ • > to be exhorted from the Word of God, • > to celebrate the Lord's Supper • > under the guidance of duly appointed leaders. • By definition — • Para-church organizations — Home gatherings that do not possess these essentials • Do not constitute God’s ordained economy of the local church.
Believers should never be content with participation in any of these groups while neglecting the regular life of the local church. • Which leads us to our third point here. • 3.) There is no Divinely prescribed authority from OUTSIDE of the local assembly that can dictate in matters of worship, ministry, missions. • We will see in the course of our study in Ecclesiology that Paul appointed elders in all the churches (Acts 14:23),
He gave instruction about the qualifications of deacons and elders in 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1 • He said that Christ had given these pastor-teachers to the church to equip • Historically — there have been disagreements about what to call these leaders and how to organize them. • But historic Christianity has always affirmed that • > They must be present in a group in order for that group to be a church
> And these divinely appointed offices are necessary for • The SAFETY of the flock --- • The NURTURING and GROWTH of the believer • It is crucial that Metro have a clear and Biblical Ecclesiology for • >LEADERSHIP • > AUTHORITY • >LINES OF DECISION MAKING in Metro.
If NOT – we will INEVITABLY end up with one of two things • 1.) INFORMAL LEADERSHIP • Where the strongest personalities push their ways into places of influence • 2.) CONGREGATIONAL GOVERNMENT • Though not Metro’s official doctrinal position • People will decide that majority rules — and make decisions whether or not pastoral leadership is on board.
Ecclesiology: Elders and Deacons • I. The Role of Jesus • II. The Role of Elders • III. The Role of Deacons • IV. The Role of Members • ALL DOCTRINE begins with a proper CHRISTOLOGY • For men to rule Biblically and effectively in the Church they MUST have a HIGH VIEW of Jesus! • As the male leadership of the Church they should aspire to BE LIKE Jesus
CHRISTOLOGY is the core component of EVERY ASPECT of theology because THEOLOGY is all about JESUS. • I. ECCLESIOLOGY begins with the understanding that JESUS is THE SENIOR PASTOR of the church. • Jesus is the HIGHEST AUTHORITY in the Church • Jesus Christ is the apostle who planted THE Church • Hebrews 3:1 ESV Therefore, holy brothers, ◙ you who share in a heavenly calling, consider Jesus, the apostle and high priest of our confession,
In 1 Peter 5:4 Jesus is called the Chief Shepherd • The elders and pastors of a local church are men chosen by Jesus, doing what Jesus is telling them to do! • Jesus IS the HIGHEST AUTHORITY • Colossians and Ephesians repeatedly say that Jesus is the HEAD OVER the Church. • Matt. 16 Jesus said I will build MY Church • Church growth is the work of Jesus. • Evangelism is the work of Jesus.
Attraction of men and women to a local church is the work of Jesus • CRUCIAL: Jesus said –When I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw all men unto me. (John 12:32) • The Goal of Metro was NEVER to merely plant a church • The goal was to EXALT Jesus — in worship — in the teaching and preaching of His Word! • When Jesus is exalted you get a church. • When Jesus is lifted up • Lives get changed
People get saved • People gather together. • BY THE WAY – • Jesus — in the Book of Revelation — is also the One shuts down local churches when they are faithless or fruitless • He literally turns off the lights — “removes their lampstands.” (Rev. 2:5) • In order to have a proper understanding of the nature of the local church ----
We MUST understand that it is Jesus Christ who • Plants the church • Leads the church • Grows the church • Disciplines the church • And if need be – closes down the church • AS we look at this thing we call “Metro” we need to read the NT and reflect upon all that God does IN and FOR the church • It is AWESOME to see what is guaranteed by the goodness of God!
The saving of souls • The growing of the church • The raising up of leaders • The gifting of the people who will be a part of making the work mature • ALL of that is done by God. • The Church is OF Him and BY Him. • We SHOULD find tremendous PEACE and REST and ASSURANCE in this truth! • IF we really believe these things we should SLEEP WELL — rest our sometimes tear stained faces on HIS chest!
I. The Role of Jesus • He is the chief shepherd…. • The Object of affection…. • The focal point and exalted One of every sermon… • The point of every area of ministry… • The focus of every individual in the local church • Jesus is the One who • plants the local church • grows the local church • is going to select the leaders • will gift the people and call them to service
The Church is HIS — not ours! • Acts 20:28 Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood. • Eph. 5:25-27 Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, 26that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27so 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.
We must NEVER have a lower view of the Church than to see it as the blood bought possession of Jesus — the Bride of Christ • IF we do — the result will inevitably be that we dishonor Him and devalue His purchased possession. • we will play church and make the church our play thing. • IF we do — the result will inevitably be that we supplant Jesus as the One doing that work • And we will act as if the ekklesiais somehow the result of our work — ours to do with as we please
IF we do — the result will inevitably be that • church government will be twisted into into church politics • We will make church leadership a matter of • Personal preference • Popularity • Prestige or personality • Status • Financial power
MAY THE CROSS ALWAYS REMIND US that • The Church/church is the Lord’s • It is HIS to govern — to gift — to call — to direct. • COMMUNION and OFFERING • NEXT WEEK • II. The Role of Elders • III. The Role of Deacons • IV. The Role of Members