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[I once met a man who, when asked, claimed to be a born again Christian.
He quoted the gospel message, he confessed that Jesus Christ rose
physically from the grave, he claimed to have accepted the Lord Jesus Christ as
his personal Lord and Savior. From
his answers he indeed identified himself as a Child of the one and only living
[However, when asked where he attended Church he quickly and
argumentatively said, “I don’t have to go to Church in order to be saved.
I happen to think I’m better off if I don’t go to Church.
I don’t have to go to Church to worship God.” ]
[In our day more and more people are developing this misguided and
unscriptural opinion of the Church.
Granted a person does not have to go to Church to be saved, but if they know
anything about the presence of our Lord and His heart then they should want to
go to Church. ]
[More and more young adults, many of whom were raised in good Bible
preaching Churches are failing to go to and be a part of a local Church.
Why? While they have many
varying excuses, the most obvious answer can only be that they have failed to
read their Bibles and do not understand the heart and will of God concerning
their lives and the Church of our Lord Jesus Christ.]
[More than ever Christian’s need
to Know What They Believe about the Church.]
In Our Text We Discover,
The Fortress of the Church (vs 18d) [-
And I say also unto thee, That
thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church;
and the gates of
hell shall not prevail against it - The Church will
There are three Biblical pictures of the Church:
The Church As
A Building - (Eph
2.19-22; 1 Cor 3.9-17, Isa 59.2; 57.15) -
Speaks of Unity [- A building demonstrates structure or
organization. The various parts of a
building are needed to hold the building up so that the building can fulfill its
therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the
saints, and of the
household of God; 20 And are built
upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ
himself being the chief corner stone;
In whom all the
building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord:
22 In whom ye also are builded
together for an habitation of God through the Spirit. ]
[In understanding the idea of the Church as building we should understand
that a building demonstrates structure in Christian living –
Note in this text that the building is:]
Together (Eph 2.19-22 above) – A standing building speaks of its architect
and its construction. Someone had to
purposefully design the building and someone had to build the various pieces
together to construct the building.
The materials used and their framing together were purposefully put in place to
develop the structure.]
[Fitly Framed –
(gk) – This Greek word is a complex compound word combining, ]
– Together with, in company with]
[“αρμο” – A joining, joint. A
joint or opening in a tomb made by tearing away the stones.] [classical Greek
[“λογουμένη” – To put
[The idea is far more than just being a part of the
whole structure. The picture is that
new Christians are fitted into the existing structure of the Church.
Hence, the members being built into the structure of the whole have a
highly honored place in the tabernacle of God that already exists.
Therefore, Christians should be conscious of the incredible honor and
place where they now abide. A
Christian added to the building of the tabernacle of God should be careful never
to lower the honor and holiness of the whole structure.]
(1 Cor 3.9-15) – Considering the description of our addition to the building
of God and the Church of our Lord we gain new insight into Paul’s inspired
warning in 1 Corinthians 3.10,]
[1 Corinthians 3:9-15
9 For we are
labourers together with God: ye are God's husbandry,
ye are God's building.
10 According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise
masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon.
But let every man take
heed how he buildeth thereupon. 11
For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is
Jesus Christ. 12 Now if any man
build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble;
13 Every man's work shall be made
manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire;
and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is.
14 If any man's work abide which he hath
built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. 15
If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he
himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire. ]
[Let us take careful heed of how we build upon God
building. God’s temple is meant to
be a holy temple. It is meant to be
distinctly sacred and divinely sanctified.
It is meant to be an Holy
[A Habitation for
God (1 Cor 3.16; Matt 5.14-16) – As an holy temple the Church of our Lord
has, as its purpose for being, to be the dwelling place of Almighty God.
If God is to find a place to live within this structure and the whole
world ought to see the glory of the Almighty
brilliantly beaming out of its sanctuary.]
[1 Corinthians 3:16
Know ye not that ye are the temple of God,
and that the Spirit of God
dwelleth in you?]
deepening insight into the words of our Lord Jesus Christ when He said,]
14 Ye are the
light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.
15 Neither do men light a candle, and put
it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are
in the house. 16 Let your light so
shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father
which is in heaven. ]
Almighty God dwelling within the tabernacle of His Church?
What is demanded of the Church as a building in order for it to indeed be
the dwelling place (tabernacle) of God?]
Demands a separation from evil (1 Cor
3.17; Isa 59.2; 57.15) – If a tabernacle will indeed be the dwelling place
of God, then it must needs be sanctified and holy.
Why? Because God cannot and
will not be in the willful presence of sin and iniquity.
The Bible reveals:]
2 But your
iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid
his face from you, that he will
not hear. ]
[1 Corinthians 3:17
If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God
is holy, which temple ye are.
15 For thus
saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name
is Holy; I dwell in the high and
with him also
that is of a contrite and humble
spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart
of the contrite ones. ]
church folk desire to know the presence of God in their Worship services.
They want to know the presence of God in their Christian service.
But all too often good Church going folk try to mingle sin with their
Christianity. Then they wonder, “Why
does it seem like God is so far from me and my Church?”]
[If the Church
of our Lord Jesus Christ will be the Tabernacle of God, then it must be a
sanctified building. The building is
only as sanctified as its structure, which for the Church of our Lord Jesus
Christ is it members. Is your Church
a fit habitation for God? How do you
impact your Church and its whole purpose for existing?]
[The Church of
our Lord Jesus Christ is Pictured as a building, in this picture we discover the
organization and structure of the Church as well a its purpose for being built.]
The Church As
A Body (1 Cor 12.12-31) -
Speaks of Vitality [– The body adds
life and vital purpose to organization.
It is possible to have organization and still lack a vitality or life.]
[1 Corinthians 12:12-14
12 For as the
body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being
many, are one body: so also is
Christ. 13 For by one Spirit are we
all baptized into one body, whether we
be Jews or Gentiles, whether we
be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.
14 For the body is not one member, but
[This body has
one head - Jesus Christ (Col
thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the
inheritance of the saints in light: 13
Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated
us into the kingdom of his dear
And he is the head of the body,
the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all
things he might have the
Adrian Rogers often said, “A Body with no head is dead, A body with two heads is
a freak.” ]
Church Body has one head, the Lord Jesus Christ.
What does the head do for a body?
It tells everything else what to do and how to function.
The rest of the body, every part does what the head wills it to do or the
body fails to function.]
[Christian Churches are failing to function because
the body has become disconnected from the head. The body of Christ has become
diseased and handicapped by parts and members that refuse to hear and heed their
[The Spirit of
God unites us to this body (1 Cor 12.13,18) – How are Christian’s placed
into this body?]
[1 Corinthians 12:13
For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body,
whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether
we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one
[1 Corinthians 12:18 18
But now hath God set the
members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him. ]
[Almighty God places us into
His body, the Church as He sees fit.
You need to learn to hear and heed Almighty God about how you fit into the
Church of our Lord Jesus Christ. ]
often places people in the Church where they are fit, skilled, or gifted to work
– King David.]
often places people in the Church, and His work, where they feel they are least
suited to serve – Moses, Gideon, many of the Apostles.]
always places people in the Church where He omnisciently knows they will do the
most good – Joseph. ]
[There are many
distinct members, yet one body (1 Cor 12.14-20) – The body consists of many
distinct members, working together in harmony under the unifying direction of
its head. The Church should embrace
diversity in harmony.]
[1 Corinthians 12:14
14 For the
body is not one member, but many. ]
[Every member is
needed and is important (1 Cor 12.15-17; 21-24)]
[1 Corinthians 12:15-17
15 If the foot
shall say, Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it therefore not
of the body? 16 And if the ear shall
say, Because I am not the eye, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the
body? 17 If the whole body
were an eye, where were
the hearing? If the whole were
hearing, where were the
[Each member of the Church has its own purpose and usefulness.
One member should not judge the work or usefulness of another member.
Every member must do the work and fulfill the purpose God has given it.
The eye is not an ear, the mouth is not the nose. ]
[However the distinctive work of every part of the body should not be considered
a license to sin in the name of ministry.
The purpose of every part of the body of our Lord will lend itself to the
holiness and fitness of the whole Church for the presence of God.
The Church is meant to be the tabernacle (dwelling place) of God.]
should care for the other members (1 Cor 12.25-27; Eph 4.16) – The
[1 Corinthians 12:25-27
25 That there
should be no schism in the body; but
that the members should have the same care one for another.
26 And whether one member suffer, all the
members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with
it. 27 Now ye are the body of
Christ, and members in particular. ]
[Ephesians 4:16 16 From whom
the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint
supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part,
maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.]
[How do you care for your body?
When you cut yourself do you just go ahead and amputate the injured part
of your body? If you cut your finger
while cooking, do you cut it off? If
you cut your foot while walking barefoot, do you cut it off?
If you cut your face while shaving, do you cut your head off?
No, you care for the injured part of your body.
You go get your mommy or wife to kiss it for you, which somehow makes it
feel better. You put a band aid on
it. Then you show everyone just how injured you are so they will do your work
[If you are so willing to care for your physical body, why are we so quick
to amputate members of our Lord’s body.
We are supposed to care for, nurture and even nourish (build up) those
who are a part of the living body of our Lord Jesus Christ.]
[Since the picture of the Church as a Body speaks of the vitality or life
within the Church, it is important for us to consider who brings life into a
Church. Someone might think, “Okay,
my church is a dead church, I’m going to go to another Church.”
You will go to Church after Church and continuously find the same thing,
dead Churches. The Church itself
cannot bring life and vitality into you, but you can bring life and vitality
into any Bible believing Church. If
you feel like your Church is a dead Church, then it is likely that your sick and
sinful life and attitude have sickened the Church and put it into a deathlike
coma. Get your life right with
Christ and your Church will come to life.
Spiritually sick members make for a spiritual sick and handicapped Church
[The Church as a Building of our Lord reminds us of the organization or
structure of the Church. The Church
as the Body reminds us that the church is a living and vital organism caring for
and nurturing one another.]
The Church As
A Bride - Speaks of Purity (Rev
21.1-2; 19.7-16; 2 Cor
11.2; Eph 5.25-32; Matt 25.1-13; 1 John 3.1-3) [- The Bible speaks of the
Church of our Lord Jesus Christ as a
Bride. In referring to the Church as
a Bride the Bible is reminding each of us of our Preparation and Purity as a
Church and members of the Church. In
the Bible we discover,]
1 And I saw a
new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed
away; and there was no more sea. 2
And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven,
prepared as a
bride adorned for her husband. ]
[We have been espoused to one husband, Jesus Christ (2
[2 Corinthians 11:2
2 For I am
jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband,
that I may present you as a
chaste virgin to Christ. ]
[Christ desires to purify and prepare his bride (Eph
love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;
26 That he might sanctify and
cleanse it with the washing of water by the word,
27 That he might present it to himself a
glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it
should be holy and without blemish. ]
[The bride should anticipate His arrival (Matt 25.1-13)]
1 Then shall
the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and
went forth to meet the bridegroom. 2
And five of them were wise, and five
[Purity is contingent upon expectation (1 John 3.1-3).]
[1 John 3:1-3
1 Behold, what
manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the
sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not.
2 Beloved, now are we the sons of God,
and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall
appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.
3 And every man that hath this hope in
him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.]
The Function of the Church (vs 19) [-
And I will give unto thee
the keys of the kingdom
of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in
heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.
Authority (Luke 12.32, cf. 27-37; Matt 18.18-20) [- The Kingdom Keys
speak of stewardship and authority.
Our Lord Jesus Christ has given the Keys to the Kingdom to His Church.
These keys represent authority, they represent the ability to lock and
unlock something. The Bible reveals,
Fear not, little flock; for it is
your Father's good pleasure to
give you the kingdom.
[Our text notes that God wants to give His kingdom to
His flock, note here that it is given to the flock or the Church.
This adds light to,]
18 Verily I
say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and
whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.
19 Again I say unto you, That if two of
you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be
done for them of my Father which is in heaven. 20
For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I
in the midst of them. ]
[There is a kingdom work for the Church and its members
to do, and we are to be diligently doing this work.
The members of the
Church must work within the Church and the Church must work with its members.
The stewardship of our Lord’s kingdom is placed under the stewardship of
the Church as a whole. Hence, local
Church bodies need to recognize the position they have been given by God within
their communities and our world, and the Church’s members must understand their
importance within the body of Christ.
Church member’s need to be functioning member’s of their Church.]
Adversaries (vs.19; 1 Cor 16.9; 2 Cor 2.12;
4.3) [- Keys are used to open and close doors.
The doors of life are closed and locked in order to keep out unwanted
individuals. God gave Adam and Eve
dominion in the Garden of Eden. Through their rebellion and sin Adam and Eve
lawfully gave that dominion to Lucifer or the Devil.
Christ regained that Dominion legally when he redeemed it on
Calvary’s Cross. That
dominion has been returned to the Church so that the Church can do God’s kingdom
work here on earth.]
[So the doors were and are being locked by Lucifer the
god of this world and those who serve him in this world.
They are our adversaries and they keep closing and locking doors.
With the Keys to the Kingdom, which is the Gospel of our Lord Jesus
Christ and the Word of God we the Church seek to open those closed doors and win
this lost World back to our Lord.]
[Concerning these doors the Bible reveals,]
9 For a
great door and effectual
is opened unto me, and
there are many
[ Corinthians 2:12 12
Furthermore, when I came to Troas to
preach Christ's gospel,
and a door was opened
unto me of the Lord, ]
praying also for us, that God would open unto us a door of utterance, to speak
the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in bonds:]
Advocate (Matt 28.18-20; 1 John 4.4-6) [– We can do nothing in and of
our own power, but through our Lord Jesus Christ and in the context of His
Church Body we find great authority, strength, purpose, and victory.
The Bible says,]
18 And Jesus
came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in
earth. 19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in
the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
20 Teaching them to observe all things
whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway,
even unto the end of the world.
[Our Lord has commissioned and resourced His Church
body to reach the World with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. ]
[1 John 4:4-6
4 Ye are of
God, little children,
and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in
the world. 5 They are of the world:
therefore speak they of the world, and the world heareth them.
We are of God:
he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby
know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error. ]
[We often use these verses in an individual sense, but
could it be that these verses are really speaking of the collective authority
and strength of the Church of our Lord.
There is incredible strength and confidence that flows from the Church of
our Lord. A Christian separated from
the Church is a Christian weakened by his individualism.
A Christian joined to a Bible Believing Church is fitly framed into the
Building and Body of Christ and is positioned to contribute to and draw from the
supernatural power poured into the Church by our Lord.]
The Founder of the Church (vs 18c) [-
And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock
I will build my
church; . . . –
Let every Christian always be reminded that the Church is the Church of our Lord
Jesus Christ. It is His Church and
He will yield it to no one.
Concerning Christ’s absolute authority over the Church the Bible declares,
build his Church (Matt 16.18)
18 And I say
also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church;
and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. ]
Jesus is the
head of the Church (Col 1.18).
18 And he is
the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the
dead; that in all things he
might have the preeminence. ]
places people into the Church (1 Cor 12.18)
[1 Corinthians 12:18
18 But now
hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him.
loves His Church (Eph 5.25-32).
love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;]
himself for the Church (Eph 5.25).
love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;]
soon come to claim His Church (Rev 19.7-19)
7 Let us be
glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come,
and his wife hath made herself ready. ]
Church, July 27, 2008