Finally, thank you that you have not just saved us, but you are building us to be part of your household and to be part of a community of testimony, witness to you and your greatness. And finally, I pray as we study the wonder of the church tonight in polls thinking I pray it will inspire us and expand our understanding of what churches and especially that will have a deeper sense of your purpose for the church and our place in it. So, again, Hotspur be a teacher and you would become alive to us in ways we’ve never seen before.
I pray in Jesus name.
Amen in in this series is we we went back and we looked at the concept of the plan and purpose of God and God had a plan of purpose and polls starting point is this understanding that God’s in control, purpose, a plan of God. We looked at the issue of the pre-eminence of Christ in that plan and that it’s if he said it to it and that his shift away from a Christ centredness. You’ve lost Paul here. It’s in him. Last week, we very briefly touched on the notice, the notion of salvation as we were looking at the third theme, which is that salvation is by grace, not of works, and that although having been saved by grace, God’s got something for us to do.
It’s it’s entirely something of grace. I introduce to you the concept that for poor salvation is never an individualistic thing. If we are saved into something, and that is the church, the body of Christ, the people of God, and that God has a covenant community with which God relates, he relates to the church. And of course, if you think about it just as God did with Israel under the old covenant, there are hints of this in the New Testament that God will deal with his church.
And so I say the letters, seven letters to the churches of Asia in Revelation. I say that Jesus says through the Prophet John, you know, he says, you know, this is who you are unless you change. This is what I’m going to do. And clearly, it’s judgment upon the church. It’s not from the individual. It’s the same to be this community of faith that a church which will stand under either God’s blessing or judgment.
We just touched it last week. And it’s this that we’re going to go into tonight in some, I think, quite interesting ways for us. Paul and his language, as he is wont to do, has a series of words which describes the community of faith. And we’re going to we will start at Ephesians to eleven through twenty two and we’ll see this different language. But, you know, he’ll talk call it the God’s household, the house of God, he’ll into which we come by adoption and so on.
And I’ve given you a reference for that. He’ll talk about a kingdom and talked about being transferred out of the kingdom of darkness into his kingdom of his beloved son. And we might have a look at that Colossians one. Verse 12 and 13, giving thanks to the father who’s qualified us to ensure an inheritance of the Saints and Lord, for he delivered us from the divine of darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of his beloved son. And that was you can talk about household.
We’ll talk about us being a field or us being a temple or us being a kingdom and all of these kind of words which describe groups or more than an individual, because that’s the way Paul thinks he thinks. Although we are individually saved by grace, as we believe in response to the gospel post as a consequence of our salvation, is that we become part of something more than us. And so we move from personal salvation, which is the consequence of our personal response to the message of Christ into the consequence of that personal response, which is that we are transferred into something.
You know, the funny thing is that we can say, well, I didn’t join the church. I just became a Christian. You get that kind of language, how you get people to say, well, I’m a Christian, but I don’t need the church. Right. Which for Paul has no has no concept of that. You can’t separate the church from from being a disciple of Jesus. If you are if you are part of God’s household, if you had been adopted in the God family, you’re part of the family.
And that’s that is behind his his thought.
When Paul became a believer in Jesus, he became a member of the church. And I said, you look back
at what influenced Paul. And the answer is, you know, he’s understanding of the scripture, but it was his encounter with Christ and his conversion experience. And you remember on the way to Damascus, as Paul was on his journeys, riding on his donkey and he gets knocked to the ground. And was Paul doing why is he going to Damascus, persecute the church, the followers of the way?
Because right at the beginning, that was called the wine. And he hears this voice from heaven saying, Paul, Paul, why are you persecuting me? And out of this experience, Paul’s persecuting the church, Jesus says he is being persecuted, is concerned. This concept of the church as the body of Christ and the church is Christ. It is his ongoing presence in the world. And so Paul understands that to to to be a follower of Jesus is to be part of his body, which is the church.
And as I said in these just these introductory notes, that if we really are part of this new community, which God has formed, if we are truly one of Abraham’s descendants because of our faith, you know, if we’ve really become this, then as a consequence, we’re not just children of the house. We become ears. And that’s something we will pick up. And it’s just I’m giving these two scriptures to reflect on that. As I say in the introduction, this new community of faith, Paul normally calls church is described as the body of Christ, of which we become members.
That’s the nature of this new body, which is the evening session and what I want to do. So that’s just some introductory comments. I want us to read Ephesians to eleven through twenty two. And then I want to come back. I want to talk about the very word church itself and thank you and some quite interesting territory about it.
So if we can read from verse 11 down Ephesians two 11. Paul writes, Therefore, remember that for many years, the gentiles in the flesh who are called uncircumcised by the so-called circumcised, which is performed in the flesh by human hands, or that you were at that time, that’s before you became believers, before we became Christians. You are separate from Christ, excluded from the Commonwealth of Israel, strangers to the covenant of promise, having no hope and without God in the world.
Well, less kind of pretty gloomy outcome, isn’t it? You know, that’s that’s the way Jews perceive the Gentiles. That’s the Jewish perception. But now the Christ uniformally were far off, have been brought in by the blood of Christ for himself as our peace, who has made both groups into one and broke down the barrier of the dividing wall by abolishing in his flesh the enmity, which is the law of commandments containing ordinance that in himself he might make the two that’s Jew and Gentile into one.
You mean thus establishing peace and might reconcile them both into one body to God through the cross, but having put to death the enmity, that’s the law. And he came and preach peace to you who were far away. That’s to the Gentiles and to the peace to those who were near who are the Jews for through him. We both, that Jew and Gentile, have access in one spirit to the father so that you that’s the Gentiles and no longer strangers and aliens, but your fellow citizens with a sense of honor of God’s household, having been build upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ, Jesus himself being the cornerstone in whom the whole building being fitted together is growing into a Holy Temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together into a dwelling of God, you know, by the spirit.
The church, what is the church, what is this concept of the church into which we have become and which is now Jew and Gentile? What is this? I want to take us back out of call for a minute to Matthew, Chapter 16. Because it is a new covenant community, so we were kind of under now point one, and I know it’s it’s a new covenant community established by Christ, by the shedding of his blood. But let’s look at a verse here.
Well, nine verse in Matthew, 16 at Caesarea Philippi. And I’m not sure whether I’ve discussed this, the experience that Cesira Philippon with this group. But as they come to this passage, can I just put you in the geographical context? Caesarea Philippi is to get us through it, to get to Caesarea, Phillipi and from Galilee, there’s a kind of cross-country walk. But what you basically do is guard the Jordan River
north and say you’d have Syria to the east and the Mediterranean to the west.
You go straight out the Jordan to its headwaters, the beginning of the river. And Cesira Phillipi is the beginning of the Jordan River and the snows from Mount Hermon, which are in the distance melt and come down and come up with the spring. And then which is the northernmost tribe is is within a few hundred yards till then, which is the northernmost of the archaeological finds is right next season. I feel fine, but you get a Cesira Phillipi this this is a spring pool and we can sit down under the shade of the trees around and put your feet in and kind of cool down from the sun.
But within 200 yards of the spring where Jesus will have been with his disciples is this huge Rockfest. Cliff, maybe 200 meters high, solid rock and ensure that rock or out of that rock, rather, the Romans had built a temple to the Roman God, Penny is. And in the Rhiannon’s call that Pettiest didn’t call it Caesarea Philippi, and it got another name, another form Benyus, but if we can visualize ourselves in Jesus time, sitting in the spring, they sat down and Jesus asked his disciples, Who do people say that I am?
And within 200 yards is a Roman temple built out of solid rock. Right. Can you picture it? Now listen to what Jesus says. He says verse 15. What do you say that I am. And Simon Peter answered and said that the Christ, the son of the living God and Jesus answered and said to him, Blessed are you, Simon, Bojana, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you. But my father, who was in heaven.
And also I say to you that you are Peter, meaning Petrus. Petra and upon this rock. I will build my church. All right, is it you kind of get the picture, it’s kind of nice if you can say it, when you when we read it, we don’t realize that in the conversation there’s this huge rock face staring them with a with a temple. Right now, this is the issue. No one believes that Jesus taught in Greek.
There are there is a dispute amongst the scholars, whether he taught in Hebrew, which was the language of the Jews or Aramaic, which was the language of the Babylonians, and they related languages that closely related that both Semitic languages. But they were different languages. And there is a debate as to whether he would have taught in Hebrew would have and this there’s an argument which says he would have spoken in Aramaic because Hebrew had ceased to be a spoken language after the period of the exile.
But irrespective of what that is in this case, it doesn’t really matter, because let’s assume he spoke Hebrew or whatever. The one thing he wouldn’t have done was said that what Peter Petra and upon this, Patros, I will build my ekklesia because the word for church is that Ekklesia. That’s what’s in the great text. I have a problem with that. That’s what’s in the New Testament that Petra and upon this Patros, I will, you know, only come in.
And so whatever it is, you know, I will build a crisis Eltis. I will build my church. I knew my church.
Now, Jesus didn’t say that. He didn’t use the word ekklesia. He would have used Hebrew. Word went I quiet. And what’s interesting for us about is to speculate as to which word he used because there was the choice of two words, one of years. There is the word Cahow and there is the word Aidi.
As to which of the two words he would have used, the word Cahow, because I always get these confused in the Old Testament, is used for the community of Israel and he does.
Is used to the congregation of Israel. Yeah, the community had its leaders, local elders and the congregation announced, which in Greek is the word I place in. Mr. Equi said Harris leaders are the priest. And late last night and the king’s. She’s out, out, but Israel was both a community and when it gathered for worship, it was a congregation and when it gathered to congregate, its leadership was approached with the prophets and priests and so on.
But weren’t the kings. So when they gathered, Samuel might minister and the king better do what Samuel said as a prophet when it gathered in the temple, the priests were in charge.
And there are these two aspects of the life of Israel. It was both a community, which was everybody,
and it was also a congregation. And when it congregated, not only the whole community gathered together. In fact, under the legal system of Israel, there are only parts of it which were allowed together yet to be a certain age. And there’s certain physical impediments of the women was a certain part of the menstrual cycle. They couldn’t come. And there are there all sorts of requirements.
But there was this distinct cons to different concepts. And when we come to church, Paul has both these concepts in mind. He has the concept of the community, the new covenant community, which is the covenant of promise to enter into all of this. And he also has the sense of this community when it gathers and when it gathers, he’ll he’ll think he’ll use the term church. And I actually think it’s probably better to think of we can talk about the Catholic Church, the universal church, the whole of the community.
I think it’s probably better to think of the community, Jesus new covenant community as all of us everywhere, all part of the same kind of community. But once you get to kind of physical locality, you use the term church. He’s the church and emphasis the church in this or the church in the home. The sense of a group of people who gathered together becomes the church and I to ponder the question, you know, when Jesus said I will build my church, you know, it wasn’t a gathering and it wasn’t a it wasn’t just limited to the congregation.
But, yeah, the author has to choose the Greek word to describe. And so it is there. But clearly, Jesus is wanting to build a community which gathers. That’s what he’s building. He’s there’s this kind of vision of what it is. And this is really helpful because Poles, apart from passages like Romans 12 or First Corinthians 12, 13, 14, uh, maybe first Corinthians seven, maybe be another passage. But he actually says very little about the concept of the congregation.
What is to happen when we get into this discussion about spiritual gifts and order. And so he he deals with it because it’s an issue and current. But on the rest of the pistils this year, you get a is in a short teaching in Ephesians five about exhorting none of the psalms and hymns and spiritual songs. You get something literally just two verses. But the rest of his focus is actually on the community, the focus on what they believe in, how to live.
And the leading factor of it is what they live in their family life, what they leave his employees, what they live in, in their relationships with one another and the forgiveness and so on. It’s the community life of Israel that Paul is really concerned with the new Israel. And and the answer with why. And the answer is because Poles read his Old Testament post, read the scriptures. Paul knows that it’s people they’ll they’ll faithfully come to the temple and worship and offer sacrifices and all of this, but then go home and turn to other gods and commit adultery and immorality.
And, you know, he knows that the breaking of the covenant doesn’t occur so much when they worship. It occurs that when they leave their life. And so this notion of church is embraces both these concepts. And he used the word church because it normally and almost exclusively simply in describing the location of a group of people in particular geographical area. But all these other words relate to to this much broader sense of community. And to give you two verses which were written, then we can have a brief chat in Romans five nine.
Now, I will make another couple more statements, Romans five nine, much more than having been justified by his blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God, for if our enemies were reconciled to God through the blood, through the death of his son. How much more have been reconciled, shall we say, by his life? And First Corinthians 11. And verse 25. Referring to the Lord’s Supper, and he says in the same way to the cup after supper, this is the cup of this cup is the new covenant in my blood.
Do this as often as you drink it in remembrance of me. He he just as much as the. Celebration remembering on Passover of their deliverance out of Egypt into their promised land was something every Jew did. Every Passover is a special time. And just as Christ is now taking them out of sin into the kingdom of his son, a symbol deliverance, a similar transference in some the community is the way we remember the formation of a new community. Paul says it’s done by his blood, it’s established by his blood, and it’s the blood of Christ which establishes this new entity starting point.
How does this new community come about? The answer is through the blood of Christ, because every Jew knows every covenant has to be sealed with blood. And if it’s a new covenant, community is sealed by the blood of Christ. I wondered, you know, just thinking about this. One of the things which concerns me and is, I suppose, concerned me all my life is what I call denominational loyalty. A loyalty which is not to the church of a city or the church of a nation, but loyalty to a particular expression, historic expression of the church, and my observation is difficult at times.
It is for people to shift from quite one denomination to another out of what they perceive to be loyalty or disloyalty, as if as if there is an issue of loyalty to a heritage or tradition or a building or or the denomination in which I grew up and poor what I think would be mystified by it. In fact, in Corinthians, when they start wanting to start saying, I’m opposed, I’m hopeless, I’m off key fast this kind of issue, he said, well, I have to tell you what I was baptized into.
My name was in the name of Christ, that we’re baptized. Our loyalty is to Christ. And because of this, my my view is that Paul was thought they simply sought to build the Church of Christ and that we ought to simply view ourselves as members of the Church of Christ, which meets in a physical location. And it doesn’t really matter whether in this physical location it happens to be Christian city church or that physical location. It happens to be an Anglican church or now that situation happens to be a Baptist church.
We join it not because it’s Christian city church or Anglican or Baptist, whatever, because it’s the Church of Christ, a place where there are members of his community who are choosing to gather together for the ministry that were the breaking of bread for the worship and celebration and so on and so on. And there’s a community gathering. And the moment one attaches loyalty to a labor, one is lost, loyalty to the Church of Christ and Christ himself. And one can enjoy and celebrate being part of a particular church, and you can love it.
You can love the people who are part of it because they’re your community. They’re your family. You can love about it. It has to be seen as simply a group of people in basically, I think in any healthy way you’ve got to ignore any label which is on it. And a mind walk round journey of Faith is, you know, I was for many years within the eight what is called the Armenian church and in this country or the Church of England, other countries and Southern Baptist traditions and brethren, some you know, what I’ve loved was the church, which was the people who chosen to gather together, who, through the blood of Christ, had been drawn to Christ with whom I could have a relationship.
And and I’m just aware that we entrance into that community and as community members, we gather in any one place. The man we are gathering, we become a church gathering of people who are part of that community that were people starting point. And we’re going to go on. But that’s a good point to pause to in your concern with past racial divides. But what has really concerned made this point. You point out here that the difference between the community and the community that congregants, because it’s my experience that many administration very senior wide about the value of the congregation and focus all the energy on the quality of that congregation, the meeting that without consideration for the very thing that you mentioned, which was how we as a community about the rest of the world every day and say, well, you’re right, you’re right there.
But it doesn’t seem to matter what tradition you talk about. There’s been this incredible emphasis on the Sunday experience, and that’s the tragedy of it, you know, because it’s wonderful to gather at the early church if you go early enough. So between 87 and 100, I mean, say they met in small groups, in homes and then they and often met before sunrise that says the be writing, say, as a group together just to worship and come under Prophet’s teaching or apostles teaching for a period of time.
We gather in caves and open air and whatever. And then they’d gather and then then I’d have to, you know, before before them as slaves, before the masters woke up that have to be back serving in their households and everything else like that. It was a precious time together, but the focus of their whole life was living the Christian faith. And that’s that’s the nectar.
That’s the stuff we need to drink with all of us out there. Yeah. And and this comes back to my whole question, which I’ve been thinking about and we were discussing before we start tonight is the whole place of a building. Once you build a building and you call it a church, the assumption of people is that church, because it’s not a church not building. The testament was called the church. Everyone is in the New Testament period that the church was the people and that was just the building where the church made him.
And when it was a house, everyone realised that the house and the people in the church. But once you build a particular style of building, which is religious in character, there’s this confusion is created as to what is church. In fact, I have people I’ve met people who say we couldn’t come to church in the school. It’s not a church. I don’t feel comfortable about worshipping God in something other than a church. But it’s only architecture I’m in.
And I’m it’s either four or five different historic kinds of architecture, but it’s just an architectural expression of what people think is a building which would bring glory to God. But there is this and this is how deep seated is the distinction, which has been drawn by the congregation and the community. And personally, I’m convinced that Paul’s understanding Corinthians is wonderful for this reason. You know, he side of the people and Jesus does the same. He said, we have a dispute, Dongarra.
Court calling one of the oldest, let them judge, mediate between you, arbitrate conciliation, whatever, legal tender. Because if you can’t settle disputes like that, what St Paul’s is, what chance have you got a ruling? The world future, a spiritual issue. And I personally take the view, you know, that I wear all these different hats at times, that we’re rabbis. You know, I’m a teacher of the Lord and master of the law.
And people come to. To help us understand the difficult parts of the scripture, and that’s my rabbi, that’s OK, but other times I get calls from members of our church and saying, we want you to put the oldest head up. And by olders, they mean elders in the community of Israel. They want wisdom as to issues related to life, business decisions and all of these things and organizing these kids. I’ve been called by two members of the church who are in legal dispute with one another to mediate their dispute and sort it out for them, which I did.
I don’t see any conflict between the two. I say it’s a role of the community leader within the new community. I don’t myself, I just don’t draw this distinction at all. And and I say I believe Sunnah is important. I love worship. I laugh together and worship. And Tom, with my gift, I can teach the community when it gathers. But the tough stuff for the church is not Sunnite. The stuff is Monday through Saturday.
That’s that’s when our faith is lived. And that’s when churches that’s when the community of Christian City Church is.
That’s why Hurn groups are so important, because in the small groups in the home, you can take what you’ve been taught on Sundays, the church, and think about it as it relates to everyday life and think about the implications. How then do we then live and but it’s to do to get this right, you’ve got to have your view of church right to understand as both community and congregation. And it’s certainly a building. It’s a great thing to value.
We taxpayers rather debate got it as well. And this is very much a matter for the church. Yes. And you know, the concept of calling, you know, the if you got to read the Puritans and 16th, 17th century, that period of the original Puritans and Puritanism has been given this kind of dirty label from the Victorian period of being very narrow minded and everything else like that. But you you can read a book like Puritanism and a work ethic.
And they were thinking about their faith in the way they lived and the way they worship. It was very practical. They had moved away from a liturgical, ritualistic view of the faith into a living, to the very practical and you know, what was called a pure what was originally called the Puritan Worth ethic and has now become known as the Protestant work ethic, was a sense of serving God and honoring God
in the way in which I work. And that’s all related to this concept of community, because the church is a community.
It’s not just a congregation. I we go first. All right, we move on then. Absolutely. What about. Mm hmm. I didn’t quite understand that. What was it? What was he about? The rock. We’ll come back to it. OK. Yes, I’ve got it in here. So we’ll come back to. It’s important for us that we can make sure we get to point for OK. The second thing is the nature of the carbon community is both congregation and community.
You know, if the nature of the church is both a congregation and community, then to what about its membership? Who are part of it? A 219? Let’s have a look at these various scriptures.
In 219 added to the Jews, then the Gentiles, who are no longer strangers than aliens, but you have fellow citizens with the Saints and our of God’s household. So the Gentiles are members. It makes it clearer than that for us in Galatians three. Verse 26, he says, you’re all sons of God through faith in Christ, Jesus, for all of you, were baptized into Christ, have clothed yourself with Christ. There is neither you nor Greek slave nor free.
There is neither male or female. For you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you belong to Christ, then your Abraham’s offspring is according to Promise and Romans 11. And I touch this from Adisa with some fear and trepidation that will get waylaid along the way on this. But in Romans eleven, let me put this into context and you really need to go back to Chapter nine, which is just flick back to chapter one very briefly. Verse one, Paul says, I’m telling the truth in Christ.
I’m not lying. My conscience bearing witness in the spirit that I have a great sorrow and increasing grief in my heart, for I wish that I myself were separated from Christ for the sake of my brethren, my kinsman according to the flesh who are Israelites, to whom belong, the adoption, the sons, the glory of the covenant, the giving of the law and the temple service. These gifts which are given politesse without repentance. Who are the fathers and from whom is the Christ according to the flesh.
Overall, God blessed forever, Paul expresses his deep compassion and grief and yearning to see Jews responding to the Gospel. But when the gospel was preached, the message and first in Romans 10, they didn’t believe. That is then the church, a replacement community, is it is it Jews have rejected it, so now God blesses the Gentiles and doesn’t bless the Jews and Poles. There’s no way back to Chapter 11 verse when I say then that they did stumble so as to fall today and they finished may never be, but by their transgression, salvation has come to you, the Gentiles, to make them jealous and then pull Impax from them all the way down the he speaks of the name of his apostle to the Gentiles.
If somehow I might move to jealousy my fellow countrymen and save some of them. And the fact that it’s kind of yes, I rejected it and that’s been a blessing for the Gentiles. But he doesn’t want the Gentiles to become proud about what’s happened. Verse 17. And if some of the branches were broken off as the Jews and you’re being a wild olive branch, that the Gentiles were grafted in among them and became partakers with them of the rich fruit of the olive branch, which is God’s covenant community, do not be arrogant towards the branches as if you but if you are arrogant, remember that it is not you who supports the root, but the root supports you.
You will say that branches were broken off, that all might be grafted in quite right. You they were broken off for their unbelief and you stand by your faith. But do not be conceited but feared for God did not spare the natural branches. Neither will he spare you. Now what’s he talking about? His chief concept is that there is fundamentally an olive, you know, an olive tree and which there are branches and it’s all over tree in the Old Testament is God’s covenant community.
That’s the image of the olive branch is always a symbol of God’s love, God’s community. And he says, yes, some branches were broken off and there was some of the Jews because of the disobedience and broken up. And you as gentiles were drafted, you become part of the community, he says. But that’s all you are. You’re only a branch which has been put in. You are not the vine. The fine is this community of both Jews and Gentile.
And last year in this series under a different name, I did a whole series of teaching on covenant, the whole nature of the Covenant. And how unpacks and if you weren’t there, you will find those particular particularly interesting study because it raises the whole question is this as to stay historic Israel, the land of Israel, does that mean we are heirs of that? And the basic answer is no. The land still belongs to the physical descendants of Israel and.
But the promise of righteousness. You know, which is given to Abraham as part of one of his covenant promises is ours, but I can’t buy into that as part of this. But for just for our sake to understand that there are no two peoples of God, there is not the Jews, there’s one people of God and the Gentiles as a new people have got to call the church. Not for Paul. Paul, there is one community which may be in our time predominantly gentile, but it’s a temporary thing.
And Paul says, you know, the last times when he calls the Times of the Gentiles is finished, the Jews, there’ll be a mass turning back of Jews. And it’ll be one clear that it is one community mixed of Jew and Gentile. And it may be helpful today that we meet separately and say there’s been the whole birth of the concept of messianic synagogues to reach Jews. That may be helpful to have assemblies in Israel that Coke Catalans or Assemblies of Jews run by Jews, all of whom have accepted Jesus as messiah, as a way of reaching the Jews.
Because Paul says to the Jews, I became a Jew, that when the Jew, the Gentiles, I became a gentleman, that I might win the Gentiles. So it may be helpful to do that. But in terms of the community, there’s just one community. And if that’s the case, if Jesus, our messiah, who was a Jew and if his community was established by Jesus as the foundation of the community, as we’ll see build upon it by apostles and prophets who were Jewish.
And if the fundamental vine is made up of Jews and is now mixed, why and how can there ever be anti-Semitism in the church? But it came it came because in x 15, when they discussed the issue, does a person need to become a Jew before he becomes a Christian, they decided, no, you could be a part of the community without becoming a Jew. Circumcision was not necessary. Keeping of the law was not necessary. That’s the whole council next chapter 15.
So that’s okay. That’s wonderful. But then around the third and fourth century, they had a description that a discussion could be a Jew enjoying the church. And they decided no, they decided that a Jew had to become a gentile before he could become a Christian. And from there is the beginning is the beginnings of this anti-Semitism, you know, a total loss of the sense of our identity, where we’re one community, you know, that people would hate claiming to be Christian, yet hate themselves, really hate the very thing to which they belong, which is the community made of Jews and Gentiles.
So try a different image to Jesus on right?
Well, not really in the sense that Jesus is an embodiment of the community when he comes, he is the fulfillment of all the community was meant to be. Jesus is a perfect representation of our community in submission to the will and love of God. And in in, uh, you know, its says of Jesus that he was a light, you know, light from the suffering servant, really the whole passages and letter I saw which embraced this servant who is to serve and be a light for revelation to the Gentiles and the glory of the people of Israel, the suffering servant.
And what we don’t realize is the suffering servant in Isaiah was Israel itself. And the people, they were the servant. They were the means. They were meant to be the community through whom all gentiles could be blessed as the people. But gone through as I prophesies that the brand, the vine, when they say this whole thing, it cuts down and all that’s left is a tiny stamp and out of a stamp comes the chute. That’s all that’s left.
And miscellaneous fulfillment in Israel. It’s just the few people in Israel, in Jerusalem who survive the Assyrians when they surround the city and and so on. And but but Christ is this shit. Now, the whole purposes of God shrink from a community event of a nation down to a single person. Jesus. And you
remember in the Magnificat? And then and and it’s a light for revelation to the gentiles and the glory of my people, Israel, these words are picked up as Jesus, he had an ax.
Paul will apply the same scripture to himself as a minister, to the Gentiles, as the building of the church and the establishment of the church and the drive, which which kind of describes is kind of this is this Israel is still made up, which is meant to be the land. And then it all comes down to one person, to Jesus of Nazareth, and then it expands out. Again, there’s a role and purpose of the church is the body of Christ.
For Paul, kind of our goal is to understand our purposes and in the church, as both Jew and gentlemen. And so important three pull pull will then understand that in this kind of image crisis is the cornerstone.
He’s the he’s the capstone, he’s the head and all he holds together by him. It’s a very interesting use of analogy, Paul, and it relates to it’s an architectural imagery.
And I don’t know if you’ve ever seen how they built their buildings and that in particular the arches and so on. But the way they do is you had a series of building blocks. Which are put together and then create a wooden framework first into which they which was the wood was like this and it was softened in the water and shaped, and then they put these these blocks in. Around here doing the construction and the last block which was put in the center one, that’s the capstone.
And when it was there, then you can remove the framework and the whole thing would hold together. He was the headstone or the capstone and it was secure all together, put it. The whole thing collapses. And this is the language which he uses, describing Christ as both a building of a capstone, which is this imagery of a building who use a foundation stone upon which you lay the foundation stone in the whole building. Architecture is built to hold it together.
He is both these kinds of language to describe the concept of building and to which Christ is both a cornerstone of Capstone, which holds it together and its head or head start. And and. He does so for two reasons. Number one is to give Christ preeminence in the church to realize without that, without Christ, the church can’t exist and you remove Christ from the church and the whole thing will collapse. It is a poor use language in time, so we turn to Colossians, chapter one to hear him.
Polls say. Verse 16 by him, all things were created by the invisible, visible, invisible throne’s to millions Ruelas authorities, all things being created by him. And for him he is before all things, and in him, all things hold together. All right. That’s this language of capstan or foundation stone. Remove him in the whole thing falls apart in invasion’s one. Which we’ve kind of looked at already, but we’ll go back to it for just a moment.
Posters of him. Uh, verse 21, fire by borrowing authority and power and dominion, every name that is named by this age, but also in the age to come and put all things in subjection under his feet. And he gave him his head, of all things, to the church, which is his body, the fullness of him, he feels all at all. So that’s kind of a common language and so has preeminence. But second thing is that he only holds together as it is in submission to him.
The church can only be the church as it continues in submission to Christ. And one can say that individual, the moment I cease to submit my life to Christ, I can be like a stone which falls out of an old building and falls to the ground, separated from the rest of the building. I have to remain in submission in relationship to him. And this is the this is the interesting thing, without a stone, there’s no headship, it’s just the Capstone’s just to stone, but you put it in relationship to others and becomes the head, you know, without authority.
Christ is not the lord of the church. He has the right to be it, but he becomes it as the church submits to him and its submission creates headship. If I were, you know, if I was teaching a marriage and family, as Paul does, and Ephesians five talking about the church and the headship of Christ, I would say, you know, husband has no authority over his wife until she submits to him. And then her
submission creates his headship.
Headship is what happens when submission occurs. It’s actually created, but it’s not a position you have. It’s something which is created by a certain kind of relationship. And when God put the church under Christ, he created his authority, created his headship. And it becomes real when we submit to him. And for us as the church, it’s it’s. For Paul, Paul has no concept of someone who would say Jesus is my savior, but I’ve not yet made him Lord.
No, no concept of that, no concept of a gospel which does not proclaim him savior and Lord and that that the act of the very act of baptism. Into into the community, which is, you know, best probably expressed for us in Romans 10. Which is a baptism for everyone, accepts it’s describing a baptism of context, says that if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord or Jesus as Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you should be safe with a heart, man believes, resulting in Rochester with the mouth, he confesses, resulting in salvation, that this is that it’s this.
This is why this strange notion that you can be a Christian and not be part of the church, it’s just utterly foreign to poor, because to become a Christian is to yield your life to the lordship of Christ. This is the, you know, seeking forgiveness and being washed by his blood. But submitting to his lord is what happens at baptism. And who is the Lord? Who is the head of the church? Yes, I suppose languages were baptized into the church, into Christ, into submission time.
Well, it has to be if it’s real, it’s the will to be obedient to a course.
Well, it is. It’s it’s certainly obedience, obedience of faith that I can trust him and will believe in him and submit to his authority. That’s the nature of the faith which is expressed in obedience to what he wants me to do. But Paul cannot conceive of kind of Jesus did this transaction over here on the cross. He paid for the penalty for my sin. And I can just go to some ATM machine in the heaven and just plug in and say thank you.
My debts are paid now. Thank you very much. I’ll just go on living my life as if I’m still the master of my own life. Paul has no concept of that at all. Because it’s you baptized into Christ, you know, under his lordship and under his headship, we become part of his community, the community of Christ, that’s and he has these all these different languages, you know, who he calls the temple who calls God’s field here.
But all of us with a sense of ownership are people who aren’t in Corinthians. Paul says, you know, we’re not our own. We bought with a price as we become we’ve exchange slavery for sin to slavery, to Christ. We’re not free, has no notion of Christian freedom, which is having been free from the power of sin. We can just do what we want because we’re purchased by his blood. It wasn’t just paying, apparently, for sin.
He actually bought the right to authority in their life that’s administered through that strike by that, because it’s it’s not a law and it’s not a law, but it’s a relationship.
But we have moved from a relationship to sin. We were slaves to sin, to a relationship with Christ. Where were the slaves and servants of Christ? We do what he wants us to do, not low base, but to a person. So let’s not lose to a person back then. What does that mean by sense to me? Well, John, the question you know, the question is how does it work itself out? Well, John says a new commandment he gave to us that we should love one another as he loved us.
And by this, would all men know that we are his disciples, but we really have faith in him and trust him if we love one another. And then one, John, he spells it all out. And if you see a brother who has nothing and you have it and you just say God bless God, why, and be warm and give to him, you don’t you don’t love him. And if you don’t love him, you don’t love God.
It’s not it’s not Ten Commandments or 613 Commandments or whatever it is, it’s basically one commandment in this in this is that the community, you know, the Romans. Right, said about the early
believers, see how they love one another. And we hear the same. And you think it was a company? It wasn’t. It was an insult. They thought that a community would live out of such compassion and concern for one another rather than living for themselves as an absolute joke because they took the view that one should live for oneself.
You know, that’s how different it was. That’s the power of the early church and why it grew so fast and became so influential, so strong that they couldn’t stop. It was the fact that there was it was a community of love, deep compassion, not just for itself. It was a of compassion for those outside its own room when that, you know, they didn’t abort the children and allow the babies to be born. And if they didn’t want the child to take the baby out and they just leave it on a hillside, that was that was this it was a patricide or something that term for it.
But I can’t remember. But so what is the church out of compassion for the infants that groupism every night they go out in the mountains and collect. The babies have been left and raise them as their own. You know, this sense of love and compassion. I couldn’t change the law. They didn’t attempt to change the law. But they whether he expressed his deep love and compassion. Point four, we needed to get here. Yeah, Jesus is a cornerstone, but invasion’s to 20 and it isn’t because he will use the same word in Corinthians in a different context.
But he makes a very interesting statement about the roles of the apostles and prophets. He says, having been built on the foundations of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being in the corner. So there is a foundation, but he’s the Jesus, the corner of it, and him the whole building being fitted together is growing into a holy temple in the Lord. This is a difficult one. What is Paul actually saying here? If Paul had said on the foundation of the prophets and the apostles, one could have concluded that he was referring to the Old Testament and the teaching of apostles in the new.
But he doesn’t say prophets and apostles, Jesus, apostles and prophets.
In fact, if you look at Ephesians three and verse five in terms of the mystery of Christ, which in other generations was not being made known to the sons of men, as it has now been revealed to his holy apostles and prophets in the spirit or by the Spirit, again, you get it in that same order, apostles and prophets. And then I think we have to conclude that Paul believes there are these two groups of people, apostles and prophets, who were recipients of revelation.
And it is that revelation, which was the foundation for the church. I remember I was asked the question about Matthew 16, and I said, I’ll answer it. Let me remind you of the scripture. It says, who am I? And says, there are the Christ, the son of the living God. And she says, Blessed are you summoned by China because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you about my father who is in heaven, thou art, Peter.
And upon this rock, what rock? The rock of revelation as to who Jesus was, the church would be built. That is the foundation of the church. And therefore it was revealed to Peter. Yeah, well, the apostles and prophets and affirming is one of the apostles, and they were clearly in the early church, apostles and prophets. Her proclaimed the revelation that Jesus was the Christ, the son of the living God. Paul Well, sometimes I think use the word Herald and twice of himself in First Timothy two seven and two.
Timothy 111. He says, I’m an apostle, a Herald and a teacher. And I think the word Herald is another. It’s like a synonym for profit. But in the early community and we have a hint of it now, I’ll give you a source to read is a very early manuscript, which which is a manual of discipleship in its earliest form. It’s called The Iraqi or the teaching of the Twelve Apostles did actually did OK. And it is a description of life in the very early church, probably dated A.D. 110.
It got expanded out in the third and fourth century into one called the constitutions, the twelve apostles that it’s much longer. It’s kind of the large one. But in every form and in it, there are descriptions of itinerate apostles and prophets and went about. And Zeph, these two terms are being used synonymously. They are the proclaimers of the revelation of who Jesus is, and it’s the foundation of the church. And for us, you know, I have to say that the foundation of a church is the
proclamation of the gospel of Jesus is a sacred lord.
That has to be the foundation. And the bigger church gets, the bigger the foundation needs to be, the stronger this foundational element of evangelism needs to be its only foundation. But it is the foundation. Paul, in First Corinthians two will go on and talk about what you build on that foundation, which is teaching. And he says no foundation can be less than that which has been light, which is Christ Jesus. And this is therefore you be careful how you build on that.
And he warns the teachers, and if what you teach is unsound, it’s like wooden and stubble and will be consumed with the sound teaching. It’ll be gold and silver and precious stones. And he made this extraordinary statement that some of these teachers do what they teach is just wood hand style. He says the home ministry will be consumed with that. They themselves be saved. He says, I have nothing left because what they built on that foundation is not worth anything.
So the foundation is the apostles and prophets. It’s there, it’s not them and their persons, but rather what they received by revelation and what they communicated, which is who Jesus is. I was I of the page, I want to make two more statements and we will continue to pick this up and other parts of this as we because we’re going to get to officiants four and other parts there as we get started. There are there are two really important statements that Paul makes in this Ephesians two passage.
He says that he used the term a holy temple in the Lord, a place where God might dwell, dwelling of God in the spirit. And if we can turn back to the Old Testament to Zechariah for just a little bit. Sorry, folks, how are you going to know your eyes? Your every. So it’s right in the end. OK, Malakand, and go back to Zakharov. And we might we might pick it up at the end of Zacharie three Personalist, Joshua, the the high priest and your friends who are sitting in front of you need the man who are a symbol for the whole.
I’m going to bring in my and the branch. Does that ring a bell on the branch. You know I’m the one in the other branches who will impact to hold a stone that I’ve said before Joshua on one stone and seven i’s and behold our own grave. An inscription on it clears a lot of hearts. And I will remove the iniquity of that land. And one day that day, has every one of you invite his neighbor saying sit under his vine, under his fig tree.
The angel was speaking with me, returned and asked me as a man who had awakened for me sleep. And he said to me, What do you say? And I said, Behold, a lamb stained with gold and with a ball on top of it. And it’s seven lamps on it and seven sprouts belonging to each of the lamps, which are the on top of it I say to olive trees by it, one on one side of the ball and the other on the other left.
And I said to the angel who was speaking with me saying, What are these, my lord, this is the angel speaking with me and answered and said to me, know, no D.A. is not my Lord. And he answered to me, these are the word of the Lord. As Robert was saying, it’s not by my know by power, but my spirit says the Lord, what are you, a great man? Behold, before the rebel, you become a plane.
He’ll bring forth a top stone with shouts. Grace to it, grace to it. And obviously I can’t get into this whole thing that I did a Wednesday night series on Unsere Zacharie. But this is the image. This is Paul’s basis for. One of his whole understandings about the church is that the physical temple which the rubble and Zacharie were trying to rebuild, which was to be a work of man’s hands, would be replaced by lamb. Stand by a church.
And the church would be built by the work of the spirit and would be a dwelling place of the spirit. And Paul makes this huge leap. You can kind of get it in a zikos view of temple and some is that that God doesn’t dwell in buildings made by human hands. We’ve been down this road before, but he’s building a new temple. And as humans, that’s Peter has the notion. And so, you know, we are a people that the people, this new community of God is not just a community, it’s becoming a temple.
And God, by his spirit, will dwell in the temple. And I think it’s interesting in Corinthians, where twice he uses the word, you are the temple of Holy Spirit. It needs to be understood corporately that as a
community or as the church, we are the dwelling place. The church is the temple as well, being fit together and molded together. We are the dwelling place of God and the spirit. And his his understanding is then that because the spirit world in this temple manifest itself and when the church is gathered, the spirit manifest.
And so none of these notions that Paul does not see any individual self contained in himself where God can so dwell in this individual, he doesn’t need the church, but the church is the temple where God dwells by his spirit. That’s that’s his picture, his image. You know, that’s no long identification of Jerusalem right there. To go to the temple and I have to go. When I go to the church, I gather in the temple. It’s not the building.
It’s the people where Christ is the head and the spirit of God dwells. And that’s the reality for us. That’s what we desire, the presence of the spirit of God. How do we know the spirit of God to say the word of God comes? How do we know the spirit of God is there? The power of God is manifests itself primarily through word and then through power, so that Christ has preached all of these things that evidences of the spirit.
And lastly, as I’ve said here, it’s a place in which his name dwells. I’d love to pick this up and maybe we will have time to pick this up in the next year when we continue this series. But, you know, when Solomon built the temple, he built it not for God to dwell on, but for God’s name to dwell on the name which is recorded in the Lord and is contained in the tabernacle, which is kept in the temple.
And Paul in First Corinthians, and I’ve given you the references, you can look them up, but it’s the church is not just a place for the spirit, but a place where the name of Christ was and is glorified, where we lift up the name of Jesus and glorify his name. And and we ought to remember, you know, but the problem is we can glorify his name in worship and then mock his name in the way in which we live.
And 036, 36, and Jeremiah, 31, speaking of the old covenant, he said, because it’s not for my sake that I’m going to deliver you, but for the sake of my name, which you find amongst the gentiles, you know, and it’s this incredible sense. You know, the way in which we live either brings glory to his name or causes people to mock his name. But we are. And we do gather for the sake of his name, in his name and under the authority of his name and for the glory of his name, we’re conscious of that.
Father to you, glory in the church, but now and forever and Lord may, through our lives, through the word of our lips, through the love we extend to one another and to others. Lord, may your name truly be lifted up in Jesus name.