There is a great ignorance regarding the church today. By church, I am referring to the Local New Testament Church. The word church is the Greek word “ecclesia” meaning a “called out assembly”.
If we are not called out (out of the world and out from sin) we are not a church.
If we are not physically assembling, we are not a church.
Nearly every reference to the church in the New Testament refers NOT to a universal, mystic, invisible church, but a physical local assembling of believers united in doctrine and unity of purpose for His work.
God uses illustrations to help us understand the principles and subsequent duties of the church. Here is a short list of the figures of the church.
For each figure there is a corresponding set of duties to perform
The Church is Jesus’ Body
And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all. (Eph 1:22-23)
As His body, we are the hands, feet, and mouths God uses to get His work accomplished in the world today.
The Church is Jesus’ Bride
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. (2Co 11:2)
As His betrothed bride, we are to be holy, clean, chaste, and saving ourselves for Him and Him alone.
The Church is Jesus’ Building
Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ. (1Pe 2:5)
For we are labourers together with God: ye are God’s husbandry, ye are God’s building. (1Co 3:9)
We are to allow Him to build us and build us up. We are to represent Him in our cities. We are to be shelters and assembling areas for safety, service, and worship.
The Church is Jesus’ Army
Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. (2Ti 2:3)
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. (Mat 16:18)
This charge I commit unto thee, son Timothy, according to the prophecies which went before on thee, that thou by them mightest war a good warfare; (1Ti 1:18)
Church is not a museum, but a military unit.
As His army, we need to be in our place, armed (Eph 6:11-17), trained, (Eph 4:11-12) and serving. We are to be battling for the souls and lives of men, women, boys, and girls for the Captain of our salvation. (Heb 2:10)
The Church is Jesus’ Family
Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God; (Eph 2:19)
As family, we are to honor the family name, work the family business, assemble for family dinners and meetings, and submit to family authority.
The Church is Jesus’ Flock
Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood. (Act 20:28)
As the flock, we are to follow, obey, be cared for, and multiply for benefit for the Shepherd.
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