The author of Hebrews gave two important reasons to take the church serious, first in Hebrews 10:23-27, he relates gathering and being spurred by the church as essential to not being led into sin and heresy, “23 Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. 24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, 25 not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching. 26 If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, 27 but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God.”
Second, in Hebrews 13:7 & 17; he teaches to imitate and obey church leaders because they keep watch over our souls, “7 Remember your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith. 17 Obey your leaders and submit to their authority, because they keep watch over you as those who must give an account. Do this so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no benefit to you.”
Let us love and honor the church!
Ephesians 1:15-23, “15 For this reason, ever since I heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all God’s people, 16 I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers. 17 I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better.
18 I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, 19 and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength 20 he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, 21 far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come.
22 And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, 23 which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.”
- Faith & Love (v. 15)
- Giving Thanks in Prayer (v. 16)
- Praying for the Spirit of Wisdom & Revelation to Know God Better (v. 17)
- Praying to be Enlightened to Know God’s Hope (v. 18)
- Praying to be Enlightened to Know God’s Glorious Inheritance (v. 18)
- Praying to be Enlightened to Know God’s Power (vs. 19-20)
- Jesus, the Name Above Every Name (vs. 21)
- Jesus, the Head of the Church (v. 22)
- Jesus, the One Who Fills Everything in Every Way (v. 23)
THE CHURCH DEFINED
The church, Jesus’ called out ones, is both the universal and local gathering of disciples- encompassing all generations and cultures (Revelation 7:9).
How the church works:
- The called disciples of Jesus who gather with 2 or more (Matthew 18:20),
- And do baptisms (Matthew 28:19) and take communion (1 Corinthians 11:23-26),
- Where sound doctrine is preached (2 Timothy 3:16-4:2),
- Elders and deacons are present to lead, organize and enforce church discipline (1 Timothy 3:1-13),
- With the five-fold ministry gifts (Ephesians 4:11-13) and twelve spiritual gifts (1 Corinthians 12:7-11).
- And where the gospel is preached to all people (Mark 16:15) and new disciples are made (Matthew 28:19).
(1) THE CHURCH IS THE NEW HUMANITY AND FAMILY OF GOD
Ephesians 2:11-22, “11 Therefore, remember that formerly you who are Gentiles by birth and called “uncircumcised” by those who call themselves “the circumcision” (which is done in the body by human hands)— 12 remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world. 13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ.
14 For he himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, 15 by setting aside in his flesh the law with its commands and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new humanity out of the two, thus making peace, 16 and in one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility. 17 He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. 18 For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit.
19 Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household, 20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone.
21 In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. 22 And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.
(2) THE CHURCH IS THE WISDOM OF GOD FOR THE NATIONS
Ephesians 3:10-11, “10 His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms, 11 according to his eternal purpose that he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
(3) THE CHURCH IS THE BODY OF CHRIST
Ephesians 4:11-16, “11 So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, 12 to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13 until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.
14 Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming. 15 Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. 16 From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.”
(4) THE CHURCH IS THE BRIDE OF CHRIST
Ephesians 5:21-33, “21 Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. 22 Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.
25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26 to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, 27 and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. 28 In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church— 30 for we are members of his body. 31 “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.”
32 This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. 33 However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.”
Matthew 16:18-19, “18 And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. 19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”
1 Peter 2:4-5, “4 As you come to him, the living Stone—rejected by humans but chosen by God and precious to him— 5 you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.”