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The Church’s Identity:

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Ben Lovelady

on 18 May 2017

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Transcript of The Church’s Identity:

1)
Scripture
makes clear that “our
church
” is not first and foremost
ours
.
The Church’s Identity:
Biblical Metaphors

“I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it."
Matthew 16:18
“He put all things in subjection under His feet, and gave Him as head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.”
Ephesians 1:22-23
2) Considering that the Church is His
institution
, He’s graciously provided several
metaphors
in Scripture to help us envision how it should
function
on earth.
His body
“He put all things in subjection under His feet, and gave Him as head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all."
Ephesians 1:22-23
A family
"Do not rebuke an older man but encourage him as you would a father. Treat younger men like brothers, older women like mothers, younger women like sisters, in all purity."
1 Timothy 5:1-2
A flock
"So I exhort the elders among you, as a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, as well as a partaker in the glory that is going to be revealed: shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight, not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you; not for shameful gain, but eagerly; not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock. And when the chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory."
1 Peter 5:1-4
A temple
"So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit."
Ephesians 2:19-22
3) Another metaphor of a church which is
implied
in Scripture, though not stated explicitly, is that of an
embassy
—to which Jonathan Leeman has drawn attention in his book
Church

Membership
.
"For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit."
Romans 14:17
"Where am I getting the idea of an embassy? I’m getting it from the biblical idea of Christ’s kingdom. A church is not the kingdom; it’s an outpost or embassy of that kingdom. What’s an embassy? It’s an institution that represents one nation inside another nation. It declares its home nation’s interests to the host nation….”
Jonathan Leeman
“Our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.”
Philippians 3:20
"I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world."
John 17:15-16
"These all died in faith, not having received the things promised, but having seen them and greeted them from afar, and having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth. For people who speak thus make it clear that they are seeking a homeland. If they had been thinking of that land from which they had gone out, they would have had opportunity to return. But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared for them a city."
Hebrews 11:13-16
4) The above metaphors
demonstrate
that the church is to play a
major
role in a believer’s
life
.
5) However, one must
guard
against the tendency to make an
idol
out of one’s
church
.
"For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known."
1 Corinthians 13:12
"Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things."
1 Corinthians 13:4-7
"If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us."
1 John 1:8-10
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