This Week's Gospel Sermons
October - December 2011 Fall Series At Jackson Drive.
"MIRACLES OF JESUS"
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December 4, 2011
The Greatness of the Church
It is amazing how muchand how often that man tries to change God’s plan—not that man can over-power God. It is unthinkable that men would even try, but try they do, over and over again.
One of the most obvious things men try to change is the church. The Bible is filled with warnings about apostasy in regard to the church, but for some reason, men think they have ideas that are better than God’s ideas. Another way men belittle the church is by taking the approach that the church is just an after-thought—it is not part of God’s plan. They contend that Christ didn’t fulfill His mission while on earth and that the church was established as a temporary measure to last until Christ can come back to earth and reign as king.
Any attempt by man to change the church and the purpose for it will fail. The reason is simple—the church as planned and founded is great! There is nothing that man can do that can even come close. Let’s let God tell us how great the church is. Examine the following compilation of verses from God’s word.
1. The only body purchased with the blood of Christ — “Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood.” (Acts 20:28).
2. The only body with Christ as its foundation — “having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the corner stone” (Ephesians 2:20).
3. The only body with Christ as its head — “And 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).
4. The only body with complete and everlasting laws — “But one who looks intently at the perfect law, the law of liberty, and abides by it, not having become a forgetful hearer but an effectual doer, this man will be blessed in what he does.” (James 1:25); “Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will not pass away.” (Matthew 24:35).
5. Its field of labor is universal — “And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved; but he who has disbelieved shall be condemned.” (Mark 16:15,16).
6. Its members wear the greatest name ever worn by men — “The nations will see your righteousness, And all kings your glory; And you will be called by a new name Which the mouth of the LORD will designate.” (Isaiah 62:2); “and when he had found him, he brought him to Antioch. And for an entire year they met with the church and taught considerable numbers; and the disciples were first called Christians in Antioch.” (Acts 11:26).
7. It is the only body in which salvation is promised to lost men — “and might reconcile them both in one body to God through the cross, by it having put to death the enmity.” (Ephesians 2:16); “For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church, He Himself being the Savior of the body.” (Ephesians 5:23).
8. It is the only missionary society known to the Bible — “but in case I am delayed, I write so that you will know how one ought to conduct himself in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and support of the truth.” (1Timothy 3:15); “so that the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known through the church to the rulers and the authorities in the heavenly places.” (Ephesians 3:10).
9. It is the only institution of charity known to the Bible — “Now at this time while the disciples were increasing in number, a complaint arose on the part of the Hellenistic Jews against the native Hebrews, because their widows were being overlooked in the daily serving of food.” (Acts 6:1).
10. It is the only organization in which men can glorify God — “to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen.” (Ephesians 3:21).
11. It is the only institution that will last longer than time — “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).
These verses certainly speak loudly and plainly to us. What could men ever do that can even approach the wisdom of God’s plan for the church? Remember Paul’s statement in Ephesians 3:10? It is God’s wisdom that is known through the church—not man’s wisdom.
Looking at the greatness of the church, the wonder and wisdom of God, and His glory and dominion, it is easy to see why so many writers, moved by the Spirit, concluded their letters in a similar fashion to what we find in Jude 24-25: “Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to make you stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy, to the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.”
Are you part of this great body—the body of Christ—the church? In Christ—that is where salvation is found. Are you living a life of service in the body, bringing glory to God?
—S. Scott Richardson Sr.