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THE BLESSINGS OF THE CHURCH

Victor M. Eskew

 

INTRODUCTION

 

A.     Contrary to the position taken by premillennialism that the church is a temporary expedient in the plan of God, the Bible teaches that the church always existed in the mind of God.  It was part of His eternal plan (Eph. 3:10-11).

 

To the intent that now unto principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God, according to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord.

 

B.     The church was also the subject of many Bible prophecies. 

1.      The most common figure by which it is referred is a kingdom.

2.      In Isaiah 2:2-3, it is referred to as “the Lord’s house.”

 

And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it.  And many people shall go and say, Come ye, let us go up the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths:  for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.

 

C.     During His earthly ministry, Jesus promised to build His church (Matt. 16:18).  On the day of Pentecost following His resurrection, His church was brought forth (Acts 2:47).

 

Praising God, and having favour with all the people.  And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.

 

D.    In today’s society:

1.      Very few people understand the New Testament teaching about the church.

2.      Very few people appreciate the blessings that are found within the church.

 

E.     In this lesson, let’s discuss:  “The Blessings of the church.”

 

I.            SALVATION

 

A.     The Bible often speaks of two entities or realms of which we can be a part.

1.      One realm is called the world.

a.      The world is evil, sinful, violent, dark, and controlled by Satan.

b.      I John 2:16

 

For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.

 

2.      The other realm is the church.

a.      The church is in the world, but it is not part of the world.

b.      It is a realm of purity, godliness, peace, love, light, and is controlled by Jesus Christ.

c.      The word “church” in the Greek language is “ekklesia.”  It means “the called out ones.”

1)      Paul wrote to “the church of God which is at Corinth” (I Cor. 1:2).

2)      In verse 9, he reminds them that they were the called of Jesus Christ.

 

God is faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord.

 

B.     In the world, all are lost.  The saved are found in the church.

1.      Acts 2:47

 

Praising God, and having favour with all the people.  And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.

2.      Ephesians 5:23

 

For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church:  and he is the savior of the body.

 

a.      Notice the words, “he is the savior of the body.”

b.      According to Ephesians 1:22-23, the body is the church

c.      Jesus is the savior of the body, the church.

 

C.     Salvation is found only within the confines of the church.  There are no saved people today outside the church.

 

D.    A different look.

1.      It is Jesus’ blood that cleanses us from sin (Rev. 1:5b)

 

Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blook.

 

2.      Jesus’ blood redeems us (Eph. 1:7).

 

In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace.

 

3.      In Acts 20:28, Paul says that Jesus’ blood purchased the church.

 

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.

 

a.      Jesus’ blood saves us.

b.      Jesus’ blood purchased us.

c.      The moment we are saved, we become part of the group of the saved, the church.

 

II.          ONENESS

 

A.     The world is a divided mess.

1.      Races, cultures, and languages

2.      Gender:  male and female

3.      Socio-economic status:  rich and poor

4.      Hundreds of man-made religious systems.

 

B.     One of the blessings of the church is that it brings all of this diversity into one body (Eph. 2:11-16).

1.      Separation (Eph. 2:11-12)

2.      Provision (Eph. 2:13)

3.      Unification (Eph. 2:14-16)

 

For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us; having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace; and that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby.

 

a.      Phrases:

1)      Hath made both one

2)      Of twain one new man

3)      Reconcile both unto God in one body

b.      Galatians 3:26-28

 

For ye are all children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.  For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.  There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female:  for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.

 

III.        FELLOWSHIP

 

A.     The church is often referred to as “the body of Christ” (I Cor. 12:12, 27; Eph. 3:6, 4;12; 5:23; Col. 1:24; 2:17).

1.      The body is composed of many members.

2.      The body is supposed to be alive and animated.

3.      There is supposed to be a lot of interaction between the members just as there is within the physical body.

 

B.     The word “fellowship” carries the following definitions:  partnership, participation, social intercourse, association, and joint participation.

1.      The early church’s example (Acts 2:46)

 

And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart.

 

2.      We see the fellowship that we are to have with each other in the “one another” relationships mentioned in the New Testament.

a.      Hebrews 3:13

 

But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day, lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.

 

3.      Hebrews 10:24

 

And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and good works.

 

4.      I Peter 4:9

 

Use hospitality one to another without grudging…

 

C.     The fellowship that we are to have is that of a family.  Some of the relationships that we will share will be closer than our physical families.

 

IV.         HOPE

 

A.     Hope involves deep desire and earnest expectation.

 

B.     In Ephesians5:22-33, Paul talks about the husband-wife relationship and compares it to the relationship between Christ and the church.  One statement in this section of Scripture has always intrigued me.  Let’s read Ephesians 5:25-27.

 

Husbands love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; that he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, that he might present it unto himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that that is should be holy without blemish.

 

1.      “That he might present it unto himself a glorious church.”

2.      There is coming a day when the bridegroom, Jesus Christ, is going to return for His bride, the church.

3.      He is not coming back for all that are in the world.  He is coming back for those who are His, the saved, those in the church.

4.      II Timothy 2:19

 

Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, the Lord knoweth them that are his…

 

 

 

C.     We have hope.

1.      This world is not all there is.

2.      Our sufferings and struggles will one day come to an end.

3.      Our lives will not end in death, but in eternal life with our Savior.

 

D.    Jesus will one day come for His bride.

1.      I Thessalonians 4:14b, 17

 

…even so them which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him…Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air:  and so shall be ever be with the Lord.

 

a.      The dead God will bring with Him.

b.      The living will be reunited with them in the air.

2.      Three verses:

a.      I Corinthians 13:13a

 

And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three…

 

b.      Romans 12:12a

 

Rejoicing in hope…

 

c.      Romans 15:13

 

Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.

 

CONCLUSION

 

A.     We have many blessings because we are members of the church:  salvation, unity, fellowship and hope.

 

B.     When we obeyed the gospel, the Lord added us to the church as one of the saved.  Now the hope that we have keeps us in a saved condition.

1.      Romans 8:24a

 

For we are saved by hope…

 

2.      I Peter 1:13

 

Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.