The Greatness of the Church
introduce our study I would like to draw your attention to some of the greatest
things that exist. There are many things
in God’s creation and in man’s accomplishments that men view and stand in awe
and wonder. Mankind has selected a
number of these things that we consider the “wonders of the world”. At one time that group of things created by
God in that great day when He spoke and “it was so” (Genesis 1:7, 9, 11, 15, 24) were seven in number and we called them
the “Seven Wonders of the Natural World”; the Grand Canyon of Arizona, Mount
Everest in the Himalayas, The Matterhorn in the Alps, Victoria Falls in Africa,
Meteor Crater in Arizona, The Great Barrier Reef in Australia or Ayers Rock
also in Australia. Or the list of
wondrous manmade things considered as the “The Seven Wonders of the Ancient
World”: the Colossus of Rhoades, The Pyramids of Egypt, The Hanging Gardens of
What makes it Great?
1. It is the only called out body purchased with the blood of Christ:
“TAKE HEED THEREFORE UNTO YOURSELVES, AND TO ALL THE FLOCK, OVER THE WHICH THE
HOLY GHOST HATH MADE YOU OVERSEERS, TO FEED THE
Purchased, bought, owns, washed clean
by the blood and water shed on that hill outside
Matthew 26:28 “FOR THIS IS MY BLOOD OF THE NEW TESTAMENT, WHICH IS SHED FOR MANY FOR THE REMISSION OF SINS.”
Remission of sins, a gift we find nowhere else.
Romans 3:24-25 “BEING JUSTIFIED FREELY BY HIS GRACE THROUGH THE REDEMPTION THAT IS IN CHRIST JESUS: WHOM GOD HAST SET FORTH TO BE A PROPITIATION THROUGH FAITH IN HIS BLOOD, TO DECLARE HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS FOR THE REMISSION OF SINS THAT ARE PAST THROUGH THE FORBEARANCE OF GOD.”
Justified freely by his grace, that unmerited, unearned love of God the Father that many of our brethren say we don’t believe in, just because he gave you a soul and the free will to decide who you will serve God or Satan.
Romans 5:9 “MUCH MORE THEN, BEING NOW JUSTIFIED BY HIS BLOOD, WE SHALL BE SAVED FROM THE WRATH THROUGH HIM.” The American Standard translation 1901 reads that we’re “SAVED FROM THE WRATH OF GOD THROUGH HIM.”
That unmerited, unearned love of God that will save us from his wrath and the results of that wrath, that eternal destruction in pain, darkness, sorrow, sin and sinners that place called Hell that Jesus describes for us in Matthew 13:40, 50 and a number of other places. And the Son of God was the only sacrifice that would do:
Hebrews 9:12-14 “NEITHER BY THE BLOOD OF GOATS AND CALVES, BUT BY HIS OWN BLOOD HE ENTERED IN ONCE INTO THE HOLY PLACE, HAVE OBTAINED ETERNAL REDEMPTION for us. FOR IF THE BLOOD OF BULLS AND GOATS AND THE ASHES OF AN HEIFER SPRINKLING THE UNCLEAN, SANCTIFIETH TO THE PURIFYING OF THE FLESH: HOW MUCH MORE SHALL THE BLOOD OF CHRIST, WHO THROUGH THE ETERNAL SPIRIT OFFERED HIMSELF WITHOUT SPOT TO GOD, PURGE YOUR CONSCIENCE FROM DEAD WORKS TO SERVE THE LIVING GOD?”
Not by the blood of the sacrifices of the old covenant, that could not, would not and will not remove the stain of sin from our souls but the price that Jesus paid.
Hebrews 10:19-20 “HAVING THEREFORE, BRETHREN, BOLDNESS TO ENTER INTO THE HOLIEST BY THE BLOOD OF JESUS, BY A NEW AND LIVING WAY, WHICH HE HATH CONSECRATED FOR US, THROUGH THE VEIL, THAT IS TO SAY, HIS FLESH.”
We should have therefore boldness to
come to Christ when the invitation is extended and enter into that
2. It is the only called out body of people with Christ as its cornerstone, built upon the foundation of The Faith brought to us by His apostles and teachers.
Ephesians “AND BUILT UPON THE FOUNDATION OF THE APOSTLES AND PROPHETS, JESUS CHRIST HIMSELF BEING THE CHIEF CORNER STONE.”
Jesus is our chief corner stone. Folks don’t know much about cornerstones these days because our houses and commercial buildings are not set with a cornerstone. But in the day when construction was done by hand with brick, dressed stone or other materials a cornerstone was chosen, dressed to perfection and very precisely set, used as the starting point, the point from which all measurements of dimension were made, the benchmark used to verify whether the foundations and walls were correctly laid, straight, plumb and built correctly.
I Corinthians 3:9-10 “FOR WE ARE LABORERS TOGETHER WITH GOD: YE ARE GOD’S HUSBANDRY, YE ARE GOD’S BUILDING. ACCORDING TO THE GRACE OF GOD WHICH IS GIVEN UNTO ME, AS A WISE MASTER BUILDER, I HAVE LAID THE FOUNDATION AND ANOTHER BUILDETH THEREON. BUT LET EVERY MAN TAKE HEED HOW HE BUILDETH THEREUPON.”
We are God’s building, living stones in a living sanctuary – this physical building is not a sanctuary in which God lives today, men call it that in error, but rather you and I, brother and sister in Christ are God’s sanctuary, God’s living place, God’s temple (I Corinthians 3:16-17).
Galatians 2:9 “AND WHEN JAMES, CEPHAS, AND JOHN, WHO SEEMED TO BE PILLARS, PERCEIVED THE GRACE THAT WAS GIVEN UNTO ME, THEY GAVE TO ME AND BARNABAS THE RIGHT HANDS OF FELLOWSHIP; THAT WE SHOULD GO UNTO THE HEATHEN, AND THEY UNTO THE CIRCUMCISION.”
Pillars, the apostles in Jerusalem to which Paul and Barnabas reported were the pillars, the foundation piers of the Jerusalem church, like the foundation piers under the stamping presses I’ve worked with over the past eight years which sit on eight clusters of four concrete piers, six feet in diameter, anchored where possible in bed rock and designed to accept the punishment of slamming 120-130 tons of metal together 18 times a minute to stamp out steel panels to build trucks and automobiles.
3. It is the only Body with Christ as its head:
Hebrews 2:7 “thou hast made him a little lower than the angels; thou crownest him with glory and hounour, and didst set him over the works of thy hands.”
The Holy Spirit through the Apostle Paul testifies:
1:22-23 “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 fullness of him that filleth all in alL.”
Jesus himself, after being crucified and raised again declared to his disciples:
Matthew 28:18 “And jesus came and spake unto them, saying, all power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.”
The church that belongs to Christ, or the
Colossians “and he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.”
4. It is the only body with perfect and everlasting laws:
James 1:25 “but whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.”
First of all God’s law, the commandments that he has given mankind to obey is prefect, it has no flaw, it has no disagreement, it has no contradiction in spite of man’s efforts to have us believe that. It does not suffer the weakness of the laws of man who need councils, synods, conventions, or a college of cardinals to provide interpretation. Or man’s civil laws which are in constant change and need lawyers, judges, and courts to help understand what they mean.
Perfection doesn’t fail:
Luke “and it is easier for heaven and earth to pass, than one tittle of the law to fail.”
Jesus also declared in what was to be
his final sermon in
and earth shall pass away, but my words shall
His word has survived 2000 years of men trying to bury it and keep it from other men, men trying to rewrite it to suit themselves, men trying to deny it’s power and purity, men ignoring it’s precepts and writing doctrines of their own, men trying to destroy it with unreliable and inaccurate versions that we won’t even honor with the term translation, but it continues. It will continue through eternity after it is used to judge mankind:
Revelation 20:12 “and it saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.”
5. Its field of labor is universal.
Mark -16 “and he said unto them, go ye unto allthe world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.”
The whole world is our field of labor, that part that is as close as your next door neighbor, that part that we can reach only by teaching the Bible by correspondence both on paper by regular mail or electronically via the internet. It is to go to every man, woman and child that has the capability to understand, regardless of their race, nationality, location, color, as they all have a soul.
6. Its members wear the greatest name every worn by men.
A name that was prophesied by Isaiah, a name that the Lord would provide:
Isaiah 62:2 “and the gentiles shall see thy righteousness, and all kings thy glory: and thou shalt be called by a new name, which the mouth of the Lord shall name.”
We find that name for the first time
in the city of
departed barnabas to
Oh, men have perverted its usage. Men call many other men Christians who are not. Men have applied it to every wind of doctrine that has come by for almost two thousand years. But it is still God given; it is still the greatest name we could ever wear. And those who wear it rightly, those who are really Christians, because they are following closely as is humanly possible the commandments of our Lord; will indeed find joy in belonging to Christ in the day of judgment.
7. It is the only body in which salvation is promised to lost men.
Under the Mosaic Law no provision was made for the stranger, or gentile
person except as a proselyte Jew. But with the coming of Jesus that all changed and salvation was brought for all men.
Ephesians 2:13-17 “but now in christ jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ. 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: and came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh.”
And it is in that body where we will find salvation:
Ephesians “for the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body.”
And that body is the church:
Ephesians 1:22-23 “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 fullness of him that filleth all in all.”
8. It is the only missionary society known to the Bible
I Timothy “but if I tarry long that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of god, which is the church of the living god, the pillar and ground of the truth.”
It is the pillar and ground of the truth. It is to preach the word of God throughout the whole world and to every creature as we just noted in Mark 16. And Paul in writing to the Ephesian brethren explained his purpose and God’s.
Ephesians 3:8-10 “unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ; and to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery which from the beginning of the world have been hid in god, who created all things by jesus Christ: to the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of god.”
Paul didn’t have a special ministry or
missionary society, he didn’t have an organization behind him except for the
9. It is the only institution of charity known to the Bible.
Acts 6:1 “and in those days, when the number of the disciples was multiplied, there arose a murmuring of the Grecians against the Hebrews, because their widows were neglected in the daily ministrations.”
The church in
Corinthians 16:1-2 “now concerning
the collection for the saints, as I have given order to the churches of
10. It is the only organization in which men can glorify God.
Romans “for of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory forever. AMEN.”
The Him in this context being Christ our Saviour. WE are to glorify him, in song, in worship, in memory of his death that our souls might be cleansed.
Romans “to god only wise, be glory through jesus christ forever. Amen.”
That glory is given through the church, its activities, its worship, and its name.
Ephesians “unto him be glory in the church by Christ jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.”
11. It is the only institution that will last longer than time itself.
Matthew “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.”
To this rock of faith, this truth that Jesus Christ is indeed the Son of the Living God will be people called out to become members of the body of Christ, his church, the family of God, His spiritual brothers and sisters, citizens in the kingdom of which Jesus is king. A called out people that will finally be gathered at the foot of the throne of God; there to be judged by the Almighty Father with Christ as our advocate and then invited into the city of many mansions that Jesus has prepared for us (John 14:2).
are you a member of that body of called out people, the
You must hear the world of God – Romans 10:17
You must believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of the Living God – John 8:32
You must confess that belief – Matthew 10:32
You must repent of your past sins – Luke 13:3
You must be baptized to cleanse your soul from sin – Acts ,
Or if you are a child of God, but have sinned you need to correct that problem as well, privately if private, publicly if public as we’re instructed in James 5:16