Systematic Theology II - Lesson 19
The Doctrine of the Church (Part 1)
Christ is Lord of the Church and it is formed by the Spirit. As a community, we testify to what God has done in our lives through the ordinances, the proclamation of the word and the testimony of our lives. We worship God together, and Jews and Gentiles are united in one community, testifying to the preeminence of our identity in Christ.
The Doctrine of the Church (Part 1)
V. The Doctrine of the church (Ecclesiology, PART 1)
1. Ecclesia: Called out ones, continuity of called out ones from before Abraham to the New Testament Church, but also discontinuity.
2. Ecclesia: Used as both the Church universal and the local church
B. The Universal Church
1. Elements of the nature of the universal Church
a. Christ is Lord of the Church
b. The company called out to be empowered by the Holy Spirit
c. Jews and Gentiles united in one body
d. Body held together by the New Covenant
e. A testifying community
f. A worshipping community
Definition: A unified fellowship of people from any ethnic, racial, social, national group who confess in common in witness and worship to having received newness of life in Christ, and who are empowered by the Spirit to proclaim Christ, to submit faithfully to Christ’s uncontested Lordship, and seek to grow increasingly into His likeness, to the glory and praise of God in Christ.
Both the Old and New Testaments teach that Jesus Christ is both fully God and fully human. The Old Testament contains specific references to His pre-incarnate existence. The New Testament teaches that the incarnation is an historical event that was prophesied in the Old Testament. Christ fulfills the roles of prophet, priest and king. His deity is emphasized by the names of God that are ascribed to Him.
The Bible teaches that Jesus Christ had attributes belonging solely to God, and did works that were done by God alone. Christ was worshipped and accepted worship. He Himself claimed to be God.
Christ was fully human, as well as fully God. The Old Testament prophesied it and His historical life demonstrated it. Philippians 2: 6-8 uses the word kenosis to explain the relationship between Christ's human and divine natures.
The "impeccability" of Christ deals with the question of whether or not Christ could have sinned. The answer to this question has implications for both His life and ministry. (At the 51 minute mark, the reference to "John the Baptist," Dr. Ware meant to say, "John the Apostle.")
Delegates at the Council of Chalcedon tried to explain the hypostatic union of Christ's natures. The theological bases for the work of Christ on the cross focus on the sin of humanity and God's holiness and mercy. The atonement is God's self-satisfaction through self-substitution
Christ's atoning sacrifice was comprehensive. The different aspects of the atonement may be compared to light refracting through a diamond – you can see different colors, but they are all light. Three aspects of the atonement are sacrifice, substitution and redemption.
Three more aspects of the atonement are propitiation, expiation, and reconciliation. Christ's resurrection is a ratification of the efficacy of the atonement.
The most significant aspect of the past work of Christ is the atonement. Some people teach that the extent of the atonement is limited, while others teach that it is unlimited. Christ's present work is mediator and Lord. His future work is coming judge and reigning king.
Throughout Scripture, the Holy Spirit is referred to as having the attributes and performing the actions of a person. He is also shown to have the attributes of God, and is declared to be God. Both the Old and New Testaments cite examples of the work of the Holy Spirit in empowering people.
The work of the Holy Spirit in the Old Testament is characterized by the empowerment of selective individuals for a temporary period of time, for the purpose accomplishing a specific task. The Old Testament prophets record a vision of the role of the Holy Spirit in the latter days.
The Holy Spirit had a central role in the life and ministry of Jesus. Many Old Testament passages prophesied the coming of a Spirit empowered Messiah. The New Testament records specific examples of the involvement of the Spirit in Jesus' life and ministry. Jesus also promises the future coming of the Holy Spirit and describes what he will do.
At Pentecost, the Holy Spirit came into the world and filled the lives of every believer. The first great work of the Holy Spirit is bringing people to Christ. He also empowers believers for service in the Church where we are remade and conformed to the image of Christ. The purpose of the gifts of the Spirit is for us to serve one another.
The Holy Spirit has come to glorify Christ and bring attention to Jesus. He does this by empowering believers in the areas of evangelism and discipleship. There are specific gifts of the Spirit and He gives specific gifts to each believer. There is a question about whether all the gifts are still active today. There is also a distinction between people having a certain gift and God performing mighty acts.
The Holy Spirit accomplishes the work of regeneration in a person by bringing them new life. The Spirit also indwells and fills a believer, produces fruit and gives us the freedom to become what God created us to be. The Holy Spirit is also the guarantee of the hope of our eternal future in God's presence.
Rob Lister, a Garret Fellow, introduces concepts that are basic to the Biblical doctrine of salvation. Salvation is both physical and spiritual, includes all of creation, it is "already, but not yet," and the goal is the glory of God. Election is a key concept in Scripture. Some people think that there is a conditional aspect to election.
Rob Lister continues by reviewing the Arminian position (conditional election), then explains the Calvinist view. The Calvinist position is based on God's sovereign rulership over everything, salvation by grace alone, and God's love and justice. There are major differences between the ideas of conditional and unconditional election.
Among those who hold to the view of unconditional election, there are those who believe in single predestination, and those who believe in double predestination. There is also a difference between a "general call," and a "special" or "effectual call."
Continuing in the logical order of salvation, Rob Lister examines regeneration, conversion, justification, adoption and sanctification.
Christ is Lord of the Church and it is formed by the Spirit. As a community, we testify to what God has done in our lives through the ordinances, the proclamation of the word and the testimony of our lives. We worship God together, and Jews and Gentiles are united in one community, testifying to the preeminence of our identity in Christ.
The "mystery" of the Church refers to the truth that was formerly concealed, but now revealed. Another aspect of the "mystery" is the inclusion of Jews and Gentiles in one community of faith. There is some debate about whether or not Israel and the Church are the same. The "Body of Christ" and "Bride of Christ" are two metaphors used in the New Testament that refer to the Church.
An additional New Testament metaphor for the Church is a "Building," which is made up of the "Cornerstone," "Foundation" and the "Living Stones." "Christ's Flock" is also a metaphor for the Church and relates to Jesus as the "Good Shepherd." There are also passages in the New Testament that give us insight into local congregations by referring to elders as the leaders.
New Testament passages give specific instructions about the functions of elders in local congregations. There are also lists qualifications for elders that emphasize character qualities. The roles and qualifications for deacons are also given.
The question of the role of men and women in ministry is a significant issue. The main question is, "According to Scripture, is gender particularly and uniquely relevant in assessing whether or not a person is qualified for a given ministry in a church or home?"
You can download the Roles Handout by right-clicking on the link and selecting the "Save Link As" option.
Different denominations have chosen different models of hierarchy and leadership based on their understanding of Scripture. The two ordinances of the Church are Baptism and the Lord's Supper. They are ordained by Christ, point to the Cross, and are to be done in remembrance of what He has done for us.
There is value in studying eschatology besides curiosity about what will happen in the future. The three most common views of the millennium that can be supported by Scripture are postmillennialism, amillennialism and premillennialism. Also related to eschatology is the Scriptural teaching regarding physical death and the intermediate state.
Within the premillennial position, there is a difference of opinion on whether the rapture will be pretrib, midtrib or posttrib. Regardless of your position on the millennium, there is clear teaching in Scripture about the final judgment and our eternal state. There will be a final judgment and everyone will spend eternity either in heaven or hell.
The second of a two semester class on Systematic Theology.
Dr. Bruce Ware
Systematic Theology II
The Doctrine of the Church (Part 1)
The term church, as you are probably aware, comes from two Greek words EC and collateral. And so we get the term ecclesia from it, which is the Greek word for church ecclesia and collect all means to call out EC out of color or to call. It's one of these places where you sort of wish they would have come up with a genuine translation of Ecclesia Church. Well, would you ever understand from church that you are the called out ones? Why not be the called out ones? What a great thing. Because you realize what is involved in that is God's calling us out of darkness into his marvelous light. It's calling us from the Communion of Satan into the kingdom of his beloved son. It is to be a special people, a called out people called out from among the others who form the company of those who are God's people. And there's a sense in which we'll talk about this in more detail as we move through here. There's a sense in which we, as the church today share in the line of the called out that goes all the way back to Abraham. I suppose you can think of him as called out of awe of the Chaldeans coming to the promised Land, but actually goes back before that, doesn't it? Noah called out Adam. Well, God chose that man to be the first man. So, I mean, the calling out of God has a long history. And so there's a sense in which we stand in the history of the called out. But there's another sense in which we the called out people today that comprise church are markedly different from Israel.
There's both continuity and discontinuity. There's both involved in this. There's a sense in which our being called out now in this age, as the people of God has much more significance attached to it, because Christ has come, the Holy Spirit has come. There is a new covenant reality that is true. Now, that wasn't true then that ought to make a difference in us understanding who we are. Our identity as called out people. So continuity and discontinuity. And I hope that we will see more of that as we as we move through this. Second thing by way of introduction is just to comment that it's true in Scripture that you find the term ecclesia used in both ways that refer to church capital C, that is all of those who are in Christ in all the ages, in all the churches. So we have church ecclesia used in both the sense in which Christ is the Lord of the church universal. I will build my church now in Christ said that I don't think he meant First Baptist Church on the corner of Fifth and Oak. I will build my you know, Charles Swindell will build his church. I will build my church. Is that what he meant by that? No. He had in mind Church Capital C And so that's a usage of ecclesia in Matthew 16 that refers to the whole church. There are others, for example, First Corinthians 1032, first Corinthians 1032, First Corinthians 15 nine, Ephesians 310. Colossians 124. I'll only look at one of these with you. I'll give them to you again. First Corinthians ten 3259, Ephesians 310, Colossians 124. Those are usages of Ecclesia for Capital C Church. I'll read to you the Ephesians one is just because it's so staggering in what it says he brought to light the mystery, which has for ages been hidden in God, who created all things so that the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known through the church to the rulers and authorities in heavenly places.
So, I mean, this is one of those verses where you kind of go, Wow, there is something going on here that is much bigger than any of us realizes. Moment by moment. Church What is happening with church? I will build my church. What is happening with church is in fact, being viewed by heavenly beings to see whether or not the plans and purposes of God are unfolding as He promised, as he planned. So it's an amazing thing to think. CHURCH But of course, church also is used that is C is also used of local churches. And, of course, this is all over the place, isn't it? In the New Testament, the church that met at Memphis House in Colossians 415, Colossians 415. Or the churches of Galatia in Galatians one, one that he writes to. So you've got lots of indications and of course, that letters to the seven churches in Revelation two and three. I mean, you've got all of these instances where it's very clear that there are local churches. And what's the point of that? Well, it seems to me that if there is universal church, that universal church establishes what church is. So that universal church and what it is is meant to be manifest in local church instances. So if a local church is really a local church, it ought to be an instance of what is true of the universal church. Now, granted, there are going to be differences between local churches. There's going to be differences in all kinds of ways, make up structure. But if all these different entities that we call church really are church, what do they have in common? What identifies them as church? Because they call themselves that. Well, that can't be. That just won't do.
Just because they call himself church doesn't mean it is so. What helps us understand if this local church really is church? Well, it's the extent to which it really does embody what is true of Universal church. So we've got to start with the universal church and understand its nature in order to see then that this given local church, Clifton Baptist Church, of which I am a member, for example, that this church is in fact an embodiment of this true nature of church. Okay, So what kinds of things are involved in the nature of the universal church? And we're going to look at six elements here that I think are pretty clear cut. I don't think there's anything in this is controversial. It just ought to be elements that are true of church that then ought to be true, need to be true, must be true of any local gathering that calls itself a church. Elements of the church's nature. Six of these. First of all, we'll start with what I think has to lead the list. I don't know what else could be the first on the list other than Christ is Lord of the church. Christ is Lord of the church. Goodness. Matthew 1618 When Jesus said, I will build my church and the gates of hell will not prevail against it. He is giving, as it were, his marching orders for both himself, What he will do and for those who will follow him, are going to be involved in building the church. There's a sense in which we ought to understand how we read the newspaper through the lens of I will build my church. Did we talk about this last time a bit from Ephesians one? I can't remember. Maybe not.
So let's take a minute. Look at the end of Ephesians one. It's just fascinating. Verse 18, we'll pick up there. I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, that you may know what is the hope of his calling, the riches of the glory of his inheritance and the saints, the surpassing greatness of his power toward us, who believe these are in accordance with that hearkens back to verse three. Everything we have, every blessing we have is in Christ. Okay, so these are in accordance with all these blessings we have, are in accordance with the working of the strength of his might, which he brought about in Christ when he raised him from the dead, verse 20 and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places. Now, now look how he describes this. You could put a period there, but he didn't want to put a period there. He had another point to make. So here's Christ, from whom We have received everything. Every blessing in Ephesians one comes in Christ, go through the list and mark him, circle the in hymns, the in Christ all the way through him, all of the blessings that we have, every spiritual blessing. Verse three comes in Christ. So he's made his point. He could put a period there, but he doesn't. He wants to make another point Who is this Christ? He is exalted to the right hand of God, Verse 21 far above all rule in authority and power and dominion in every name that his name not only in this age, but also in the one to come. 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.
Now, what do you think the point is of stressing? As he does, he sits at the right hand of the father over all rule and power and authority. His name is above every name in this age and in the one to come and then say, and he has been given the role of head of the church. What do you think the point is? You see it? Well, it's like this his authority over all the nations, everything that happens. Do you realize nothing happens in world affairs that is not governed by the Christ who reigns from the right hand of the Father over every principality in power? Don't despair when you read the paper. Don't worry about some kind of chemical weapon being used in metropolitan areas as if all of a sudden things are spinning out of control. It won't happen. Nothing will spin out of control because Christ is reigning at the right hand of the Father over every power. He has a name above every name. Now, fine. But what's the point of bringing up church? Don't you see? Here's the point. Christ, who has control of everything, therefore uses everything to advance his number one goal. I will build my church. So when you read the paper, not to read with a sense of, Wow, what does this have to do with building the church? I mean, not that we can answer that question. You know, I'm not pretending that you can easily or in some cases ever comprehend why things happen and the relation to the church. But know this. They do know this. Christ reigns as head over everything in order to function as head of the church and build his church. I think I mentioned to you last time when I was in Washington a week ago and the guy said, the interesting sidebar, Did I tell you that story? This fellow who was the spokesman for this group that did this briefing of us is it's kind of interesting when we're talking about this war with Iraq, that we're right there in this land between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers and they Babylon's real nearby.
So that's kind of an interesting sidebar, isn't it, the fact that this relates to kind of biblical history? Instantly, I thought you got it exactly wrong. Exactly wrong. The sidebar is George Bush and Saddam Hussein and the war between the coalition of the willing and Iraq. That's the sidebar. Do you know what the headlines in heaven is? Christ is building his church. That's the banner truth. All these other things that are happening are happening because Christ is reigning and he's accomplishing his purposes. So he's Lord of the church. Some other clear indicators. We'll talk about these right after spring break. We'll get back to this. Metaphors of the church. I mean, think of them. Think of how all the metaphors of the church emphasize the lordship of Christ. Christ is the good Shepherd, and we're the sheep. Well, who's the central figure? The Good Shepherd. Christ is the foundation. Church is built upon the foundation. In one of those metaphors, Christ is not just the foundation. He is the cornerstone. And the church is built. The foundation takes its shape. The church takes its shape from the cornerstone. Christ is the bridegroom. We are the bride. He's the head of the body. We're the parts of the body. When you think of all the metaphors, every one of them, that is a metaphor of Christ in the church. Guess what? Christ is the central figure. He's the top guy. He's the one in charge. He's the one who reigns, overrules over, has authority over. And from that position of authority over, provides for builds up sustained serves, gives held ever in your mind draw a conflict or a oh, what's the word I need? Don't think of as mutually exclusive authority and servant hood. Don't do that.
It will ruin your marriage because then a husband who is to be an authority and a father who is to be an authority, won't use his authority because he doesn't think he has any. No, I'm a servant. I'm not an authority. I'm a servant. Well, no, you can serve really, really wonderfully in ways you can't when you have authority. Christ has authority and he uses it as a servant. So here we have Christ overall. But using all that He has in this wonderful way of building up the church, I mean, Ephesians five, loving the church, providing for her, purifying her and so on. It's a little bit off the point, but I was just wondering about the the analogy of the bride and the groom. Yes, the groom, I think. Was it C.S. Lewis that said that obviously God is not male or female. Right. From that that God is masculine and we as his church is. Is that accurate, do you think? Yeah. I mean, in part that's true. God represents himself to all of us in masculine language. And the most telling of it, I suppose, is Christ the Bridegroom. And we, we men, Christian men in this room. I know what it requires in an identity crisis of sorts to come to terms with this. But all Christian men comprise the bride, along with Christian women comprise the bride of Christ. And so there is that. It's not that God is male. That's not the point. He's not. He's neither male nor female. He is not a gendered being. But it is to say that he characterizes himself as masculine, and he does so purposely because he built this world in such a way that he created male headship. He put it in there.
He put it in place. And so he describes himself self-consciously as father, never mother. Crisis break room not bright. So you have this language that is meant to convey these eternal realities that are true. Yeah, that's very, very helpful. Okay, so Christ is Lord of the church. Now, what would be a second one that would be so clearly second? No question. One is one crisis. Lord of the church has got to be on the top of the list. What has to be second? Well, here's my suggestion for you. This can't be third or fourth. It's got to be number two. If I got you curious. Church is this body of people? Who is the church who is formed as the church and who grows as the church? Because Christ, from the right hand of the Father, sends forth that which you both see and hear. Acts 233 Christ sends the Spirit. You remember it is to your advantage that I go away. John six seven. It is to your advantage. Why? Because if I don't go, I won't send them to you. But if I go, I will send him. The spirit who has been on me will be upon you so that you live your lives increasingly. This is not Wesley. And perfectionism. Increasingly, incrementally. You live your lives as I have lived my life. The power that I have had. You have to live life as I lived. How I resisted temptation. You have that power as I obeyed the father. You have that power. Here I send you the spirit. Then, for the purpose of transforming you into my likeness. The spirit? What will he do? Second Corinthians 318. The Spirit will fix your eyes on me. Beholding us in a mirror of the glory of the Lord.
And you will be transformed from glory to glory. And this will come from the Lord. The Spirit. So the Spirit will force the issue of the Lordship of Christ becoming like Christ, bearing the name of Christ. Witnessing the Gospel of Christ. The spirit will do that. So the church is the company of those who have been called out because the spirit has been at work. We talked about this before, but spirit at work, both in terms of empowering witnessing. Right. So he takes the initial spirit filled company and he uses them to bear witness. And great numbers of people come to faith and they share. And more and more in the church expands and missionaries go out and the church expands. So he uses Christian people. He empowers them to bear witness. But then he works in those Christian people in two ways. Do you remember this from before we talked about in regard to the gifts of the spirit? He works in people two ways. One, through them, through the gifting that he gives them to be an empowering source of growth in the lives of other people. So first Corinthians 12, Ephesians four, indicate the the spirit giving gifts for the growing up of the body of Christ. Right. And then the Spirit working in our lives individually. It's both in me for you, in you, for me, and it's also in me. For me, in you, for you. That is the spirit is working in each one of us individually to enable us to grow, to be filled with a spirit, to walk in the spirit, to have eyes that see the Word of God in ways we have never seen it before. You have eyes that are open to understand truth, to be trained by it, and then us used in the lives of others.
So can you see how the whole thing the church is formed by the spirit? But also notice how critical that. Number two is two. And number one is one. So that when the spirit comes, Jesus says he will glorify me. He will not speak on his own initiative, whatever he hears from me. He will speak. So as Spirit filled church, you might not even notice the spirit. What you notice a lot of is Jesus exalted, reigning, honored, glorified, worshiped, obeyed, submitted to a fearful church is going to have an elder board that longs to follow the leading of the Lord Jesus Christ in the power of the Spirit. It's going to have a leadership, a spirit filled church is going to have a leadership that longs to be spirit filled so that they can be faithful to Christ. In whatever ways Christ calls them to be as a church now. So Christ the Lord of the church, formed by the Spirit. Number two hears third. Jews and Gentiles united. This is another one. My goodness. It almost screams to be third. It can't be second. Nope. Something else has to be there. Definitely can't be first. No way. Nothing's going to stop. Jesus is Lord of the church. But, boy, this screams to be third. Do you see why? What is it that Paul talks about over and over again? If fact, we're going to spend a unit on this. Capital letter B? I think it is, yes. Is the mystery. The church is a mystery. So we'll come back to this. So here, I'll just give you a thumbnail sketch. What does Paul talk about so much? What he brings up Church, Jew and Gentile together. United together. One body in Christ, Ephesians three member, one body in Christ.
And what Paul means by this is a kind of unity that is supernatural. It isn't just that they happen to meet at the same place or hold the same doctrine. No. These are people who formerly hated one another, were at odds with each other, tell each other enemies, and now they are closer than kin. Do you know, by the way? Let let me preface this by saying I love my family and my extended family. I love my parents. I love my wife and children. I love my sister. I love my extended family. But you know what a family has become in many evangelical circles? Idolatrous. Did you know that it has taken a place of primacy? That is wrong to think of Jesus and family. Think of Jesus and family. Jesus, your mother and your brother and sisters are at the door. Family. Oh, excuse me. My family's here. I need to attend to them. Is that what he said? Jesus. Your brother and your brother and sisters are at the door. Who are my brothers? Who are my mother and my brother and my sisters? Those who hear my words and follow me. They are my mother, my brothers and my sisters. Think what this means. Your identity with me in Christ and me with you in Christ is stronger than family connection. Brothers and sisters in Christ trumps other relationships so that they think Jesus family think, if you follow me, Jesus says, this is what might happen. Your father, your mother might hate you. They might reject you. But you will be a disciple of mine if you follow me. Do you see where the allegiance is primary and where the allegiance is secondary? This Jew gentile thing is not just different cultures.
Well, we know we can accept each other and get together. No, it is supernatural union in a bond that is in Christ that surpasses anything else true about us. Any family connection. Ethnic connection. Social connection. National connection. We are not Americans first and foremost either. I'm all for supporting our troops. I mean, I say that seriously. I am. I'm in support of our president. But we are not first and foremost Americans or any other nationality. We are first and foremost Christians. So we have more in common with an Iraqi Christian than we do with an unsaved American. Do you believe that? If you don't believe it, you don't know the Bible yet. You just don't. I'm sorry. You might think you do, but you don't. We have more in common with an Iraqi, a Russian, you name it. A North Korean Christian than we do with an American next door neighbor who's unsaved. We have a stronger bond in Christ than any other bond. Not national, not ethnic, not family. Fourth, this particular community whose crisis Lord formed by the Spirit, the supernatural union of unlikely combinations brought together. Jew Gentile has a covenant. Yes, it has a charter. It has an agreement that holds it together. And that agreement is called the New Covenant. It is a covenant by which God says, you know, that law that Moses had out there that was supposed to bind the people together, that law that the people despised and hated and rejected. What I'm going to do, says God, is I'm going to write that law on your hearts so that from the inside out. You long to keep what you are obligated to keep. I'm going to do this transformational work because, you see, the law didn't work.
It was a tutor to lead us to Christ. But it didn't work. It showed exactly what we needed to learn. Here's the law. Here's my heart. And I don't want to keep the law. I have a rebellious heart. I don't want to do it. This is what Romans seven is all about. This is the stubbornness of the heart that even when it sees the law is holding righteous and good, won't do it. Won't do it. So we need a transformation. And the New Covenant is a covenant by which God says, I will make you my people, You will be transformed. I will be your God, you will be my people. And how will that happen? By my work in you. My work to transform you to be a holy people. So we have a covenant. Think of the Book of Hebrews better than the old covenant, right? A surpassing covenant. It's based upon a better forgiveness or a better priest. We have this covenant that is lasting, enduring, eternal. Okay, So if we have crisis, Lord, we are formed by the Spirit. It's this union together of Jew and Gentile in one body. And we have an agreement in this that binds us in the New Covenant. And then what are we to do? Well, I could have made the list longer. I picked out two things to end this. We are a testifying community. The church is, at its core, a testifying community. What do we testify? Well, goodness. Think of it for a moment. Everything from the ordinances. What do we do in baptism? But testify? Christ died and Risen is my hope, says the one who goes under the waters of baptism. What do we do with communion? We testify the broken body of Christ represented by this bread.
The shed. Blood of Christ represented by this juice. This is our hope. So the ordinances are testifying. Occasions for the church in symbol, but no less powerful. Wow. What glorious symbols they are. Aren't they? Both of them. Baptism and the Lord's Supper. So rich. But it's not just the ordinances. How else do we testify? The proclamation of the word preaching. So the preaching is central for the church because the preaching and the teaching is one of the God ordained means by which people are grown up in the faith. They are established and they are matured in their faith through the preaching and the teaching of the word and hence the special importance there is for those who are teachers in the church to be examined and to be, in this case, men, character and those who have conducted themselves responsibly, whose children behave and the different requirements that are there. Well, all because teaching preaching is crucial for building up with the Saints. In Ephesians four, Christ gave to the church. Apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastor, teachers. Probably those last two are sort of a hyphen. Pastor teachers for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry. So it's not that those gifted those apostles, prophets, evangelist pastors, teachers do all the ministry, but they have the responsibility to equip, to train, to undergird the ministry that happens through the body of Christ that the body may grow. What else? What's another kind of testifying that the church does mission's evangelism. So the church not only testifies to the truth among ourselves, as it were, through the preaching of the word, we testify of the truth. As we go out, we testify to a lost world of the truth. So there is the testimony of the gospel, as it is proclaimed, probably another way that will become more likely to be true even in our land.
I know it's hard to imagine that, but through the history of the church, it has been the case that persecution and martyrdom has been a means of church testimony to the reality of the power of God at work in lives and the grace of the gospel. And so maybe I could broaden that point by saying lives lived in faithfulness to God, come what may. Lives lived in faithfulness to God. And take whatever Satan or the world brings is an enormous testimony to the authenticity and integrity of Christian faith. Few things have been more powerful in the history of the church than the testimony of faithful men and women of God who have endured enormous persecution and have done so with Christian grace. That amazing thing. The church then testifies. Let me just say one more thing. I think the church as a testifying people also involves a kind of deliberate catechism. And what I mean by this, I don't mean necessarily that you have to follow a catechetical instruction in the church. But what I mean by this is we do have the faith once for all, given to the saints. There is a common stock of truth that defines who we are and we dare not mess with it. Shame on open theism, for example, for messing with the common stock of cherished church belief. Shame on them. It hurts the church. It splinters. They call the critics the ones who are causing division. Get real is my message to open things. You're the ones doing it. You're the ones advocating aberrant views. Quit it. Come back to orthodoxy. So the church has the catechetical mandate. Mandate? Second, Timothy, to the things you've learned from me. Teach the faithful men who will be able to teach others also.
That's a catechetical mandate, isn't it? It's a mandate to hold fast to what we have received and not be swayed by the traditions of men in the new waves of doctrine that come along. Okay, so in all these ways and more, the church is a testifying community. Here's the last one. A worshiping community. I have served over most of the years of my adult life at various times as a worship leader in churches. And I love absolutely love leading worship. It is one of my great, great delights to do that. I have often thought of this many, many times. Dr.. I probably think of it more often than not when I'm up there. Leading worship is how how amazing it is that what are the religion is like this you try to find in Buddhism, in Islam, in animism, try to find a hymn. Nadi a reality that compels yet another generation to put its best artists to work at writing music and putting verse to heart expressions of God's greatness and glory and wonder and the beauty of the cross and the freedom of forgiveness of sin and all of the truths that we relish and cherish. And we can't hold it in. And we have to sing out praises to God and proclaim to Him His greatness and his wonder and His Majesty. Why? Because it's true. It's true. I have often thought the music of the church has got to be one of the most unnoticed apologetics for its truthfulness that is out there. Just try to put a lid on it. Just try it. Try to put a limit on singing praises to God. And what are you going to get from Christian people? You're nuts if you I mean. Goodness.
This. Why? One of the reasons people switched churches, isn't it? I mean, they want a church. Right or wrong, I'm not going to get into that now. They want a church where they can sing their praises to God. The church is a worshiping church. Why? Because God is worthy of worship. C.S. Lewis. I got these two points from him. God is worthy of worship. You know, He commands us to worship him. Have you ever thought about this boy? That seems awful. Egocentric, doesn't it? It seems awful, self-centered and prideful. I think I use this illustration last term with you. Suppose I said tonight right here in this room. I'm going to be here. I'm standing here in the front here. I'll have this focused on me here so you can see me real well. And I want all of you to come and bow down and just adore what you see. Why are you laughing? I mean, not so quickly anyway. No. I mean, it's. It's ridiculous. You think, boy, goodness, Professor, where has really got problems? You know, I mean, this is serious. I mean. So why is that? We don't think the same thing when we think of God. God who commands our worship, whose vision of eternity is you bowed down before me and notice how wonderful I am. It's two reasons. One, he is deserving of all worship. So for God not to command, I mean, for God to take kind of a self effacing posture, say, Oh, no, don't look at me, don't notice me, you know, I'm nothing. We just think how blasphemous that is for God to say, Oh, I'm nothing, you know, for God to do that, it would be a denial of the greatest magnitude of truth, because God alone is worthy of honor, glory, blessing, worship, praise, adoration.
Because God alone possesses those qualities infinite holiness, infinite goodness, infinite beauty, God alone possesses those qualities that are worthy of worship. So God deserves it. He demands it because it must be. Second reason He demands we worship him because he knows we will only enter into in finite reflection, finite possession, if you will, of his infinite qualities. We will only enter into those as we worship him. So he calls us to do it for our God. We become like what we. Love. We take on characteristics of what we adore. It happens all the time. Why does Michael Jordan advertising Nike tennis shoes work? Why does it work? Or Gatorade? Why does it work? Because a whole culture of people adored Michael Jordan. Maybe they still do. They did. A few years back. Big time. They adored Michael Jordan and so good us. What do you want to do when you adore something? You want to be like it? Well, you can't jump like Michael Jordan. You can't play basketball quite like him. But you can wear Nike tennis shoes like Michael Jordan to drink Gatorade like Michael Jordan. You can do that much. So you can be like, Mike, I want to be like Mike. Remember that ad? Be like, Mike. You want to be like what you love. You want to become like what you adore. So God says, Now get this. God says, Adore me, love me, honor me, worship me. And guess what will happen to you, my Holiness? That you adore? You take on its quality in finite measure, you get filled with my holiness, my love that you adore, you get filled with it. Okay, so worship is both the duty of the church. It's the only thing that God could require of us.
And we must do. And it is the delight of the church because it's fills us with God in worship. Yeah. See, worship is sometimes understood exclusively as expressive. But it's not. It's not exclusively expressive. That expression of glory to God and honor to God is itself transformative. Worship is transformative. Haven't you known that in your own experience that there have been worship services that you have gone to, where you have worshiped God whole just gloriously, and you have been changed by it? Yeah. So worship is both? Yes. So worship also point back to five. It does. So these are not exclusive categories. Worship can be, as it were, an expression of that testifying sure of God's power and greatness in song. Yeah. Right. And preaching. Yeah. With worship. Well, you know, I did have a very clear order going down here until here. I view this as both kind of parallel expressions that happen. One, I thought of it in terms of one more outgoing, but they're not exclusively that way. Okay. Other questions, comments, anything? Yes. I think it was the second of your characteristics. Nature is being formed by the spirit. What I was thinking is you look back and it's not a new doctor. When you look back at the church history. You see this incessant desire to combine church and state. And I'm just thinking church and state. Yeah, well, yeah. Uh huh. One big hole in the in. The thing is, if it's a spirit born community, how did that not conflict with their desire to have it as a state, as one? But it seems impossible to have a church state when I think what I think what happened is the first one, the very first element, which is what? The first time it happened.
No, no, no. First element that I just gave you. Crisis Lord of the Church. Well, if he's Lord of the church, then the church ought to be Lord of the State. So there is this sense in which the, you know, the way this got worked out was a kind of relationship to culture, to society, in which Christian people viewed church as that which was to dominate everything else. And the problem was they put that I mean, that's not wrong. What is wrong, I think, is one that gets translated into political social structures that are built into society. There is where, you know, you have an establishment of structures that have all the potential to take the church off course. But should church be dominant in culture? Yes, but how? Evangelism Transform lives. The Church the truth as a Leavening influence in culture. That's how it ought to happen. Not by some kind of coercive mechanism of taking over state. But that's but that's how it happened. I mean, that was clearly the model that was in mind. Anything else about the Jew and Gentile? Yeah. What you think of interfaith dialog? Well, interfaith dialog usually means leave all of your most cherished right held beliefs at the door and come on and let's talk meaningfully together. Well, how can you talk meaningfully when you can't say Jesus Christ, not Buddha, not Muhammad is Lord. But interfaith dialog as it's usually framed won't allow that its lowest common denominator religion. And oddly enough, even that doesn't work. I was living in the Chicago area in 1993 when they had the 100th anniversary of the World Congress on religion, that they held World Parliament on religion that they held in 1993. In Chicago, again, it was an 1893 deal.
Moody spoke at the 1893 one. There was a very prominent conservative Christian participation there in evangelism and preaching in 1893, but 1993. Goodness, no way. This was the lowest common denominator. Christianity, Hinduism, Buddhism, you know, you name it. They came there and one of their goals was to write a doctrinal statement of this group that would represent and you know what? They could not write literally. They could not write one word. Why one word? Because you've got to have a word for God. And they couldn't agree on that. And this was the liberals of the bunch. I mean, this was the liberal Christians and the liberal Buddhists. Then they still couldn't agree on what you call this transcendent reality. Singular or plural, personal or impersonal. What do you say? And they couldn't agree. So they ended up writing a moral statement. They could all agree we should love one another. That's basically what they wrote. Yeah. Well, will you be getting into more regarding the church as far as what you talked about at the beginning? Hopefully I heard you write that there's no exclusive church that you talk about. Yes. Right. Churches and the only one. But the ones there. Are you going to be. Yes. My main point is that these qualities need to be true. So when you look, I already took them down here. When you when you look at these qualities, Christ is learning to evaluate your church, his Christ, the Lord of this church. Well, I mean, if Pastor so-and-so is the Lord of the church or Deacon so-and-so is Lord of the church, we've got problems. I mean, if the if there is not a wholesale submission to Christ, we've got problems. If the Spirit is not alive in at work, we've got problems.
If there is an exclusiveness and so we don't like certain people coming to our church and, you know, we've got problems. Here's my point on this. You look down the list and you say, Is this small key small C church? Well, it's got to have these characteristics. Yeah. Okay. One more thing and then we'll be done with this section will pick up. Then after the spring break. Oh, isn't that nice? Did you love hearing that just now? Spring break? Oh, yes. Spring reading days. It still sounds good, doesn't it? Okay. Definition. Let me give you a definition of the Church of the Universal Church. It's kind of long. So get ready to write. The Universal Church is This is a definition of the universal church. The universal church is a unified fellowship. Of people. From any ethnic, racial. Social. National Group A unified fellowship of people from any ethnic, racial, social national group. Ethnic. Racial. Social. National group who confess in common. In witness and worship. To having received newness of life in Christ. To having received newness of life in Christ. And who are empowered by the Spirit to proclaim Christ. And who are empowered by the Spirit to proclaim Christ. To submit faithfully to Christ's uncontested Lordship. To submit faithfully to Christ's uncontested Lordship. And seek to grow increasingly into his likeness and seek to grow increasingly into his likeness. One more phrase to the glory and praise of God in Christ to the glory and praise of God in Christ. There's a lot of that definition. Yeah, I know. You just wrote it, so you know that. Let me read it again to you. But take a minute sometime and think through what it's saying. The Universal Church is a unified fellowship of people from any ethnic, racial, social national group who confess in common in witness and worship to having received newness of life in Christ and who are empowered by the Spirit to proclaim Christ, to submit faithfully to Christ's uncontested Lordship and seek to grow increasingly into His likeness, to the glory and praise of God in Christ.
Well, that's the big picture. We're going to take a look at mystery of the church, metaphors of the church, and then we'll get into some of the practical issues that relate to local church. And we'll do that when we come back. So, hey, have a really wonderful break, all of you. I hope things go well over your time. Some of you probably are traveling a bit. But try to relax some. Really, You should. A little bit. Besides getting caught up on stuff. So blessings on you.