Lecture 19: The Headship of Christ
Course: Systematic Theology II
Lecture: The Headship of Christ
V. The Doctrine of the church (Ecclesiology)
The term church as you are probably aware comes from two Greek words ek (evk) and kaleo (καλέω). So we get the term ekklesia (ἐκκλησία) from it which is the Greek word for church. And ek-kaleo means to call out; ek (evk) out of, kaleo (καλέω) to call. This is one of these places where you sort of wish they would come up with a genuine translation of ekklesia (ἐκκλησία) church. Well would you ever understand from church, that you are the called out one's. Why not be the called out one’s? What a great thing because you realize what is involved in that, is God calling us out of darkness into his marvelous light, is calling us from the dominion of Satan in the kingdom of his beloved Son to him, it is to be a special people a called out people, called out from among the others who formed the company of those who are God's people. There is a sense in which, we'll talk about this in more detail as we move through here. There is a sense in which we as the church today share in the line of the called out the goes all the way back to Abraham. I suppose you could think of him as called out of the Ur of the Chaldees coming to the promised land. Actually it goes back before that doesn't it, Noah called out, Adam, God chose that man to be the first man. In the calling out of God has a long history so there is a sense in which we stand in 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 is both involved in this. There is 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 that people. So continuity and discontinuity and I hope that we will see more of that 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 ekklesia (ἐκκλησία) used in both ways that refer to church “C” that is all of those who are in Christ in all the ages in all the churches. We have church ekklesia (ἐκκλησία) used in both the sense in which Christ is the Lord of the church, universal. I will build my church. When Christ said that I don't think He meant first Baptist Church on the corner of Fifth Avenue and Oak. Charles Swindoll will build his church I will build my church. Is that what He meant by that? No, He had in mind church “C”. That is a usage of ekklesia (ἐκκλησία) in Matthew 16 that refers to the whole refers to the whole church.
There are others for example
1 Corinthians 10:32
1 Corinthians 10:32 Give no offense either to Jews or to Greeks or to the church of God;
1 Corinthians 15:9
1 Corinthians 15:9 For I am the least of the apostles, and not fit to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.
Ephesians 3:9 and to bring to light what is the administration of the mystery which for ages has been hidden in God who created all things; 10 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.
I'll read to you the Ephesians one because it's so staggering in what it says
This is one of those versus where you kind of go wow, there is something going on here that is much bigger than any of us realizes moment by moment.
Colossians 1:24 Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I do my share on behalf of His body, which is the church, in filling up what is lacking in Christ's afflictions.
Those are usages of ecclesia for “C” church.
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. It is an amazing thing to think church.
But of course church also is used that is in place He is also used in local churches. Of course this is all over the places and in the New Testament. The
church that met at Nympha's house in Colossians 4:15. Or the churches of Galatia in Galatians 1:1, that He writes to. So you have got the lots of indications. And of course the letters to the seven churches in Revelation 2-3. You have got these instances where it's very clear that there are local
What's the point of that? Well, it seems to me that if there is universal church, the 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, makeup,
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? That can't be, this just won't do. Just because they call themselves church doesn't mean it is. 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 on universal church. So we 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'm a member for example, that this church is in fact an embodiment of this true nature of church.
So what kind of things are involved in the nature of the universal church? We are going to look at six elements here that I think are pretty clear cut. I don't
think there is anything and this that is controversy. 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.
B. Elements of the church's nature
1. Christ is Lord of the Church
I will 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.
Matthew 16:18 "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. WNAU)
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 is a sense in which we ought to understand how we read the newspaper through the lens of “I will build my church”.
Didn't we talk about this last time from Ephesians 1, I can't remember maybe not. Look at the end of Ephesians 1; it's just fascinating verse 18 we will pickup there
Ephesians 1:18 I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, 19 and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe. These are in accordance with the working of the strength of His might
That harkens back the verse 3. Everything that we have every blessing we have is in Christ.
Ephesians 1:20 which He brought about in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places,
You could put a period there, but He didn't want to put a period there, He had another point to make. Here's Christ from whom we have received everything, every blessing Ephesians 1 comes in Christ. Go through the list and mark them, circle the “in Hims” the “in Christ” all the way through, all of the blessings we have, every Spiritual blessing, verse 3, comes in Christ. So He made his point. He could have put a period there, but He doesn't, He wants to make another point. Who is this Christ?
Ephesians 1:21 far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. 22 And He put all things in subjection under His feet, and gave Him as head over all things to the church,
What do you think the point is of stressing, as He does, He sits at the right hand of the Father over all rule power and authority. His name is above every name in this age and in the one to come and then say, He has been given the role of the head of the church? What do you think the point is? His authority over all the nations, everything that happens (Do you realize nothing happens in world affairs that is not governed by the Christ reigns at the right hand of the Father over every principality and 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 the 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.) What is the point of bringing up church? 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 you want to read with a sense of wow. What does this have to do with building the church? Not that we can answer that question, I am not pretending that you can easily or in some cases ever comprehend why things happen and their 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 you last time when I was in Washington a week ago when
the guy said interesting sidebar, this fellow who was the spokesman for the group that did this briefing of us. It is kind of interesting when we are talking about this war with Iraq. Right there in this l's and between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers and Babylon is nearby, that is kind of an interesting sidebar isn't 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 is accomplishing his purposes. So he's Lord of the church
Some other clear indicators we will talk about these right after spring break we will get back to this.
Metaphors of the church, think of them. Think about all the metaphors of the church emphasize the Lordship of Christ. Christ is the good shepherd and we are the sheep. Who is the central figure? The good shepherd. Christ is the foundation, the 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 and the church takes its shape from the cornerstone. Christ is the bridegroom we are the bride. He is the head of the body, we are the parts of the body. When you think of all the metaphors every one of them is a
metaphor of Christ and the church guess what? Christ is the central figure He is the top guy, He's the one in charge, He's the one who reigns over, rules over has authority over, and from that position of authority over provides for, builds up, sustains, serves, gives. Don't ever in your mind draw a conflict or don't think of as mutually exclusive authority and servant hood. Don't do that. It will ruin your marriage because in a husband who is to be an authority and a father who is to be an authority wont use his authority. Because she doesn't think He has a, no I am a servant. I'm not an authority I am a servant. 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 over all the using all that He has in this wonderful way of building the church. Ephesians 5, loving the church, providing for her, purifying her, etc..
Student Question: Unintelligible
Answer: In part that is true God and the represents Himself to all of us in masculine language and the most telling of it, I suppose, is Christ the bridegroom in we, we men Christian man in this room, I know that the it requires in an identity crisis of sorts to come to terms with, but all Christian men comprise the bride along with Christian women, comprise the bride of Christ. It's not that God is male, that's not the point, He is 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 in there, He put it in place and so He describes himself self-consciously as Father never mother. Christ is bridegroom not bride. So you have this language that is meant to convey these eternal realities that are true realities. Very helpful.
Okay so Christ is Lord of the church.
2. The company called out to be empowered by the Holy Spirit
And what would be a second one that would be so clearly second, no question, one is one Christ is Lord of the church has got to be in 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 has to be number two. Church is the 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 2:33 Christ sends his Spirit, remember it is to your advantage that I go away John 16:7, it is to your advantage, why? Because if I don't go I won't send Him to you, but if I go I will send you. The Spirit who has been on Me will be upon you so that you live your lives, increasingly, this is not Wesleyan perfectionism, increasingly incrementally, you live your life 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? 2 Corinthians 3:18, the Spirit will fix your eyes on me, beholding as in a mirror 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. The Spirit works both in terms of empowering, witnessing, 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 of the church expands and missionaries go out of 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. You remember we talked about this before in regards to the gifts of the Spirit. He works at 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: 1 Corinthians 12, Ephesians 4 indicate the Spirit giving gifts for growing up of the body of Christ. And then, the Spirit working in our lives individually. It is 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 the Spirit, to walk in the Spirit, to have eyes see the Word
of God in ways we've never seen it before, to have eyes that are open, to understand truth, to be changed by it, and then us used to lives of others. The whole thing, the church is formed by the Spirit.
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 a Spirit-filled church you might not even notice the Spirit but you notice a lot of is Jesus, exalted, reigning, honored, glorified, worshiped, obeyed, submitted to. A Spirit-filled church is going to have elder board as 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, 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. So Christ the Lord of the church formed by the Spirit.
3. Jews and Gentiles united in one body
This is another one, my goodness, it almost screams to be third. It can't be second, something else has to be there, it definitely can't be first, no way, nothing is going to top Jesus as Lord of the church. This screams to be for third. Do you see why? What is it that Paul talks about over and over again, and affect were going to spend the unit on this, the church is a mystery, so we will come back to this. So here I'll just give you a thumbnail sketch. What does Paul talk about so much when He brings a church? Jew and Gentile together, united together, one body in Christ. Ephesians 3 one body in Christ. 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 formally hated one another, were at odds with each other, counted each other enemies and now they are closer then kin.
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. Think of Jesus and family. Jesus your mother and your brothers and sisters are at the door. Excuse me, my family is here, I need to attend to them. Is that what He said? Jesus your mother and your brothers and sisters are at the door, who are my mother and my brother and my sisters, those who hear my words and follow me they are my mother and 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. 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'll 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. 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. And I want to say that seriously I am, I'm in support of our President but we're 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 then we do with an American next-door neighbor who was unsaved. We have a stronger bond in Christ than any other bond, not national, not ethnic, not family.
4. Body held together by the New Covenant
This particular community whose Christ is Lord, formed by the Spirit, the supernatural union of unlikely combinations brought together, Jew-Gentile, has a covenant, 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 that was supposed to bind people together, that law the people despised and hated and rejected, what I'm going to do, says God, is that I am 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 the law didn't work, it was a tutor to lead us to Christ but it didn't work. It showed us 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 7 is all about. This is the stubbornness of the heart that even when it sees the law is holy and righteous and good won't do it. So we need to transformation. 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 it 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, a surpassing covenant. It is based upon a better forgiveness, a better priest. We have this covenant that is lasting, enduring, eternal.
So we have Christ as Lord, wherefore by the spirit, it is this union together of Jew and Gentile in one body, and we have an agreement that binds us in the new covenant. What are we to do? I could've made this list longer; I picked out two things to end this.
5. A testifying community
We are a testifying community. The church is at its core a testifying community. What do we testify? 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 since the one who goes into 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. What glorious symbols they are, both of them baptism and the Lord's Supper, so rich.
But it is not just the ordinances, how else do we testify? 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. Hence the special importance for those who are teachers in the church to be examined and in this case men of character and those who have conducted themselves responsibly, whose children behave and the different requirements and there. All because teaching, preaching is crucial for building up of the Saints. In Ephesians 4 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. It's not that those gifted, those apostles, prophets evangelists, pastor-teachers do all the ministry but they have the responsibility to equip, to train, to undergird the ministry that happens to the body of Christ so that the body may grow.
What is another kind of testifying that the church does? Missions, evangelism. So the church not only testifies to the truth among ourselves through the preaching of the word, we testify of the truth is we go out, we testify to a lost world of the truth. So there is the testimony of the gospel as it is proclaimed.
If probably another way that will become more likely to be true even in our land. Through this history of the church it has sure 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 to grace the gospel. 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. It's an amazing thing.
The church then testifies. I think the church is a testifying people also involves a kind of deliberate catechism. 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 that 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 theists, you are the ones doing it, you are the ones advocating aberrant views, quit it, come back to orthodoxy. So the church has a catechetical mandate. 2 Timothy 2, the things you've learned from me teach to faithful men who are able to teach others also. That is a catechetical mandate. It is a mandate to hold fast what we have received and not be swayed by the traditions of men in the new waves of doctrine that come along.
So in all these ways and more the church is a testifying community.
6. A worshipping community
I have served over most of the years of my adult life at various times as a worship leader in churches and I absolutely love leading worship. It is one of my great delights to do. I have often thought of this, many many times (in fact I probably think of it more often than not when I'm up there leading worship) is how amazing it is that. And what is other religion is like this. Try to find in Buddhism, Islam, and Animism a hymnody. 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, we have to sing our praises to God proclaimed him his greatness, and His wonder and his Majesty. Why? Because it's true. I've 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, try to put a lid on singing praises to God and would either get Christian people? You're nuts. One of the reasons people switch churches isn't it? They want a church, right or wrong about I get into that now, 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 us two points from him). He commands us to worship him. That seems awfully egocentric, it seems awful self-centered and prideful. Suppose I said tonight, right here in this room, I'm going to be here, I'm going to stand up here in front and that I have this focused on me here so that 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? You think, Prof. Ware has just really got a problem. Why is it that we don't think the same thing when we think of God? God who commands are worship whose vision of eternity is you bow down before me and noticed how wonderful I am. There are two reasons. One, he is deserving of all worship. So for God to take a self-effacing posture and say oh no don't look at me, don't notice me, I'm nothing, think out blasphemous that is for God to say oh I'm nothing. For God to do that it would be a denial of the greatest magnitude of truth because God alone is worth the 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.
The second reason he demands that we worship him because He knows that we will only enter into, in finite reflection, finite possession of His infinite qualities, we will only enter into those as we worship Him. So He calls us to do it for our good. 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, or Gatorade why does it work? Because the whole culture of people adored Michael Jordan, maybe they still do they did a few years back big time. What do you want to do when you adore something? You want to be like it. 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 or drink Gatorade like Michael Jordan. You can do that much. So you can be like Mike, I want to be like Mike, remember that add the like Mike. You want to be like what you love, you want to become like what you adore. So God says adore Me, love Me, honor Me, worship Me. Guess what will happen to you? My holiness that you adore, you take on its qualities in finite measure. You get filled with My holiness. My love that you adore, you get filled with it.
Worship is both the duty of the church. It is the only thing that God could require his and we must do. And it is the delight of the church because it fills us with God in worship.
Worship is sometimes understood exclusively as expressive but it's not. It is 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've been worship services you have gone to where you have worshiped God gloriously and you have been changed by it.
Student question: Unintelligible
Answer: It does. So these are not exclusive categories. Worship can be an expression of that testifying of God's power and greatness in song and preaching.
Student question: Unintelligible
Answer: I did have a very clear order going down here and these are kind of parallel expressions that happened. I thought of it in terms of one more outgoing but they're not exclusively that way.
Student question: Unintelligible question relating to being transformed by worship
Answer: I think that what happened, the very first element, Christ is Lord of the church. If He is Lord of the church then the church ought to be the Lord of the state. So there is a sense in which the way of his got worked out is kind of a relationship to culture, to society in which Christian people viewed church as that which was to dominate everything else. The problem was 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 for you now have an establishment of structures that have all the potential to take the church off course. But should church the dominant culture? Yes, but how? Evangelism, transformed lives, the church is leaven influence in culture. That's how about I happen. Not by some kind of coercive mechanism of taking over state. But that's how it happened, that was clearly the model that was in mind.
Student question: Unintelligible question related to Jew and Gentile united, what do you think of interfaith dialogue?
Answer: Interfaith dialogue usually means leave all of your most cherished held beliefs at the door and come on let's talk meaningfully together. How can you talk meaningfully when you can't say Jesus Christ not Buddha, not Mohammed is Lord. But interfaith dialogue as that is usually framed won't allow that. It is lowest common denominator religion. Oddly enough even that doesn't work. I was living in the Chicago area in 1993 when they had the hundredth anniversary of the world Parliament on religion that they held in 1993 in Chicago. D. L. Moody spoke at the 1893 one. There was a very prominent conservative Christian participation in evangelism and preaching in 1893 but 1993 no way. This was the lowest common denominator Christianity, Hinduism, Buddhism, you name it they came there and one of their goals was to write a doctrinal statement of this group. Literally they
could not write one word. Why one word? Because you have to have a word for God and they couldn't agree on that. And this was the liberals of the bunch. This was the liberal Christians and the liberal Buddhists and they still couldn't agree on what you call this transcendent reality, singular or plural, personal or impersonal and they couldn't agree. They ended up writing a moral statement. They could all agree we should love one another, that's basically what they wrote.
Student question: Unintelligible
Answer: When you look at these qualities, evaluate your church. Is Christ the Lord of this church? If pastor so-and-so is Lord of the church or deacon so-and-so is Lord of the church we've got problems. If there is not a wholesale submission to Christ, we've got problems. If the spirit is not alive and at work we've got problems. If there is an exclusiveness so that we don't like certain people to come in our church, we've got problems. Here's my point on this. You look down the list and say is this small “c” church? It has got to have these characteristics.
A Definition of the Universal Church
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.
Have a really wonderful break all of you. I hope things go well over your time. Some of you probably are traveling a bit. Try to relax some, besides getting
caught up on stuff. Blessings on you.