Four Attributes of the Church – Acts 4:32

It’s Monday, April 6, 2020, and this is COVID-19 Connection Series # 17

Welcome! So glad that you are joining me today.

Today in the News: How many of you remember that this is an election year?

Dems fret over Biden’s strategy during coronavirus, and rage at Bernie for hanging in. Dems shelling out 22 million to run as backing democrats in fall campaign.

Dow surges 1,100 points as coronavirus shows signs of slowing down.

New Jersey Church sparks movement after sending care packages to member with coronavirus. Created a movement called: Boxes of Hope. Vision to see hope spread faster than COVID-19.

Best family movies on NetFlix are Incredibles 2; Mary Poppins Return; Hook; Ralph Breaks The Internet.  Looking for a series – The Chosen One.

   Mask Making Contest – I want to create a contest beginning today for the creation of the most unique face covering. Design it, create it, wear it, post a picture of you wearing it at my email – I will find a prize for the most creative face covering! Presently we have two entries. 

Pause for Prayer: 

  • SLBC family
  • National Pandemic – COVID-19
  • Local cases and care
  • Our elderly
  • Wisdom to navigate through this time
  • Political and local leaders
  • Police (Kevin Ward lots of hours)/Fire/First responders
  • Resurrection Sunday service at the Buffalo ranch. 

Our WORD from the LORD today will be taken from Acts 4:32

    Now the multitude of those who believed were of one heart and one soul; neither did anyone say that any of the things he possessed was his own, but they had all things in common. 

Today we are going to take a look at: Four Attributes of God’s Church.

   In the Niceno-Constantinopolitan Creed fashion by the Council of Constantinople in AD 381 Puts forth the following statement:

   “The church is one, holy, universal, and apostolic as a reflection of God’s unity, holiness, immensity, eternity, and truthfulness.”

   Did you catch the Four Attributes of God’s Church? Let’s take a look at them together.

   I. The Church is One
  • The church is one and this to be one because God is one.
  • Christians have always been characterized by their unity – Acts 4:32
   Now the multitude of those who believed were of one heart and one soul; neither did anyone say that any of the things he possessed was his own, but they had all things in common.
  • Divisions and quarrels in a church are particularly serious scandal.
  • Paul brings out that the church is one in Ephesians 4:4-6,

   4 There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.

  • In I Corinthian’s 1, Paul argued for the unity of the Christian-based under unity in Christ.
  • In Romans 12 in I Corinthians 12, Paul taught that there was one body.
  • Galatians 3:27-28, Paul writes that Christians are one in Christ, regardless of ethnicity.
  • In Philippians 2:2 Paul called the Church to unity.
  • Paul’s teachings reflect Christ on teachings that there is one flock – John 10:16
  • Jesus prayed for his followers to be one – John 17:21

   The church is one, though divided. Local church and universal church.

   This unity is not visible at the organizational level; it is a spiritual reality, consisting in the fellowship of all true believers sharing in the Holy Spirit. It becomes visible when believers share the same baptism, partake of the same supper, and look forward to sharing and one heavenly city. The church on earth experiences this unity only as its members are united in God’s truth as it is revealed in the Scriptures.

   II. The Church is Holy
  • The church is holy because God is holy.

   “But as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct. Because it is written, “Be holy, for I am holy.” (I Peter 1:15-16).

  • God declares the church holy – This comes through the doctrine of Justification (just as if I never sinned) – Romans 5:1
  • The word sanctification means: to be set apart unto holiness – I Corinthians 1:2
  • Ephesians 5:25-27 – 2Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, 26 that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, 27 that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish.
  • The church is holy, then, in the sense that it is daily advancing and is not yet perfect.

   Both the old and New Testament emphasize the importance of holiness marking the people of God so that they might accomplish the service to which they have been called…

   A whole church is a set apart church.

   III. The Church is Universal

   The church is universal and it’s to be universal because God is the Lord of all the earth and king of the ages. The church is universal and that it stretches across space and time.

   You may have heard that the word universal means Catholic.  Catholic is the older English word used to describe this attribute. But because of the word association with the church of Rome, universal provides a better translation of the Greek word originally used in the creed.

   Ignatius of Antioch’s letter to the Smyrneans in the early second century A.D., he wrote that “where Jesus Christ is there is the universal church” (Smyrn 8.2).

   While every true local church is a part of this universal church and is in entire church itself, no local church can be said to constitute the entire universal church.

   The universal church in the end will be composed of people from all nations – Revelation 5:9

   “And they sang a new song, saying: “You are worthy to take the scroll, And to open its seals;For You were slain, And have redeemed us to God by Your blood  Out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation,”

   The church, in both its local and universal manifestations, belongs to Christ and Christ alone.

   IV. The Church is Apostolic

   The church is apostolic and is to be apostolic because it is founded on and is faithful to the word of God given through the apostles.

   Early in Jesus his public ministry, Jesus “called his disciples to him and chose the 12 of them, who we also designated apostles” (Luke 6:13).

   Towards the end of his ministry, Jesus then prayed “for those who will believe in me through their [the apostles] message” (John 17:20).

   From the apostles to the present the gospel continues to be passed down from the Christian to the unsaved, to the one who gets saved, to the next.

   Paul tells the Ephesian Christians that they had been built on the foundation of the apostles in the prophets – Ephesians 2:20

   We should be very thankful for the succession of faithful teachings from apostolic Times to the present.

   Edmund Clowney put it succinctly:

   “To compromise the authority of Scripture is to destroy the apostolic foundation of the church.”

   Only with the apostles teaching is the church “the pillar and foundation of the truth,” – I Timothy 3:15

   These four attributes have long been used to express the Bible teaching about the church. They are the church’s gifts and task. One theologian summarized:

   “The church is already one, but it must become more visibly one… in faith and practice. The church is already holy in its source and foundation, but it must strive to produce fruits of holiness in its sojourn in the world. The church is already universal, but it must seek a fuller measure of universality by assimilating the valid protest against church abuse… into its own life. The church is already apostolic, but it must become more consciously apostolic by allowing the gospel to reform and sometimes even overturn its time-honored rites and interpretations.

   Remember, I am in touch, so you stay I touch. Also remember the words of Robert Cook, “Walk with the king today and be a blessing”. See you all tomorrow, Lord willing.F