The Nature of the Church – Hebrews 10:25

It’s Saturday April 4, 2020, and you are listening to the COVID-19 Connection Series # 16

How are you doing today? Well, I hope.

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Make sure you visit SLBC Online for resources that will help your family during the Stay Home/Stay order.

In the News Today: Headline News 

   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 – grace2u4@gmail.com. I will find a prize for the most creative face covering!

   Yesterday I received my first picture of someone who made a mask. Get your picture into me.

Pause for Prayer: 

  • Continue to pray for church family (use directory)
  • Pray for hardest hit states – New York, California, Louisiana, and others.
  • Pray for health officials and those on the frontline.
  • Kevin Ward and the local Police Department.
  • Pray for Shut-in’s.
  • Pray for Tom Spann and Bob Ahsmuhs with cancer treatment.
  • Pray for those depressed, and afraid.
  • Pray for those going to work every day.
  • Pray for those who have been laid off that their needs would be met.
  • Pray for wisdom regarding our Easter services. 

Our WORD from the LORD today comes from Hebrews 10:25.

Today I want to have a Word with you on the topic of The Nature of the Church.

Christians have the Bible – 66 books – Genesis to Revelation. It is broken into two parts: Old and New Testament. In the Old Testament we read about the Israelites, the Jews. In the New Testament we read about the coming of Jesus Christ (the fulfillment of the Law), and the birth and history of the Church.

Now please hear this – Israel of the Old Testament is NOT the Church of the New Testament, and the New Testament Church is Not the Israel of the Old Testament. Many people make this mistake and they assume that Israel is the Church, and that we are all Israel. And they also assume that we can claim all the promises that God made to Israel.

We learn about the Church from Israel only in terminology – Israel is called an assembly. As a matter of fact we learn the following in the Old Testament about Israel:

The People of God in the Old Testament: Israel

  • Israel is called God’s son (Exodus 4:22).
  • Israel is called God’s spouse (Ezekiel 16:6-14).
  • Israel is called the apple of God’s eye (Deuteronomy 32:10).
  • Israel is called God’s vine – Isaiah 5:1-7; Naham 2:2).
  • Israel is called God’s flock – (Ezekiel 34:4).

Through these names God foreshadows what the work he would eventually do through Christ and his church.

Etymologically, a connection exists between the Old Testament word for “assembly” and the New Testament word translated “church,” ekklesia. The Greek version of the Old Testament, the Septuagint, translates “assembly” in Deuteronomy 4:10 and elsewhere with ekklesia. And this word for assembly is closely bound up in the Old Testament with the Lord’s distinct people Israel. The rich association between the assembly of God and the distinct people of God in the Old Testament assembly then carries over to the New Testament ekklesia, the Church.

The Church is an assembly (Hebrews 10:25). It is God’s assembly because God dwells with the church.

Old Testament Israel:

  • They are ethnically distinct.
  • Live under God-given Laws.
  • Circumcision was required for all males.

New Testament church:

  • They are ethnically mixed.
  • They live under the rule of the nations.
  • Baptism is required for all believers.

Why such differences between the Old and the New Testament? Jesus Christ made the difference. He came and fulfilled all of the shadows and promises given in the Old Testament (Read the book of Hebrews).

Because of Israel unbelief we today, the church are the benefactors. 

The People of God in the New Testament: The Church

Explicit Teaching

“The people of God” – I Peter 2:10; Luke 1:17

Meaning of Ekklesia

N.T. English word church can be used to describe both a local congregation or all Christians everywhere.

  • In contemporary use the word is used to describe buildings and denominations. These latter ways the English word church does not parallel the Greek word in the New Testament.

Ekklesia is used 114 times in the New Testament. 109 times it is used directly for the Christian church.

  • Jesus uses the word twice – Matthew 16:18; 18:17
  • The Book of Acts refers to specific local assemblies in Jersualem, Antioch, Derbe, Lystra, and Ephesus. These churches met and sent out missionaries (Acts 15:3).
  • Paul says the ekklesia was bought by Christ’s blood (Acts 20:28).
  • Paul quite often spoke of the church – Philippians 3:6; I Corinthians 15:9.

General Epistles

  • Hebrews mentions the church once – Hebrews 12:23
  • James refers to a local church and its elders – James 5:14
  • 2 and 3 John picture a particular congregation and its struggles with false teachers and leaders.
  • Revelation has more occurrences of ekklesia than any other New Testament book – Revelation 1-3; Revelation 22:16

Images and Names of the Church

Paul Minear writes that there are 96 images for the church in the New Testament. Key: No single image can comprehend all aspects of the church. But allow me to mention a few of them for us:

  • The herald of the Gospel – Acts
  • The obedient servant – Isaiah
  • The bride of Christ – Revelation 19; 21
  • The church is a building – I Peter 2:5; Ephesians 2:21
  • The church is a temple – I Corinthians 3:16; II Corinthians 6:16; Ephesians 2:19-22; I Peter 2:4-8
  • The church is the salt of the earth – Matthew 5:13
  • The church is a letter from Christ – II Corinthians 3:3
  • The church is a family of believers – Galatians 6:10; Mark 3:31-35
  • The church is the family of God – I Peter 4:17
  • The church is a new creation – II Corinthians 5:17
  • The church is a fellowship (based on fellowship with Christ) – John 17; Luke 12:4; John 15:15
  • The church is the body of Christ – I Corinthians 10:17; I Corinthians 12; Ephesians 3:6

   The church is the koinonia of fellowship of people who live under the rule and reign of Jesus Christ. He is our king, and our Lord. We wait for our coming King, and His kingdom.

   Remember, we are in touch, so you be in touch. Walk with the King today and be a blessing.