Pastor Jonathan Falwell
Key verse: Ephesians 2:19 Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God.
Church – ekklesia (the called out ones)
– appears 114 times in the NT, 109 in direct reference to the community of God’s people
– often used in Greek culture to refer to political gatherings, brought together to accomplish
The NT Church is both local and universal. In the context of the local, it is what we are here today. In the context of the universal, it is all believers everywhere as the expression of the body of Christ. In this conversation, we are discussing why it is important for me to be a part of the local body, the gathering of believers.
Definition of the church: A church is an assembly of believers in whom Christ dwells, under the discipline of the Word of God, organized for evangelism, education, fellowship, and worship, administering the ordinances and reflecting the spiritual gifts.
– Elmer Towns
Eph. 2:19-22 Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, 20 having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone, 21 in whom the whole building, being fitted together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, 22 in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.
1. We are “called out”
– vs 19 Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God
– we have been made right with God through the gift of His Son
– we are a peculiar people
– 1 Peter 2:9-10 (NLT) But you are not like that, for you are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light. 10 “Once you had no identity as a people; now you are God’s people. Once you received no mercy; now you have received God’s mercy.
2. We are “filled up”
– vs 20a having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets…
– we are not part of the church because of a personality, a place, a program or prestige… we are part of the church because we are children of God
– When a person becomes a Christian, he doesn’t just join a local church because it’s a good habit for growing in spiritual maturity. He joins the local church because it is the expression of what christ has made him – a member of the body of Christ! 1
3. To “stand up”
– vs 20b …Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone,
– this expression of what Christ has made us is all about the fact that we were unworthy but Christ changed us anyway and He is the One upon whom we stand
– we have not right to disassociate ourself from the church because of people because the church is not about people it is about Christ
– Formerly, God’s earthly abode was thought to be on Mount Zion and in the Jerusalem temple. Now he makes his abode in the church. 2
– Eph. 1:22-23 (NLT) God has put all things under the authority of Christ and has made him head over all things for the benefit of the church. 23 And the church is his body; it is made full and complete by Christ, who fills all things everywhere with himself.
4. To “stand out”
– vs 21 in whom the whole building, being fitted together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord,
– 1 Cor. 12:12 (NLT) The human body has many parts, but the many parts make up one whole body. So it is with the body of Christ.
– 1 Cor. 12:27 (NLT) All of you together are Christ’s body, and each of you is a part of it.
5. To “rise up”
– vs 22 in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.
– Acts 2:42 (NLT) All the believers devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, and to fellowship, and to sharing in meals (including the Lord’s Supper), and to prayer.
– Acts 2:47 (NLT) …all the while praising God and enjoying the goodwill of all the people. And each day the Lord added to their fellowship those who were being saved.
1 Dever, Mark (2005). What Is A Healthy Church?, pg 26.
2 Wood, A. S. (1981). Ephesians. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Ephesians through Philemon (Vol. 11, p. 42). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.