The Church “Pillar And Ground Of Truth”
(Pictures Of The Church)
The third chapter of Ephesians deals with the church and the “revelation of things “which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God.” Since these things were “revealed” to the apostles what did the Holy Spirit reveal unto the apostle Paul in the Ephesian epistles about the “church age”?
And here is what God revealed to him: Ephesians 3:8-11
8Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, was this grace given, to preach unto the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ; 9and to make all men see what is the dispensation of the mystery which for ages hath been hid in God who created all things; 10to the intent that now unto the principalities and the powers in the heavenly places might be made known through the church the manifold wisdom of God, 11according to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord:
The revelation is that
“The church was according to the eternal purpose of God in Christ”. Then God had the church in mind from the beginning; it was the eternal purpose of God, to make known by the church his manifold wisdom. The Lord’s church is complete; it is the fullness of Him. Ephesians 1:22-23
22and he put all things in subjection under his feet, and gave him to be head over all things to the church, 23which is his body, the fullness of him that filleth all in all.
The church is here declared to be the fullness of Christ. In Col. 2:10 Paul says: “Ye are complete in him.” If the church lacks anything that can be had in Christ, then the church would not be the fullness of Christ. But the church is the fullness of Christ, therefore, to be complete in Christ is to be complete in the church. If the church is incomplete, so is Christ, for the church is, according to Paul, “the fullness of Christ.” But Christ being complete, so is the church--and the plan of redemption in Christ now is complete in his church now.
As one reads the New Testament and analyzes all it's teachings concerning the work that the Lord wants Christians to do, we come to the conclusion that there are three major areas of work God has given the church to do.
Evangelism— carrying the good news concerning salvation to the lost. Edification the building, nurturing and encouraging of all Christians to grow spiritually until their lives reflect the image of Christ— And Benevolence — providing help to all who are in need in any way.
Obviously, each one of these areas are vast, they cover the whole range of activities in which any Christian ought to be engaged. Each of these areas are a study in and of themselves, and ought to be considered seriously by every child of God. Tonight we will consecrate on Evangelism.
Pictures Of The Church Part 4
“The Church Pillar And Ground Of Truth”
The primary mission of the church is the same as the primary mission of Christ. In Luke 19:10 Jesus states His marvelous mission “For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.” This statement highlights the importance of bringing the simple message of salvation to eternal souls who are not yet among the throng of redeemed.
In order that we may feel the importance of this great work, I would like to read several verses of scripture. With our minds focused first on Luke 19:10
10For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.
I turn to Romans 3:10 I read —
10As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: 11There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. 12They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one….. 23For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;
In John chapter 14 verse 6 a beautiful statement by the Lord —
6Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
Again John 6:44-45
44No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day. 45It is written in the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me
And finally in Matthew 28:19-20
19Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit: 20Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.
These passages are only typical of the many other scriptures which emphasizes on almost every page of the New Testament, the supreme importance of the work of evangelism.
Have you ever stopped to consider the vast number of people living today too many lost and in need of the gospel of Christ?
In Genesis 22:17 God tells Abraham
17That in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore;
Imagine standing on a shore of one of the great oceans and holding a single handful of sand in your fist. As the hundreds and thousands of grains of sand slip through your fingers, we are overwhelmed with the total number of them…. could we possibly count them? Then, think, not of the sand in your grasp but the grains of sand upon the sea shore.
Or imagine standing on a summer's night and looking into the starry heavens above and contemplating the vast, endless expanse of stars. Though this was the promise to Abraham concerning his seed, this can help us to see the numbers of souls living today is greater than Abraham's seed. “Truly mankind constitutes a great innumerable host of lost souls”.
Several years ago the United Nations published a booklet on the population explosion. It was pointed out that all the centuries from the beginning of time until 1830 AD were necessary for the population of the world to reach one billion people living simultaneously. The time from 1830 to 1935 was required for the population to reach two billion.
It was estimated then that the population would reach three billion in just 30 more years, (1965). Actually this point was reached in 1964 ahead of projection.
The population was to be 4 billion by 1976, 5 billion by 1990 and before the year 2000 6 billion souls living simultaneously on the earth. The figures are impressive but almost impossible to comprehend a billion people, a billion souls.
The world population clock as of Friday August 6 2010 at 6pm was: 6,860,706,220 In an effort to understand this, imagine an auditorium which will seat 1,000 people. Then imagine that beginning at noon on a given day, we teach one lost soul with the gospel of Christ..
Process this number, at 1 hour to teach this thousand, at the end of the day, 24,000 would have heard the gospel. We would reach 168,000 at the end of one week, working around the clock, At the end of 42 days 1 million would have been reached.
Figuring 1,000 per hour, around the clock. If we begin today it will take more than 780 years to preach to everyone living today, but it can not be done, because everyone living now will die in this generation. The hope of bringing the good news of Christ to all mankind rest upon having more workers to enter the harvest fields. What seems a hopeless task becomes a possibility if every Christian throughout the world shares his or her faith to those about them.
In Matthew 9:35-38 this wonderful statement depicting Christ's concern for the lost
35And Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people. 36But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd. 37Then saith he unto his disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few; 38Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest.
The apostle Paul wrote to Timothy 1 Tim 3:14-15
14These things write I unto thee, hoping to come unto thee shortly: 15But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.
The last expression in this sentence "the pillar and ground of the truth" signifies that the church is to be the Foundation And Support Of The Truth, as it is proclaimed throughout the world.
The church meaning me, you and everyone who makes up the church has the responsibility of taking the message of salvation to all people everywhere. The church can do this work that has been given to it. Jesus' charge to the disciples Mark 16;15-16
15And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to the whole creation. 16He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that disbelieveth shall be condemned
As we examine the New Testament scriptures, we notice that local churches were and are the media through which evangelism is carried on. In apostolic times, the church was the only missionary organization used or needed.
example, the church at
After they had gone through the
At a later time
the apostle Paul reminded the church in
8For from you sounded out the word of the Lord not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place your faith to God-ward is spread abroad; so that we need not to speak any thing.
And yet another
time he thanked the church at
The spread of the gospel in the first generation of the church's existence was phenomenal. Beginning with 3,000 on the day of Pentecost the number of men soon came to be 5,000. Then we note that the church multiplied and multitudes of both men and women became obedient to the faith.
And this continued until Paul could finally write these words:
21And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled 22In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight: 23If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven; whereof I Paul am made a minister; (Colossians 1:21-23).
A generation of devoted Christians without Radio, TV, Internet, or even rapid transit, was able to accomplish this: Every Christian seemed to feel the challenge and recognize the privilege of sharing his Christian walk of faith with others. This, then is only way we can reach the great masses of peoples living on earth today in their generation. The church is God’s pillar and ground of the truth.
Are you a Christian, a child of God, forgiven and saved from your sins. Do you have the hope of eternal life in Christ Jesus? (2 Timothy 2:10)
Ron Cope Minister churches of Christ