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1217. The Nature of the Church

The Daily Platform / Bob Jones University
The Truth Network Radio
March 29, 2022 7:00 pm

1217. The Nature of the Church

The Daily Platform / Bob Jones University

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March 29, 2022 7:00 pm

Dr. Steve Pettit continues a series entitled “Seeking Things Above” with a message titled, “The Nature of the Church,” from Colossians 3:10-15.

The post 1217. The Nature of the Church appeared first on THE DAILY PLATFORM.

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Welcome to The Daily Platform from Bob Jones University in Greenville, South Carolina.

The school was founded in 1927 by the evangelist Dr. Bob Jones, Sr. His intent was to make a school where Christ would be the center of everything so he established daily chapel services. Today, that tradition continues with fervent biblical preaching from The University Chapel Platform. Today on The Daily Platform, we're continuing a study series entitled, Seeking Things Above, which is a study of the book of Colossians. This study explores and applies the timeless truth that Christ is our sufficiency in all relationships, responsibilities, and circumstances.

If you would like to follow along in the study booklet, you can order a printed copy from the Bob Jones store website, Let's listen to today's message from Colossians chapter 3, verses 10 through 15, where it says, Put on the new man which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him. Today, we'll learn how Paul revealed to the Gentile believers that they were part of something bigger than themselves, the church, and today's message is titled, The Nature of the Church. Colossians chapter 3, we read beginning in verse 10 these words speaking of what we are in Christ as a part of his church. He says, And have put on the new man which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him, whether there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision or uncircumcision, barbarian, Scythian, bond or free. But Christ is all and in all put on therefore as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering, forbearing one another and forgiving one another.

If any man have a quarrel against any, even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye. Scientific research tells us that having a connection to something bigger than yourself actually makes you happier and healthier as a person. New York Times writer David Brooks gives advice to college graduates in a column that he wrote entitled, It's not about you. And his conclusion was that the purpose of life is not found in yourself, but it is found, it is not found in finding yourself.

It's actually found in losing yourself. He implies that the most successful people spend their time on things that are bigger than themselves. Well, a part of Paul's ministry was to teach the Gentile believers, those that had been converted, that they are a part of something far bigger than themselves. When you consider that a large portion of the believers in the early church were slaves and that was their identity, you could only imagine what the teaching of Christianity meant to them regarding both their security, their identity and their value as human beings. And so Paul writes and he says, you're a part of something bigger than yourselves. And what he's talking about is he's talking about the Church of Jesus Christ. You see, the church is God's work in the world. The church, if you could say it this way, is where it's all happening. And so Paul's primary teaching about the church is found in the book of Ephesians and it's found in the book of Colossians. However, there's a However, there's a difference of emphasis regarding the church in these two letters. With regards to the Ephesians, he tells us that through the gospel, we have been incorporated into a spiritual body that's called the church, the body of Christ.

So we become a part of that. The book of Colossians says that through the gospel, all believers become connected to their spiritual head. That's Jesus Christ. So Ephesians focuses on the body, but Colossians focuses on the head. It focuses on the sufficiency and the supremacy of Jesus Christ. And in both letters, Ephesians and Colossians, Paul calls the church a mystery. What does he mean by mystery? A mystery is something that was hidden in the past, but it's now revealed in the present.

And the mystery simply means this, that the Old Testament Jews would really have not understood this because it really wasn't found in the Old Testament. And the mystery is that a believing Gentile, somebody that is outside of God's covenant, could enter into the blessings of God's covenant that was reserved for the Jewish people through the gospel. And it is through the gospel that as a Gentile, we become a partaker of the promises of God. We become fellow heirs. We are adopted as the children of God in all the privileges that go with being a part of God's children we receive. So through the gospel, we have become a part of God's work in the world.

T.S. Eliot said, most of the trouble in the world is caused by people wanting to be important. Well, Paul is saying that we actually have become a part of the most important thing in the world. And that is the Church of Jesus Christ.

I want you to think about this. If you are connected to a church, if you are committed to a church, if you are serving God either in a church or in a support ministry for the church, then you are part of the biggest thing in the world. My wife and I were married in 1980 and a part of our vows, we wrote our vows and commitments. And a part of our vows is our as a married couple is that we were not just committed to each other and to God, though, that that was foundational. But we were actually committed to the church so that we would live our lives and serve in our lives through the ministry of the church, that we would raise our children up through the church.

Why? Because that is the biggest thing that God is doing in the world. So I could say it this way. If Bob Jones doesn't serve or support the church, then our existence is actually questionable.

And let me say it this way. As a student at Bob Jones University, if you're going to come to school here, you have to go to church. If you don't go to church, go somewhere else.

Because a part of your education is a Christian education and a part of that education is our commitment to what God is doing in the world. And that is God is building his church and the gates of hell will not prevail against it. So what do we find here in this passage in Colossians? We find this, that Paul is unfolding the nature of the church and he does this with two metaphors or two illustrations.

And those are the two things I'd like us to look at just for a few moments. The first thing he says is that we are a new creation. The church is something that God created. A new creation speaks of something that did not formally exist, but God makes. And so as we read in the book of Colossians, we read, first of all, that God created the physical world. Look at Colossians 1 15, who is the image of the visible God, speaking of Christ, the firstborn of every creature.

That means he is the preeminent human being that's ever lived. It says, for by him, that's Jesus, were all things created that are in heaven and that are in earth, visible, invisible, whether they be thrones or dominions, principalities or powers, all things were created by him and for him. And he is before all things and by him, all things consist.

What is Paul saying? Everything was made by Jesus. Everything was made through Jesus and everything was made for Jesus. And by Christ's own power, he sustains and he holds his creation all together.

It's what we sang about this morning in bow the knee. And like a firstborn son in the ancient world who had all the rights and privileges of his father's inheritance, Jesus has first place or preeminence over all creation. And let me just say this. You'll never understand your purpose as a creative being in this world until you realize that Jesus should have first place in your life. He is the preeminent one. So he created the physical world. But then secondly, he created the spiritual body called the church, verse 18.

And he is the head of the body. Chapter one, the church. What is the church? The church is a society of men and women who have been supernaturally created through the new birth or through regeneration. The new creation is a result of being delivered from the first creation. And what we say is Adam's fall. You see, the first creation, Adam and Eve were in the Garden of Eden. Adam lived before God and his wife in a state of righteousness. They were perfect beings.

However, they both acted in disobedience and the result was disastrous. Adam and Eve's entire inner nature were transformed, where they suddenly went from being God centered to becoming self-centered. And Adam's sin was so great because he was the representative head of the human race that when he sinned, we sinned in him. And his nature was corrupted so that when you and I were born into this world, we were born with a corrupt nature, a self-centered nature, and all people bear the same nature, the same sinful deprivation of Adam.

And the result of the fall transformed the way humans relate to each other. We all know that human society is deeply divided. We live in a very divided world. We are divided through language. We're divided through culture. We're divided through geography.

We're divided through traditions. We're divided through beliefs, but we're also divided because of sin. So what did Christ come to do? He came to reverse the curse. He came to undo what Adam did. He came to create a new society, or you could say a new race of people. And this new society of people, or this new creation, he calls the church of Jesus Christ.

So what does he tell us in verse 11? Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, barbarian, Scythian, bondafraid, but Christ is all and in all. That is regardless of where you come from, when you come to Jesus Christ, you are a part of his body and you receive a new life and you become a new creation.

The walls of separation are now broken down. And that's why it's always amazing to go to church. Because what do you see in church? You see the miracle of new life. Fact is to me, one of the coolest places in the world is to go to a church and let people just stand up and tell their story, tell their testimony of how they were converted. And it's almost like every time people start shedding tears and a revival breaks out.

Why? Because it is magnifying the work of God and his grace and the hearts of people. And what's even greater is to go to a church that is so diverse with so many people of different backgrounds and different cultures and different languages, and they all come together and they are drawn to one another because of the love of God that is in Christ Jesus. When Jesus becomes everything to everyone, when he is all and in all, then the potential of unity as was prayed by our brother this morning in the midst of extreme diversity is incredible.

What should permeate the campus of Bob Jones University is the love of Jesus Christ. And it's not you saying this to everybody else. It's you saying this to yourself every time you point your finger towards one other person.

Remember, you got three that are coming back towards you. It's you saying I'm going to love each other and I'm going to become a servant and I'm going to live out my Christian faith. That's what a leader does. A leader doesn't expect everybody else to do it.

He does it and says, come follow. And so believers who were in an unconverted state, who hated each other, who were separate from each other, who distrust, distrusted each other, who disassociated with each other now have been spiritually renewed with the love of God in their life. And they are part of this new, incredible creation called the Church of Jesus. And you know, for every person who struggles with insecurity and identity and value and purpose, God has created something that we can become a part of where we find that identity and security and family.

And that's in the Church of Jesus Christ. But then there's something else I'd like to say secondly, and that is in the illustration we have, not only are we a part of God's new creation, but we are part of God's new Israel. God chose Israel and they made him and God made them his treasured possession. When you think of it, I mean, that's the nation of Israel, Abraham and his descendants. God has invited Gentiles who are completely separate from Jews.

OK, so think about it this way. In the world, before Christ came, there are only two people groups in the world. There were Jews and Gentiles. If you're not a Jew, you're a Gentile. You might be an Asian Gentile. You might be an African Gentile. You might be a European Gentile.

You might be a South American Gentile, but you're a Gentile. But when God formed the church, he took Jews and Gentiles and made them of one body. And that is called now the Church of Jesus Christ.

And Gentiles are now invited to participate in the heritage of Israel. We, the church, stand before God is Israel, stood before the Lord. So what does he call the church in Colossians chapter three? He says in verse 12, put on, therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved. Those three terms, elect, holy and beloved, is how he addressed Israel. Like Israel, believers have been chosen. Like Israel, believers have been set apart unto the Lord. Like Israel, God has set his love upon us because we love him because he first loved us. And Paul calls us the Israel of God. Galatians 6 15 for neither circumcision counts for anything nor uncircumcision, but a new creation.

That's what we are. And as for all who walk by this rule, peace and mercy be upon them and upon the Israel of God. So there's a question that has to be asked, not one we can develop, but is worthy of asking.

And it's important to throw out there. And that is, has the church replaced the nation of Israel as the people of God? You read the Old Testament's very clear is the is the nation of Israel. Is God finished with the literal nation of Israel and his plan now that there is the church?

This is the difference between a covenant theologian and a dispensational theologian. What about the promises that God made to Israel as a nation? Is he going to fulfill them? Well, if he is going to fulfill them, then obviously he cannot be finished with the nation of Israel. Therefore, in the church, those who are saved, Jew and Gentile, become a part of one body. But it is very clear that God is not finished with the nation of Israel, that he will fulfill the prophecies that are given in the Old Testament. So typically we've made a distinction between the church and Israel.

God's going to work all that out in his time. But God is not through with Israel, and obviously today he is working through his church. So what is the goal of the church?

How should we live like Israel? Listen to 1st Peter 2.9. You are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people.

That's what the Jewish people were. That you should show forth the praises of him who have called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. We are called to show forth the praises of God. So how do we do that? How do we live that way? Well, by living differently. So what does it mean to live differently? It doesn't mean to live oddly. Sometimes we have a tendency to think that if we do something in a certain way, we show ourselves to be God's children because God's people are peculiar. And peculiar doesn't mean weird in the Bible. Now I know some peculiar people. I live at Bob Jones University.

The gospel light attracts some strange bugs. Let's just be honest. I mean, 40% of our student body is home school. Come on.

We get it. But what does it mean to live differently? We have an emphasis here at school on Christian character development, but sometimes that can be like really selfish. It's almost like we're going to develop your character so you can go out in the world, be professional and make a lot of money. Well, that's really not the point of Christian character development is surely not what the apostle Paul thought. What he said is that the development of your character is so that you can shine forth the gospel in the world.

And the church in the world gives the glimpse to the world of the image of God. So what are we to be like? Well, he gives us qualities or character qualities that we are to have. Look at what he says in verse 12, put on. Therefore, it's like putting on clothes, put on these things. And by the way, these are the same qualities of God that were revealed to the Jewish people when Moses stood on Mount Sinai, when he reads in the book of Exodus chapter 34, that when the Lord passed by, he was merciful and gracious and long suffering and abundance and good, abundant and goodness and truth.

That's the same thing Paul saying. What does he tell us to do? He says, put on, therefore, the following things in their seven qualities.

Number one, bowels of mercy. What does that mean? It means to have compassion on people. Number two, he says to put on kindness.

The idea of the word kindness here is the idea of displaying gracious acts of kindness for the good of others. It's the difference between being mild and being harsh. It's the difference between a good cup of coffee and a bad cup of coffee. What is a good cup of coffee? It's always smooth. What's a bad cup of coffee?

It always gives your heartburn. It goes down bad and it comes up worse. And a kind person is always smooth. Jesus said that we are to be kind even to the unthankful and the evil and then humbleness of mind. What does it mean to be humble?

It means to think of others above yourselves, not looking at your own self. Being humble doesn't mean you think less of yourself. You know, some people go around thinking less of themselves.

You know, this old poor me attitude. That's not humility. It's actually self-centeredness. Humble people basically don't think about themselves. They think about others.

They serve others. And then notice meekness. What does it mean to be meek? A meek person is not consumed with their own self-importance. They are a person who is not rebellious or reactionary, but they're gentle. They're mild.

They're patient. Jesus said, take my yoke upon you and learn of me because I'm meek. Jesus is not reactionary. He's not going to break a bruised reed.

He's not going to put out a smoking flax, as he says. He's always going to be meek towards people. And then long suffering. What does it mean to be long suffering? It means to put up with people for a long time. It means people are a pain in the neck and that's not an excuse to react. But you long suffer. You actually think about it.

Think of the word long suffering. It means that being with you is actually causes me to suffer. I mean, really, that's what it means.

I mean, how many people do you get with and actually after a while you don't want to be with them? You know, I love this statement. We love our friends. We love them when they come and we love them when they go. But to manifest Christ is to be patient and kind and long suffering.

And then notice the last two. He says forbearing and forgiving. Forbearing means to endure. Forgiving means to show grace by forgiving them, even though they don't deserve it.

And then he makes this statement. If any man has a quarrel with any, he says we are to forgive. What does it mean to quarrel? It means to have a legitimate complaint that implies blame. In other words, everybody here has things that you can legitimately complain about.

It's legit. There's no point in defending ourselves. But how are we supposed to be? We're supposed to be forgiving and we're supposed to forbear. We're to put up with one another. And by doing that, what do we show? We show the light of the gospel.

And as a new Israel and as a new creation, Paul says, we are part of God's church in the world. We get to be a part of the biggest thing God is doing in the world. And therefore we are to live this out in our lifestyle. So let me ask you, are you striving to live this out? Are you long suffering? Are you meek? Are you humble? Are you kind? Are you patient? Are you forbearing?

And are you forgiving? You've been listening to a sermon from the study series in the book of Colossians by Dr. Steve Pettit, president of Bob Jones University. For more information on Dr. Pettit's series, visit the Bob Jones University store website where you can get a copy of Steve's study booklet entitled Seeking Things Above.

That's s-h-o-p dot b-j-u dot e-d-u. I'd like to thank you for listening to The Daily Platform. I hope that you've enjoyed it. I hope it's been a blessing and an encouragement to you.

We're living in very unusual times. And this is just such a crucial time for all of us as believers to walk closely with the Lord. So I hope you'll take the opportunity to follow us up on these other things that we have at and find out what it is that God is doing in through the ministry of Bob Jones University with our 2,500 students who are coming here to get a biblical worldview and see life from God's lenses and then go out with an accredited first-class education and go out into the world and make an impact for Jesus Christ in the workplace, as they go out and serve in local churches, not only here in the United States, but our students are globally in-demand Christ-centered servants who are trying to serve the Lord throughout the world for the sake of the gospel of Jesus Christ. So thank you again for listening. I encourage your friends to listen and to be nourished and strengthened through God's word.

God bless you. These daily programs are made possible by the many friends of Bob Jones University and this radio ministry. If you appreciate these programs and benefit from the faithful preaching and teaching of God's word, would you consider sending us a special financial gift today? You can easily do that through the website,, and then click on the give button on the home page. We'd also love to hear about how this program is helping your Christian walk. Please send us your feedback using the contact button at the bottom of the website,, or you can call us at 800-252-6363. Thanks for listening and join us again tomorrow as we continue the study in Colossians on The Daily Platform.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-05-14 08:03:52 / 2023-05-14 08:13:28 / 10

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