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July 27, 2020 7:00 pm
Dr. Gary Reimers begins a chapel series entitled “Christ’s Body: The Church.” Today’s scripture passage is Ephesians 1:22-23.
Welcome to The Daily Platform from Bob Jones University in Greenville, South Carolina. The school was founded in 1927. The evangelist Dr. Bob Jones Senior's 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 preaching from the University chapel platform today in The Daily Platform beginning a study series about the role of the church Gary rumors of the Bob Jones University seminary will bring today's message look at three passages that together communicate for us a very important that I think I hope today a very clear message for you in answering the question, what is the church.
Paul responds in these three passages that the church is the very center of God's program on the earth right now you can't say that about any other entity you can say that about any Bible college or university or any other organization the church is the very center of God's program on earth, and that requires an appropriate response from every child of God. Ephesians 1 just the last two verses and so let's just jump into the middle of this in verse 22 where Paul is in the midst of reflecting on the exultation of Jesus Christ exultation that God himself prepared for Christ things that God did to give our Savior. His rightful place so verse 22 and have put all things under his feet, one who did the putting is God.
He put all things under the feet of Jesus Christ and gave him to be the head over all things to the church which is his body, the fullness of him that for lift. All in all, what are these two verses tell us about the church was actually it has a couple of staggering assertions about how important the church is in God's sight is telling us first on these two patent. These two verses that the church is the very body of God's son.
Again, you can't say that about any other entity in the world today.
It is only the church that is the body of God's son in verse 22 God has given Christ dominion over the entire world and he did so he tells us in this verse specifically for the benefit of the church. Look at verse 22 again, God has put all things under his feet, and there are no exceptions.
There all things are under his feet and gave him to be the head over all things to the church. We have to read that very carefully, because elsewhere Paul tells us that Christ is the head of the church. The church is his body. He's the head. But that's not his point in verse 22 Christ is the head of something else in this verse. He's the head over everything. Everything in the world. Christ has dominion over everything the world is under Christ rule. How does the church relate to that God made Christ the head of everything and gave that Christ to the church Christ as the demand and has dominion over the world for the benefit of the church alone. Then he goes on to describe the church in more detail in verse 23 the tell us that Christ's abundance defines the church itself is a very very fascinating verse of a very full version has more here than not only that, then we have time to explore, but that we could ever possibly understand having just referred to the church.
In verse 22 in verse 23 he says that church is his body, the fullness of him who Philip all in all that I staggering statement about the church. Christ fills the church with himself.
The church is the fullness of Jesus Christ.
My wonder the what is he filled the church with his presence is power, his grace is provision of all things can only say that about the church, Christ's abundance defines the church but on the last part of verse 23 the fullness of him of Christ that Philip all in all Christ also fills everything else he's that the church is the fullness of Christ, who fills everything else. How can he fill both if all Christ is, he has poured into the church.
How does he feel the world that takes us to the very role of the church. Christ fills the world through the church.
The church is the visible extension of Christ and his person in this world.
What the world learns of Christ. It learns from the church. Now I acknowledge that Paul is here specifically referring to what we call the universal church. We are in the first three chapters of of Ephesians, which is the doctrinal half of this verse of this entire book. The last three chapters are where Paul puts this into practical application in his transition from the concept of what is the church, to what are we supposed to do about it. He moves right into the realm of the local church. What is true doctrinally about the universal church.
We have access to, and we participate in through the local church environment. That's the biblical balance of this very book itself.
What we have just seen from these two verses in Ephesians chapter 1 is that to say it and serve a colloquial expression far as God's concerned the church is where it's at connecting with a local church is your access point to all that the church really is as the body of God's son. No doubt you have a connection with a local church back home and that has served you well all the time that you have lived back home for the next eight or nine months or so. Most are not at home, you're away from home and I have a distant connection to a local church over these coming months is not enough connecting with a local church here in town becomes your access point to the full provision that God makes available to the church through his son now being the body of Christ says a lot about the church there other passages that could add more to that but the church is even more than just the body of Christ. Let's go on to chapter 2. Toward the end of that chapter were Paul has something else now to say about the church, not just the body of God's son. The church is the temple of God's spirit.
He highlights that truth in the very last verse of chapter 2. Let's start in verse 19, pick up a little bit of context here in verse 19 he says now therefore he is talking, of course, to the church now therefore ye are no longer there were no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and of the household of God speaking here specifically to Gentile believers and that would include most of us here today and the fact that God has in the church combined Gentile and Jew, which means that's every category in the world. Included in those two and made them into one entity. The church that's a dramatic change for each one of us from what we are naturally naturally we are strangers and foreigners in connection with the church. Now we are fellow citizens.
It's a beautiful image. Paul has another image in verse 19, where as we used to be estranged from God, we are now family members part of the household of God.
That's a pretty high status. That's a status that God has assigned to the church and those are pretty strong credentials. Full rights in God's kingdom full rights in God's family. Verse 20 we also have a very secure foundation. He says we are built on the foundation. He knows he's changed imagery. Again, this is not his third image of constructing a building, says the church is built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief cornerstone. None other than he. That's a secure foundation.
We are part of the house that God is building for himself, but he is more to tell us about this building. Verse 22 in whom is just referred to Jesus Christ as a cornerstone so in him in connection with Jesus Christ all the building being fitly framed together grow onto an holy temple in the Lord now is defining this building.
More precisely, this building is a temple designed for worship designed to honor God designed to give him glory.
But how does that happen in connection with Jesus Christ.
Christ is the builder here in the builder is the building is being fitly framed together on a sense of passive being fitly framed indicates somebody is doing the fitting who could that be, that would be Jesus Christ himself is the architect is the contractor. He is building a building that is going to be the temple of God spirit. How is he doing that by fitting pieces together. He says much the same thing in verse 22 in whom points us back to Christ again in Christ. You also are being are our building together another passive. He's the one building. We are the materials he's using. Bill did together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.
What God is, is striving for. Here is a worshiping community is assigned that task to Jesus Christ.
Christ is actively involved with building and how does he do it. Notice the emphasis in both verse 21 and 22 by pulling people together. The church is that building and it is by connecting people together that Christ is accomplishing his purpose so we can say only together can we give him the glory, the worship that he deserves and only together do we form his building. The building that will be the dwelling place of God himself through the Holy Spirit as elsewhere in Scripture.
Paul uses the temple imagery of individual believers. We are all the temple of the Holy Spirit. But this imagery could hear applies to only one temple and you are part of that temple for your connection to the church was sitting next to a woman on a plane one time and was trying to engage her in a gospel conversation and I I started out by asking her about that if if she was a churchgoer did do have any affiliation with Eddie with a church where you live, and her response was no, no, I don't.
So with all of this is a candidate to hear the gospel. Then I began presenting the gospel and apparently partly into my my witness. She stopped me and says I see where you're going and I need to tell you I already know Christ as Savior. I questioned her on that a little bit and she gave good answer.
She did seem to know the gospel and she seemed quite confident she had trusted Christ as her personal savior. At one point, so I put the conversation back around where we started and I said, but but you told me you don't have any connection to a church that is all I'm way too busy for that. Way too busy in other words, the church is not important enough for me to set aside things that I like to do in order to and not me. Now this is not how she would say it but I think it's how God would say, set aside things that she liked to do to instead focus on what God says is more important. Reality is you can't do what God wants without a connection to the church and we do that through a connection with the local church and yes that connection does take time. It takes energy it takes resources, takes effort it takes a commitment. God knows all that, he still thinks it's necessary and deeds to be a part of your experience of the body of Christ, the temple of the Spirit. What else could there be what could go alongside that Paul has one more suggestion for us in chapter 3 will start again in the middle of the verse is in the middle of a sentence at verse seven verses seven through 10. Paul is telling us that the church is also the trophy of God's grace. A very important trophy, a climactic trophy in the overall scheme of God's plan for the world. Verse seven he gives a word of personal testimony his own experience with the church. He says wherefore I was made a minister that simply means a servant actively involved in the work of the church. I was made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God given to me by the effectual working of his power, God has power available to enable you to serve him and he expects you to access that power and to engage in service.
Verse eight that power can be more than just activity more than just what you do. He can also empower you in what you say and he speaking here specifically of proclaiming the gospel.
He says unto me, God gave this power who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, and appalls not being overly humble here based on his level of rebellion against God. He is here accurately calling himself less than the least of all saints were right there with him. None of us deserve the blessings that God is providing through his son and through the church. When Paul trusted Christ. He took advantage of that power. And what he is sharing here about his own experiences as this is God's plan for everybody in the church, God empowers the church to proclaim the gospel further in verses nine and 10. He empowers the church to portray the gospel to actually show by how we live. This is what God can do to rebellious sinful human beings look at the change.
God can bring forth a look at how Paul rejoices in that verse nine he says and to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery.
That word translated fellowship is not the usual word translated fellowship in the New Testament. This one really means more along the lines of of an economy of of and administration of a program. It is describing God's plan and the plan of the mystery is Paul's way of referring in this verse to the church. The church was a mystery until it happened. Nobody anticipated. Nobody knew what God is up to, and suddenly he revealed that we realize all it's the church that he has planned for this age with a plan for the church. Paul says, which from the beginning of the world have been hidden in God who created all things by Jesus Christ. What's God's plan for the church to the intent that now onto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God. Paul saying there God empowers the church to portray the gospel of the church fulfills God's program on earth and in so doing the church displays God's wisdom displays his wisdom and his power to such an extent that the principalities and powers in the heavenly places. Be thinking here in terms of the of the hierarchy of angels. Their models drop open. They are stunned, astounded at what God is accomplishing through the church. The church is the climactic trophy of God's grace. You need to be a part of that you need to be actively involved in that.
After all the preaching. I was hearing all the exhortations and instruction in Bible class in chapel and everywhere else on campus what God used to open my eyes to this was my trombone teacher yes I was taking trombone lessons as a freshman, was a graduate assistant that was teaching me. It was his last year of teaching, trombone, and I have a class with him early Monday morning I get there Monday morning and weeds talk a little bit as I was warming up, and it he started asking me a question. He said did you go to church last night and I said no I didn't. I had studied to do other things going on all well you might want to rethink that I might I might not when I'm at the trombone lesson came back the next Monday morning to go to church yesterday go to church last night, night, no, no, I didn't still had studied, you know, student hard work all that any data little more or admonition about how I ought to reconsider that what after a few weeks of this I either had to change the day of the week. I was having my lesson. I actually had to rethink that. I realize he was right was not an optional activity was I was going to be a ministerial student of all things and I wasn't planning on being actively involved in church you might be thinking hey I was in church Sunday.
I was there for two services that sorry that's that's the minimum that's what were supposed to do is and that okay wise, I think it is okay that the University establishes a minimum because you know what would happen if they didn't. Some people would be going at all, but you really suppose that the idea of two services a week. University thinks that's enough that that's the ideal boss walked up to Bob one day on the job and said Bob I got good news for you. We like to give you a nice raise and Bob responded by saying all of no thanks. Minimum wage is enough for me to thinking about Bob right now I know what you're thinking Bob and Eddie at the thinking you don't turn down such an opportunity or something else about Bob is nonexistent. Nobody says I'd rather just have minimum wage to my conviction that the Bob Jones University student or faculty or staff member that says when it comes the church.
The minimum is good enough for me. I think that ought to be nonexistent as well. Connecting to a local church means a whole lot more than attending a couple times a week. It means joining. It means serving at means becoming actively involved in what God is doing in that church and we rejoice here in Greenville that we have a lot of excellent choices, your first order of business. Find one find one that you can support because of what the church is as the body of Christ, the Temple of the spirit. The pinnacle of God's grace at work in the world today you be a part of that church in the fullest sense to offer prayer. Father, we thank you for being so clear about your perspective on the church when he prayed today that your spirit would use your word to change our perspective to come into alignment with yours father may that make a difference both about our attitude and our level of activity in the local church. We pray in Jesus name, amen.
You been listening to a sermon preached at Bob Jones University by Dr. Gary Reamer's which is part of the study series.
Christ's body, the church join us again tomorrow as we continue this series here on The Daily Platform