A High View Of The Church
A High View of the Church
Faith Bible Church is committed to a high view of God, a high view of Scripture, a high view of the gospel, and now, a high view of the church. I don’t know of a better description of the church than 1 Timothy 3:15.
I write so that you may know how one ought to conduct himself in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and support of the truth.
The church is God’s household, representing the living God on earth. It is the pillar and support of the truth. This defines our calling. This can be said of no other human institution. John Calvin commented on this high view of the church:
Is anything more venerable, or more holy, than that everlasting truth which embraces both the glory of God and the salvation of men?.... Now it is preserved on earth by the ministry of the church alone. What a weight, therefore, rests on the pastors, who have been entrusted with the charge of so inestimable a treasure!
The Church in This World
The church is not a political organization. She is not a social institution, a moralizing movement, a force for world peace, or an ecumenical body minimizing clear truths of God’s Word in order to cooperate with other religious organizations. The church is not called to enforce social justice or engage in social activism or end world poverty. She is certainly not called to win the approval of the world. She never will.
The church exists in this world to worship God in spirit and in truth, to build up God’s people with God’s Word, and to make disciples of the nations. A biblical church is to be solidly God-centered, committed to teaching the whole counsel of God (Acts 20:27), urging one another on to love and good works. Rejecting cultural pressure to conform to the world’s changing standards, a faithful church stands strong providing the biblical infrastructure of truth and godliness. The church thus serves as salt and light to the world.
Jesus’ View of the Church
In Matthew 16:16-18, Peter confessed Jesus’ identity: “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” On this great truth Jesus assured us He would build His church and not even the gates of hell would stop Him. For 2000 years the church has sailed through bloody seas. God’s enemies have burned and drowned and tortured and attacked the church; it’s been criticized, belittled, rejected, ignored, re-invented and re-tooled, but Christ will build His church. That is a high view of the church.
The Church in Acts
In Acts 2, on the day of Pentecost, Christ poured out His Spirit on the apostles and the church was born. Peter preached, many repented, and about 3000 souls were added to the church. For the rest of Acts we see Peter and Paul preaching the gospel to Jews and Gentiles. Paul marched across the Mediterranean world, from town to city, doing two things: preaching the gospel and building up God’s people with God’s truth (Acts 20:32).
The Church in Ephesians
Paul’s letter to the Ephesians is the biblical masterpiece of a high view of the church.
The origin of the church (ch. 1): chosen by the Father, redeemed by the Son, and sealed by the Spirit, with Christ as head over the church, which is His body.
The nature of the church (ch. 2): God’s new creation, made alive in Christ, reconciled to God in Christ, and indwelt by the Spirit as God’s dwelling place.
The purpose of the church (ch. 3): to glorify God and His wisdom and grace in this world as well as in the heavenly places.
The attitudes of the church (ch. 4:1-3): to walk in humility, gentleness, patience, bearing with one another, loving one another, and living in peace with one another.
The ministry of the church (ch. 4:15-16): to equip God’s people to serve one another by speaking the truth in love.
The relationships in the church (ch. 4:25-6:9)
- Truth speakers – 4:25
- Conflict resolvers – 4:26-27
- Productive givers – 4:28
- Gracious talkers – 4:29-30
- Quick forgivers – 4:31-32
- Godly livers – 5:1-17
- Grateful worshipers – 5:18-21
- Christlike lovers and churchlike submitters – 5:22-33
- Family nurturers – 6:1-4
- Obedient workers – 6:5-9
The warfare of the church (ch. 6:10-20): to stand firm against Satan’s schemes to destroy the church, putting on the whole armor of God – truth, righteousness, peace, faith, salvation, the Word of God, and prayer.
A Caveat about Our Church
We are committed to this high view of the church, but let me assure you that Faith Bible Church is far from perfect, far from being all God wants us to be. We are flawed, fallen, failing human beings saved by grace alone. We have and will sin against one another. We will not meet everyone’s expectations. In fact, there are no perfect churches. As someone said, “If you find a perfect church, don’t join it. You’ll ruin it.” But we do seek to honor Christ by faithfully preaching, teaching, and counseling His Word to help God’s people grow and change to become more like Christ. Paul summarized the church’s ministry in Colossians 1:28.
“We proclaim Him, admonishing every man and teaching every man with all wisdom, so that we may present every man complete in Christ.”
Do you have a high view of the church? Do you love the church, with all its spots and blemishes? Christ does! Are you faithfully involved with your church, praying, learning, growing, serving, supporting, loving and encouraging others in the body of Christ?