The picture perfect Church

Teaching Series

By Pastor Tony Davis

Crossfire Bible Church

Kaufman, Texas

 

Introduction:

 

It is no secret that many people are seeking to get in touch with their own spirituality in

these days in which we now live.  Everyone has their own opinions and follow their own leaders, from Oprah Winfrey and Shirley Mc Lain with their New Age message of enlightenment to Norman Vincent Peal and the power of positive thinking or Islam and even extremist “so called Christian cults”.  The purpose of this study is not to debate or rail against the many different forms of spirituality that are out there today but rather to simply educate ourselves as to what is truth in the light of God’s Word which we believe are the Holy Scriptures which is the foundation of all that is true. I believe that we can find in these 3 ½ chapters Romans 12-15:13”  a beautifully illustrated word picture from the pen of the Apostle Paul of what the picture perfect Church really looks like. Many of us including myself have spent years looking for this elusive place only to face one disappointment after another and even suffer some spiritual and emotional damage along the way, so let us now together search the Word of God to see what it is that we are really looking for. In some of the Scripture references you will see that I have intentionally left out some of the wording, this has a two-fold purpose #1 to encourage you to examine the Word of God for yourself so that you might be able to fill in the blanks yourself and #2 to point out specific words that we will have a much closer look at. We will go through these 3 ½ chapters verse by verse and in some cases word by word so put on your thinking caps and get ready to be here in Romans for a few weeks  and I will promise based on the Power of God’s promises you will not be disappointed.

 

Psalms119:50

This is my comfort in my affliction: for THY WORD hath quickened me.

 

I Kings 10:8

HAPPY are thy men, HAPPY are these thy servants, which stand continually before thee, and that hear thy wisdom.

 

 

 

Lesson one: The church is not a place.  Part one

 

 Romans 12:1-3

I beseech _____ therefore, _________, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living ­­­________, ______, acceptable unto God, which is your ______________ service.

And be not _____________ to this world: but be  ye ______________ by the ____________ of your mind, that ye may_________ what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, _______ of God.  For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every  _____ that is among you, not to ______of himself _____ highly than he ought to think; but to think _______, according as God hath dealt to every man____ measure of faith.

 

The first missing word we are going to look at is you.

The word you that Paul used here was the Greek word hymas  which is a pronoun of the second person usage meaning you personally , or yourselves if addressing a group as Paul was doing here in his letter to the believers at Rome. It is clear from the next word “brethren” that he was speaking to a group of believers and not one individual.

 

Observation:

If you read the greeting from Paul in chapter one you will notice that the letter is addressed to “To all that be in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ.” It appears that there is not yet and organized Church here in Rome at this time. In the Phillipian letter Paul addresses “all the saints in Christ Jesus which are at Philippi, with the bishops and deacons:”   In the first letter to the Corinthians Paul addresses “the church of God which is at Corinth”. In the letter to the Galatians Paul addresses  “ the churches of Galatia:” which obviously means there was more than one. I believe that Paul was addressing a “New Church” in the process of being birthed in Rome not at all unlike we are here at Crossfire Bible Church.  

 

 It is always good Bible study practice to stop when you see the word therefore and see what the word is there for, in this case it is to make the distinction between an individual and a group and also to give instruction to that group. You may now then conclude that these timeless instructions apply to us the plural form of the word you. The second missing word brethren in the Greek is the word adelphos which means:  a fellow believer, united to another by the bond of affection”. As believers in a picture perfect Church we are bound to one another by the bond of affection, we do not have the liberty to leave any believer especially those within our own congregation to experience the pain of loneliness or feeling unloved and without affection.

 

The third missing word in our passage is sacrifice the Greek word is thysia which means an offering. Paul is saying to us that we are to offer our bodies to the Lord for his Service, why do you suppose that the Lord of Glory, King of Kings, Creator of all that is would desire the use of our bodies? It is because while he was on this earth he had his own body complete with his own eyes, ears, hands and feet but now that he is ascended to sit at the right hand of the Father we have assumed that role becoming his physical body on the Earth. We are not here solely to spread the Gospel thru preaching and teaching but also through the same hands on approach to ministry that he used in his earthly physical body.

 

Observation:

Throughout many years of ministry I have met many people with a heart of gold who truly love God and his people, yet somehow along the way they lose focus on the second of the two things that Jesus really cared about most “Loving God and loving people”  that was true then and still is today. It is good to stay focused on the spiritual things of God and meditate on the mysteries of his ways and so forth, but beware there are people who work so hard at being so heavenly minded that they can become earthly good.

 

The fourth and final missing word we are going to look at here in part one is holy which is probably one of the scariest words in the entire Bible because of the way it has been misused

throughout the years. It comes from the Greek word hagios

 

1.

specially recognized as or declared sacred by religious use or authority; consecrated

 

2.

dedicated or devoted to the service of God, the church, or religion

 

3.

saintly; godly; pious; devout

 

4.

having a spiritually pure quality

 

In closing I want to point out that nowhere in any of these four definitions is the word holy equated with perfection. For far too many years we have seen holiness as an unattainable goal that we will strive for all our lives and yet never attain it this side of Glory. If that is the case then God has issued and impossible command here in Romans

But in its proper context Paul is saying “see yourself as God sees you which is Holy”

Observation:

If there is one thing that I have learned about holiness it is that I am in and of myself unable to reach it, Thank God for the sacrifice that Jesus made for all of us that we might be presented as a holy and spotless Church adorned as a Bride for her Husband. It is only by the power of the blood of Jesus Christ that we are made clean enough to be called Holy clothed in his righteousness and no other reason.

 


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