The Scriptures says “Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, "Who do people say that the Son of Man is?" And they said, "Some say John the Baptist, others say Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets." He said to them, "But who do you say that I am?" Simon Peter replied, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God." And Jesus answered him, "Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven." Matt 16:13-19


“The kingdom of heaven is meant the Gospel, which comes from heaven, declaring the king Messiah to be come. This means the “setting up, and enlarging it”, which displays the riches of His grace, and gives an account of the kingdom of heaven. "The keys" the abilities to open and explain the Gospel truths, and a mission and commission from Christ to Peter, and to the church after the Day of Pentecost. 

There are many reasons to study the church, its nature, its mark 

and its purpose, to why God established it.


Pastor & Teacher Gil Rugh said “As Christians we know the wonders of God’s salvation in Christ and His infinite grace that saved us from an eternity in Hell, yet we have not always been clear on how God is working out His plan of redemption in the world…..God’s instrument for ministry in this age is the church.”


This is why it’s important we have a proper and Biblical understanding for the church, and what its purpose is in the world today. You might be seating here this morning and find this sermon to be uninformative or you’re preaching to the choir pastor Mike.


But what I do hope for you and I, is that we

understand the doctrine of the church more clearly.

And that it brings us to our knees in…… prayer, stronger devotion, a love for His Word, repentance, and to stand strong as His “called out ones” to do the ministry of the gospel in a world that is hostile and contrary to His truth.


1. The Nature Of The Church

 In the New Testament we see that Christ gave Himself for the church. The primary purpose of this age is the building of His church. The Apostle Paul considered it his greatest sin when he persecuted the church. “For I am the least of the apostles, unworthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.” 1 Cor 15:9


The church is made of those

who are truly saved.


The church is used to apply to all those whom Christ died to redeem, all those saved by His death. “As Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.” Eph 5:25-27


Understand though! The church is not Judaism improved or continued.  “And Jesus said to them, "Can the wedding guests mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them? The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast. No one puts a piece of unshrunk cloth on an old garment, for the patch tears away from the garment, and a worse tear is made. Neither is new wine put into old wineskins. If it is, the skins burst and the wine is spilled and the skins are destroyed. But new wine is put into fresh wineskins, and so both are preserved." Matt 9:15-17The church is not “the kingdom”, the Kingdom of God, is larger than the church; this includes both believers in the New Testament age and the believers of the Old Testament age. The church is a community of all true believers for all timeAll authority over the church has been placed under Christ. “far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all.” Eph 1:21-23. In the Acts, Luke reminds us that the church didn’t come by human effort alone. “And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.” Acts 2:47


The Greek word for church is “Ekklesia” and this word means “called out ones” this term comes to mean “a gathering or an assembly”“A gathering or assembly” The process to how God established His church is patterned by the Old Testament as God called His people to Himself. “… the LORD said to me, 'Gather the people to me, that I may let them hear my words, so that they may learn to fear me all the days that they live on the earth, and that they may teach their children so.' Deut 4:10. The Septuagint (the Greek Old Testament) translates the word “gather” with the Greek word “Ekklesia” to summon “an assembly”. Stephen speaks of the people of Israel in the wilderness as a church. “This is the one who was in the congregation in the wilderness with the angel who spoke to him at Mount Sinai, and with our fathers. He received living oracles to give to us.” Acts 7:38. The church is God-ordained “institution” for carrying out His work of the gospel. Now! This doesn’t exclude: missions, and other ministries; but God has purposed the church by its very nature to fulfill His will on this earth. As Paul told Timothy from a Roman’s prison cell. “I hope to come to you soon, but I am writing these things to you so that, if I delay, you may know how one ought to behave in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, a pillar and buttress (provides a building or structure, with projecting supports) of the truth.” 1 Tim 3:14-15

According to the Scriptures the church has many names….. 

1. The church is a Body… Col 1:18 says “And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent.”


2. The church is a Bride… Eph5:23 “For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior.”


3. The church is a building… Eph 2:20 “built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone,”


4. The church is a Flock… Acts 20:28 “Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood.”


5. A Harvest… John 4:35 “Do you not say, 'There are yet four months, then comes the harvest'? Look, I tell you, lift up your eyes, and see that the fields are white for harvest.”


6. Branches… John 15:5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.”


7. A Safeguard Of The Truth… 1 Tim 3:15 “if I delay, you may know how one ought to behave in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, a pillar and buttress of the truth.”


We know the nature of the church represents two things about the true

 believer through the Gospel.

 1. The Universal Church….. By the Spirit the believer has been baptized into the Body of Christ, from the Book of Acts and onward. The universal church is a group of people “called out” from around the world and belongs to the Lord…….globally as the true churchThe universal church is a spiritual entity, which has no physical manifestation of its own. But as we read in Paul’s letter to Timothy “The Lord knows who are His.” 2 Tim 2:19. Christ is the head of the universal church.

2. Local Church…… this is a small, or large, local gathering of people, who are Spirit baptized, who gather unto the Lord. A house church was called a “Church” in Romans 16:5 “greet also the church in their house.” The local church is a group of obedient believers who have been water baptized, who meet for worship, prayer, edification, fellowship, and service for the Lord Himself. This place we call “Calvary Baptist Church” is a manifestation of the local body.

In the Book of Acts we see the nature of the church being blue-printed for other “Local Gatherings” to follow after. “So those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls. And they devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. And all who believed were together and had all things in common.” Acts 2:41-44

This is why the Hebrew writer knew that the church essential because it was surrounded by a vast amount of witnesses to God and His grace. Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” Heb 12:1-2


2. The Purpose Of The Church.


A. Ministry To God…… Your soul purpose in this life, and for all eternity, is to worship GodGod as appointed us in Christ, to live a life for the praise of His glory. Worship in the church is not merely a preparation for greater and better things; it is something that fulfills the purpose for the church in any ageThis is why, as we have breath in our lungs, we are to worship Him because of Christ and the gospel. “Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ,” Eph 5:15-20

B. Ministry To Believers…… Our calling is to nurture; not to: coddle, or compromise, to save relationships over confession of sin. But to nurture and care for the body as it grows in grace. How?


Love One Another……John 13:34 “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.”


Be Devoted To One Another…….Rom 12:5 “so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.”


Serve One Another……Gal 6:2 “Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” What is the Law of Christ? “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another." John 13:34-35


Embodying Kindness & Forgivenss To One Another………Eph 4:32 “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.”


Encourage One Another……..1 Thess 5:11 “Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.”


Offer Hospitality To One Another……….1 Peter 4:9 “Show hospitality to one another without grumbling.”


Be Accountable & Pray For One Another…….James 5:16 “Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.

The ministry to “one another’s” is commands,

they are not suggestions.


This should be at the very heart of every

born again child of God.


Being in this place is not about…. programs, or having your felt needs met, or getting what you want out of the church. But! Sharing life together as brother and sisters, young and old, for His glory and the edification of this local body of Christ, His church.


C. Ministry To The World Through Evangelism And Mercy. Jesus said to the disciples that they were to go into the world make disciples. “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations” Matt 28:19. This work was to declare the gospel that saves to uttermost parts, and regions of this world, for His glory and our eternal good. This is a ministry of mercy to those who are lost, and outside of the covenant protection of His grace and Christ’s righteousness. As Paul said “As it is written, "How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!" Romans 10:15


Jesus’ ministry exemplified His mercy and grace to others as we take the gospel to the lost and broken. “For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another. But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life. The saying is trustworthy, and I want you to insist on these things, so that those who have believed in God may be careful to devote themselves to good works. These things are excellent and profitable for people.” Titus 3:3-8

See!....  What the gospel has done in your life should encourage you and I, to do the same with loving kindness towards others. To pray… that the lost would turn to Christ and live, as we go out proclaiming “there is forgiveness of sins” with Christ. When each and every one of us leaves this place we are entering the mission field to minister the gospel of grace to an already judged world. 

D. Keeping What Has Been Bestowed Upon Us To Keep It Balanced For His Glory And The Building Of His Church.... Our ministry to God, to one another and the lost outside, need to be balanced by the truth of the Scriptures. All three are important and they are the reason we exist for His glory, and for Him to be known and loved by those who come to the cross of Christ. What do I mean? A church that only cares about certain aspects of worship and the church…. will leave you neglecting one of these as less important. Everything we do in this place together is essential for your growing and for the gospel to spread throughout the Ottawa Valley.


Our prayer, fellowship, singing, studying… And ultimately the preaching of His Word which edifies us and matures us, to do the ministry He has called us to do. (To Him, to others and this already judged world.)


As Jesus said to the disciples.Even if the world won’t listen. “But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for He is kind to the ungrateful and the evil. Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful.” Luke 6:35-36


“Be merciful” means….don’t stop short at the easier love, but go on to the harder; and do this because “God does it even to the unthankful and evil"

The church is essential because the church is an institution

that is established for the glory of God.


And we also know the church plays an essential role in the life of the believer. Why? We know that man was never intended to be alone. As we see in the creation story of mankind. “The man gave names to all livestock and to the birds of the heavens and to every beast of the field. But for Adam there was not found a helper fit for him. So the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. And the rib that the LORD God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man.” Genesis 2:20-22. We are called a local church of one another’s, just as a family is essential for a stable life on this earth with a father and a mother. Not saying it’s perfect, due to sin; but this is how God designed the family and this is how God designed the church universally and locally.


As Paul reminded the church in Philippi. “So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus,” Phil 2:1-5


As Paul said to the church in Ephesus. “I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call—one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. But grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of Christ's gift.” Eph 4:1-7


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