A guiding metaphor for the church | CCCC News & Blogs
in the New Testament marriage is used as a symbol of the relationship between God and His covenant people. That's why, for example, on. and grouped the remaining images under the rubrics "The People of God," Reproducing his list offers a helpful outline of NT metaphors for the c h ~ r c h: ~. ' Paul S. .. The accent here is on the need for healthy relationships among church. Here are six metaphors that the New Testament uses to describe the Church. The layout of each spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. Members of the We pursue relationship with each other. ○ We encourage one .
There is a kingdom coming, and those who repent and follow Christ shall enter it. Heavenly citizens should long for the kingdom of heaven. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them. No doubt God is ashamed of some Christians. However, God is pleased with those who long for the coming kingdom. One of the ways we long for this coming kingdom is by praying for it. Thy will be done.
Another way we long for the kingdom is by longing for our King—our Savior—to come. Paul says this in Philippians 3: But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.
Are you being the church? Are you living as a citizen of the kingdom of heaven? Is your language, your behavior, your priorities, and your hopes different? To be the church, we must live as citizens of heaven. What aspect of being a heavenly citizen is most challenging to you and why?
Thursday: Marriage as a Metaphor for the Church – Sabbath School Net
How is God calling you to grow in this area? What keeps us from longing for his kingdom? How can we foster a longing for his kingdom and its righteousness? Not only has Christ made us heavenly citizens, but also members of the same family. There is greater unity and intimacy between family members than between citizens. This should be something that characterizes Christians. Christ says this about his followers in Matthew For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.
When we began following Christ, we became family. This family includes people from different socio-economic backgrounds, races, and ethnic groups, and it includes believers both in heaven and on earth. Treat younger men as brothers, older women as mothers, and younger women as sisters, with absolute purity. We are to be known by this intimate familial love. How should we practically apply the reality of the church being family? As family, believers should consider using familial terms.
We should consider using these familial terms as well. As family, believers must make the church their priority. They must be our priority.
A guiding metaphor for the church
When something is your priority, you invest your time, money, and energy in it, and you give up other things to focus on it. This should be true of our investment in the Body of Christ. Sadly, for most, job, schooling, and housing are the main priorities instead of their church. Believers often uproot their families from a great church where God is using them and move for career and other opportunities. This often leads to spiritual struggles. They find a new church, but often struggle to get involved—and it never feels like home.
Where has God planted you? How is God calling you to make church your priority? As family, believers must develop intimate relationships with one another. Family is a place where we share intimate secrets and struggles, and this should be true of the church as well. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective. We must develop intimate relationships within the body of Christ.
We must learn to confess our sins and share our successes with one another, and also to seek the prayers of the saints. These are practical aspects of being family. As family, believers must encourage one another in their spiritual growth.
In families, parents invest their lives, money, and time in helping their children grow as individuals. Church members should help one another grow as well, especially in their relationship with Christ. Are you considering how you can help your church—your brothers and sisters in Christ?
Are you considering how you can serve and help them reach their potential in Christ? If we are going to be the church and not just attend it, we must live as family members. In what ways is God calling you to apply the reality of the church being a family? No doubt this conjured up images of the Jewish temple, which Gentiles could never fully enter. That was the primary purpose of the temple. There, people gathered to worship and offer sacrifices pleasing to God. And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.
However, if you have a large sum of money in your pocket, you will walk very carefully lest you lose it. Not that we can lose God, but he who dwells in us is so valuable that his indwelling should drastically change how we walk.
Let us walk carefully in order not to dishonor God with our mouths and our meditations. Let us always remember that our individual bodies, and also we as the church, are his temple.
There were ceremonial washings and cleansings even for the plates in the temple. In the same way, as the temple of God, we must keep ourselves from anything that might defile. We must get rid of all sin and anything that does not honor God. What are the three elements of the temple that Paul refers to in Ephesians 2: The apostles and prophets are the foundation of the temple.
Who were the apostles and prophets and in what way are they the foundation of the temple? Or is he referring to New Testament apostles and prophets? Most likely he is referring only to those who ministered in the New Testament. The primary support for this view is the order in which he lists the two groups.
If he is referring to the Old Testament prophets, then it would make sense that the prophets would be listed first. Instead, he is probably referring to those who ministered with the apostles in building the foundation of the church.
Thursday: Marriage as a Metaphor for the Church
The primary way the apostles and the prophets are the foundation of the church is through their teaching. They wrote the New Testament Scripture on which the church is built, and they founded local churches based on these truths. Paul says this in 1 Corinthians 3: By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as an expert builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should be careful how he builds.
For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. The apostles and prophets laid the foundation of the church through their teachings, and their emphasis on the resurrected Christ. There are several principles that we can learn from this about being the church. How can we apply the reality that the church is built on apostolic teaching? Since the church is built on apostolic teaching, we, as members of the church, must be devoted to apostolic teaching.
Since the church is built on apostolic teaching, when seeking a church, we should look for one that faithfully preaches the Word of God. Many churches no longer preach the Bible. They say it is too antiquated, full of errors, and irrelevant to the needs of the people. Instead, they preach psychology, history, stories, and jokes. For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.
They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. Because Satan realizes the Word of God is the foundation of the church, he always attacks it to bring the church down.
Even at the beginning of time, Satan attacked the Word. In what ways have you seen churches stop preaching the Word of God, particularly the gospel? What effect does it have on believers? How is God calling you to be more devoted to apostolic teaching? Christ is the cornerstone of the temple. What is a cornerstone and how does Christ fulfill that role? James Boice says this: A cornerstone was important for two reasons. It was part of the foundation, and it also fixed the angle of the building and became the standard from which the architect traced the walls and arches throughout.
Christ is this rock. The analogy that seems to best designate an outward function is in 1 Peter 2: Which of the terms in this verse shows the outward function best? The church's role as a priesthood accentuates our outward relationship. A priesthood does not exist for itself it serves as a helping intermediary between God and others.
The church, as a priesthood, serves in the "gap" between God and unbelievers. I have briefly explained why I have chosen these three metaphors for further development. Now I will turn to the scriptures to examine the metaphors in greater detail.
In several OT analogies, God used marriage as a metaphor for his relationship with his people Israel. Ezekiel 16 uses this analogy throughout the chapter: Israel was like an abandoned child God had rescued.
He dressed her well, gave her jewelry, and made a "covenant" with her. You prefer strangers to your own husband! The focus is not on what the wife was to do to herself, or toward children or others, but on her duty to be faithful to her husband. He had saved her from death and uncleanness and had given her life, beauty and wealth. But she became grossly promiscuous, and God said she would be punished for her harlotry.
She did not remember her helpless beginning. The central concern in this chapter is the relationship between God and his people: The chapter ends with a promise that, after Judah is punished and humbled, God will restore her and "establish an everlasting covenant with you. God says "they were mine and gave birth to sons and daughters.
But because Ezekiel spoke to an apostate nation, he focused more on the picture of unfaithfulness than on describing what constitutes faithfulness. That had been spelled out in the covenant God made with the Israelites at Sinai. Hosea chapters also use the imagery of an unfaithful wife to describe the apostasy of Israel and Judah. Most of the transgressions listed are sexual, but ingratitude is also included: This passage focuses on the initiative taken by God26 calling, giving compassion and kindness, pledging faithfulness, giving luxuries and peace.
Just as the Old Testament prophets pictured God's covenant relationship with his people as a marriage, New Testament writers used similar imagery for the church. Paul told the Corinthian Christians, "I promised you to one husband, to Christ, so that I might present you as a pure virgin to him. The church is to be a virgin, pure in her affections toward her groom. The marriage is announced in the prophecy of Revelation: For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready.
The next verse indicates that the bride is the saints: Fine linen stands for the righteous acts of the saints. There, Paul bases husband-wife relationships on the Christ-church model. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church. He loves her, feeds her and cares for her. Submission and respect correspond to the OT emphasis on obedience and exclusive worship.
This would include, as David Watson brings out, moral and doctrinal purity. Christ, the bridegroom, has sacrificially and lovingly chosen the church to be his bride Eph.
Her responsibility during the betrothal period is to be faithful to him 2 Cor. At the parousia, the official wedding ceremony will take place and, with it, the eternal union of Christ and his wife will be actualized Rev. A bride is to love her husband and be devoted to him. Watson puts it like this: Beauty and faithfulness are important, yet; but above all he looks for love.
The marriage relationship essentially is one of love. This love has as its basis a wholehearted and lifelong commitment. It does not depend on feelings. But something would be sadly amiss if the feelings were never there. There must be a warm and deep devotion in the relationship The Bible daringly indicates that our love for the Lord should be one of great intimacy We are called to delight ourselves in the Lord.
In most societies, weddings are the greatest, most joyful celebrations the people experience. Revelation describes "a great multitude" joyfully shouting, "Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come. A brief review of the OT and NT data for this metaphor of bride: After the church understands the grace of God, she responds to him with complete allegiance, giving him gratitude, obedience, and praise.
The relationship is initiated from above, followed by internal change, and a visible response back upward. The Family of God A biblical metaphor for the church that illustrates internal relationships within the church is "the family of God. It is mentioned as if the people were already familiar with the analogy. The same is true of Eph. Again, the "family" is mentioned in passing, as if a familiar term. A person unable to manage a family will be unable to manage a church.
Jesus taught his disciples to call God Abba, Father, and to consider themselves his children. He is father not just of his Son Jesus, but of all his people. They are born again as his children. Possibly because of the disruptive effect of Christian conversion on pagan homes, a considerable effort is made by the New Testament writers to articulate the familial nature of the kingdom of God.
Paul stresses God as Father of believers In the NT, "brother" is used in many ways for literal siblings, for believing and nonbelieving Jews, and for Jewish and gentile believers. It is often used as an affectionate synonym for "believer," often with no apparent allusion to family ties. The connection between "child of God" and "brother" is seen best in 1 John 4: If anyone says, "I love God," yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen.
And he has given us this command: Whoever loves God must also love his brother. Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves the father loves his child as well. This is how we know that we love the children of God: The next logical step is that since we are also children of God, we are brothers and are therefore on an equal level. Equality is often implied when believers are addressed as brothers.
Paul used the term "brothers" when he urged the Corinthian Christians to have better relationships within the church. He criticized them for going to court against their brothers, and he urged them to not cause a brother to fall into sin.