The Inside Column 23/10

Posted in: The Inside Column- Oct 23, 2011 No Comments

A very warm welcome to all.

The E-100 readings this week have been looking at the early church. If you are not doing the readings take a look at Acts 2. You will read about the small beginnings and the characteristics of the emerging church. Of course the Bible gives us other pictures of what it means to be the church, each of which tells us some significant things about what and how the church is meant to be.

1. The Bride of Christ. This metaphor speaks of his great love for the church (Mark 2:18-20; John 3:29; Romans 7:1-4; 2 Corinthians 11:2; Ephesians 5:22-33).

2. Vine or Vineyard. The emphasis here is on the need of the members to maintain a close relationship with Christ if they are to be fruitful (John 15:1-8; Mark 12:1-12).

3. Flock. Jesus is the Good Shepherd (John 10:11), the Great Shepherd (Hebrews 13:20) who knows and watches over his sheep and gives his life for them. They know his voice and follow him (Luke 12:32; John 10:1-16; 27, 28;).

4. Household or Family. This is the most prevalent metaphor for the church in the New Testament. The Fatherhood of God is constantly in view, whose children we become by faith in Jesus Christ and receiving the Spirit (Galatians 3:26; 4:6, 7).

5. Body. This is the most prominent image in Paul’s letters and the only one with no Old Testament equivalent. Christ the Head rules and nourishes the Body, its only head, and the Holy Spirit is the breath to animate it. There is a strong emphasis on the relationship of all the members of the body, diversity and equality within unity. Every member is to be a functioning member (Ephesians 2:22, 23; 4:4, 15, 16).

If there is anything linking these images of the church it is relationships. It is our relationship with God and each other that we will see our world changed for his glory.

What God does in the church is ultimately for the sake of the world around us. It’s the overflow of God’s grace in our lives that makes us people of hope in our families, our work places, our local community and in the wider world.

Yours in Christ
Philip Greenwood

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