Descriptions of the Church

Text: Matthew 16:18

Looking at the metaphors used to describe the Lord’s church in the New Testament helps us understand certain things about the church.

Body (Ephesians 1:22-23)

  • Follows the direction of the head
  • It is expected to grow (Ephesians 4:11-16) – focus here on spiritual growth (v. 13-14)
  • Made up of all different kinds of members (1 Corinthians 12:14-27) – we all have an important role

Bride (Ephesians 5:32)

  • Christ is the head (Ephesians 5:23) – the church has no authority to change or forsake the law of Christ (2 Timothy 1:13)
  • Christ loved the church enough to die for it (Ephesians 5:25)
  • The church must be faithful to Him – not follow after men (1 Corinthians 1:12-13), error (2 John 7-11), or idols (1 John 5:21)

Field (1 Corinthians 3:9)

  • There is a seed to be sown (Luke 8:11)
  • The soil is important (Luke 8:12-15)
  • We are expected to bear fruit (Luke 8:15)

Building (1 Corinthians 3:9)

  • Must have the right foundation (Ephesians 2:20)
  • We are living stones that make up the building (1 Peter 2:4-5)
  • Must be built according to the pattern (Hebrews 8:5)

Pillar and Support (1 Timothy 3:15)

  • The church must proclaim the truth (1 Thessalonians 1:8) and defend the truth (Revelation 2:2)
  • Truth (the whole truth) should always be welcome (Acts 20:20, 27)
  • The church’s mission revolves around the truth, not entertainment, recreation, or worldly success

The Way (Acts 9:2; 19:9, 23)

  • Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life (John 14:6) – those who follow Him are of “the Way
  • This implies exclusivity (Acts 4:12)
  • It implies a manner of life (1 Peter 2:21-22)
  • It also implies a destination (Matthew 7:13-14; Philippians 3:14)

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