The Church of the Lord Jesus Christ, being so much more than an organization or a denomination, is a living organism indwelt by the Spirit of God and is called to enjoy a relationship with God and represent Him before the world. Because of her profound nature and purpose God has provided numerous images of His Church in the pages of Holy Scripture so that His people may fulfill their role and be a reflection of His glory before the world.
Some would suggest that there are as many as 96 images of the Church in the New Testament.[i] I can identify seven main images; God’s Vineyard, God’s Field, The Bride of Christ, The Body of Christ, Flock of God, Family of God, and God’s Building or The Temple of God. While no single image can completely describe this mystery (Eph. 3:6, 5:32; Col. 1:26-27) known as the Church, taken together, they provide a wonderful, multifaceted, multidimensional description of the incredible relationship and responsibility entrusted to those known as the people of God. In the weeks to come I will explore these seven images of the Church and their application to church growth.
Are you a part of The Church? Those who are His disciples, His followers – those who have experienced the new birth (John 3) are all a part of His Church in the sense that they are a part of the group of all believers of all time. To become a child of God, experience the new birth and become a part of His universal church one must turn to Christ and place their faith in Him as their Savior and Master.
Next, if you have a real and personal relationship with God through the Lord Jesus Christ, are you a member of a church? Are you a part of a local group of bible-believing Christ followers? And if so, are you doing your part, fulfilling your calling and responsibility, to help build up the church (Eph. 4:15-16)?
The church of the Lord Jesus Christ is central to the plan of God. Can you imagine…God wants us to have a part in His Plan!