10/12/14 Membership Has Its Privileges!

Posted by Pastor Steve Siegrist on Monday, October 13, 2014 Under: Sermon
Worthy Walk Series – Week 10 (Ephesians 2:19-22)

Intro: Membership can be a matter of life or death!

Text: Ephesians 2:19-22 (NIV)

“Consequently (Now, therefore), you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God's people and members of God's household, 20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. 21 In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. 22 And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.”

Picture of the Church Picture

1: A New Nation. Vs. 19

“Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God.”

We, the Gentiles, are no longer strangers and foreigners to God; we are now fellow citizens with all the saints of God. Just think you were once called an ALIEN! Some of you still are. You’re an Alien to the membership and privileges that come with a relationship with Jesus Christ. It is unknown to you!

The picture here is with that membership (relationship) you are now a saint – it means you are set apart or separated to God, a fellow citizen in a nation created by God. Maybe what the church needs to hear – ACT LIKE IT!

Just in case you want to join and have the privileges of this membership: “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.” Revelation 3:20 (NIV)

Picture 2: God’s Family. Vs. 19

“Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God.”

The second picture here is that of Family – WE ARE FAMILY! “Household of God.” “How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him.” 1 John 3:1 (NIV)

We must do a better job to show the world who Christ is by letting the world see the Christ in us. As I have often said when I am witnessing to someone (there is a catch). This is a privilege and a responsibility and service comes with it. Every person of the household has duties to perform, some service to render for the sake of the family. We are responsible to love and care, provide and teach each other: and that my brother and sister leads to discipleship! That is part of the membership! “Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.” Romans 12:10-11 (NIV)

Picture 3: God’s Building. Vs. 20

“Built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone.

Believers are pictured as being the building stones which are being used to construct a building for God. Don’t be confused by what some might be teaching, Jesus Christ Himself is the chief cornerstone.

All other stones are placed after it. It is the preeminent stone in time. So it is with Christ. Christ is the beginning and the end. All others come after Him: “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last." Revelation 22:13

The cornerstone is the directional stone. It is used to line up the whole building and all the other stones. It can be called the instructional stone—upon it all the lines and instructions of the building are based. So it is with Christ. He is the Person who gave and gives the directions and instructions to God's people. We—the church—are to build our lives upon His instructions and His instructions only. If we follow any other instructions or directions, we will be out of line; and when we are noticed, we will have to be removed, cast aside and replaced with a stone that can be set in line. Jesus Christ is the chief cornerstone. God used Him to give direction to all the other stones.

We, the church, are built upon the foundation laid by the testimonies of the apostles and prophets. They surrounded the Lord Jesus Christ Himself. Their record and testimony of the Word of God itself is the foundation upon which the church is to be laid.

Picture 4: A Growing Organism. Vs. 21

"In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord."

The church is pictured as a living growing organism—the union of various parts of a living being, of a dynamic body. More and more parts, more and more believers are brought and fitted into the building as each day passes The building grows and grows and shall continue to grow until the Lord Jesus Christ returns. Peter calls Jesus Christ the living stone. Christ is the living stone upon which all others are built up a spiritual house. All others have to be built upon Him if they wish to live and have their spiritual sacrifice accepted by God.

The church must grow. It must be bringing new stones (believers) and fitting them into the building of God. The church must be adding on to the building. Its structure is not yet finished. Every believer within the building is a part of the building and expected to fulfill its function within the building; that is, every believer is a laborer, a laborer who is expected to be busy adding on to the building of the church. We are all to be bringing new stones and fitting them into the great building of God, the church. "Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world."

"But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth" Acts 1:8

Picture 5: A World-wide Temple- the Universal Church. Vs. 21

“In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord.”

All believers make up the holy temple of God. All believers are pictured as a building, a universal church being structured for God's presence. Each new believer and each generation of believers are seen as being placed and fitted into God's universal structure. The picture here is also a reminder of what the temple is – it is the New Heaven and earth. Each person is placed into the structure only by Christ. Only the person and the body of people who come to Christ as the chief cornerstone are fitted into the building. A person must build upon the foundation laid by the apostles and prophets, which is the foundation of Christ Himself. Any other cornerstone or any other foundation constructs some other kind of building, not God's building. People may follow their own thought structure or some man's profound philosophy or even their own life-style, but it is not God's building that they structure. In Christ and in Christ alone and upon the foundation laid by the apostles is God's building being structured.

Picture 6: A Local Temple – the Local Church. Vs. 22

“And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.”

Each local church is pictured as a building structured for God's presence. Each member is seen as an integral and essential stone being placed and fitted into the building. The church's stability lies in each stone being placed and fitted and cemented by the same Lord, and by each stone holding up its load, fulfilling its purpose in the structure. The local church exists for the purpose of providing a habitation, a home for the presence of God—through His Spirit. THIS IS SMALL GROUPS! The church is to allow the Spirit of God to live out His life through the church. The Holy Spirit dwells within the church to help its believers when they are troubled, distressed, or confused. The Spirit of God dwells within the church to conform the church to the image of God's will. The effectiveness of any local church depends upon how much it allows the Holy Spirit to dwell within and to control its body of members.

The privilege of knowing this is eternal: JOHN 3:16, “Membership has its privileges.”

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