|Vol. 16 No. 6 June 2014||
The Called Out
The word that we find translated “church” in many of our translations has been translated from the Greek word ekklesia. Here we are dealing with the “called out feature” of God’s people. These are the people who have been called out of the world by the Gospel. That is they have had the opportunity to hear the saving Gospel of Christ. They have believed it (John 8:21, 24; Hebrews 11:6) and obeyed it (Romans 10:16-17). Hearing the truth with an open mind is what produces faith. They completed their obedience by repentance, confession of their faith in Christ and by being baptized into Christ for the remission of their past sins (Acts 3:19; 8:37; Romans 6:3-6; 10:9-10; Acts 2:38; 22:16). They had been called out of the world of darkness into the marvelous light of truth and love (1 Peter 2:9). They had cast off the works of darkness and had put on the armor of light (Romans 13:12). The church and the saved are the same.
The Kingdom of God
This refers to the government feature of the church. “Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son” (Colossians 1:13). The word “kingdom” refers to the government feature of the church. Christians live under the Kingship of Jesus. We are under his ruler-ship, leadership and control. He is Lord of lords and King of kings. “Which in his times he shall shew, who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords” (1 Timothy 6:16). “These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them; for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings: and they that are with him are called, and chosen, and faithful” (Revelation 17:14). He is King over His kingdom, and we are His servants. Don’t forget that the only way we can enter into this kingdom is through the new birth – Gospel obedience (John 3:3-5; Titus 3:5; Ephesians 5:26; Mark 16:16).
The Temple of God
The New Testament church is the temple of God. This refers to the worship feature of the church. The one true and living God dwells within the church. “And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? For ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people” (2 Corinthians 6:16). The church is the people; it is not the material building. Let us seek to worship God in spirit and in truth (John 4:23-24).
The Household of God
This refers to the family feature of the church. We should try to think of the church as a spiritual family. We have God as our Heavenly Father, Christ as our elder Brother and fellow Christians as our spiritual brothers and sisters in Christ. “But he answered and said unto him that told him. Who is my mother? And who are my brethren? And he stretched forth his hand toward his disciples, and said, Behold my mother and my brethren! For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother” (Matthew 12:46-50). “Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not: for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God” (John 20:17). See also 1 Timothy 3:15. We should seek to get along; after all, we are all a part of God’s family as Christians.
This is used to emphasize the unity feature of the church (Colossians 1:18, 24). We are to work together in peace and harmony under our one and only Head, the Christ.
A young boy was allowed to spend the summer with his grandparents, who lived on a farm. One day the grandfather made the young lad a slingshot and told him all the safety rules that went with such an object. “Don’t shoot at any person! Don’t shoot at any of the farm creatures! Don’t shoot at anything that is valuable to Granny and Grandpa.” The little fellow grew quite proficient with the slingshot, and often he shot at hickory nuts, small rocks and almost anything he chose to hit.
One day, as he strolled down a lane toward the stock watering pond, he spied a big beautiful goose, which just seemed to glide over the water of the pond. This was Granny’s favorite critter because it often followed her around like a puppy. Granny often talked to the goose, and she frequently gave it bits of food from the dinner table. Forgetting all the instructions and warnings he had received, the boy selected a nice round rock, placed it in the slingshot, and taking careful aim, he killed Granny’s goose with one shot. Horrified, he quickly dragged it out of the water, found a secluded place in the edge of the woods and proceeded to dig a hole and bury the goose. Little did he know it, but his sister had witnessed the whole thing. She told him that she knew his secret.
After supper, Granny asked the sister to help with the dishes. “Granny,” the sister said, “Johnny would love to help do the dishes, wouldn’t you, Johnny?” Immediately Johnny pitched in and finished the dishes quickly. Granny then asked sister to help sweep the kitchen floor, but again, she stated that Johnny would really enjoy sweeping the floor. Johnny immediately grabbed the broom and made short work of the chore. Day by day, such encouragements found Johnny doing things that he’d never done before. Finally, it got the better of him, and he went to Granny, with tears in his eyes, and confessed to killing the goose. “Can you forgive me?” he asked. “Of course, I’ll forgive you, Johnny! Granny has known about this all along! I was standing by the window when you shot the goose! I saw you dig the hole and bury it. I’m so glad you are good enough to confess the wrong!”
How many of us have shot Granny’s goose? When you failed to assemble with the saints, did you not know that God was watching from on high? When you spoke words that should never cross a Christian’s lips, did you not know that God was ‘standing at the window of Heaven, watching’? In a time of crisis, when you should have entreated the Most High God in prayer, did you not understand that God observed you cursing the day He had sent, and mourning the ‘luck’ you had brought upon yourself? When your angry and bitter words cut a loved one to the bone, and you forgot God’s words to be kind to one another, did you also forget that God notes the fall of a sparrow, and that He surely watches over you? Did you shoot Granny’s goose instead?
When you had the opportunity to do good to someone less fortunate than yourself, did you shoot Granny’s goose, while you argued with yourself that you cannot help everyone, and surely there are others who have more responsibility than you? Did you take another shot when you could have defended the truth in a crowd, but you didn’t? While everyone else is naysaying and criticizing the efforts of those who do good, did you cower and refuse to get involved, when you might have helped to set the record straight? You see, it’s so easy to shoot Granny’s goose!
“The eyes of the Lord are in every place, beholding the evil and the good” (Proverbs 15:3). “As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith” (Galatians 6:10). Let us be very careful to not shoot Granny’s goose!