The Decline of the Church

Read 2Corinthians 6:11 - 7:1 with genesis 6:1-12

What was one of the grave mitigating factors in the decline of mankind into such depth of sinfulness that God determined to bring the great flood to destroy the earth? It was the decline away from God by his people. While we recognize the church was not formally called such until the time of Christ, in the Old Testament, the seeds and beginnings of the church are drawn out by those called his people. Here the church is seen in the line of Seth - the sons of God, and that line of God’s people severley declined by Noah’s time.

The Majesty of God's Wrath

Read Revelation 19:11-16 with Psalm 76

These Psalms of Asaph [Psalm 73 - 83] deal with hard questions that often perplex Christians. In Psalm 76 the implied question is, “Why does God permit his church and people to be so persecuted by the enemy?” In response, God reveals to us the majesty of his wrath that will bring about deliverance for the meek.

The Keys of the Kingdom

Read Matthew 16:13-23 with Zechariah 6:9-15

Ordinarily, is there the potential for salvation outside the visible church? Here Jesus answers that question by pointing us to where the keys of his kingdom [preaching of the doctrines of the gospel and exercise of discipline] lay - with the visible church.

The Visible Church

Read Genesis 25:27-34 wih Matthew 13:47-52

The Parable of the Dragnet is a grave warning to the visible church of Jesus Christ. As the gospel goes forth, like a dragnet it catches many people. But, like the dragnet, there are both good and bad within, and they will not be separated until the end of the age. As God declares, "they are not all Israel who are of Israel." Since the visible church is the kingdom of Christ here on earth, this aprable warns us not to presume all who are in the church visible are in the kingdom of God.

Of Mustard Seeds and Leaven

Read Daniel 2:34-45 with Matthew 13:31-35

The Parables of the Mustard Seed and Leaven set forth the growth of the Kingdom of Heaven. That growth is on two fronts: a visible, extensive, and exponential growth throughout the whole world; and a hidden, intensive, and transformational growth in the lives of people, and in the world. The Lord Jesus spoke these parables to encourage the church, that though the work of sowing is hard, he will prosper those labours.

Of Wheat and Tares

Read Matthew 13:24-30, 34-43

Have you ever thought how the world seems to be getting more and more immoral? Pehaps it is that immorality is simply tolerated and accepted more. Regardless, in this parables, the Lord Jesus reveals his sovereignty and glorious power to build his church even in the midst of an evil and lawless generation. The tares are all around us, but they do not prevent the ministry of the gospel.

Psalm 122 - The Joy of the Church

Read Psalm 122

Jerusalem is viewed in the New Testament as the infant type of the Church of Christ [Gal.4:25-26; Heb.12:22-24; Rev.21]. This Psalm expresses the real joy, glory and peace believers are to find in the church of Christ, as they make their journey to eternal glory. How precious the church is purposed to be to us in our weary travels; how important the Church is each Lord's Day when we gather together to worship and find our peace in Christ.

The Communion of the Saints

Read Hebrews 10:19-25

The Apostles' Creed confess not only faith in the holy catholic Church, but the communion of the saints. This communion is where the Lord commands the blessing of life everlasting [Psalm 133]. The relationship of believers gathered together in Christ is a life of sharing in each others lives, gifts and spiritual services; a relationship that is deeper than the bonds of extended family [Mark 3:33-35]. Hebrews 10:19-25 reveals Christ as the fountain of the communion and three vital areas where that communion focuses.