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Identity Crisis: What it Means to Be the Bride of Christ

Jan 31, 2021 | Rev. Dr. K. Rick Baker

THE ESSENCE OF THE CHURCH: A Biblical Representation of the Very Being of the Local Church

Full Service

What are the elements that together, distinctively and intrinsically, make a church a church?

God’s Organized, Purposeful, Assembly

A people, an assembly, called out to be usable by God

• God’s church organized His way (1 Cor. 14:33,40)
"But everything should be done in a fitting and orderly way." (40)

An assembly (qahal, ekklesia, bonded together [1 Cor. 12:26])
“If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honoured, every part rejoices with it.” (26)

“The very word church and every image for the church is corporate, involving people being assembled together in face-to-face relationships.”
(Hammett, 69)

For Ministry (Acts 2:42-47)

“We really need to see less of each other; friendship isn’t a vaccine.” (Hull University Teaching Hospitals, England; 2020 social engineering)

• Teaching
• Fellowship
• Worship
• Service
• Evangelism

SO WHAT? How organized, purposeful, and assembled is CBC?

• Structured
• Together (bonded)
• Ministries in full

A Local, Living and Growing Assembly

Christians are to belong and not be detached from the local church…

“Those who accepted his (Peter) message were baptized and about three thousand were added to their number that day. (Acts 2:41; cf. 4:4)…put out of your fellowship (1 Cor. 5:2)…to judge those outside the church…are you not to judge those inside? (1 Cor. 5:12)

Churches are to grow and do so through change

• Is the change legitimate?—Attention to Scripture and not accommodation to culture

• Spiritual growth, not human marketing fuels numerical growth
“God who makes things grow” (1 Cor. 3:7)

Growth, spiritual and numerical comes from the church functioning obediently (Eph. 4:15)

SO WHAT? How formally connected, alive and growing is CBC?

• Believers are actively engaged members
• Growing spiritually to grow numerically

A Gospel Assembly

“The gospel is prior to the church and the church exists because of it…if the church ever loses the gospel, it ceases to be a church…the gospel is essential to its being.” (Hammett,73)

“For I am not ashamed of the gospel, it is the power of God unto salvation to them that believe…” (Rom. 1:16)

“But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let them be under God’s curse! As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let them be under God’s curse!" (Gal. 1:8-9)

“If a church errs on the gospel, they have become, not just imperfect, but invalid; they are no longer a church.” (Hammett, 74)

SO WHAT? How gospel is CBC?
• Teaching consistently scripturally-sourced
• Prioritize the Good News of salvation through Jesus Christ alone

A Spirit-Empowered Assembly

Spirit and Church intrinsically connected—church never mentioned in Acts until Pentecost.
“…you also are being built together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit.” (Eph. 2:22)

The empowering Agent in Pentecostalism
“Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the LORD Almighty.” (Zech 4:6)

SO WHAT? How Spirit-empowered and dependent is CBC?
• Prioritize prayer
• Prioritize obedience to Scripture

The essence of the Essential church then, is a God-organized, purposeful, local, living, growing, gospel-centred, and Spirit-empowered assembly. (Hammett)

How about you? So, what needs to change in your life to live the very essence of Christianity?

• Finding your place chosen for you by God
• Tightly connected to your church family
• Actively engaged as a member of your local church
• Growing spiritually and growing the church numerically
• Prioritize talking up the Good News of salvation through Jesus Christ alone
• Prioritize prayer
• Prioritize obedience to Scripture


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