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The Church as Community

Let’s begin with a quick exercise. The Bible uses many word pictures and metaphors to describe the church. What are some descriptions that come to your mind? What do they say about the church?

A common theme among the metaphors is the preciousness of the church. She is bought with God’s own blood (Acts 20:28). She is one body with Christ as the head, fitted and held together by the participation of each precious joint and part (Eph 4:16). The church is the household of God, a holy temple in which God’s Spirit dwells (Eph 2:19-21). She is being prepared to be the radiant bride of Christ (Rev 19:7-8).

The Bible also says many things about Christians in the church. As we come to Christ, the Living Stone, we are also like living stones built together into a spiritual house (1 Pet 2:4-5). To each Christian is given spiritual gifts for the common good (1 Cor 12:7). We are fellow children under one Father, fellow slaves under one Lord, fellow ambassadors of one gospel, fellow inheritors of the Kingdom of God together with Christ.

The church therefore is not a building, although it may meet in a building. It is not an obligation to fulfil on Sundays, Christmas and Easter. It is not a matter of picking and choosing which style or sermon suits my needs better. It is a precious, blood-bought community that centres around the worship of God and exists to the praise and glory of God. It transcends age, language, ethnicity, geography and time.

It is a life-giving community that draws its own life from Jesus and the Spirit that proclaims life to those around them.

It is a loving community that intentionally pours out love to others because it has personally experienced the radical love and grace of God.

It is a discipling community that is grounded on the Scriptures and equips each member to grow unto maturity in Christ.

It is a serving community that identifies giftings, and that provides space for each person to use their gifts to serve others. It encourages and empowers one another to fulfil their callings within church and in the world.

It is a multiplying community that seeks and supports the advancement of God’s kingdom in Singapore and beyond.

It is a Spirit-filled community that depends on the power of God and delights in the presence of God.

It is a global community where local expressions of church are joined to the worldwide body of Christ in mutual encouragement, learning and prayer.

The church, at its core, is thus a gathering of people saved by grace whose potential is greater than the sum of its parts. If you are a Christian, you have been joined to this community, this body, this building, this household whether you realize it or not. And the church does best when every joint contributes its part that it is gifted for. Will you?

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Daily Devo

Daily Devotional Journal

Scripture:
1 Samuel 22:20-23
Sat, 18 September 2021

God’s Church Will Not Die

Observation:

What is the significance of Abiathar’s escape from Saul’s slaughter of the priests?

Deeper Reflection
GOD’S FULFILMENT of His word of judgment on the house of Eli through the unjust and brutal slaughter of the priests by Saul is a divine mystery. Out of this comes another divine mystery: “But one son of Ahimelech… named Abiathar, escaped and fled after David” (v.20). In His judgment on Eli’s house, God preserved one descendant of Eli. Such is the sovereignty of God. And we must peg divine mystery to divine sovereignty. God’s preservation of one priest – albeit a descendant of Eli – out of the massive slaughter points to a divine principle: God always insistently preserves His people in the midst of destruction. The narrator shows the sharp contrast in Saul and David’s treatment of the priests to underscore this divine principle. To Ahimelech, Saul said, “You shall surely die” (1 Sam 22:16); to Abiathar, David said, “You are safe with me” (v.23). The priests of God were destroyed, but not completely. “The people of God may often be put down, but never put out. Abiathar’s escape does not mean that all God’s servants are immune from the world’s butchery, but that the world’s butchery can never wipe out all of God’s servants. The Lord does not promise that we will not die for the Kingdom of God, but the Kingdom of God will never die.”34 Jesus has made His commitment and promise that His Church will not die: “I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it” (Matt 16:18).
34 Dale Ralph Davis, 232
Application:

What does it mean for me that the Church of God will not die?

Prayer:
Write a prayer to God as your response from your meditation on and application of the Scriptures.
Prayer Pointers:
  • Give thanks and praise:
  • For Church Board: To see the church as God’s Church that will not die
  • Pray for significant people:
  • Pray for those in need:
  • Pray for self:

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