This is the fourth and last sermon in the series on Being Church. We looked at metaphors of church such as “the Body of Christ”, “the Bride of Christ” and the spiritual family or “household of God”. Today I am going to address both the fourth and fifth metaphors, church as the “building of God” and “temple of God”. Because the building metaphor is a partial metaphor as it’s focus is only on Christ’s role as the cornerstone of the building. To see what the rest of the building is supposed to do we have to examine the next metaphor of church, the “temple of God”. So today we will tackle both metaphors, building and temple in sequence. Let’s start with the building metaphor.
To recap we are in a sermon series I started couple Sundays ago titled “Being Church” in which we are going to look at 5 metaphors describing church in the New Testament. We started with … and last Sunday we looked at … This Sunday we are looking at the church described in the book of Ephesians as the “household of God”. Eph 2:19 and 20 states, “So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure, being joined together”. John 1:12-13 elaborates on this idea of household of God like this, “But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God”. In other words, just as you are physically born into the household of your earthly parents, you are born-again into God’s household.
Today, the metaphor we are going to meditate on is “the bride of Christ”. This is a metaphor that functions at the level of the universal church. The Bride of Christ is the whole church put together, not any one individual local church. Fair enough? Now we typically don’t spend much time thinking of this metaphor except when we are at weddings and the Ephesians 2:22 to 33 passage is chosen. Now this is a beautiful passage that talks about how the wives should honor their husbands and submit to them in everything. In the culture we live in, many men might take it as license to Lord it over their wives and many women might jump up in horror and get all defensive and say that they are equal to any man so why should they submit to any man. But this passage cannot be properly understood without its context and without the Holy Spirit’s help. So if you are listening to this and have difficulty with this passage please do two things. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you and secondly, let me finish laying out all the blocks so you can judge the finished product and not the construction site.
One of the things that is different about being in the outdoors is that it is a dynamic space right? Because the conditions are always changing. Set in just such a condition, an intriguing Bible passage in Luke 12:56 Jesus tells the pharisees that they know how to interpret the earth and the sky to forecast the weather but they fail to be interpreters of the time they are living in. As people of God, in other words we aught to know how to read the times we live in. Now we certainly live in strange times. We are in the midst of a global pandemic that is similar in scale to something that happened a hundred years ago. Then we have an economic situation that has not seen unemployment this high since the Great Depression. We have protests on the race issue like we have not seen since the time of Martin Luther King! With wave after wave of big things happening the question that many are wondering about is, “what does this moment mean for us as individuals and us as a church. To get clarity about what to do as a church, it would really help I believe to examine what it means to be church. That is what this sermon series that I am starting today will address. In the New Testament, you find 5 metaphors describing the church and each sermon in this series will look at one of these metaphors. Today, I am going to start with the New Testaments description of the church as the “Body of Christ”.