Lessons on The Church - Day 1

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by Ralph Price, June 2000

THE CHURCH IN GODíS ETERNAL PURPOSE.

  1. From the very beginning of time, we see the need for the salvation of man.
    1. In Genesis 3 we read of the fall of man. From that point forward, man has needed a savior.
    2. The first messianic prophecy is found in the same chapter (Genesis 3:15).
      1. Satan would bruise Christís heel when he had him nailed to the cross.
      2. However, Christ would deal the death-blow to Satan by rising from the dead.
  2. The church is said to be Godís eternal purpose (Ephesians 3:8-11).
    1. The church is not an afterthought as the premillennialists teach.
    2. It was the sole purpose for Christ to come to the earth.
      1. Matthew 16:18-19.
      2. Christ came to save the lost (Luke 19:10). The only way to be saved is in the church (Acts 2:47).
  3. The fact that the church has always been in Godís eternal purpose is the reason that Christians are said to be predestinated (Ephesians 1:4-5).
    1. This is not teaching the doctrine of predestination as the Calvinists teach it.
    2. Rather it is simply saying that God has chosen a certain class of people to be saved. This choosing took place before the world began.
    3. That chosen class is the church.
    4. However, anyone can enter into that church (1 Timothy 2:4).

THE CHURCH IN PROPHECY.

  1. Since the church has always been Godís eternal purpose, one would expect to find it mentioned throughout the whole Bible; Old and New Testaments. This is exactly the case.
  2. 2 Samuel 7:12.
    1. This prophecy really has a double fulfillment.
    2. Solomon and Christ both fulfill it to a certain extent.
    3. We know that Christ is being mentioned because this passage is referenced in Hebrews 1:5 as referring to Him.
    4. The two main things we learn from this are is that the one who established Godís kingdom would come through David and that that kingdom would last forever.
  3. Here are four easy prophecies to remember. The great "2" chapters.
    1. Isaiah 2. From this passage we learn:
      1. The Lordís house would be established in the top of the mountains.
        1. The Lordís house is the church (1 Timothy 3:15).
        2. The top of the mountains is referring to Jerusalem which was literally on the top of a mountain.
      2. All nations would flow into Godís house.
        1. The church is for all nationalities.
        2. Galatians 3:27-28.
      3. The church would spread from Jerusalem (Luke 24:46-47).
    2. Joel 2:28-32.
      1. What was this prophecy referring to?
      2. The Spirit would be poured out (Acts 2:4).
      3. It again points to Jerusalem as the place which these things would occur.
      4. Peter tells us in Acts 2:16-21 that it was referring to the events that took place on the day of Pentecost.
    3. Daniel 2:31-45.
      1. The dream.
        1. Nebuchadnezzar saw an image with a head of gold.
        2. Breast and arms of silver.
        3. Belly and thighs of brass.
        4. Legs of iron and feet of iron and clay.
        5. A stone cut without hands smote the image on its feet and the image was destroyed.
        6. The small stone grew into a great mountain and filled the whole earth.
      2. The interpretation (vv. 36-45).
        1. Nebuchadnezzar was the head of gold (vv. 37-38). This is referring to the Babylonian kingdom.
          1. Gold is a very showy and beautiful metal. This is how one could describe the Babylonian empire.
          2. However, it is not a very strong metal. The Babylonian was not strong for long. It lasted 70 years from 605 to 535 B.C.
        2. The silver breast and arms represented another kingdom which would arise after Babylon. The Medo-Persian Empire.
          1. Silver is inferior to gold in that it is not as showy. The Medo-Persian Empire was never as rich and glorious as Babylon.
          2. However, it was stronger and lasted much longer. It lasted for 200 years from 535 B.C. until 335 B.C.
        3. The third kingdom was represented by Brass. The Grecian Empire.
          1. Daniel said this empire would rule over all the earth. Indeed, Alexander the Great did just that.
          2. Brass is not as glamorous as silver or gold but it is stronger. The Grecian empire lasted 272 years from 335 B.C. to 63 B.C.
        4. The fourth empire was made of iron mixed with clay in the feet. This represented the Roman empire.
          1. Rome was by far stronger than all the other kingdoms.
          2. The clay mixed in represented a divided kingdom. Though Rome was incredibly strong, it did have a weakness. The people whom it conquered were not loyal to her.
        5. The stone cut without hands represents the church.
          1. "Cut without hands" means that it was not a physical but a spiritual institution.
          2. Just as this stone destroyed the image; Christianity eventually destroyed Rome through its influence.
          3. This kingdom would be established in the days of the Roman empire (v. 44).
          4. It would start very small but grow to be very big (Mt. 13:31-33).

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10/05/2012