The Lifespan of the Church

The Lifespan of the Church  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  44:10
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A Description on the life of the church and the Hope that brings

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Through many of the last 2000 years there have been conversations about the lifespan of the church. Certainly, when Islam took over the holy lands, many considered the church to be in it’s dyeing days. Through the Dark Ages many similar questions were asked about how long the Church could survive. Spring forward to the modernest controversy that started in the USA and Europe in the late 1920’s and slowly rolled around the world to the point that in the early 1970’s it was declared here in Australia that the Bible should not be used as the basis for teaching and preaching and again many said the Church would die out.
The point is that the church has had its good days and its hard days. It sometimes grows and expands. Other times it does it’s best just to maintain, and sometimes it takes almost lethal blows that make it look weak and very sick.
Today we want to look at the Church from beginning to eventual end. We can be encouraged towards faithfulness when we see God’s bigger picture for the Church.

1. The Church was born on the day of Pentecost. (Acts 2:1–21, 38–47)

God always had the Church in mind as part of His overall plan.
2 Timothy 1:9 NKJV
9 who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began,

A. Jesus foretold of a new thing called the church.

Matthew 16:18 NKJV
18 And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.
Matthew 18:17 NKJV
17 And if he refuses to hear them, tell it to the church. But if he refuses even to hear the church, let him be to you like a heathen and a tax collector.
I’m sure the disciples were confused at times when Christ spoke. They knew nothing of this called out group from the OT. They were looking forward to national deliverance, but Christ had something far greater in mind as He taught them of things to come.

1. The Church is not Israel

Israel was to attract and the church is to go out.
The church was not mentioned in the OT.
God worked with a chosen Nation, that He built from the faith of one man, to preserve and prepare a line for His Son to be born into the world. The Church is not concerned with ethnicity
With a nation there were promised blessings and curses, but with the Church there are blessings and discipline of those He loves.
With the nation there was no permanent indwelling of the H.S., but with the Church Jesus sent us a permanent indwelling helper - as He promised.
John 14:16 ESV
16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever,

2. The Church was not around during the life of Jesus.

Jesus went to the Jewish synagog and was not forming a meeting of His followers on a different day.
The H.S. was not permanently indwelling during the days of Jesus. Often we wish we could have been there when Christ taught the multitudes. However, remember we have the help of the HS to understand and the crowds did not have that. This is why they had to ask Jesus what He meant so often.
The disciples struggled to understand because they did not have the one who would “guide them into all truth”.
John 16:13 NKJV
13 However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come.

B. Following the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, the church steadily increased in numbers as the gospel was faithfully proclaimed throughout the world (Acts 2:41; 4:4; 5:14; 6:7; 9:31, 42; 11:21, 24; 14:1; 16:5). MacArthur, J., & Mayhue, R., eds. (2017). Biblical Doctrine: A Systematic Summary of Bible Truth (pp. 740–741). Crossway.

Acts 2:1–4 NKJV
1 When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. 2 And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3 Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them. 4 And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.
The book of Acts starts with the Lord’s return to Heaven. The very next chapter is the birth of the Church.
The Disciples were all together.
The Holy Spirit shows up in a new way.
The commotion spills out into the street, were, surprise surprise, God was also working to gather people together from many places around the known world!
Throughout the Old Testament God had occasionally used signs and wonders to show transitions in the way He was working. We see the same signs and wonders happening from this point forward maybe 20 years. God will use uneducated men and women to amaze people and carry out His work of building His Church.
My next sermon will be more in-depth on Christ building His Church.

2. The Church will fulfil its purpose!

a. We read of the Church from Acts through Revelation and so it is never replaced or dies out as some would hope.

It is interesting that there is a big gap in the middle chapters of Revelation where the church is not mentioned because God is pouring out His wrath on those who have rejected Him on Earth - so the church (who has been forgiven) can not be present during that wrath.
1 Thessalonians 1:10 NKJV
10 and to wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, even Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come.
God will work in and through His church to accomplish all He wants done in the lives of people.
Philippians 2:13 NKJV
13 for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.
Ephesians 1:7 NKJV
7 In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace
2 Timothy 1:9 NKJV
9 who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began,
The Church is God’s plan to “Unite all things in Him.”
Ephesians 1:10 NKJV
10 that in the dispensation of the fullness of the times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth—in Him.

b. The church age will reach its glorious fullness when Christ comes to rapture his own. (1 Cor. 15:51–53; 1 Thess. 4:13–18) MacArthur, J., & Mayhue, R., eds. (2017). Biblical Doctrine: A Systematic Summary of Bible Truth (p. 741). Crossway.

1 Corinthians 15:51–53 NKJV
51 Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed—52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. 53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.

c. After the rapture of the Church, all in heaven will enjoy the marriage supper of the Lamb for 7 years while God brings wrath on those who refused His salvation and so were not joined with the Church.

Revelation 2:17 NKJV
17 “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes I will give some of the hidden manna to eat. And I will give him a white stone, and on the stone a new name written which no one knows except him who receives it.” ’
Revelation 19:9 NKJV
9 Then he said to me, “Write: ‘Blessed are those who are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb!’ ” And he said to me, “These are the true sayings of God.”
Conclusion: Since we know the lifespan of the Church, we can be encouraged towards faithfulness when we see God’s bigger picture.
God has a plan and He continues to work and fulfil that plan through the church. Some day He will call that church home to be the bride of Christ as we spoke of last week. Until then we seek to be known as God’s people.
Knowing that God established the Church as His, How does this impact the plans we make as a local church?
Knowing the church will exist till the end, are we willing to live without fear of the end?
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