Church 2020


The church is a most maligned people even among her own people claiming to be people of Scripture. 

The church is usually the first to be criticized for whatever you can imagine being criticized. 

The church is often mistaken for a corporation or business rather than a people on a very specific mission. 

The church is often neglected by her own people. 


The church is the “ekklesia”… the assembly.

“Ekklesia” has its root in “kaleo”…called out.

The church is the called out assembly of Jesus’ people…Jesus’ very “bride”…the people for whom Jesus came, died, rose, ascended and gifted with his very self.

The church, therefore, has the missional capacity to infiltrate every domain of society with the viral gospel of the kingdom and subvert the kingdom of darkness from the inside out. 

The church is the most powerful people on the planet because Jesus has all authority in heaven and earth and has sent us IN/WITH that authority ON his mission. 

TRChurch Right Now

The best description I’ve heard that really puts TRC in context is from Justin Owens this week. He said, “We are a church caught between paradigms.” (Paradigm = model / prototype / pattern)

What that means is that what the local church used to look like is shifting as Jesus advances his rule (I’ll say more about what the local church actually looks like in a moment), but we already look like the future of the church globally as she begins to answer the question, “what if the church was the missionary?”. 

However, we are in a time with people who are shifting out of an old pattern to what KDSC (what if the church was the missionary?) looks like locally.

 SOOOO, the gravitational pull of the old framework is real and is a constant source of friction.

This friction is played out in ideas of what the church “ought to be” in the minds of a consumer setting without a biblical mooring with expectations that the church should be a provider of spiritual services rather than be the physical presence of Jesus’ advancing his rule to all nations from the local church.

Matthew 16:13-19 

What does our text say about the church?


  • The church is the context for the entire New Testament. 


  • The church is what Jesus is building. This is Jesus’ activity in our task of disciple making. 
    • From RL group gathering down to even more microscopic covenant gatherings of one on one disciple making…Jesus is building his church.
  • The church cannot be prevailed against. 
    • Gates of hell is literally: “gates of hades”. 
      • Hades is “the place of the dead”. 
      • How does one get in the place of the dead? By dying. What, therefore, are the gates of hades? Death!
    • Not even death can prevent Jesus from building his church.
  • The church has the “keys of the kingdom of God.” 
    • The “keys of the kingdom” are this gospel of the kingdom that proclaims Jesus to be 
      • the Christ, the Son of God, 
      • the faithful and obedient Israel,
      • the sacrifice for sin, 
      • the King/Creator of the universe that all of Israel’s kings were to point, 
      • the powerful message that wrecks dead hearts and miraculously transplants new creation hearts, 
      • the powerful word of God that is the lamp to our feet and a light for our path. 
  • The local church has God’s divine authority through the gospel of the kingdom to  unleash supernatural power to bind up sin and release new creation on people and the order of the created world. 
    • “Whatever you bind on earth will have been bound in heaven.” (pefect passive). 
      • We are the vehicle by which divine activity flows to the world. 
  • The local church is the first fruit of new creation…God establishing a new created order (Isaiah 65:17ff). 
    • The gospel of the kingdom of Jesus binds up sin and releases new creation into the world in the establishing of the church made up of new creations in Christ. The old has passed away and the new has come. 
  • This local church is the universal body of Christ expressed in a fellowship of covenant members on mission together in a particular place distinct from others in a particular place.
    • Example: They knew who was “in” and who was “out” in Corinth so as to even hold them accountable for what they had done in sinning against others. 
  • This local church regularly gathers to officially represent Jesus and his rule on earth under his Kingship.
    • Acts 2:42-47 (ESV) And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. 43 And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. 44 And all who believed were together and had all things in common. 45 And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. 46 And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, 47 praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.
  • This local church engages in preaching, the Lord’s Supper, and Baptism as corporate worship, led by biblical church government in order to publicly put these biblical truths on display and into practice. 


What is missing from this summary? A description of what this actually, physically looks like. 

  • Why?
  • The Bible never prescribes what this looks like. 

The Bible gives us essence doctrinally, then sends us to multiply it through (K) preaching the gospel of the kingdom, (D) making disciples who hear and obey and (S) engage their world through God-given vocational domains of society (C) from which Jesus constructs his church!

How do we apply Jesus’ instruction about the church?

  • Believe that the church is Jesus’ loved means of doing his mission in all of creation. 
    • Eph. 3:8-11 “To me, though I am the very least of all the saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, and to bring to light for everyone what is the plan of the mystery hidden for ages in God who created all things, so that through the church the manifold (varied, diverse, multi-colored)_ wisdom of God might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places. This was according to the eternal purpose that he has realized in Christ Jesus our Lord,…”
  • Believe that the local church is not “me” or “you” but “us together on Jesus’ mission.” 
    • 1 Corinthians 3:16 “Do you not know that you (plural) are God’s temple and that God’s spirit dwells in you? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him. For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple.”
    • We often read this passage and read the “you” as singular and make application as if it’s singular, and that will make us misinterpret the passage. 
    • However, this “you” is plural. This means that the whole church is God’s temple.
    • Does that mean that the Holy Spirit does not reside in us individually? No. He does. But it does mean that his residence in us individually is not intended to keep us isolated. Rather his presence in us is to draw us together. 
  • Believe that Jesus has distributed all the power and gifts necessary for us to do his local/global work. 
    • Ephesians 4:11-16 (ESV) And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, 12 to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, 13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, 14 so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. 15 Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, 16 from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.
  • Be uncommon in your devotion to the mission through local covenant church membership. 
  • Recognize that “church” work is going to be agonizingly difficult at times because we are fighting against a dark enemy and dark kingdom that hits back. 
  • Start with the gospel of the kingdom and you’ll always get the church.
    • Matthew 6:33 (ESV) But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
  • Be a worshipping/praising people and the Lord may just add to our number.
    • Acts 2:46-47 “46 And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, 47 praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.”

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