The Doctrine of The Church
A Sermon on Ecclesiology
Why is the church so important and is it really necessary for the Christian’s personal walk with Christ? Many Christians throughout history have minimized the church and it continues today. Is the kingdom of God the same thing as the church? According to Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones in this sermon titled “The Doctrine of the Church,” most problems flow from not taking the church seriously. The answers start by learning how “church” is used in Scripture. Dr. Lloyd-Jones explains that the church is a visible expression of the kingdom of God, yet it is not the kingdom in all its fullness. All Christians are part of the worldwide church. Dr. Lloyd-Jones shares that it is impossible to be a Christian and not be part of the global church. In the Scriptures, church almost always refers to a local body of believers, and it means “called out ones.” But not everything that calls itself a church is truly a redeemed congregation. It is these individual bodies and individual Christians all over the world that make up the global church. Christians have been called out of the world into the global church and kingdom of God, and this has massive consequences for the Christian life. Listen as Dr. Lloyd-Jones helps the listener understand how to live as an important part of the church and why this is important.
The relationship between the church and the kingdom of God. The kingdom of God refers to God's rule and reign. The church is an expression of the kingdom of God, not the kingdom itself. The kingdom is wider than the church.
The meaning of the term "church". The Greek word is "ecclesia" which means "the called out ones". It refers to a gathering or assembly. The church consists of those called out by God and belonging to the Lord.
The church is usually referred to in the plural in Scripture, referring to local gatherings. But sometimes referred to in the singular, referring to the universal church.
The church is illustrated in Scripture using various pictures: a body, a temple, a bride, an empire. This shows the church is both spiritual/invisible and visible/external.
The church refers to local gatherings of believers where Christ is present and acknowledged as Lord. But all true believers are also part of the universal, spiritual church.
The unity of the church refers to spiritual unity, not organizational unity. It is based on common belief in Christ and common doctrine. Unity is not just coming together but sharing the same life and truth.
Fellowship is based on shared doctrine and faith. We cannot have true fellowship with those who deny fundamental Christian doctrines.
The relationship of the church to the state. The Catholic view is that the church controls the state. The Erastian view is that the state controls the church. The biblical view is that they are separate but both under God. The church is not a national church or department of any state.
The church consists of believers from all nations, races and backgrounds. It is supranational.
Great Biblical Doctrines
Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones
Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones (1899-1981) was a Welsh evangelical minister who preached and taught in the Reformed tradition. His principal ministry was at Westminster Chapel, in central London, from 1939-1968, where he delivered multi-year expositions on books of the bible such as Romans, Ephesians and the Gospel of John. In addition to the MLJ Trust’s collection of 1,600 of these sermons in audio format, most of these great sermon series are available in book form (including a 14 volume collection of the Romans sermons), as are other series such as "Spiritual Depression", "Studies in the Sermon on the Mount" and "Great Biblical Doctrines". He is considered by many evangelical leaders today to be an authority on biblical truth and the sufficiency of Scripture.