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.
Today I am going to start a sermon series on the Confessions of the Mennonite Church. We live in a time when many people don’t want to be associated with a denomination. Sometimes it is because the presence of different denominations look like unnecessary divisions created in the larger faith community. The Mennonite Church through its unique faith history, being birthed out of extreme persecution has picked up on certain aspects of the kingdom of God particularly well. This is what I want to present to you in this sermon series on the Mennonite Confession of faith.