There are times when attending a growing church is exciting…and other times when it is irritating. At times like these, questions arise. Should a church get this large? Wasn’t the first-century church small and easy to manage? Is it OK to make more room for our growing family…or should we attend elsewhere? The answers to these types of questions may surprise you.
Living Portraits of the Church
We need one another…even if we don’t always want to admit it. Human beings were made to thrive in relationships—with God and with people. And yet we are often tempted to ignore God’s unique communal design for those who follow Christ: the church.
But what is the church, and what is our place in it? The Bible uses a variety of metaphors to describe Christ’s church. In this series, Living Portraits of the Church, Chuck Swindoll explains four of those metaphors: a growing family, a dependent flock, a functioning body, and the branches of a flourishing vine. This series will help take us beyond understanding how God desires us to be in community. It will show us how it can happen.
Among the many portraits of the church painted in Scripture, none is more calming and comforting than a flock of sheep under the watchful eye of a caring shepherd. The truth is, not all sheep stay in the flock…not all shepherds are caring and faithful…not all that’s lush and green is edible grass…and not all peaceful places are free of danger. Hopefully, the time we spend in God’s Word will leave us with a realistic awareness of what it means to be among our Shepherd’s flock and how it feels to be fed from His hand.
Studies in anatomy occupy the attention of every medical student in the world. Christians would do well to emulate students of medicine. Since we are members of His body, over which Christ serves as Head, understanding the body would give us a better understanding of the church—how it’s put together, how it functions, and how to respond when it malfunctions. Just as the human body is fearfully and wonderfully made, so is Christ’s universal body
We have come to the fourth and final mental picture—a productive vine—another vivid analogy preserved for us in the Word of God. In fact, this one comes to us from the lips of Jesus as He left His disciples words of encouragement just before He was crucified. They have been recorded for us in the 15th chapter of John, a chapter that centres attention on three vital relationships the Christian must maintain.