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The Church is Visible and Invisible

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The Church Visible and Invisible

Have you ever heard of the term “invisible church”? St. Augustine was the first to formalize the idea. He made a distinction between the invisible church and the visible church. This distinction by Augustine has been many times misunderstood and misapplied. What Augustine meant by the “visible church” was the institution of the church that we all see visibly in the world. It has a tangible list of membership rolls. We can identify people who are a part of a specific church.
first to formalize the idea. He made a distinction between the invisible
church and the visible church. This distinction by Augustine has been many
times misunderstood and misapplied. What Augustine meant by the “visible
church” was the institution of the church that we all see visibly in the world.
It has a tangible list of membership rolls. We can identify people who are a
part of a specific church.
But when we consider the “invisible church,” it is a roll that is not
written down in our world but is written in Heaven, God’s kingdom. So this brings us to the question “does someone have to go to church to be a Christian?” Is church attendance a requirement for heaven? The most simplistic answer is no. However, Scripture commands us not to forsake the assembling together of the Body of Christ. () When God constituted the nation of Israel He very deliberately organized them into a visible nation and placed upon them the obligation of corporate worship. If a person is a Christian he is called to participate in the koinonia of the church. This is our fellowship with other Christians and the worship of God.
But when we consider the “invisible church,” it is a roll that is not written
down in our world but is written in Heaven, God’s kingdom. So this brings us
to the question “does someone have to go to church to be a Christian?” Is
church attendance a requirement for heaven?
The most simplistic answer is no. However, Scripture commands us not to
forsake the assembling together of the Body of Christ. ()
When God constituted the nation of Israel He very deliberately organized them
God constituted the nation of Israel He very deliberately organized them
into a visible nation and placed upon them the obligation of corporate
worship. If a person is a Christian he is called to participate in the koinonia of
the church. This is our fellowship with other Christians and the worship of
God.
Many of those who claim to be Christians today may be deceiving themselves. If we truly love Christ how can we despise His Bride?
How can we consistently and persistently be absent from that which he has called us to join, His visible church. The sobering reality is the fact that people may be deluding their own soul. The invisible church is many times thought to be something separate or outside the visible church when, in fact, the invisible and visible church are two sides of the same coin.
themselves. If we truly love Christ how can we despise His Bride? How can

The Invisible Church

we consistently and persistently be absent from that which he has called us
to join, His visible church. The sobering reality is the fact that people may be
v. 18
deluding their own soul.

1. Our Eyes and Heart have been enlightened

We think of the heart as the emotional part of man, but in the Bible, the heart means the inner man, and includes emotions, the mind, and the will.
The inner man can see, hear, taste, smell and touch. This is what Jesus meant when he said of the people: “They seeing see not, and hearing they hear not.” The inability to see and understand spiritual things is not the fault of the intelligence but of the heart. The eyes of the heart must be opened by the Spirit of God.
He has called us and chosen us v. 4
Enlightenment comes from the Holy Spirit. ; ;
The invisible church is many times thought to be something separate or
outside the visible church when, in fact, the invisible and visible church are
The Holy Spirit reveals truth to us through the Word then gives wisdom to understand and apply it.
The Spirit also gives us the power to practice the truth. ()
two sides of the same coin.

2. We are given the knowledge and Revelation of God

The knowledge of God is everything for the invisible church. This is why we hunger and thirst for more knowledge and Revelation.
Man cannot understand anything apart from the knowledge of God.
- willful ignorance of God - unwillingness to know God as creator and sustainer, Savior and Judge. To know Him is?
*increasing sanctification ()
*To know him perfectly is Glorification ()
That we might know God’s calling - Church means called out ones.
That we might know Gods riches.
This phrase refer’s to God’s inheritance in us - the fact that God would look at us as HIs great wealth of treasure.
Just as mans wealth will bring Glory to his name - Gods wealth will bring Glory to Gods name alone. (God will get the glory from the invisible church all because of what he has invested in us)
That we might know our future.
The invisible church lives in the future tense not the past! (our lives are controlled and consumed by what we are becoming).
That we might know God’s power (19-23)
*God’s power is divine, dynamic, eternal energy that is available to us all.
(what good is wealth if you are too weak to use it?)
*God’s power enables us to use God’s wealth
Matthew 26:47 ESV
While he was still speaking, Judas came, one of the twelve, and with him a great crowd with swords and clubs, from the chief priests and the elders of the people.
*God’s power as head controls the whole body
(this is physical and spiritual)
Matthew 26:41 ESV
Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”
Matthew 26:
ILLUSTRATION: Romans intentionally made statues with detachable heads.  For this, they specially [commissioned statues] with detachable heads. Practically, if a sculpture (of a hero, a well known person, or a ruler) loses fame, honor, or dies, the head could easily be removed and be replaced by the head of a new hero, a more well known person, or a new ruler. In these cases [the] sculptures with detachable heads have a typical and ideal body of no character [i.e., without "identity specific" appearance, and thus interchangeable]. [Ancient] Romans believed that it is greatly the head that carries the identity of the person, so statues with detachable heads were [the norm].
“It being usual upon  many occasions to put other heads upon statues, Caesar took off that of the Alexander of Lysippus, and substituted his own. This was commonly done with regard to deposed Emperors.*
APPLICATION
The Roman statue, which was specifically designed with a detachable head, speaks of how fickle people can be as followers. They choose leaders to their liking and switch heads as soon as they are no longer pleased with them. But it can never be this way for the Christian. For us, the focus is on the importance of being a good follower. After all, we are the Church, the Body of Christ, and as such we can only ever have one Head, Jesus Christ, who will never be removed or replaced due to loss of fame, honor or death.
PHYSICAL - The head controls the body and keeps it functioning properly. (if you injure certain parts of the brain you are handicapped or paralyzed)
SPIRITUAL - Through the spirit we are all inseparably joined to Him as members of the His body.

The Visible Church

3. We are taken out of the Graveyard

ILLUSTRATION
In a football game, the offensive team does something before every play on the field--they huddle. The huddle is an important part of the game. The huddle is where the quarterback announces the play to be executed. We who watch football understand that the huddle is part of the game. But that's not why we watch the game. We watch football to see if what was called in the huddle will be executed on the field. 
APPLICATION
One important part of the Christian experience is that believers "huddle" together in church buildings. People know that's part of what we do as the church. But, what the world really needs and wants to see is whether believers will execute in life what they huddle about in church? 
Jesus said, "Let your light so shine BEFORE MEN, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven" ().
DEATH MEANS SEPARATION (, )
James 2:26 ESV
For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead.
Looks can be deceiving in the visible church. We assume because a church has allot of butts in the seats that people have been taken out of the grave yard. This is not always the case.
HOW DID WE GET IN THE GRAVEYARD?
Disobedience - this was the beginning of man’s spiritual death - his disobedience to the will of God. God said, “In the day that you eat of the fruit you will surely die.” ()
The world and it’s system puts pressure on each person to try and conform. () Jesus Christ was not “of this world” and neither are HIs people.
WARNING: The visible church has to continually guard against looking like the world. The unsaved person is either consciously or unconsciously controlled by the values and attitudes of this world.

Spiritual Connection: The spirit connects this dead rotting flesh of a corps to the life giving restoration of the spirit.
The world is littered with church graveyards they just dont know it!
We have taken ownership of the body
“We say I love my Church” What are we really saying. Christ is the cornerstone of the church and we are simply the tenants that he chooses to live and dwell inside of.
The Flesh is the enemy of the visible Church
ILLUSTRATION
Why does your dog do what a dog does? A dog behaves like a dog because he has a dogs nature. Now if you replace that nature with one of a cat and all of the sudden your dog will look, act, and behave significantly different.
Why does the visible church at time return to the graveyard. Because it has the nature of a sinner. We are depraved lost sinners who seek to feed the desires of our own flesh.
Why does the visible church at time return to the graveyard. Because it has the nature of a sinner. We are depraved lost sinners who seek to feed the desires of our own flesh.
WHAT DOES IT LOOK LIKE TO BE OUT OF THE GRAVEYARD?
We have God working For us (2:4-9)
*HE LOVED US: By nature God is Love. The attribute of God’s love is grace and mercy.
*HE MADE US ALIVE: Jesus physically raise 3 people from the dead, the widows son, Jarius’s daughter, and Lazarus. With each case he spoke the word and they were granted life. This is a spiritual awakening but it manifests itself in the visible church. (miraculous life changes)
*HE EXALTED AND KEEPS US: Our physical position may be on earth but our spiritual position is in heaven. This is why our spirit grown’s inside of us. HE KEEPS US: This is an eternal position.
*HE IS STILL WORKING ON US: the physical wrinkled specimen of the church reminds us of God’s continued work on his bride.
We have God working in us (2:10)
*We are His Workmanship: in other words we are a product that is still in the manufacturing stage of it’s development. God continues to work in us to make us what he wants us to be. (this is a difficult process for many in the visible church)
Many Christians think that conversion is the only important experience when it fact it is only the beginning......
LAZARUS: “loose Him, let Him go.”
We have a God working through us (Eph. 2:10b)
*We are not saved by Grace + Good Works but by a faith that works.
*None of our works are good without Christ living inside of us.
Isaiah 64:6 ESV
We have all become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a polluted garment. We all fade like a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away.
Works of the Flesh
Gal 5:19
Galatians 5:19–21 ESV
Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.
*We do not manufacture works they are a result of the world of God.
Philippians 2:13 ESV
for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.

We are given a New Hood

OLD POSITION NEW POSITION
“without Christ” “in Christ”
“Aliens” “a holy nation”
“Strangers” “no longer strangers”
“no hope” “Calling into one Hope”
“without God” “We call Him Abba Father.”
without Christ - Ephesians worshiped the Goddess Diana - every person who is outside of the community of faith is without Christ.
without citizenship - God called the Jews and built them into a mighty nation - No gentile could enter in
without covenants - God did not make any covenants with the Gentiles they were aliens and strangers
without hope - empty traditions and religions
without God - no matter how religious or moral a person appears to be if he did not know the true God he will say depart from me I never knew you.

We have been Reconciled to God

vrs. 15 Jesus Christ is our New Peace
*One New Man in the place of two.
ONE NATION: Sin has divided humanity but Christ is uniting it.
ONE FAMILY: We are apart of the family here on earth and in heaven.
ONE TEMPLE: God not longer dwells in temples made by human hands. he now dwells in the hearts and lives of his creation and those who have trusted Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord.
The Bible Exposition Commentary Chapter Five: The Great Peace Mission (Ephesians 2:11–22)

Through Christ, He has raised us from the dead and seated us on the throne. He has reconciled us and set us into His temple. Neither spiritual death nor spiritual distance can defeat the grace of God! But He has not only saved us individually, He has also made us a part of His church collectively. What a tremendous privilege it is to be a part of God’s eternal program!

This leads to two practical applications as we close this study.

First, have you personally experienced the grace of God? Are you spiritually dead? Are you distant from God? Or have you trusted Christ and received that eternal life that only He can give? If you are not sure of your spiritual position, I urge you to turn to Christ by faith and trust Him.

The Bible Exposition Commentary Chapter Five: The Great Peace Mission (Ephesians 2:11–22)

Second, if you are a true believer in Christ, are you helping others to trust Him? You have been raised from the dead—do you “walk in newness of life”? (Rom. 6:4) Do you share this Good News of eternal life with others? You are no longer at enmity with God, but are you spreading the Good News of “peace with God” with those who are still fighting Him?

How are you living as the visible and invisible church today?
Unfortunately the church spends more time arguing about worship styles and practice than actively being His ambassadors of peace and grace.
ILLUSTRATION
"We sing about 'Amazing Grace,'" says writer Justin Buzzard for the Christian Post, "but we could change the adjective and also sing about 'Destructive Grace.'"
Grace destroys.
Grace is the undeserved love of God. It’s the most powerful force in the universe. And when grace comes into your life it destroys things.
Grace destroys the old you.
Grace destroys the idols that enslave you, breaking the chains you didn’t even know you had.
Grace destroys old habits, old ways, that had been part of your life for so long and had been killing you for so long.
Grace destroys the old operating system.
"It’s a good destruction," he says, "Grace destroys in order to birth and build something new and beautiful."
APPLICATION
By definition, regeneration implies the death of the old in order to bring about the new. Let's sing with the author, "Destructive Grace, how sweet the sound!"
"As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among the grave stones at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath of God. But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, He has made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved" ().
THIS IS THE BEAUTIFUL MESSAGE OF THE GOSPEL.
HOW DO WE LIVE OUT THE VISIBLE AND INVISIBLE CHURCH TODAY?

NEXT STEPS

1. Bring the Gospel

2. Build Relationships

3. Be the Community

100 in one YEAR!
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