The measure of a strong church” Part III
We’ve been discussing Biblical phrases that help us understand the nature of the church in the New Testament, and the real measure of a strong church.

As members of the Lord’s church, one should be concerned locally that it “Functions like a body,” “Loves like a family,” “Praises like a temple,” “Submits like a kingdom,” and “Remains pure as a bride.” I believe these figures of speech can help us to properly measure the strength of the Lord’s church in a local community.
As the church, members are privileged to be in the Kingdom of Christ. Sadly, many people misunderstand this important truth. Paul wrote to the Christians at Colossae in Colossians 1:13 (KJV) ¹³Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son.” These brethren were already in the Kingdom in the First Century. As was John the apostle - Revelation 1:9 (KJV) ⁹I John, who also am your brother, and companion in tribulation, and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was in the isle that is called Patmos, for the word of God, and for the testimony of Jesus Christ.”
This should not surprise us for Jesus had already told the disciples in Mark 9:1 (KJV) “...Verily I say unto you, that there be some of them that stand here, which shall not taste of death, till they have seen the kingdom of God come with power.” In their lifetime the kingdom was to come. Both Paul and John testify that in fact it had come. It’s a spiritual kingdom. Jesus taught in Luke 17:20-21 (KJV) ²⁰ “And when he was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said, The kingdom of God cometh not with observation: ²¹ Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.”
A kingdom suggests a king, to which subjects submit in allegiance and obedience. A strong church is one in which the citizens (members) submit to Christ as their King in reality - Colossians 3:17 (KJV) ¹⁷ “And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.” It’s a relationship in which things are done as He directs, by His authority: 1 Peter 4:11 (KJV) ¹¹ “If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God; if any man minister, let him do it as of the ability which God giveth: that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.” It’s where we follow His commands, and do not make up our own rules. How each person submits to the Lordship of Jesus Christ is a true measure of any congregation.
Finally, a strong church is one that is “Pure as a Bride.” The Apostle Paul Thought of the Church as a Bride - 2 Corinthians 11:1-2 (KJV) ¹ “Would to God ye could bear with me a little in my folly: and indeed bear with me. ²For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ.”
John, The Revelator, was told of the likeness of our relationship to Christ as a bride, adorned. Note that the bride “hath made herself ready.” She was adorned in the fine linen of the righteousness of saints. Revelation 19:7-9. As the bride, awaiting marriage, we must maintain our purity and adornment! We do this first by By being cleansed through the blood of Christ... First in baptism - Acts 2:38; 22:16. Then day by day as we continue to confess our sins - 1 John 1:9. We also maintain our purity by abstaining from unrighteous deeds - cf. Ep 5:3-5, and by walking after the spirit: Romans 8:1-2 (KJV) ¹ “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. ² For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.”

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