04 Feb The Bride of Christ
1 Peter 2:9-12
9 But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvellous light. 10 Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.
11 Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul. 12 Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honourable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation.
I was going to title this sermon, “The Church” but then I thought, “Who would want to listen to sermon on the Church in the church?” No one will look at the sermon titled “The Church” in the podcast and say, “The sermon on the church. This is great. This is exactly what I need on my gloomy Tuesday morning.” No, no one will click on the link except pastors. The title “The Church” sounds boring. So, I changed the title of the sermon into “The Bride of Christ.” At least now I attracted the female’s attention. “Ohhh, I am the bride of Christ.” And all the guys think, “I am no bride. I am a man. Will you do a sermon on the Groom of Christ?” Unfortunately no. Such thing does not exist in the Bible. But I think the Bible is fair. The Bible is an equal offender. It offended both males and females. All the females who read the Bible have to endure being called “sons of God.” So men, you also have to accept the fact that you are called “the Bride of Christ.” But today, I want to talk to you about this entity that we called the Church.
What is the church? Why are we here? What is our purpose? How do we accomplish it? These are the sort of questions that we often asked ourselves in defining our identities as a person. Who am I? Why am I here? What is my purpose? How do I accomplish it? These are questions of identity. I want to talk to you about the identity of the church. You and I know instinctively that identity is crucial in defining self. Without knowing who we are, we do not know what to do. But I think a lot of time we make mistake of identifying who we are by what we do. One of the hardest question for me to answer is when people asked me, “Who are you?” How do you answer this question? Let me tell you how I answer it. “I am Yosia Yusuf, a product of union between Samuel and Lydia Yusuf. I am a pastor. I pastor International Service at ROCK Sydney church. I graduated from Dallas Baptist University with a Bachelor of Art and currently pursuing a Master of Divinity at Morling College. I am the author of 10 best-seller Christians books, which all of them are still in my head today. And I preached three times a month.” What am I doing? I answer the question of who I am mostly by what I do.
However, this is fundamentally wrong. What you do does not define who you are. What you do is the overflow of who you are but it does not define who you are. If we define who we are by what we do, we will experience identity crisis. Let me give you example. Anyone used Kindle reader? For those of you who do not know what kindle is, it is a device you used to read electronic book. It looks similar to IPad. Okay, no one used Kindle here. Let me ask another question. Anyone used IPad? If you used IPad, then you should know that there is an app called Kindle that enable you to read electronic books. Correct? So both IPad and Kindle reader can read electronic books. They can function as an e-book reader. But can I called an IPad a Kindle? Of course not. Even though an IPad can function like a Kindle, it is not a Kindle. It is an IPad. First, IPad costs a lot more than Kindle. Second, it has a lot more functions than Kindle. You can make your IPad do pretty much anything you want with the right apps. The identity of IPad is IPad. Yes you can use IPad to read electronic books but it does not make an IPad a Kindle. If you call an Ipad a Kindle, the Ipad is having an identity crisis.
The church can function as many thing. One of the function of the church is a place of worship. And by worship in this context I mean a place where we can sing and praise God with good music and good vocalists. This a good thing. I mean, who would want to go to church where the music is playing in the key of B and the vocalist is singing in key of F? That would be nightmare. Music and worship style is good but it is not the identity of the church. You do not define a church by their worship style. Another function of the church is a place where your little kids can grow in the knowledge of Christ. Now, hear me out parents. Kids ministry is very important. To raise the next generation in the fear of God is crucial and good. But listen. Kids ministry is not the identity of the church. You do not choose a church based on their Kids ministry. Should a church have a solid Kids ministry? Definitely. Should a church have a solid worship ministry? Yes and amen. But they are not the identity of a church. They are the overflow of the church’s real identity. They are the functions of the church but not the essences. Are you with me?
Today I want to talk to you about the identity of the Church. Bear in mind that when I talk about the identity of the Church, I also talk about your individual identity as a believer in Christ. Church is not a building or a service. Church consists of individuals who trust in Christ. So, you are part of the Church. I am part of the Church. And together with all believers throughout the world, we are called the Church. Therefore, when I talk about the identity of the Church, I also talk about every believer’s new identity in Christ. So yes this sermon is about the Church but it is also about you and me.
Four things that these verses tell us about the Church. The identity of the Church; the purpose of the Church; the method of the Church; the power of the Church.
The identity of the Church.
1 Peter 2:9 – 9 But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvellous light.
Let me give you few crucial context to understand these verses. This letter is written by Peter to group of churches scattered throughout Roman Empire. As we know, churches in early days experiences persecution after persecution and in the midst of it all, Peter is writing them a letter to remind them of their identity in Christ. And this is not something new to them. Peter’s words is an echo of God’s word to Israel in Exodus 19.
Exodus 19:4-6 – 4 ‘You yourselves have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles’ wings and brought you to myself. 5 Now therefore, if you will indeed obey my voice and keep my covenant, you shall be my treasured possession among all peoples, for all the earth is mine; 6 and you shall be to me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words that you shall speak to the people of Israel.”
So this is what God is saying, “Israel, you did not set yourself free from the slavery of Egypt. I am the one who did it. I am the one who fight for you. You did not fight a single battle. I did it all. And not only that, I carried you on my wings. I brought you here. I brought you to myself by my power and my grace alone. You contributed nothing. I saved you out of pure grace.” Can you see what’s happening? Notice that God did not say, “Obey me then I will save you.” It’s the other way around. God saved them first and then God gave them an identity to live with and commands to obey.
This is what Peter is saying to the Church. Christ already saved you. You did nothing to contribute to your salvation. He defeated sin and death on his own. He completed the work of salvation on his own. He carried you on his shoulder. You are saved by grace through faith in Christ alone. And if you have experienced the sweetness of that grace, you now have new identity in Christ. You have a new set of values that is true about you simply because of grace.
First, you are a chosen race. Now hear me out. I love Indonesian. I love the fact that I am Asian. I praise God for the fact that he made me partially Chinese with squinty eyes. That’s me. That’s part of who I am. But in Christ, I now have a new race. And this race is made up of people from different tribes and tongues. And this new race has nothing to do with the fact that I have brown skin and I am Asian. It has nothing to do with the fact that you are white, yellow, black or brown. This new race is built on the fact that God has chosen you. Therefore, this new race will have white people, yellow people, brown people, and black people.
One the things that I am longing to see happen in our church is to see people from different races come together to worship Jesus. And I know this will not be easy. There are differences in culture and the way we think and live. It is hard enough to live with your own siblings. How much more with people from different race? But none of that matter. Because we are not chosen because we are better than the other race. Christians are chosen simply because God chose us. When we say we are chosen by God, it means that for whatever reason, God handpicked us to be His. To be chosen also means that there are those who are not chosen. So we asked, “Why did God choose us? On what basis does He chose us? What do I need to do to be chosen? How can I get in the ‘cool group’?” If we are not careful, it’s very easy for us to think that God chose his people using human’s standard of choosing – only the cool and the best can get into the group.
Those of you who have been to my house would know that the moment you step inside my house, you would be greeted with my family picture which was taken when I was 9 or 10 years old. Your first impression when you see me in that old picture is either – fat, lucu, chubby, innocent face, culun, nerd, quiet, cupu, bully-able, bo bo ho, and of course, the epic finger. What you might not know is the suffering I had to go through because of it. Every time we played sport at school, I was always part of the group called the invisible players. It was those players that whether they play or not, it does not make any difference for the team. So I was always get picked last. I hate it. That is why in RYI Sports day, you don’t get to pick your own teams. We pick your team for you so no one has to experience the pain of being picked last.
It’s easy to assume that God chose us on the same standard as the world. In fact, the whole theory of evolution seems to support this theory – the survival of the fittest. But God did not choose using the standard of men. Deut 7:7-8 – “It was not because you were more in number than any other people that the LORD set His love on you and chose you, for you were the fewest of all peoples, but it is because the LORD loves you and is keeping the oath He swore to your fathers, that the LORD has brought you out with a mighty hand and redeemed you from the house of slavery, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt.” The LORD chose those who are His on the basis of his love, not our goodness. I have no idea why am I chosen. I did not earn it nor do you. Christians, you are Christians because you are loved by God. He chose you. The church consists of God’s chosen people.
Second, you are a royal priesthood. One of the blessing of the Gospel is that we are adopted into God’s family. We become coheirs with Christ, which makes us royalties. But we are not only royalties but we are also priests. What does priest do? Priest is to spend their life ministering in the presence of the Lord. So what is a royal priesthood? It is the heirs of God who spend their life in the presence of God. You are always in the presence of God. Is that mean everyone should work full-time in the church? No. But it means that whatever you do, you do it as part of priestly service to God. Or to put it in a simple term, every area of your life is your worship to the Lord. Worship is not about the song you sing but worship is you living all of your life in the presence of God. It means that everything you do, your study, your job, your relationship, flow out of your identity in Christ. And this is what the name of our church signifies. You are the Representative of Christ’s Kingdom wherever you are.
Third, you are a holy nation. The word holy originally meant separate or distinct. So we are to be a nation that is different from other nations. So go back to the imagery of a church that consist of people from different races. So in the Church, you have Indonesian, Australian, African, Mexican, Korean and all other an. What happen is that God is not elevating one nation over the other. God is not saying that, “Hey you every other an, check out the Indonesian. Even though they have many corruption, they are the top of the crop. I am going to make all you other an like Indonesian.” No, that is not what God is doing through the Church. But through the Church, God is creating a new nation that is different from every nations we know. So now our first and foremost allegiance is not to our earthly nations but to a new holy nation. There are many good things that we can appreciate from Indonesia as a nation. But Jesus did not die to establish Indonesian church. There are also many things that we can appreciate from Australia. But Jesus did not die to establish Australian church. Jesus died to make us a holy nation. Therefore, the Australian church in the hills that love to sing songs, they are not our rival; they are our countrymen. The Indonesian churches all over Sydney are not our competitors; they are our brothers and sisters. Christ died to purchase them as much as he died to purchase us. As long as we keep the Gospel centred and focus our eyes on Jesus, God is shaping all of us into a holy, different kind of nation to every other nations on the earth. Which mean we have a lot more in common with our brothers and sisters in Christ in Africa than we do with fellow Indonesians who are not in Christ.
Fourth, you are a people for God’s own possession. Oh I love this. Do you know what it means to be God’s own possession? It means that you are his treasure. The language of Exodus 19 is even clearer. You are God’s treasured possession. Now what is a treasure? A treasure is something you cherish with your life. Something that you will protect and will not let go no matter what the cost. Something that if your house is on fire, it is the first thing you seek and protect from fire. It is the most valuable thing in your life. That’s a treasure. I tried to think, “What is my treasure? Is it my suits or is it my one piece collection or is it my books?” The answer is, I don’t know. Two possibilities. Either Christ is my treasure and I am content in him, OR, I have too many and I can’t choose. I let you decide. But think about it. God owns the world. Everything in this universe, from the smallest to the biggest is his. Correct? And now God is saying, “Even though I own the universe, I own the galaxies, the sun and moon, the stars, the planets etc. But they are not my treasure. You are. Out of everything I own in the universe, I have set my affection and love on you.”
Can you imagine that? Do you know that you are loved this way? Can you see how different the Church and our life would be if we believe that we are God’s treasure? We might be in the valley right now. But we are God’s treasure. We might be persecuted. But we are God’s treasure. We might be misunderstood. But we are God’s treasure. We might be sick. But we are God’s treasure. We might be bankrupt. But we are God’s treasure. That’s why Paul asks the question, “If God is for us, then who can be against us?” If we are God’s treasure, what could happen to us? Let me tell you the answer. Nothing but what is good for us in the light of eternity. It might not look good in the 70 years that we have in this world. But in the light of 50 billion years from now, it is a beautiful and good thing. Because we are God’s treasure.
So these are the identities of the church and every individuals in Christ. The church is chosen people, royal priesthood, a holy nation and God’s own possession. And how do we get these identities? These identities are not something we make for ourselves. These identities are given to us by God. The Church get her identities from God. The Church is chosen by God. The church is turn into a royal priest by God. The church is set apart as holy nation by God. The Church is possessed by God. So, get this right. These identities are true about the Church before the Church even do a single thing. Christ loves his bride not because his bride is beautiful but simply because he loves his bride. We are not a church because we gather here every Sunday. We are a church because God makes us one. Our identities are not achieved but received. It is not something we merit but it is given to us by God. Without God, the Church, including you and me, has no identity and no purpose. But because of God, today we have identities and purposes.
The purpose of the church
1 Peter 2:9 – 9 But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvellous light.
There are many good things that the Church can do. Some argued that the purpose of the Church is to be involved in politics. Some say it is to change education. Some say Media. Some say it is all about Social Justice such as feeding the poor and building orphanage etc. Some say it is to conquer the 7 mountains. All of them are good. They are not bad. And yes the Church should be involved in all of it but that is not the primary purpose of the Church. The primary purpose of the Church is to proclaim the excellencies of Christ who called us out of darkness into his marvellous light.
What does it mean? It simply means this – share the gospel! Proclaim the gospel wherever you are. That is the primary purpose of the Church. We are to tell people about Christ who called us out of darkness into his marvellous light. Sometime we make proclaiming the gospel harder than it is. Listen. We are not called to prove the existence of God. Leave that to Timmy, Edrick and Ellis. You are not even called primarily to tell other people that they are wrong and you are right. “Your life sucks! Repent!” No, that’s not how we do it. Our message is, “Christ is beautiful. I was once in the darkness. I was blind. All I saw was darkness. There was no hope. I was living in sin and I was walking toward destruction. But He came for me. Jesus reaches out to me and he changed my heart. Suddenly, I see light. I see beauty. I see hope. I see him crucified at the cross. I see Jesus died at the cross that I may live. I see Christ’s marvellous light and now I am living in it.” This is our message. We declare the excellencies of Christ. There is a sense of wonder in our message. The wonder of the grace of God. We are not called to prove that we are right but we called to proclaim the excellencies of Christ.
And this is not only the Preacher’s responsibility. This responsibility lies with the Church, which mean every single believers. For every one of you who has experienced the wonder of being called out of darkness into Christ’s marvellous light, you have a message to proclaim. You have a message to proclaim at your school, at your work, at your friendship and wherever you are. If you have experienced the sweetness of the Gospel, it is impossible to not talk about it. Let me prove it to you. What is my favourite food? KFC. What is my favourite Sports team? Manchester United. What is my favourite collection? One Piece. How do you know the answer to all my question? It’s simple. Because you hear me talk about them all the time. Right? I don’t need to think, “Hmm, I wonder how I should talk about Manchester United today.” No, I don’t. If Manchester United played last night, you can bet that I’ll mention it in my conversation today. If they win, I smile. If they lose, I fake a smile. But I’ll be more grumpy than usual for sure. But I don’t need to be told to talk about Manchester United. Proclaiming about the things we love comes naturally. And every time you talk about something or someone you love, there is always a sense of wonder in it. I talk about soccer all the time. But I don’t talk about Liverpool and Manchester United the same way. You don’t hear a sense of wonder when I talk about Liverpool. But Manchester United, even if they barely win the game, it will sound like they win the league. And this is what Peter is saying. He is basically saying that the primary purpose of our lives is to make much of Jesus.
If we understand this, there is no such thing such as a bored and confused Christian. There is a sense of purpose in everything we do. One of the question I was asked a lot is, “How do I know God’s will for my life?” What they are trying to say is, “I want to know exactly what God wants me to do and where and how.” Well, first of all, I am not a fortune teller. Nor do I come from the future. Tough luck. I have no idea what your future looks like. But here is what I know. Whatever you do, wherever you are, you have a divine purpose from God. You are called to proclaim the Gospel. If you are a student right now, go be the best student you can be and proclaim the Gospel. If you are Taxi Driver, be the best Taxi Driver you can be, try not to cut into other people’s lane too much and proclaim the Gospel. If you are a cleaner, clean the best you can and proclaim the Gospel at the same time. If you are a serial killer, proclaim the Gospel to yourself and turn yourself in. There is a divine purpose in everything you do. Your job is not your identity. You are not a Lawyer first and foremost. You are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation and God’s own possession while you do law.
The method of the church
1 Peter 2:11-12 – 11 Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul. 12 Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honourable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation.
The method lies on the word, “sojourners and exiles”. The Greek word for it parepidemos. Let me explain the meaning of this word. I think we have a very good understanding of the word parepidemos. How many of you have Australian Permanent Resident visa? Those of you who lift up your hand, you are parepidemos. Let me explain. Right now you are living in Australia legally. You are not an illegal immigrant. Australia is not your country. Your citizenship is Indonesia. But you live in Australia. You work here. You speak English (I hope). You have a job here. You get paid in Australian Dollar. You have friends and neighbours in Sydney. You are not a tourist here. You don’t spend your time everyday sightseeing. So here is what’s true about you. You live in Australia and you are part of Australia but you are never fully Australian. You share many values that Australian have but you do not share all their values. You do not get to vote on the law and the direction this country is going. If there is a war between these two countries, you go back to Indonesia. Your allegiance is not to Australia but to Indonesia. You live in Australia but you are a citizen of Indonesia.
This is what Peter is saying. This place is not our home. It cannot be. We are sojourners and exiles. Our allegiance is not to the kingdom of earth but to the kingdom of God. The second we received Christ, our citizenship changed. Our home changed. Yes we are still living and breathing on earth but we are citizen of Heaven. This place is not our home. The new earth and Jerusalem is our home. So right now, we are on our way home. We are on a journey. We are pilgrims. But we are not home.
It means two things. First, as long as we are not home, we will never feel fully satisfied. I mean, if you have been on holiday for few weeks, then you know what I am talking about. It does not matter how good the hotel that you stayed in, it cannot compare to the feeling of your own bed. Am I right? I don’t know what it is but there is something about your own bed at home that cannot be rivalled by any bed in 6 star hotels. Maybe it’s your saliva and drool that already become one with your bed, I don’t know. But instinctively we know that there is no place like home. I mean, you might have all different sorts of delicious food while you are away. You eat all the bigul you can think of and you gain 3 kilograms in a week. You spent every day swimming and eating and drinking and reading. But somehow something is still not right. Why? Because you know you are not home. That means for us as Christians, we will never feel fully at home while we are still here. There will always be a sense of emptiness. And you will struggle with this all of your life.
Second, because our citizenship is not in here and now, we will always be different from the people of this world. How? Peter puts it this way. We abstain from the passions of the flesh and we keep our conduct honourable with our good deeds. I love the way Timothy Keller says it. He says that as a Christians you need to be both offensive and attractive. Not one over the other but both at the same time. People will find us offensive because there are many values that we disagree with them. Our allegiance is to the Kingdom of God and we abide to the law of the Kingdom of God. The Bible holds primary authority over our life. So if the world say there is nothing wrong with pursuing your homosexual desire, we disagree with them. Because the Bible is clear that God hates the sin of homosexual. We will offend people with our beliefs. You will be misunderstood. That’s a given. Peter writes that people will speak against us. If people of the world never speak against your belief, then maybe you do not believe the Bible. Just saying. But that’s not the only quality a Christian has. If all you do is offend people, you are not a Christian; you are a Pharisee.
People find you offensive. But, they also find you attractive. They speak badly about you. They curse you. They disagree with you. They persecute you. But at the same time, they see your good deeds and can’t help but find you attractive. They mock you but you honour them. They curse you but you buy them lunch. They persecute you but you continue to do your best at work and school. They look at you and they know there is something different about you. And when they can’t hold it anymore they will ask you the reason why they can’t help but admire you. Then you can tell them, “let me tell you about my God. Let me tell you about the beauty of Christ. Let me tell you about the Gospel.” This is how we are to live as sojourners and exiles. We do not escape from this world and create our own Kingdom of Heaven community. Nor do we become one with this world. We are in the world but we are not of the world. We have one foot on this world. But we have another foot on the Kingdom of God. We are residents of this world but we are citizens of Heaven. We are offensive yet we are attractive. This is the method of the Church. And this was how the Church grew in the early days. Christians were persecuted yet in the midst of it they continued to grow. How? Because people found them attractive. Christians were always the first to give their lives for the sake of others. They were always the first to arrive on the scene whenever disaster or diseases breakout. They were the ones who always took care of the poor. People find Christian values offensive but they can’t help but feel attracted to them as well. People see your good deeds and they glorify God.
The power of the Church
1 Peter 2:10 – 10 Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.
Where do we get the power to be offensive but attractive? How can we do it? The answer lies on this verse. Peter is quoting an Old Testament Scripture. He is quoting Hosea 2:23. If you never read the book of Hosea, take some time to read it tonight. It is one of the most bizarre story in the whole Bible. Bizarre but beautiful. It deserves a sermon in itself but not today. I only have less than 10 minutes left.
In the book of Hosea, God comes to Hosea and says,
“Hosea, I want you to marry that girl.”
“Which one God? That one or that one? The one with modest clothes or the one with sexy dress?”
“The one with sexy dress.”
“Are you sure God? I am a prophet you know. People might be offended if I marry her.”
“It’s okay Hosea. I want you to marry her (Hosea is probably smiling). But, she will be unfaithful to you. She will have other lovers and cheat on you.”
So Hosea marries Gomer in obedience to God. The story goes and Gomer is unfaithful to Hosea. Gomer gives birth to few children but none of them are Hosea’s. They belong to other men. And God tells Hosea to name one of the child, Lo-Ammi, which means, not my people. God is using the life of Hosea to communicate his story. God loves us the way a husband loves his wife but we cheated on God. We sleep with other people and we forsake God. And because of it, God is angry and God says that we are not his people anymore. We have broken our covenant with God. Therefore, God is no longer our God and we are not his people. But the story still continue.
Gomer keeps moving from the arm of one man to another. Eventually, she lost her beauty and becomes a slave. She lost everything desirable about her. She is nothing but a slave to be sold. Then God comes to Hosea and says, “I want you to buy her back. I want you to get her. I want you to make her yours again.” This is one of the, if not the most bizarre commandment in the Bible. So Hosea goes to the slave auction to purchase Gomer. But Hosea does not have enough money to buy Gomer. So he pays with all the money he has plus his other belongings in order to purchase her. And in the midst of it, this is what God says to Hosea about Israel. Hosea 2:23 – “And I will have mercy on No Mercy, and I will say to Not My People, ‘You are my people’; and he shall say, ‘You are my God.’”
Can you see what happen? This is what Jesus did for us. We forsake God and cheated on him but Christ came for us and he is determined to have us back no matter what the cost. God is saying, “I will pay whatever it cost to have my people back.” So Jesus came. Our one and true Bridegroom came to this world and purchased us out of slavery of sin. And he does not buy us with money or silver or gold. He bought us with his blood. The one true bridegroom bought his bride with his blood. That’s my story. That’s your story. This is the story of the Church. This is the Gospel. And he didn’t do that because we are beautiful. He purchased us simply because he loves us. The Church is his chosen people. The Church is his royal priesthood. The Church is his holy nation. The Church is his’ own possession. That is who we are. That is our identity. The Church is the bride of Christ bought by the blood of the Bridegroom.
Church, if we understand this, how different would we live our life? How different would Sunday celebration look like? How different would Monday to Saturday look like? Our identity is not something we achieved but something given to us. Christ purchased us with his blood to give us our identity. If that’s true and you truly believe it, how can you not proclaim his excellencies to people around you? How can you not talk about the one whom you love and love you so much? How different would our conduct look like every day? Can we say that people find the Church and us to be offensive but attractive? Can we say confidently that we are only sojourners and exiles in this world? That this place is not our home? I believe for many of us, including myself, the answer is NO. So what we need to do is not go out there and start offending people everyone we meet for one second and be nice to them the next second. That is not the bride of Christ. That is a runaway bride. The power to be the Church does not lie in doing the Church. What you and I need above all is to taste the sweetness of the love of our Bridegroom. Look upon Jesus. Stare and wonder at his love you. Let it consumes you and reminds you of your identity as the Bride of Christ. If I can put it in other words, the power to do Church lies in being the Bride of Christ. It lies in receiving and enjoying the Bridegroom’s perfect love for his bride. This is the power of the Bride of Christ. So go and be the Bride of Christ.
- Explain the difference between Identity and Function. Why does it matter for us to separate the Identity of the church from the function of the church?
- List the four identities of the church. What does these four characteristic teach us about the nature of the church?
- “The church is the place I go to every Sunday.” Is this statement valid? Why or why not?
- “The Church primary purpose is to proclaim excellencies of Christ.” Do you agree? Is this true about the life of Christians? Why or why not?
- Christians are sojourners and exiles, we are offensive but attractive. Give examples from daily life on how we can be both offensive and attractive. Be specific.
- What is the power of the church? How should it change the way we do church?
- Ask your group if anyone want to share their story of how God called him or her out of darkness into marvellous light.