In All Times and In All Ways

Jesus Christ is the head of the church (Ephesians 1:9, 22-23; 4:15; 5:23), the leader who builds the church (Hebrews 3:1), the senior pastor and Chief Shepherd who rules the church (Matthew 16:18).  It is ultimately Jesus who closes down churches when they have become faithless or fruitless (I Peter 5:4).  Therefore, it is absolutely vital that a church loves Jesus, obeys Jesus, imitates Jesus, and follows Jesus at all times and in all ways, according to the teaching of his Word (Colossians 3:16).

– Driscoll, Mark and Gary Breshears, Vintage Church: Timeless Truths and Timely Methods, Crossway Books, Wheaton, IL, 2008, p. 64

How Can We Win Ground Against Sin?

If you violently war against your flesh, you’ll win ground.  It will grow weak, and you’ll grow in grace into the image of Christ.  Still, the work has to be endless as long as we’re in this world.  If you cut the flesh and slack, you’ll watch it regroup and revive.  You may even end up worse off than you were before (compare Luke 11:24-26)

Heed the warnings that fill the Scriptures (Hebrews 12:1-4; Matthew 16:6; Matthew 26:41; Luke 12:15; I Corinthians 16:13; II Peter 3:17)

– Kris Lundgaard, The Enemy Within: Straight Talk About the Power and Defeat of Sin, copyright 1998, page 40-41

The Commission and Constitution of the Church

Both words of Jesus are part of the same gospel.  They must be understood together.  The Great Commission of Matthew 28 requires the order Christ appointed for his church in the Constitution of Matthew 16.  On the other hand, the Constitution of the church as a missionary purpose.

– Edmund Clowney, The Church: Contours in Christian Theology, copyright 1988, page 161

The Church: A Community of the Theo-Political Order

The church as the community of Christ’s kingdom on earth is a theo-political order.  While all things are under the rule of Christ, it is his saving rule that constitutes his kingdom (Colossians 1:13).  The church is the heavenly polis on earth, the new humanity whose hearts are circumcised by His Spirit.  Its breadth reaches out to all peoples; its depth renews the heart (Jeremiah 32:39; Ezekiel 11:19).  The ‘ethnicity’ of the church as the new Israel of God underscores its communal reality, which is not diminished but enhanced because it is spiritual.  We have no abiding city here; the church cannot be identified with the kingdoms of this world (Hebrews 13:14).  But we do have a city with foundations, whose builder and maker is God; the church exercises heavenly citizenship in the fellowship of the saints (Hebrews 11:10, 16; 12: 28; Philippians 3:20).  The community exists on earth but it is governed by the keys of the heavenly kingdom, with spiritual, not physical, sanctions (Matthew 16:19; Revelations 3:7)

– Edmund Clowney, The Church: Contours in Christian Theology, copyright 1988, page 189