The church is an army
This fourth picture of what the Church is also brings home to us our great need of one another.
In the following passages, note down the military phrases that occur:
2 Corinthians 10 v3-4
Philippians 2 v25
1 Timothy 6 v12
2 Timothy 2 v3-4
Philemon 1 v2
Christians are in a battle; but God has not left us to fight it alone! Did you notice the use of the phrase fellow-soldier in two of the passages above? God has put us together into his army so that we can fight alongside one another and for one another. This too is another aspect of belonging to his great big family.
Think: In what sense do soldiers need one another?
But this picture of soldiers in an army does not just focus on us; it focuses on the fact that there is a battle to be engaged in together.
Ephesians 6 v10-18
Who is our battle against? (v11&12)
What sort of weapons has God given us? (v13-18)
No matter how strong our battles seem, we can win them, as long as we stand together and keep our eyes fixed on Jesus. A battle can be won so much more easily by an army together than a soldier alone.
The church is a bride
This final picture is one of the most lovely pictures of the Church there is. Perhaps it is because it focuses, not on one another, but on Jesus; and in particular, on the way that his Holy Spirit is getting us ready for when Jesus returns to this earth.
Like any bridegroom, Jesus wants to come for a beautiful bride, not an old hag! When he comes (whether we have already died and are in heaven, or whether we are still alive at that time on earth), he will gather us all together and take us to be with himself for ever. This is our wonderful hope for the future!
2 Corinthians 11 v2
Revelation 21 v1-4
In what ways do you think we can be preparing ourselves to be the beautiful bride of Jesus?
Think: Which of these pictures of the Church (family, body, temple, army, bride) surprised you most?
Which one do you find yourself warming to the most, and why?
© Oxfordshire Community Churches 1999