Wednesday: Unity of the Church
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Image © Steve Creitz from GoodSalt.com

The church-depicted as the “called out” of God, the “people of God,” the “body of Christ” and the “temple of the Holy Spirit” – is fitted for service or mission.

Image © Steve Creitz from GoodSalt.com

Unity is essential to the church because without it the church cannot successfully accomplish its mission. It is no wonder that the issue of unity was on Christ’s mind toward the close of his earthly life (John 17:21-22).

Jesus prayed for the unity of the church (John 17:21-22); Paul [...]

Tuesday: The Mission of the Church
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Image © Krieg Barrie from GoodSalt.com

The church as ‘the body of Christ’ means that the church is to do what Christ would do if He were still on the earth ‘bodily’.

Image © Krieg Barrie from GoodSalt.com

It is for this reason that the church as an ‘assembly’ has been called out. The church does not simply have a mission; the church is mission.

Read Matthew 28:19-20. How does it address the issue of the church’s mission?

Mission involves sending people out to speak for God. It is what God Himself [...]

Monday: Nature of the Church: Part 2
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Image © Rolf Jansson from GoodSalt.com

Besides the word ecclesia itself, the New Testament describes the church with several images that further explain its nature and function.

Image © Rolf Jansson from GoodSalt.com

Today we will look at just two crucial concepts regarding the church: the church as the people of God and the church as the body of Christ.

1. The “people of God” as a concept is applied in the Bible to the children of Israel (Deut. 14:2). Read 1 Peter 2:9, where the concept is clearly applied to Christians. How [...]

Sunday: Nature of the Church: Part 1
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Image © Krieg Barrie from GoodSalt.com

When we speak about the nature of something, we are usually interested in its origins, function, and purpose.

Image © Krieg Barrie from GoodSalt.com

Besides providing several images to depict the church, the Bible uses a particular word in reference to it, ecclesia, which means “called out” or “called forth.” In secular Greek life the word was used primarily to describe a group of citizens that had been called out from their homes into a public place for an assembly or gathering. The [...]

Sabbath: The Church: In Service to Humanity
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Read for This Week’s Study: Rom. 16:5; 1 Cor. 1:2; 1 Pet. 2:9; Matt. 28:19-20; John 17:21-22; Acts 15:1-29.

Memory Text: “These things I write to you, though I hope to come to you shortly; but if I am delayed, I write so that you may know how you ought to conduct yourself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth” (1 Timothy 3:14-15, NKJV).

Key Thought: “We should remember that the church, enfeebled and defective though it be, [...]

Further Study: Arming for Victory
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Read Ellen G. White, “Importance of Seeking True Knowledge,” pp. 312-314, in Testimonies for the Church, vol. 8;“The Color Line,” pp. 219, 220, in Testimonies for the Church, vol. 9; “O God! Help Me to Higher Levels,” p. 105, in My Life Today; “Called to Reach a Higher Standard,” pp. 311-315, in The Acts of the Apostles.

“In every soul two powers are struggling earnestly for the victory. Unbelief marshals its forces, led by Satan, to cut us off from the Source of our strength. Faith marshals its forces, [...]

Thursday: Praying Always
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Image © Darrel Tank from GoodSalt.com

Ephesians 6:18 begins with the phrase “praying always,” which suggests that praying is connected with the previous verses.

Image © Darrel Tank from GoodSalt.com

The idea is that the putting on, taking up, and receiving of heaven’s armor all necessitate reliance on God. Hence, “prayer is not another weapon; rather, it is the spirit, the manner, in which the whole armor is to be worn and the battle fought. Paul is here urging it as a perpetual state of mind, a continuous [...]

Wednesday: Helmet and Sword
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Image © Jeff Preston from GoodSalt.com

The helmet of salvation in Ephesians 6:17 is most likely taken from Isaiah 59:17, although Paul applies it differently.

Image © Jeff Preston from GoodSalt.com

In Isaiah 59, it is God who wears the helmet of salvation; here, in Ephesians, the Christian is called upon to receive it. Whereas the previous items may have been laid out for the soldier to be picked up, the helmet is handed to him. Perhaps this is to emphasize the total “giftedness” of salvation. In 1 Thessalonians 5:8, Paul speaks of the [...]

Tuesday: Preparation and the Shield of Faith
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Image © Bill Osborne from GoodSalt.com

The Roman soldier armed himself to ensure that his steps would not be impeded on rough terrain.

Image © Bill Osborne from GoodSalt.com

To facilitate movement over all kinds of roads, Roman soldiers often wore shoes studded with sharp nails. Such shoes ensured a good grip, and Paul likens the shoes to the “readiness,” or “preparation,” of the gospel of peace (Eph. 6:15).

Read Isaiah 52:7, Romans 10:15, and Ephesians 6:15. Paul’s idea seems to be steadfastness in the Christian life of warfare. In what sense [...]

Monday: Girdle of Truth, Breastplate of Righteousness
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Image © Lars Justinen from GoodSalt.com

“Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness” (Eph. 6:14, NKJV).

Image © Lars Justinen from GoodSalt.com

Though it’s a little difficult to know the exact nature of the girdle, it seems that in Ephesians 6:14 Paul may have been referring to a leather apron that offered some protection to the lower abdomen but also made freedom of movement and readiness for action possible. In this sense, the girdle was a piece of basic armor. And that [...]