DAY 9, THE VISIBLE CHURCH

Scriptural Text

John 12:34-36 34 So the crowd answered him, “We have heard from the Law that the Christ remains forever. How can you say that the Son of Man must be lifted up? Who is this Son of Man?” 35 So Jesus said to them, “The light is among you for a little while longer. Walk while you have the light, lest darkness overtake you. The one who walks in the darkness does not know where he is going. 36 While you have the light, believe in the light, that you may become sons of light.”

John 12:44-48 44 And Jesus cried out and said, “Whoever believes in me, believes not in me but in him who sent me. 45 And whoever sees me sees him who sent me. 46 I have come into the world as light, so that whoever believes in me may not remain in darkness. 47 If anyone hears my words and does not keep them, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world but to save the world. 48 The one who rejects me and does not receive my words has a judge; the word that I have spoken will judge him on the last day.

Isaiah 59:21 21 “And as for me, this is my covenant with them,” says the Lord: “My Spirit that is upon you, and my words that I have put in your mouth, shall not depart out of your mouth, or out of the mouth of your offspring, or out of the mouth of your children’s offspring,” says the Lord, “from this time forth and forevermore.”

Exposition

“Q. 61. Are all they saved who hear the gospel, and live in the church?
A. All that hear the gospel, and live in the visible church, are not saved; but they only who are true members of the church invisible.” The Westminster Divines, Larger Catechism. Kindle Edition.

“The people drew false notions from the Scriptures, because they overlooked the prophecies that spoke of Christ’s sufferings and death. Our Lord warned them that the light would not long continue with them, and exhorted them to walk in it, before the darkness overtook them. …those who have not faith, cannot behold what is set forth in Jesus, lifted up on the cross, and must be strangers to its influence as made known by the Holy Spirit; they find a thousand objections to excuse their unbelief.”  Matthew Henry

The effectual calling of the Holy Spirit is the saving work of God by the grace of God through faith. But God has not called his own to a social club membership, nor to a human society of elites, but to a community of co-workers in his harvest fields.

No Building Necessary

“Q. 62. What is the visible church?
A. The visible church is a society made up of all such as in all ages and places of the world do profess the true religion, and of their children.” The Westminster Divines, Larger Catechism. Kindle Edition.  Simply put, the visible church is the people that claim to be Christians and their children.

Application

We remember the Sabbath Day and keep it holy in obedience to the command –in part by our church attendance. (Exodus 20:8) But there is nothing specifically in the definition of the visible church regarding weekly meetings.  Why not? Because the visible church of which the divines speak is of a daily lifestyle of “walking in the light” in the world where we are seen.  When the world sees us, do they see a daily, clear representation of a follower of Christ and a member of his Church?

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