AreYouaChristian.comPeople of God
The following 13-lesson study on the church was written by Robert F. Turner. It is a refreshing counterpoint to many of the concepts of the church that are prevalent today. Biblically based and written in a clear, understandable style, these studies will be helpful to the beginner and also the advanced student.
Introduction: People of God
Whatever God’s purpose may be, man’s greatest good can be realized in achieving that end. In God’s Word, those who through His grace seek to satisfy His divine purpose are called the “people of God” in a very special sense (1 Peter 2:9,10).
God’s Chosen, The Israelites
God selected Abraham and his descendants to be the people through whom the Messiah, or Christ, would come (Hebrews 2:1–16). He also used them as a demonstration of His dealing with mankind, and through them He unveiled Himself.
God Seeks a People in Israel
Israel’s blood relationship with Abraham was never enough. God sought a people who would love Him from the heart. He wanted them to be His people in a special way, a “kingdom of priests” submitting to Him and serving Him (Exodus 19:5,6).
Christ — Key to People of God
God had an eternal purpose, “given to us in Christ Jesus before time began” (2 Timothy 1:9,10), whereby the grace of God would make the remission of sins possible. The Son of God would sacrifice Himself for mankind: the sinless dying for the sinner.
What Was “Established” on Pentecost
In Acts 2, God’s messengers declared the establishment of Christ’s kingdom, the message of the reigning King was heard, and the obedient became citizens in Christ’s kingdom. The word of the Lord went forth from Jerusalem, and continues to this day.
The Heart of People of God
Many Scriptures teach that conversion to Christ is basically a change of heart. God seeks a people whose innermost being is turned toward Him — who give Him their all. David expressed it: “Bless the Lord, O my soul; and all that is within me” (Psalm 103:1).
The Calling of the Elect
God freely provided the means of salvation — Jesus Christ — before the world began (2 Timothy 1:9) but man must hear the “call” of the gospel, gladly receive the word, and obey it, to be forgiven of his sins (Mark 16:15,16; Acts 2:37,38; 22:16).
Living “As Unto the Lord”
People of God are on their way to “a city which foundations, whose builder and maker is God” (Hebrews 11:10,16). God seeks a people who are not “ordinary.” The way is narrow and restricted, and “few there are who find it” (Matthew 7:14).
“The Church” and People of God
The local church is a spiritual institution: for planting and developing divine moral and spiritual values in its members, and for spreading the gospel to others. Its purpose is perverted when “this life” goals take the place of “eternal life” goals.
The Work of the Local Church
In the NT, there were two main divisions of work for which congregations spent their collective resources: self-maintenance (worship, self-edification, and care of their own needy) and world work (preaching to the world, assisting other needy saints).
Misconceptions of “Church”
Many cannot seem to believe the NT teaches that: (a) each local church appoints it own overseers, who “rule” only in those matters of judgment left to man, and (b) each Christian is a “priest” and must answer to God individually for his worship and service.
Truth Is a Mountain
The climber of God’s mountain is neither self-centered nor arrogant. He is well aware of his weakness, and of the demands of the slope before him. But his faith in God keeps him struggling with a determination that will, through God, ultimately win.
People of God for Eternity
God’s “great and precious promises” (2 Peter 1:1–4) reach far beyond man’s life in this temporal world, encouraging him to prepare for eternity — the realm of the Eternal Creator. They serve as a prelude for an eternal destiny.