From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession
Concerning the Church
But why is there need for more words about a matter that is quite clear? If the Church, which is truly the kingdom of Christ, is distinguished from the kingdom of the devil, it follows necessarily that the wicked are not the Church since they are in the kingdom of the devil. Yet they are mingled with the Church, and hold offices in the Church in this life because the kingdom of Christ has not yet been revealed. Just because the revelation has not yet arrived does not make the wicked the kingdom of Christ. For that which he quickens by his Spirit is always the kingdom, whether it is revealed or is hidden beneath the cross, just as Christ is the same Christ now that he has been glorified as when he was afflicted.
Pulling It Together
Jesus was clear on this matter when he was brought before Pilate. His kingdom is not of this world. It is not temporal but instead, spiritual. So we should expect that while his spiritual kingdom also exists physically and organizationally on this side of eternity, that there will be people associated with the Church who hold office in it, who even do good in the name of Christ (Matt 7:21-23), yet who are not members of the true Church. The real Church, the spiritual kingdom of Christ, is comprised of those who listen to the voice of Christ, and thus, believe in him. These are the people of faith, who do not rely upon great works of devotion and service. Instead, they trust in Christ alone for their citizenship in his kingdom.
Prayer: Lord, do not allow my service for the Church to get in the way of my faith in you. Amen.
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The Wise & The Foolish — Women's and Men's Group Bible Study
Some of the best-known instances of Jesus' teaching come in what we know as his parables. Through these teaching-stories, Jesus describes the experience of faith in the kingdom of God. The Wise & the Foolish is a Bible study that focuses entirely on Jesus' "people parables"—or what might better be descirbed as Discipleship Parables. These are the character stories that focus on the nature of discipleship and what it means to be a wise and faithful follower of Jesus.
This nine-session Bible study is intended for use by women's and men's groups, or for other small group fellowships gathering around the Word of God.
Click HERE to see the table of contents and a sample session of this study.
To view the Leader Guide click HERE.