ch10     Pilgrim's Progress Chapter 10               
Updated: February 9, 2015


The Blessings of the Palace Beautiful

First Read p 129-132   Audio 02Track2 fast forward to 3min

In Lesson Nine, we studied the characteristics of the membership of the local church; the meaning of the word church; and the origin, organization, and purposes of the church. In this lesson, we see some of the benefits and blessings that the church has to offer and why a Christian should want to attend and be a member of a local church.

Second:

Watch Pilgrim's Progress Scene 8 The Blessings of Palace Beautiful 2min video

 

 

This teacher’s lesson, rather than dealing with the same blessings with which the student outline deals, will touch upon a different topic—the three figures under which the church is represented in the Bible: a body, a building, and a bride. These three figures will give us a clearer understanding of the church and what it means.

The Body, of Which Christ Is the Head (TCA 10)
Ephesians 1:22–23 and Colossians 1:18; 2:19 present Christ as the head of the body—the church. Every member of the church should look upon himself as part of Christ’s body.

read Ephesians 5:30  For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones.


The Head Makes the Decisions
We should come to look upon ourselves as members of a body (such as the toe, nose, eyes, etc.). Only the head makes the decisions; therefore, I should never make a decision concerning my life without first consulting the head, Christ! It is sin to do otherwise. James 4:13–15 addresses this point. It is sin to consider college without letting Him make the decision. It is sin to decide whom we will marry without letting Him make the decision. Think how much better His decisions are by considering the following facts.
1. He Sees the End from the Beginning (Isa. 48:18 If only you had paid attention to my commands,  your peace would have been like a river, your well-being like the waves of the sea.)
In this verse we see God’s omniscience. He not only knows everything that has happened but also everything that can and will happen. He laments Israel’s sin of making her own decisions. If the people had only let Him make their decisions, they would have enjoyed peace like a river and righteousness like the waves of the sea. God knew what would have happened if He had been allowed to lead them.

2. He Will Lead Us in the Best and Most Favorable Path (2 Sam. 22:29–36  “As for God, his way is perfect:
    The Lord’s word is flawless;
    he shields all who take refuge in him.
32 For who is God besides the Lord?
    And who is the Rock except our God?
33 It is God who arms me with strength
    and keeps my way secure.
34 He makes my feet like the feet of a deer;
    he causes me to stand on the heights.
35 He trains my hands for battle;
    my arms can bend a bow of bronze.
36 You make your saving help my shield;
    your help has made me great.)

Not only does He see the end from the beginning but also He carefully chooses the path that will be most beneficial to us. David’s song beautifully extols God’s perfect way.

The Pilgrim’s Progress is a good example of this fact. The pilgrim could see only one step at a time. As long as he tried to make the decisions, he would either take the wrong road (as we’ll see him do at the Fowler’s net and at By–path Meadow) or be very frightened. However, if he could have looked down upon the entire map as from an airplane, he would have seen all of the right turns. He would have seen that everything was for his good and would lead him to the Celestial City.
This is an illustration of our life. God has made a map of our lives in heaven. We need not fear Apollyon, the Shadow of Death, Giant Despair, or any of the other villains that we’ll meet in The Pilgrim’s Progress as long as we let Him make our decisions. It only makes sense that the mapmaker should tell us which road to take!

The Members of the Body Have Varied Functions
(1 Cor. 12:12–25 

Unity and Diversity in the Body

12 Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. 13 For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. 14 Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many.

15 Now if the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. 16 And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. 17 If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? 18 But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. 19 If they were all one part, where would the body be? 20 As it is, there are many parts, but one body.

21 The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” And the head cannot say to the feet, “I don’t need you!” 22 On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, 23 and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty, 24 while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has put the body together, giving greater honor to the parts that lacked it, 25 so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other.


The eye cannot hear. The nose cannot see. All body parts are important, but no member of the body is all–important. This passage shows us the relationship of the various Christians to each other. We each have different gifts and abilities, but when they are pooled and united, with Christ making all of the decisions, we are like a coordinated body.
Imagine a person who has one leg that wants to go in one direction and another leg that goes in another direction, or whose hands fight each other, or whose eyes want to look in two different directions at the same time. The word describing such a person is spastic.
Many churches are that way. It is impossible for them to make any progress for the Lord because each member is making his or her own fleshly decisions and the members are pulling against each other rather than toward one common goal. One member wants blue curtains in the nursery, but another member wants white curtains. One wants the choir to sing number 438, but another wants to sing number 362. Churches have split over just such silly matters. Teens get mad at each other or are jealous and contentious over boyfriends or girlfriends, and God quits working among them!

All Parts of the Body Are Interrelated
(1 Cor. 12:25–27 

25 so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. 26 If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.

27 Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.

)
When my little toe hurts, my whole body aches. When one eye ceases to function, the progress of the entire body is affected.  Similarly, one weak church member or one weak student affects the entire church or school or youth group. You might be the very part of the body that is a constant hindrance to what God wants to accomplish. Sometimes when certain parts of our bodies endanger the whole body, we have to have surgery to remove it—for the good of the whole body. God performs a similar pruning process, sometimes removing a “cancerous” person by moving him to another town or another school or by a tragedy.
This is another reason we should be concerned about the spiritual welfare of each person in our church and school. We should not be the source of jealousy, bickering, gossip, or criticism. When we see worldliness, indifference, or rebellion growing in our church or school, we should deal with it immediately. Prayer is one of the greatest medicines. Kindness and gentleness toward each other is another medicine.

Have the students read aloud verse 25 and Philippians 2:2–4.
A Building, of Which Christ Is the Chief Cornerstone (Eph. 2:19–22; 1 Cor. 3:9–17)


The Importance of the Right Foundation
The foundation is the most important part of a house or other building. Matthew 7:24–27
24 “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. 26 But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. 27 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”

illustrates the two foundations: sand and bedrock. The sand foundation is a picture of people who build their hopes of heaven on their own good works, church membership, keeping of the commandments, etc. The bedrock foundation is explained in 1 Corinthians 3:11 11 For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. . (Read these verses aloud.)
When one’s future is built on Christ, he is sure of heaven.

The Importance of the Right Building Materials (1 Cor. 3:12–15)
Man’s chief end, or purpose for existence, is to glorify God. The building materials that God accepts are those things that are done purely for His glory. Anything that is done with any other motive will not stand the fiery trial.

The Inhabitant of the Building—The Holy Spirit
This passage in 1 Corinthians deals with the collective “building” of all Christians. God says that the Holy Spirit lives in His church. This presence of the Holy Spirit in His church is what keeps the Antichrist from taking over. 2 Thessalonians 2:7 7  refers to the Holy Spirit as the “hinderer” who is preventing Antichrist.
For the secret power of lawlessness is already at work; but the one who now holds it back will continue to do so till he is taken out of the way.

Q: When will the Holy Spirit be “taken out of the way?”
A: At the Rapture of the church. Thus, the church, as God’s building on earth, is the sole reason the Antichrist cannot have full sway on earth today.

The Bride, of Whom Christ Is the Groom (Eph. 5:25)
All Christians are part of the bride of Christ. According to John 3:29, Christ is the church’s bridegroom. We should note several points about this analogy.
The Love of the Groom for the Bride (Eph. 5:25)
Christ loves us. Think of that! And because He loves us, He gave Himself for us. Even more exciting is the fact that He is still giving Himself for us. Everything that He does is for our good. Every thought that He has is for our benefit! We are His only concern. God has no other business in the universe than caring for us and showing His love for us by working out His plan for the ages.
The Submission of the Bride to the Groom (Eph. 5:22)
When we see how great and wonderful our Savior is, how much He loves us, and what He is doing for us daily, it is easier to submit to Him. What’s difficult about submitting to someone you love and who loves

you? When we have trouble submitting to God, it is because we have taken our eyes off Him and our love has grown cold. Our motive has ceased to be God’s glory and has become self–centered.
The Coming of the Groom for His Bride (Rev. 19:7–9)
The groom is away, but He has promised to come and take the bride away. This event draws nearer with each passing day. Soon, we’ll hear the shout, and the saved (both the living and the dead) will be caught up into the clouds to meet the Lord. Then, we will enjoy a great marriage feast with Him.
Verse 7 says, “and his wife hath made herself ready.”
Q: As part of the bride of Christ, are you ready? What if the bridegroom should come today?

Application Activities
Refer to the last page of this chapter in the student textbook for a list of optional application activities that may be used in conjunction with this lesson.
Quiz 10 Answers
1. The Father, the Son, and what they’ve done.
2–7. Doctrine, reproof, correction, instruction in righteousness, perfection of the man of God, his furnishing for all good works.
8. His deity as revealed by his lineage.
9. The Word of God
10–18. Answers will vary.
• The church is the body, of which Christ is the head. Every member is a part of Christ’s body. The head makes all of the decisions, so we should submit to Christ’s will. He knows the end from the beginning and what is best for us in the long run. Every member has different functions, and each member is important to the welfare of the entire body.
• The church is a building, of which Christ is the chief cornerstone. The foundation is in the bedrock of God’s Word and Christ, the Word incarnate. The members’ chief purpose is to glorify God, so they must be careful to use the right “building materials,” things that will last for eternity and glorify God. The Holy Spirit inhabits, lives in, the “building” of each believer’s life, and is the only thing that hinders sin from being any worse than it is and the Antichrist from ruling on earth until his appointed time.
• The church is the bride, of whom Christ is the bridegroom. The bride is to love the bridegroom—and realize how much He loves her—and to submit to the groom in all things. The bride is also to be ready for and looking forward to the coming of the groom to take his bride.

student work

A Closer Look

In the last lesson, Christian was introduced to the Palace Beautiful, which repre-sents the local church in the life of the believer. In this lesson, Christian experiences the blessings and benefits for which the church was established.

Sadly, many Christians try to live without the ministry of the local church and thereby miss all of these blessings. God, however, established the local church to accomplish His work on earth. Our efforts, money, and service should be channeled through the local church. Our greatest loyalty should be to the church, not to a Christian school, a youth group, a campus ministry, or a radio or television ministry. These other types of ministries, which are called “parachurch” ministries, are good and can supplement and assist the local church, but they cannot be a substitute for it. They are helpful, but they were not founded by Christ in the same way that the church was.

Some people argue that because they are in the “universal church” they do not need to join and work in a local church. But God does not work through this so–called “universal” church; He works through local assemblies.

Let’s examine Christian’s experiences in the local church (Palace Beautiful) to see the blessings that it holds for us.

Fellowship

Acts 2:42 mentions three specific purposes of the first local church:

1. To teach the apostle’s __doctrine____

2. For __fellowship__ and breaking of bread

3. For group __prayer_

Christian experienced these blessings while he was staying at the Palace Beautiful. He learned his doctrine in the study and the importance of prayer in the armory, and he fellowships at the meal that his hostesses provided.

The word fellowship means “sharing with others; communication.”

• Many Christians call any gathering of Christians “fellowship,” including eating, drinking, and talking about current events, sports, jobs, etc. In the most general sense, this is true because the people have shared common experiences and interests in those topics. In the strictest sense, however, that is not the kind of fellowship that the Bible means. According to 1 John 1:3, what is the topic of true fellowship? _the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ

Therefore, banquets, socials, class meetings, etc., events that focus on anything other than Christ, cannot be considered fellowship in the strictest sense.

• About what three things did Christian and his friends talk at their meal?

1. _what the Lord has done_

2. _why He did those things_

3. _why He built that house_

• What was the greatest single thing that Jesus did and about which the friends were sure to talk? _He shed His blood on the cross for our sins.

• According to
John 3:16
and Ephesians 5:25, why did He purchase the church with His own blood? _so that He could present it to Himself, a glorious, spotless, unwrinkled, holy church

Watch Protestant Reformation j 5 min video

 

Thus, we see that the church is founded on the blood of Christ, and it is purchased by that same blood and founded for the purpose of His own holy enjoyment. His greatest pleasure comes from our gathering and talking about His wonderful works and grace toward us. That is true fellowship among believers and with Christ!

Doctrinal Study

The first church met daily and, according to
Acts 2:42, continued “steadfast in the apostles’ doctrine.” Read
2 Timothy 3:16–17
and list the six–fold purpose of the Scriptures.

1. _doctrine

2. __reproof

3. __correction

4. __instruction in righteousness

5. __perfection of the man of God

6. __his furnishing for all good works

Note where doctrine appears in this list—first! Thus, the purpose of the church matches the purpose of the Scriptures: to teach the doctrines of the Word.

Christian learned his doctrine in the study of Palace Beautiful. The study represents the Bible itself. In the study, he learned of the pedigree of the Lord, that is, of His deity. The rest of what he learned there is a summary of the various books of the Bible. In the spaces provided, summarize what he learned about each of these groups of books of the Bible.

• The Four Gospels— _acts that He had done; the names of many hundreds that He had taken into His service

• Acts— _the worthy acts that some of His servants had done

• Old Testament Events— _They subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, etc.

• Romans through Jude— _showed how willingly the Lord receives into His favor even those who used to be His enemies and were so ofensive to Him

•  Revelation-- of things old and modern, prophecies and predictions of things to come that will surely come to pass and that will make His enemies dred them and comfort His pilgrims

• Your pastor has the same responsibility to you and the rest of his church as the people at the Palace Beautiful had for Christian. According to Acts 20:27, what is your pastor to teach and preach? _the whole counsel of God_

• According to verse 28, he is to take heed that he _feed the church of God_. He is not to be sidetracked from this great task. The ground for his—and every other Christian’s—every action, attitude, and method is doctrine. If we do not understand doctrine, we have no grounds for our standards or for dealing with the issues of the day or for our service for the Lord. Without doctrine, our views are only opinions and preferences.

Strengthening the Christian

• In the armory, Christian is equipped for the battles of the Christian life. Read Ephesians 6:13–18 and then list the pieces of the Christian armor.

1.  loins girt about with truth

2.  breastplace of righteousness

3.  feet shod with preparation of the gospel of peace

4.  shield of faith

5.  helmet of salvation

6.  sword of the Spirit

7.  all prayer

• What is the sword of the Spirit? _the Word of God

This important weapon is effective only as the believer reads, meditates upon, memorizes, and uses the Scriptures.

Encouraging the Christian

At the Palace Beautiful, Christian sees the Delectable Mountains for the first time. They represent the point of greater maturity to which he will one day come and from which he will begin to enjoy the nearness of heaven. The sight of these mountains encourages him to trust the Lord to bring him to that point of matu-rity that awaits him.

After being equipped with his armor, Christian’s friends accompany him back to the path and bid him farewell.

Conclusion

Note the difference in Christian between the time he enters the palace and when he resumes his journey. He enters fearful and shy, ignorant and weak. He leaves much wiser, stronger, and better equipped for the battles that await him. In this we see the importance of the local church in the life of every believer.

• What does Proverbs 27:17 say about the effects of Christian friends (and the church) upon each other? _As iron sharpens iron, so a man sharpens the countenance of his friends_

Conflicts Can Be Good for Us

In Psalm 119:71, David makes an unusual statement about his affliction: “It is good for me that I have been afflicted; that I might learn thy statutes.” Afflictions make one go to God for answers and help. This is one of the greatest benefits of problems. How often do you turn to God’s Word when you have a problem?

We Must Arm the Spirit

When Satan attacks a Christian through a conflict with someone or through inappropriate attitudes and thoughts, how does the Christian fight back? Ephesians 6 tells us that it is the Spirit, not the believer, who should fight the battle. However, the Spirit must have a weapon, and that weapon is described as “the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” The Spirit gets this sword by the Christian’s memorization of specific verses for various conflicts. (See the illustration of this point.) You must build up an arsenal of ammunition to use against Satan. Then, every time you have a conflict, record the event and a verse that deals with that problem.

notes from the teacher’s lesson  (TCA 10)

application activities

1. Draw an illustration of a soldier who is equipped with the armor discussed in Ephesians 6.

Label each piece of equipment as it is named in that passage of Scripture with its corresponding reference.

2. Write a paper describing each of the pieces of armor mentioned in Ephesians 6 and explaining how each piece equips the believer for life in this world.

3. Make a list of parachurch organizations whose ministries assist the pastors and congregations of local churches. Contact one of them to ask how they ensure that they do not usurp the authority of the local church or drain funds from its necessary work.

4. Write a paper explaining the proper role of a parachurch organization.

5. Many believers try to be “lone ranger” Christians, getting by without the ben-efits offered by the local church. Explain why such an attitude is unscriptural and counterproductive.

 

Quiz—Lesson 10
The Blessings of the Palace Beautiful
Name____________________________________________ Score_________

Short Answer
1. What is the topic of true fellowship?
_______________________________________
2–7. What, according to 2 Timothy 3:16–17, is the six–fold purpose of the church?
________________________________________
8. To what does the pedigree of the Lord refer?
________________________________________
9. What is the sword of the Spirit?
________________________________________

Essays
10–18 Explain each of the following analogies of Christ and the church.
• The church is the body, of which Christ is the head.

   

 

Lesson Objectives:


1. To explain the role and ministry of the church by means of three analogies: the church as Christ’s body, the church as a building, and the church as the bride of Christ


2. To challenge the students to be submissive to the decisions of the head of the body, Jesus Christ; to build their lives on the right foundation, and to be ready for the coming of the Bridegroom

1. read p 129-132

2. watch scene 8 video

3. go over student work p 132-138

Resources:

Student Book PDF
World view study guide

Text PDF

Video whole movie:
video

Characters:
1st Part
2nd Part