Today, we’re going to begin a discussion about church. We’re going to talk about why the church is THE vehicle to push back the darkness and change our world. We’re going to answer a few questions over the next couple of weeks about church like:
What is church?
What’s the point of church?
How do I fit in?
What contribution can I make?
Is it worth the effort?
All of these are questions that have been asked many times by many people gathered in this place. Maybe not out loud, but they’ve been asked within our hearts and minds. I want to walk us through these questions and a few more so that we will all have a pretty clear answer about church.
Acts 1:8/ff Acts 2
1. Family – Being part of a church makes us part of a family that is pretty amazing.
Eph. 2:19 Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, 20 having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone, 21 in whom the whole building, being fitted together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, 22 in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.
– No one will ever thrive in isolation
– Strength in numbers is not just a cliche it’s truth
– God didn’t intend for His children to grow alone
2. Authority – Being part of a church gives us a very powerful advocate in Christ
Eph. 1:22 And He put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the church, 23 which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.
– God also didn’t intend for His children to face the world without power
– Acts 1:8
-We act on the authority of the King
fullness – plā’-rō-mä (play-roo-ma) = completeness, that which has been filled
Church is an institution given by God that brings completeness and fulfillment into our lives
3. Word – Being part of a church gives us real answers for real questions and real problems
Col. 3:16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.
2 Tim. 3:16 All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.
Heb. 4:12 For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
– God didn’t intend for His children to figure out all by ourselves
– The manual was written and handed to us
4. Mission – Being part of a church gives us purpose, a reason, to make a difference
Matt. 28:18 And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.
Acts 1:8 But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
– God didn’t intend for His children to do nothing
– Changing our world is not an option, we are commanded
– Matthew 28, Mark 16, Acts 1
From Christianity Today: Myth 1: The church is merely a human organization Myth 2: The church is a supermarket for spiritual groceries Myth 3: The church is just a gathering of a few believers
• Orthodoxy: the proclamation of the central truths of the Christian faith regarding God, the person and work of Christ, and salvation
• Order: the positions of biblically qualified and properly appointed leaders
• Ordinances: the practice of baptism as the rite of institution into the covenant community, and the Lord’s Supper as the rite of sustained fellowship.
• Evangelism: gathering others to God by the gospel of salvation by grace through faith in Jesus Christ
• Edification: growing believers toward maturity in Christ through teaching and discipline in genuine community
Exaltation: glorifying God through adoration and service Myth 4: The church is optional