Tuesday, April 24, 2012

The Church

Sorry these are all out of order...somehow I skipped a ton of pages in my notebook and then went back and filled in, so all my message notes are out of order. Doesn't really matter when it was taught, the message remains the same. One night at Mission 28, Jon Shea spoke on the importance of the Church. At Mission 28, our mission is to Know, Follow, and Proclaim: to Know God, to Follow God and to Proclaim God on our campus and teach others how to Know, Follow and Proclaim. (Based out of Matthew 28:16-20) This time we wanted to concentrate on following...specifically following in the context of a local church.

Matthew 16:18 says that "I will build my church"...so what is the church? The Bible uses three metaphors to describe the church: a bride, a building, and a body.
  • The church is Jesus' bride
    • All people whom he redeemed for himself
    • When he returns there will be a wedding feast
  • The church is a building/house
    • 1 Peter 2:5  you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.
      • We as humans, whom Jesus redeemed, are living stones.
      • Our purpose is worship...offering spiritual sacrifices
      • We are to be a spiritual house
  • The church is a body
    • 1 Corinthians 12:12  For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ.
      • Just like a body has many different working parts but is still one body, we are all different people with different purposes/talents/gifts but united together on the same mission.
    • Ephesians 1:22-23 And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all.
      • Jesus is the head
Church vs. church
  • Church
    • Church(capital C) is the community in it's entirety of all true Christian believers of all time.
  • church
    • church(lower-case c) is the local church (building) where local Christian's gather to worship.
    • note: college ministries are NOT churches
If you are a Christian...you are a brick...a living stone. You don't see bricks laying around randomly...bricks have a purpose. Being uncommitted to a church means that you are trying to do the great commission by yourself...a lone brick trying to be a house. Be in the wall, be a part of the wall...don't stand alone beside the wall. Membership is when a disciple commits him/her-self into a defined body of believers. When you become committed as a member, your brick builds the wall...you join the wall.

Why do you need to be a member of a local church? Because the church is the place for growth and discipleship, training and correction, personal care and so much more. As a Christian, you need to devote yourself to a local church if you want to continue on your journey to becoming more Christ-like.

So what does membership look like?
  1. You go and show up consistently. You need to be there and have ownership of what is going on.
  2. You agree theologically. You trust the pastors to teach and apply God's word. You submit to the leaders.
  3. You commit to ALL the other members. You are in this together...you have to be prepared to care for, admonish, disciple, and walk along side every other member who is a part of that church.
  4. You are committed to the mission of that church. You give of your time, skill, and you give generously to that mission.
Two common excuses:
  • "I have to work on Sunday."
    • Well...change your work schedule - he died for you.
  • "The church burned me."
    • That is really sad, and I'm really sorry that you had to experience that. You need to remember though that the church is a group of God's redeemed sinners...not a group of Jesus-es. No church is going to be perfect. So the best you can do is find a good church that preaches God's word.
To sum everything up...no one says it better than Charles Spurgeon.
“Give yourself to the Church. You that are members of the Church have not found it perfect and I hope that you feel almost glad that you have not. If I had never joined a Church till I had found one that was perfect, I would never have joined one at all! And the moment I did join it, if I had found one, I should have spoiled it, for it would not have been a perfect Church after I had become a member of it. Still, imperfect as it is, it is the dearest place on earth to us… All who have first given themselves to the Lord, should, as speedily as possible, also give themselves to the Lord’s people. How else is there to be a Church on the earth? If it is right for anyone to refrain from membership in the Church, it is right for everyone, and then the testimony for God would be lost to the world!
As I have already said, the Church is faulty, but that is no excuse for your not joining it, if you are the Lord’s. Nor need your own faults keep you back, for the Church is not an institution for perfect people, but a sanctuary for sinners saved by Grace, who, though they are saved, are still sinners and need all the help they can derive from the sympathy and guidance of their fellow Believers. The Church is the nursery for God’s weak children where they are nourished and grow strong. It is the fold for Christ’s sheep—the home for Christ’s family.”
–Charles Spurgeon, “The Best Donation,” (No. 2234) an exposition of 2 Corinthians 8:5 delivered on April 5, 1891 at the Metropolitan Tabernacle in London, England.

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