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The Worldwide Church

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<<Christ is the cornerstone of the church – in him we are united to Christians of every colour, nationality and denomination.>>

Start of a series, Skeptic

How can we talk about the church?

God yes, Jesus yes, Church – surely not.

Shrinking, Out of touch, No voice

Toft MAP “Believes in God but doesn't feel any need to attend church”.

Geographical answer

Out of perspective. Britain - Europe

Worldwide church growing.

Latin america, Africa

average anglican not pensioner in home counties, 20s black woman nigerian.

Theological answer

v22 “you are built together spiritually into a dwelling place for God”

Church building – holy place. Church people – holy dwelling place.

Work in and through us.

Worldwide church

  • Pentecostal Christian South America, desparately poor, picking items off a rubbish heap.
  • Older Russian man. Orthodox Christian, remembering the severe restrictions on the church under communism.
  • 12 year old Christian in Lesotho. Orphaned by AIDs epidemic and trying to provide for his younger brother and sister.

How can we relate to these people?

  • Brother Yun. Leader of House church in China. 1980s Sentenced to 4 years hard labour.

Carrying excrement from toilets to fertilise crops.

Christmas day 1985. Fellow Christians to visit

p172 “The Heavenly Man” - toilet block conversion.

Great story. So far from our experience, diff language, diff country, diff type of church

How can we relate to this man?

v19 “You are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are citizens with the saints and also members of the household of God.”

radical statement. Brother Yun citizen china. Most of us British citizens.

No longer strangers and foreigners – we are fellow citizens – even members of the same household!

Only possible know same person.

How can we live as citizens of heaven?

Context reading. Huge problem nearly tore the early church apart.

2 groups. Diff Race, diff culture, diff language, diff way of worshipping. Some it seemed never be reconciled.

Division btw Jewish / Gentile. BIG look today at the Holy Land. 3M high wire fence surrounding Gaza Strip.

v14 “For Christ is our peace; in his flesh he has made both groups into one and has broken down the dividing wall between us.”

Same act of reconciliation us today.

NOT PRIMARILY Citizens of Israel, China, England, CofE

citizens of heaven.

Lose where we've come from.

Jacqui - NZ citizenship

Mayor Christchurch “You're becoming a citizen of NZ but we do not want you to lose the richness of your own culture – because that enriches us.”

Tree - Hebe

celebrate our diversity. Grow together in Christ.

v21 “In Christ the whole structure is joined together and grows into a holy temple in the Lord.”

Praying for the persecuted church*. Finding out.

  • Supporting Richard and Sue Kellow. Financially / prayer – reading prayer letter – write.
  • Unity in our own village.

Sometimes its easier to be united to people who live a long way away.

History of hard-feeling St M- Baptist

somehow preaching a diff gospel or a diff kind of church.

– exciting project.


How can we talk about the church?

Perspective – developing world, God's

How can we relate to other Christians?

Mutual friend in Christ

How can we live as citizens of heaven?

Be willing to embrace difference.

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