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Everyone has a few nuts in their family tree. Who has that crazy uncle? Who’s got that cousin that no one really likes to talk about and when you’re at the family reunion things get kind of strange?
I want to go ahead, right here at the beginning, and say this. We’ve got a whole lot of people in here who probably have a lot of different understanding/definitions about what the Church is.
As the pastor, I want to clear up some things:
A) This is NOT business.
B) This is NOT a club: what can you do for me?
C) This is NOT about a building.
Here we go…this is deep stuff right here…This is a FAMILY.
Background - Corinth. This is a messy church. It’s a DIVIDED church. It’s a DEFILED church. It’s a DISGRACED church. When you join yourself to a church, you’re joining yourself to a family. It’s a diverse family…an imperfect family…a messy family.
Listen to me. Despite its flaws, its messiness, its imperfections, the church is beautiful.

Jesus loves His Church.

Notice clearly, here. HIS church. Not MY church. Not YOUR church. HIS church. Jesus loves his church AND SO SHOULD I. So, that’s the question for this whole series. “Do I love Jesus’s church?” Do I love the Church? In spite of the flaws.
1 Corinthians 1:1–9 ESV
Paul, called by the will of God to be an apostle of Christ Jesus, and our brother Sosthenes, To the church of God that is in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints together with all those who in every place call upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, both their Lord and ours: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. I give thanks to my God always for you because of the grace of God that was given you in Christ Jesus, that in every way you were enriched in him in all speech and all knowledge— even as the testimony about Christ was confirmed among you— so that you are not lacking in any gift, as you wait for the revealing of our Lord Jesus Christ, who will sustain you to the end, guiltless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.
Look again at vs. 4…knowing what we know about the Church in Corinth, and what Paul knows…how could he say this? Do WE say this? How can I love Jesus’s church in spite of the mess? Understanding the big picture…what Paul gets. Paul tells the Christians in Corinth four very important truths about who they are in Christ.
Look at verse 2. He says they are “sanctified.” That word means “to make holy…to set apart.” The Church - these Christians - have been set apart as God’s special possession for His special purpose. {REPEAT}
How does he set us apart?

We are BOUGHT with the BLOOD of Jesus.

1 Peter 1:18–20 ESV
knowing that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot. He was foreknown before the foundation of the world but was made manifest in the last times for the sake of you
1 Peter 1:19–20 ESV
but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot. He was foreknown before the foundation of the world but was made manifest in the last times for the sake of you
Jesus gave his life to ransom us from death. He shed his blood…the church is His possession - Paul says, later in 1 Corinthians, that we have been BOUGHT AT A PRICE - the life of the Son of God. If Jesus gave his life, don’t you think He loves his church? In spite of the mess, the stupidity…he loves his church because we are the blood bought people of God.
Look again at vs. 2 - “called to be saints together...” and in vs. 9 - “called into the fellowship...” A few different times in these verses, Paul uses two words that share the same root. The words “church” and “called.” Both of these words come from the same root word, “καλεω.” This means to “call.” The church is the “called out” ones who have been “called” individually by Christ. Do you see what’s happening here? Individually, we are believers who have been “called” by Christ into salvation but you aren’t saved as a Lone Ranger. You are part of the larger group that has been “called out.”
The church is the blood-bought people of God, but...

We are the BODY of Christ.

What else does Paul say? Why does he love the Church that Jesus loves? Look at verses 4 & 5…Grace given…enriched.
Look, this was a church full of gifted people. God had done a great work of transformation in the lives of the believers there. They were sinners…I mean, not that one sinner is worse or better than the other, but this is the Las Vegas of Asia Minor. There are some people there with a past. Now, God has blessed them, as Paul says in , with every spiritual blessing. They’ve got gifts of understanding the Word, they’ve got gifts of preaching, teaching, etc. God is blessing the church and people are getting saved. Why? Because God is bigger than their sin. He is bigger than their mess. This isn’t about them. This is about the gospel and the name of Jesus Christ. So, why does Paul love the church in spite of the mess?

We are BLESSED in Christ.

Finally, look at vs 8-9.

We are the BRIDE of Christ.

However imperfect, however flawed, however messy, the Church is the bride of Christ. I think verses 8 & 9 give us hope. Are we, as Christians, as the Church, who we hope to be? No. I’m pretty flawed. I’m pretty sinful. I’m a hypocrite. I love when people accuse Christians of being hypocrites. I’m always like, “Yeah. I am…we all are.” But Paul’s opening statement to this flawed, messy, hypocritical, divided, disgraced church are filled with hope. Listen again to what he says…READ 8 & 9.
As the redeemed, blood bought body and bride of Christ, we are not yet glorified. We are still a work in progress. So…let me just be very straightforward here. If you are looking for a perfect church that’s always going to do things your way and make you happy, this is probably NOT the church for you. If you’re looking for a pastor and staff who are perfect, flawless, always going to take swings and get hits and major wins and never do anything wrong…I’m sorry, but you’re going to be really disappointed.
But, here’s the beautiful truth. Jesus is coming for his bride and you know what that means? It means that when he returns, all of the imperfections, all of the mess, all of the flaws will be forever healed and done away with and we will be transformed into his image and be - in every way - perfect.
Ephesians 5:25–27 ESV
Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.
We aren’t perfect but we’re headed for perfection.
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