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I Am Thankful for the Church

I AM THANKFUL  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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I am thankful for the family of God, I am thankful for the CHURCH.

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Good morning NCF! I am pastor Steven, I am so glad you are here. And good morning to those of you visiting today.
If you are a first time visitor......
If you are a first time visitor
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1 Chronicles 16:34 ESV
Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever!
2 Chron 16:34
Today we wrap up our series and What I am Thankful for.
Today we wrap up our series and What I am Thankful for.
Our first week I shared that I am thankful for the Gospel of Jesus to the rejects everywhere.
Last week I shared how I am Thankful God does Not Leave Us Where He Found Us.
And today, I am Thankful for the family of God, The Church.
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We all have family, some of them we are thankful for and some of them well, we try to ignore.
As thanksgiving arrives next week some of us will gather with family around a table of food and celebrate all that God has done.
Turkey and Ham will be devoured, stuffing will stuff us, and still some how we will make room for a slice or two of pie.
Board games and footballs will be pulled out, recliners will recline, and eventually the turkey will over power us and we will sleep. Only to wake for the night time sandwich of turkey and cranberries.
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It is only appropriate with such a feast before us to share with you what I am truly thankful for.

I AM THANKFUL FOR THE CHURCH.

I am thankful for the History of the Church world wide.
I am thankful for the men and women who gave their lives for the sake of Jesus.
I am thankful for the brave men who fought to bring us the Word of God in a language we can read and comprehend.
I am thankful for John Huss, Martin Luther, John of the Cross, John Calvin, John Wesley, Charles Spurgeon, William Seymour, and the Millions of other followers of Jesus who paved the way for us today.
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I am also Thankful for the local church.

I am thankful for the pastor who took care of me while my brother was dying of cancer.
I am thankful for the elder who would flip my ear as a young boy for talking during church.
I am thankful for a pastor that never gave up hope in me even, when I was at my worst.
I am thankful for a sunday school teacher who loved me and cared for me.
I am thankful for a church that believed in me and believed in the Holy Spirit working through me.
I am thankful for a pastor who would give me a chance to preach to the Word of God.
I am thankful for all those ladies that threw a baby shower for my wife.
I am thankful for their correction, encouragement, love, and hope.
I am thankful for you, for allowing a young boy to come as your pastor.
I am thankful that you have been used to mature me into a man of God
I am thankful that through you God has given me a pastors heart.
I am thankful for the countless hours of work and sacrifice you have all given to this body.
I am thankful that you trusted me even when it went against your own desires.
I am thankful for my elders, my board, my secretary, our worship pastor and his family.
I am thankful for the many breakfasts and coffee times I have had with many of you.
I am thankful for our friendships.
I am Thankful for my Church!
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In many ways you are more family to me than my own blood relatives.

You have carried me when I was down, prayed for me and interceded God on my behalf when I needed it most.
You have given me words of encouragement, that God has used to propel me. Words of correction that God has used to adjust me. You have stood by me, loved me, and cared for me.
You are my family and I love you!
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Today, I want to give you 6 reasons you all should be thankful for the Church!

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Before I jump in though allow me to define what I mean by the church.
The Church is not this building, a church is not our religion, the Church is you.
The Church is the members of Jesus, joined together not by blood or color, not by race or politics but, by the Holy Spirit.
1 Corinthians 12:12–13 ESV
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. For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit.
:12-13
The Church are those who have been saved from sin and death through the sacrifice of Jesus, those who have submitted to Jesus as Lord over their life. The Church are those who have been reconciled to God as their father, and filled with the Holy Spirit, who now cries out daddy God with in us and through us.
The Church are those who have been set apart from the world for the purpose of God, yet placed back into the world to point people to Jesus.
The Church has one creed - Jesus is Lord
The Church
The Church has one calling - To make Jesus known around the world.
We are the hands and feet of Jesus, we are the mouth and body of Jesus on earth.
We are the Church of Jesus. We are His elect, we are His people, we are His holy Temple.
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The Six Reasons We Should Be Thankful For The Church!

Turn with me to
Ephesians 2:17–22 ESV
And he came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near. For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father. So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.
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and
Eph 2:19-22
Ephesians 2:19–22 NLT
So now you Gentiles are no longer strangers and foreigners. You are citizens along with all of God’s holy people. You are members of God’s family. Together, we are his house, built on the foundation of the apostles and the prophets. And the cornerstone is Christ Jesus himself. We are carefully joined together in him, becoming a holy temple for the Lord. Through him you Gentiles are also being made part of this dwelling where God lives by his Spirit.
Ephesians 3:1–11 ESV
For this reason I, Paul, a prisoner of Christ Jesus on behalf of you Gentiles— assuming that you have heard of the stewardship of God’s grace that was given to me for you, how the mystery was made known to me by revelation, as I have written briefly. When you read this, you can perceive my insight into the mystery of Christ, which was not made known to the sons of men in other generations as it has now been revealed to his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit. This mystery is that the Gentiles are fellow heirs, members of the same body, and partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel. Of this gospel I was made a minister according to the gift of God’s grace, which was given me by the working of his power. To me, though I am the very least of all the saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, and to bring to light for everyone what is the plan of the mystery hidden for ages in God, who created all things, so that through the church the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places. This was according to the eternal purpose that he has realized in Christ Jesus our Lord,
Eph 3:
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C- Chosen By God!

Ephesians 1:4 ESV
even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love
Eph 1:
Romans 8:29–30 ESV
For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.
You are no longer the kids on the playground who were picked last.
You are no longer the ignored, you are no longer the made fun of. You were chosen by God.
Chosen for his purpose, chosen to be Holy to Him and by Him.
The star breathing God chose you, me, us.
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H - Holy Temple of God

1 Corinthians 3:16–17 ESV
Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him. For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple.
1 Cor 3:
We are joined to Jesus, we are His body, made Holy by Him and through Him.
We the Church have become the most sacred space in the world, we the Church are the Temple of the Holy Spirit.
Let that sink in. We the people of God are the most sacred space on Earth.
We are where Heaven and Earth collide.
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U - U-Turn Sign Post for the world.

Philippians 2:14–15 ESV
Do all things without grumbling or disputing, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world,
Matthew 5:14–16 ESV
“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.
We are to shine like the stars
We are to shine like a city on a hill
We are to shine like a lamp in a dark room.

All of these illustrations point to the same things.

We are called to live the future Kingdom of God in the present so, our lives will shine and give direction to the rest of the world.
Men used stars in the ancient times to chart their sea voyage, or to find a new born King.
Like wise God is calling us to shine like stars so, others can find the King of Kings.
We are to shine like a city on a Hill - In a time where there were no street lights shining on the hi-ways, a bright city was used as a point of direction and reference.
Our lives and good works should be seen as a reference point to God and sign post that points people towards God.
Our lives should be like a lamp in a dark room. We live in such a way we shine light in the dark corners, our lives should help people see the truth.
We the Church are now participating in the future, right here in the present. God has allowed us to be a glimpse of the new Heaven and Earth in the middle of the current corruption.
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R - Rock Solid Foundation

Ephesians 2:19–22 ESV
So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.
Eph 2:19-22

We have a rock solid foundation that will not be washed away in the storms of culture or change.

We are built on the teachings and History of the Apostles

We are built up a foundation whose corner stone is Jesus himself.

The corner stone in a foundation stone that was laid first. It was the most carefully designed stone because, it would give the plum line so, the foundation could be squared and perfectly fit together.
If you have a bad corner stone, you have a bad foundation, and that will lead to a structure that will not be able to stand.
We are built on the corner stone of Jesus. He is the plum line on which the Apostles followed and taught. Our foundation is strong and ever lasting.
Matthew 16:17–19 ESV
And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”
Not even the gates of Hell or the Think tank of Hell can destroy the Church of Jesus.
We have a deep and firm foundation
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C - Citizens of Heaven

Revelation 7:9–10 ESV
After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!”

The Church of Jesus is not bound by the barriers the world uses to separate and create animosity between people.

Color does not matter, language, finances, country you were born in or live in, Politics, male or female, all these walls have been broken down in the Church of Jesus.

The Church is made up of citizens of Heaven.
More important than your nationality.
More important than your political party
More important than your color
More important than any man made barrier is the fact that as the Church we are all Citizens of Heaven first.
Through Jesus God has removed the old barriers and dividing walls.
2 Peter 2:9 NLT
So you see, the Lord knows how to rescue godly people from their trials, even while keeping the wicked under punishment until the day of final judgment.
1 Peter 2:9 ESV
But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.
We are a new people, a new nation, a new, we are even considered a new race of people.
We are a new people, a new nation, a new, we are even considered a new race of people.
That means my family in Christ is made up of migrant workers from Mexico, Refugees from Syria, toy makers in China, moms and dads in Russia, men and women from all the nations.

We are one family! Citizens of Heaven.

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H - Hi-def projectors of God’s Manifold Wisdom

Ephesians 3:10–11 ESV
so that through the church the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places. This was according to the eternal purpose that he has realized in Christ Jesus our Lord,
1 Peter 1:12 ESV
It was revealed to them that they were serving not themselves but you, in the things that have now been announced to you through those who preached the good news to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven, things into which angels long to look.
God is using us His Church to display His wisdom to Angels and Demons.
How God works in your life to create you into the image of Jesus is on full display to the unseen powers.
You are being used as a Hi-def projector, displaying the awesome wisdom of God.
God is using us to teach the angels about Himself!
And the Angels are eagerly watching us, to learn more about God’s wisdom.
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I am Thankful For The Church

I am thankful it is bigger than me.
I am thankful it is ancient
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I am Thankful For The CHurch
I am thankful we are a chosen people
I am thankful we are a holy temple
I am thankful we are a u-turn sign for the world
I am thankful we are built on a solid foundation
I am thankful we are citizens of Heaven and I have a really big family.
I am thankful God uses us as Hi-Def projectors to display his wisdom to the Heavenly powers.

I AM THANKFUL FOR THE CHURCH.

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