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We Are the Church

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We Are the Church
Matthew 16:13–20 KJV 1900
When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am? And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets. He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-jona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. Then charged he his disciples that they should tell no man that he was Jesus the Christ.
Big Idea of the Series: This three-week series has a compact theme: what is the purpose of the local church? By calling out the selfish deceitfulness of consumerism, this sermon set defines what church is supposed to be, and declares what it is not. The church is a place to serve, to be connected, and to live on mission for God’s kingdom.
A church building or church house, often simply called a church, is a building used for Christian religious activities, particularly for worship services. The term in its architectural sense is most often used by Christians to refer to their religious buildings.
Ekklesia: an assembly of Christians gathered for worship in a religious meeting, a company of Christian, or of those who, hoping for eternal salvation through Jesus Christ, constitute such a company and are united into one body, the whole body of Christians scattered throughout the earth, the assembly of faithful Christians already dead and received into heaven
Big Idea of the Series: This three-week series has a compact theme: what is the purpose of the local church? By calling out the selfish deceitfulness of consumerism, this sermon set defines what church is supposed to be, and declares what it is not. The church is a place to serve, to be connected, and to live on mission for God’s kingdom.
Week 1 Text:
1 Corinthians 12:12–27 KJV 1900
For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ. For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit. For the body is not one member, but many. If the foot shall say, Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? And if the ear shall say, Because I am not the eye, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? If the whole body were an eye, where were the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where were the smelling? But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him. And if they were all one member, where were the body? But now are they many members, yet but one body. And the eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no need of thee: nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you. Nay, much more those members of the body, which seem to be more feeble, are necessary: And those members of the body, which we think to be less honourable, upon these we bestow more abundant honour; and our uncomely parts have more abundant comeliness. For our comely parts have no need: but God hath tempered the body together, having given more abundant honour to that part which lacked: That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another. And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it. Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.
Topic: Serving, Spiritual Laziness, Pride, Spiritual Gifts Big Idea of the Message: As Paul explains in this passage, in the body of Christ, everyone has a role, and no role is too small. Application Point: All believers should actively seek to serve the body of Christ. We must serve, not sit!
Topic: Serving, Spiritual Laziness, Pride, Spiritual Gifts
Big Idea of the Message: As Paul explains in this passage, in the body of Christ, everyone has a role, and no role is too small.
Application Point: All believers should actively seek to serve the body of Christ. We must serve, not sit!
Sermon Ideas and Talking Points:
1. In this article by Consumer Reports, 1 out 10 Americans said they would not give up their Starbucks/Dunkin’ Donuts habit even if their income dropped dramatically in a failed economy. According to the same article, one survey “found that Americans hold tightest to at-home entertainment: When asked, ‘What is the last thing you would cut back on in order to economize?’ 38 percent of people said they’d never ditch pay television, including premium cable, satellite, and streaming services like Netflix and Hulu.” Our consumer-driven mindset has blurred the lines of necessity and luxury on these kinds of comforts. People in our country like to be able to spend on themselves. The common attitude is “my comfort is my number-one priority.” This same type of mentality can often creep into our churches, too. (“How American Consumers Shop” Consumer Reports, November 2014, http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/magazine/2014/11/how-america-shopsnow/index.htm.)
2. “What makes the Dead Sea dead? Because it is all the time receiving, never giving out anything. Why is it that many Christians are cold? Because they are all the time receiving, never giving out anything” (D. L. Moody, Moody’s Anecdotes and Illustrations, 79).
3. In an article for Leadership Journal, Amy Simpson expands on the idea that service sometimes stems from selfishness. She writes, “But sometimes serving others is really about serving ourselves—and that's when codependency enters the picture. People who are codependent serve to meet their own emotional needs and desires. They serve whether others really want to be served or not. They serve in ways that keep the people around them from growing, changing, and thriving. They serve and serve and serve, long past the point of health and true effectiveness, because they are addicted to what serving gives them: a sense of value, preservation of the status quo, dependency in others.” (“When Service is Selfish” Christianity Today, July 2014, http://www.christianitytoday.com/pastors/2014/july-online-only/when-service-isselfish.html.)
Application: How often do we do this? Do you serve others to make yourself feel good, or do you serve them to honor God?
We tend to compartmentalize our lives, and this has a lot to do with location. We go to work or to school and show off our professional, put-together selves. We go home and relax with our families.
This mindset often transfers over to our lives as Christians, too. We look at Sunday as the totality of the Church experience. When we see Church as a building or place, our relationship with God tends to be something that only really takes place in that particular location. It’s easy to follow Christ in a place where everyone around you thinks you should follow Christ.
But, obviously, being the Church should transcend building and day. You have the hope that so many in this world need. If your faith exclusively exists in a building or around other Christians, you miss the point of the very faith you represent.
Thinking of Church as a building or as a place, damages that line of thought, because you deny yourself your true identity as a member of the body of Christ.
If you go to church and are not the Church, then that allows you to justifiably be less than what you were meant to be. The building becomes the place where people are supposed to be presented with the Gospel. You invite people to a building hoping that someone else will tell them about Jesus instead of telling them yourself when you get chances in your day-to-day life.
Perhaps the lack of love and power we can experience today is rooted in the idea that we view Church and Christianity as consumer events and things we do, not as identities.
In the early Church, believers spent time with each other, met each other’s needs and confessed sin to each other. Personal contact, conversations and living life together broadens our perspectives. When you view church as a place, you can isolate yourself from the people who can help you unlock your purpose.
God wants to use you in the lives of people you know and people you don’t know. If you aren’t an active part of a local body of believers, it is difficult to walk in your purpose.
Commitment
Dedication
Determination
Just Do It!
Have a Blessed Week
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