Faithlife Sermons

Church - Part 1

New Series
Something I’m excited about
Not a book of the Bible but a topic deeply rooted in scripture
Foundational for understanding life as a follower of Jesus
Bold statement:
Without a correct view of the church, a person will not have a correct view of what it means to follow Jesus.

3 Points of Groundwork

Authority of Scripture
Authority of Tradition/Culture
2 Timothy 3:16 ESV
All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness,
2 Peter 1:21 ESV
For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.
Hebrews 4:12 ESV
For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.
Authority of Scripture
Authority of Tradition/Culture
What would you believe instead??
How you were raised
What you have been taught
What you have simply gotten used to
What you see around you
What your friends/family with varying degrees of spirituality do
Individualism, consumerism, democracy, self-fulfillment
Theological Issues
Discernment Issues
God speaks through his Word and some things are clear (Jesus is God, Salvation by grace through faith)
Other things are less clear, but still theological (Mode and timing of baptism, how and when Jesus will return)
Still other things are not theological at all, but take discernment
Pull Biblical principles
Talk to mentors/pastors
Talk with Christian community
Use wisdom and reason
Theological Examples:
“Should I sleep with my boyfriend/girlfriend before marriage?”
Theological Examples:
“Is marriage only between one man and one woman?”
Discernment Examples:
“Should I buy a ski-boat this summer?”
Discernment Examples:
“What college should I attend and what should I major in?”
Discernment Examples:
“Should I marry this man/woman?”
“I’m a christian. Should I be a member at a church?”
“Isn’t any gathering of 2-3 christians a church?
Divine Institutions
Human Institutions
What is an “institution?”
(1) a society or organization founded for a religious, educational, social, or similar purpose.
(2) an established law, practice, or custom.
Divine Institutions
Human Institutions
Examples of divine institutions:
Examples of human institutions:
Seattle Seahawks
Costco Membership
Supreme Court
Divine or Human?
Universal Church
Local Church
At Abide Church, we believe that
(1) the Bible is our final authority in all matters,
(2) the nature of the church is a theological issue, and
(3) that both the Universal Church and the Local Church are divinely instituted.
With the rest of my time I want to show you from the Bible that Jesus himself, who is God, instituted both the Universal and Local Church.

Establishment of the Universal Church

Matthew 16:18 ESV
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.
The greek word Jesus uses here is “ekklesia”
It is the religious assembly of God’s people
The Greek translation of the Hebrew scriptures was called the Septuagint (Jesus would have used)
The Septuagint used this word to describe Israel's religious assemblies.
The word implies community, contrary to the individual spirituality our culture often promotes.
We see many more times the word “church” or “ekklesia” is used in the universal sense (all believers everywhere)
Acts 9:31 ESV
So the church throughout all Judea and Galilee and Samaria had peace and was being built up. And walking in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, it multiplied.
1 Corinthians 12:13 ESV
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.
Ephesians 4:4–6 ESV
There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call— one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.
Colossians 1:15–18 ESV
He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent.
Conclusion: There is one church, divinely established by Jesus himself.
Matthew 16:18 ESV
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.
So, got it. One church...
Then, as a you’re reading your Bible, sooner or later you’ll come across a passage like this:
Galatians 1:2 ESV
and all the brothers who are with me, To the churches of Galatia:
Or this one:
1 Corinthians 16:19 ESV
The churches of Asia send you greetings. Aquila and Prisca, together with the church in their house, send you hearty greetings in the Lord.
Or this one:
2 Corinthians 8:1 ESV
We want you to know, brothers, about the grace of God that has been given among the churches of Macedonia,
Does the Bible have contradictions?
What’s going on here, “churches?”

Establishment of the Local Church

All scripture is God-breathed and authoritative, but I like that these are red letters. Jesus himself said this when describing how to deal with sin in the church:
Matthew 18:15–16 ESV
“If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses.
Matthew 18:17 ESV
If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.
Here again, Jesus used the word “church” which is the same Greek word, “ekklesia.”
Again, the implication is the “assembly of God’s people.”
However, could this possibly be talking about ALL christians everywhere? No.
This is talking about the local church. Bring the unrepentant sinner before the local assembly of God’s people.
There is another time we see Jesus referencing local churches. Revelation.
Revelation 1:4 ESV
John to the seven churches that are in Asia: Grace to you and peace from him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven spirits who are before his throne,
Revelation 2:1 ESV
“To the angel of the church in Ephesus write: ‘The words of him who holds the seven stars in his right hand, who walks among the seven golden lampstands.
Angel means “messenger” and in this case is talking about the pastor.
Jesus has messages for 7 specific churches.
These were real local churches, with actual members and actual pastors
Jesus had specific instructions that were for specific local churches.
Jesus gave specific commendations, encouragements, and warnings to the various churches.
Four Common Myths About the Church
(Retro Christianity)
Myth #1
The Church is merely a human organization
“I’m not interested in ‘organized religion.’ I’m just a Christ-follower.”
“I believe in Christ, not in the Church.”
“Church is about religion. Jesus is about relationship.”
“Church is man-made. I’m a member of Christ’s spiritual body.”
Myth #2
The Church is a supermarket of spiritual groceries
“We’re looking for a church with a great youth ministry for our kids.”
“I’m between churches right now. I’m ‘church shopping.’”
“I need to find a church with a contemporary worship style. Electric guitar is a MUST.”
“We’re moving on. The worship service just isn’t feeding us like it used to.”
“Hey Babe, where do you want to go to church this Sunday?”
“Let’s attend here for a few Sundays, see how we like it, then maybe try something else.”
Myth #3
The Church is just a gathering of a few believers
“Church has gotten too complicated. It’s really just two or more believers gathered in his name.”
“Anytime we sit down for a meal or gather for fellowship, we’re doing church.”
“We can do church on the golf course, as long as we’re playing golf to the glory of God.”
“We can have church anywhere, anytime! At home, online, even at Starbucks!”
Myth #4
The Church is optional
“He’s a good Christian and really loves Jesus, he just hasn’t been to church in a while.”
“I don’t need church. I’m a better christian on my own.”
“It’s been a while since I’ve been to church, I just listen to pastor So-and-So online.”
“I used to go to church all the time, then I got hurt by some people and haven’t really been interested.”
Where do we go from here?
We are going to use Retro Christianity’s essential “marks” and “works” framework.
These essential “marks” and “works” are both
Biblical (supported by scripture)
Historical (largely recognized throughout church history)
Talking to Eric, he said,
“The New Testament gives instruction for godly living that assumes the local church. The New Testament really doesn’t make sense apart from a solid understanding of the local church. And once you see it, you’ll see it everywhere.”
(Pastor Eric)
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