Summary: What Jesus Says the Church Should and Should Not Be
So good morning and welcome to this place we call DCC. So pumped that you are here. We want to give a special shout out to all of our friends watching online, and to all of our new friends who are here for the very first time today. If you’re new we want you to know that we have all made mistakes, hurt people, been hurt by people, have parts of our stories we wish we could delete and do-over, we don’t have all the answers, and we have lots of questions. If any of that sound like you me too. You have landed in a safe place full of people just like you who are here chasing after a better way to live who happen to believe that Jesus offers that and we are glad that you are here to check that out or chase that with us.
So we are only in week 2 of this series and I can’t believe all of the chatter on social media. It has been blowing up which is awesome. I don’t spend much time there but I have read some of it. Some of you are posting stuff and saying this is just like my Pastor Greg said. The truth is that it’s nowhere close, I never really said that at all. But controversy sells, so I am good with it. So keep it up but let’s make sure this is clear, this series is cumulative. While every week is necessary and all true, there is so much to this volatile and explosive topic. It will take us all 6 weeks to discuss it fully, understand God’s position on it and understand how we can really begin to separate these two words church and hate. So, stay with us in this. We are a long way from the finish line. We have a lot more to talk about.
ILLUST> In his book Deep and Wide Andy Stanley tells of a time when he was 28 years old and the Student Pastor of the church his dad led, First Baptist Church Atlanta. It was 1987 and the organizers of the Gay Pride Day march in Atlanta, which always took place on Sunday, decided to adjust their schedule so the parade would be passing right in front of their church around noon, the time that church would be letting out. When the church leaders got wind of this they went on the defensive. They decided to let church out early and send everybody out the back so that by the time the parade hit all of the good church people would be on their way home. Some did leave but others, like Andy, lined the streets to watch the parade. You know the drill. The best way to get people to look at something is to tell them not to look. So there they were gawking at the show as it made its way down Peachtree Street. You know what they saw? They saw the people of St. Mark United Methodist Church directly across the street out there too. But rather than secretly gawking the people of St. Marks handed out cups of cold water and held up posters that read “Everybody Welcomed! Come Worship with Us! God is love! Andy said the contrast could not have been more pronounced, it was embarrassing. Ultimately, it would lead Andy to start and lead Northpoint Community Church, a church that is designed to be a place that unchurched people love to come to and it is today.
Now don’t miss what Andy said. The contrast could not have been more pronounced. One church was focused on all of the obstacles, the other on the opportunity. I think we need to talk about that. If you weren’t here last week we talked about this commandment that Jesus gave that went like this. By this will everyone know that you are my disciples, if you…not preach, teach, convert, pray, memorize, read, believe, or behave…if you love one another. The question we left here with was so…based on that commandment…are we majoring on minors in the church? Is the absence of love creating the perception of hate? So let’s take the next step into this today with this question. So, if that is true how to we begin to change that”? Great question, let’s jump back into this and chase after that…here we go…Acts 17.
If you have a Bible you can turn there. If you want or need a Bible, we have Bibles on the back tables that you can grab right now if you would like if you close or on your way out. Or you can hit read off your program, hit our app, and then hit You Version, and it will all be right there in front of you. Everything I read is also going to be on the screens. So before we get to Acts 17, I want to read two verses from Acts 9 to get us started with a little context here. Flip back there if you want…verse 1…