Summary: The church is to be a spiritual hospital where sinners can go for healing and believers should never forget we too are recovering patients.
IN GOD'S IMAGE 76 - THE CHURCH - SERVICE
This message is part of a series of 90 sermons based on the title, “In God’s Image – God’s Purpose for humanity.” This series of free sermons or the equivalent free book format is designed to take the reader through an amazing process beginning with God in prehistory and finishing with humanity joining God in eternity as His loving sons and daughters. It is at times, a painful yet fascinating story, not only for humanity, but also for God. As the sermons follow a chronological view of the story of salvation, it is highly recommend they be presented in numerical order rather than jumping to the more “interesting” or “controversial” subjects as the material builds on what is presented earlier. We also recommend reading the introduction prior to using the material. The free book version along with any graphics or figures mentioned in this series can be downloaded at www.ingodsimage.site - Gary Regazzoli
Our focus has shifted to the role and function of the church.
• We are looking at the role of the church through five virtues, faith, hope and love, worship and service.
• The church as the body of Christ needs to be people of faith, people of hope, people of love, people of worship, and people of service.
Last time we looked at the subject of worship, this time our focus is on the subject of service.
• The Christian church is a community, a community held together by the bond of love that flows from God.
• But as we learned on our recent session on love, the love of God is much more than just a warm sentimental feeling, it is also an expression or action which flows outwards towards others for the sake of the other.
• This is the type of love demonstrated by God when He chose to share His existence with humanity, and when He gave us the gift of His Son in order to redeem a rebellious humanity from their sinful ways.
• God’s love flows outwards for the sake of the other.
• As a result of God’s generosity to us, we learned in earlier sessions that the church has been chosen to represent Him as His holy people in this “between the times” period as part of His “new creation.”
• This is both a privilege and a responsibility.
• It is a privilege in that we have specifically been chosen by God to represent Him at this time, but also to experience and participate now in the life and love of the Trinity in this “between the times” period.
• We get to walk in the light now while the rest of humanity still walks in darkness (Ephesians 5:8).
• But it is also carries a responsibility in that we are to represent God and all that He is and stands for to the best of our ability as we participate in His ministry of reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5:17-18).
• As we do this, we need to guard against the unfortunate attitude some in the Christian community have been accused of and that is of acting in some sort of superior or judgmental attitude towards non-Christians.
• We need to remember Paul’s words to the saints in Corinth, “such were some of you.”
• 1 Corinthians 6:10-11 nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.
• Christians should never forget who we were before we experienced God’s grace.
• Like the rest of humanity, we too were God’s enemies, rejecting our Creator and hurting others by living according to our own selfish lifestyles.
• But as this scripture says, we “were washed, sanctified, and justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.”
• The church is to be a spiritual hospital where sinners can go for healing. (Mark 2:17).
• Believers should never forget we too are recovering patients.
• 2 Corinthians 5:14-15 For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. 15 And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.
• A correct understanding of service stems from an appreciation of what Christ has done on our behalf.
• His was a sacrificial love for the sake of the other.
• We are to go forth humbly in Christ’s name, as living examples of God’s sacrificial love towards a rebellious and sinful humanity.