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Summary: This sermon focusses on unity in the Body of Christ.

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"A Relevant Church in an Irreverent World"

Matthew 5:17; John 13:34

Introduction:

1. Much attention has been paid in the church in recent days to the issue of change.

2. So much so, that the word change has become a "Fightin' Word," just like in the old Western movies.

3. But the issue of change is not new, to think so would be foolish. Everything that is was new at one time.

4. The issue of change is at the heart of what has been called by some church historians as the "worship wars." Talk about an oxymoron!

5. The church is to be an institution of glory to God, and at FCC we have made that our Motto. (What's a motto? Nothing! What's a motto with you?!)

6. You have heard it said on a regular basis, that the purpose of FCC is to glorify God.

7. But folks, we can't do that while we're shooting each other in the back!

8. The church around the world has become irrelevant to many people who are on the outside looking in, and much of the reason is the way we treat each other!

9. I want you to understand that we no longer live in a modern world. Did you hear that? We no longer live in a modern world. The modern world was the one which said that technology would solve all of our problems, and the highest and most noble pursuit was truth and knowledge.

10. We now live in a postmodern world, one where knowledge has been replaced by experience and truth has been substituted for by practicality. In a postmodern world, those outside of Christ are no longer asking if Christianity is true, they are asking, "Does it work?"

11. If we have any hope of reaching this new generation of lost souls with the gospel, we need to make sure that as we reach out with truth, we present a faith that works.

12. And as we struggle amongst ourselves over issues like church music, teaching styles, buildings, decorations, symbols, and all kinds of other things, we show the postmodern world that we indeed do not work, and they should look somewhere else for a practical faith.

13. And let me assure you that they are doing just that! Around the world, cults, Eastern mythologies and religions, and Islam are outpacing the growth of Christianity.

14. So when will we settle this issue of change and get on to the issue of saving lost souls? Probably not this morning.

15. But my desire is to present Biblical truth to you today in a way that will help you work through change in a practical way. My desire is that FCC become a relevant church in a very irreverent world.

16. Someone's eternal destination may just count on it.

I. Not everything that is new is good, and not everything that is old is bad. (Matthew 5:17)

A. Jesus taught that the Christian faith is dependant on the past. His purpose in coming was not to replace Judaism, but to perfect it.

B. Many new things are really bad:

1. New Age movement

2. New World Order

3. New Coke

4. the Chicago Bulls

5. etc. (you can probably think of some others!)

C. Many old things are really good:

1. The Bible

2. great-grandparents

3. Home

4. Old-fashioned sodas

5. Etc. (Insert you own favorite thing here. . . .)

D. It is important to realize that everything new becomes old at some point.

1. The new things that the church does today will become the traditions of tomorrow.

2. Every generation makes things in the church relevant to their own situation.

3. The past history of the church is something to be proud of, and we should not ignore or reject it because it doesn't suit our tastes.

4. The past successes of this very congregation are things of which we can be proud.

5. The packet of information which was presented to me as I was involved in the interview process to become part of the ministry staff here bragged on many of the successes of this congregation.

6. But past success is no guarantee of future glory, as indicated by my favorite part of the packet I read, which stated that this church meets in a wonderful, modern sanctuary, which was remodeled in the 60's.

7. The 60's are no longer modern, and I hope that this congregation has not decided to stop trying to please the Lord over 30 years ago!

II. Not everything that is old is good, and not everything that is new is bad. (John 13:34)

A. Jesus clearly came to breathe new life into a faith that had become a religion; in other words, it needed a fresh perspective.

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