Summary: Does it matter what a church teaches or are all doctrines about God, the church and the Christian life equally true? If all doctrines are equally true, then why did the Apostle Paul write to churches and individuals warning them to beware of false teachers and false teaching?
Today’s sermon begins a series of lessons that I plan to deliver in the first part of 2019.
1. I’ve titled the series “Blueprint: God’s Plan for the Church.”
2. As I mentioned two weeks ago, there is always a need to return to the basics and strengthen the foundation, and that is something we will be doing in this sermon series.
B. The story is told of a young girl was sitting with her grandmother, who had presented her with her first little children's picture Bible, in an easy-to-read translation, when she was very young.
1. Now, several years later, her grandmother was ready to spend a few sweet moments handing down the big old family Bible, in the time-honored King James Version, to her only grandchild.
2. Understandably excited, the young girl was asking a number of questions, both about the family members whose births and deaths were recorded in it, and about various aspects of the Scriptures themselves.
3. Her grandmother was doing her best to answer all the child’s questions in terms she could understand, but the one that caught grandma by surprise was this sincere question: “Which Virgin was the mother of Jesus? Was it the Virgin Mary, or the King James virgin?”
C. That little girl is not the only one who is often confused about spiritual things.
1. In reality, there is a lot of confusion and indifference in our world regarding religious things.
2. You are likely aware of the fact that a huge percentage of Americans wake up on Sunday morning and say, “Church? Why Bother?”
3. Millions of those people who say that are not Christians, but have concluded from observation that church doesn’t seem to make much of a difference in those who do attend.
a. So, why bother?
4. On the other hand, millions of people who claim to be “Christian” also do not find themselves in churches on Sunday.
5. Studies have shown that 40% of Americans claim to be Christian, yet less than 20% are in houses of worship on any given Sunday.
6. So, why are these professing Christians also saying, in essence, “Church? Why Bother?”?
D. There are many different answers that can be given to that question, and many of the answers would have some validity to them.
1. One answer that is sometimes given, is an answer that will never be true.
a. Many people say they don’t go to church because: “the Church is an archaic organization whose time is past.”
2. The truth of the matter is that the church is the creation of God, and it will always have a central place in will of God, and in the work of God in the world.
3. Paul declared in Ephesians 1:22 and 23: And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.
a. The church is the body of Christ, and Jesus is the head of that body.
b. The church is fullness of God who fills everything in every way.
4. Since the very beginning of the church, Christians have been trying to convey the truth that church is a collection of people.
a. The church is not a building or an organization, it is an organism made up of all of us.
b. I heard about a church in England that tried to communicate that truth on their sign, which read, “The church is ordinary people. The building just keeps the weather out.”
- that would be a good message for our sign!
c. We, the people of God, are the church - We are the living body of Christ.
5. Paul also declared in Ephesians 3:10-11: His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms, according to his eternal purpose which he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord.
a. Doesn’t that blow your mind? The people who comprise God’s church, are his agents for proclaiming his eternal purpose and wisdom.
b. What a marvelous privilege! What a sobering responsibility! Amen?
E. In Matthew 16:13 and following, we have the record of a conversation between Jesus and his disciples.
1. Jesus asked them two questions:
a. First: Who do people say the Son of Man is?
b. And second: Who do you say I am?
2. Peter answered the second question, and surprisingly, he had the right answer.
3. Peter said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” (16:16)
4. Jesus was very pleased with Peter’s answer, and replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven.”