Summary: Jesus is building a Serving Church
“Body Building” - Part Two
OPEN: We are looking at Ephesians chapter four concerning the issue of Body Building. Understanding the church. Ecclesiology = Church Jesus’ way. We are really dealing with: What is Needed to Build the Body?
But before we get to this let me ask a more basic question: Do we still need the local church? In a culture that is saturated with media and technology, is the local church even necessary? There are a great many people today that say, “No, we don’t.” We’ve got television – so instead of taking the trip into the local church and spending time with other believers in fellowship and worship – why not just click to the speaker that says the things that you want to hear – and by the way you actually can limit him/her to the amount of time you want to allot for spiritual purposes. “I can that long-winded pastor off any time I want, and not have him intrude on my recreational time.” And hey let’s face it - most media preachers are more engaging than those who speak in our own church, and on top of that you can watch them in your pajamas. Massive church meetings on television are so vivacious and musically stimulating that many simply lose their appetite for the “same ol' same ol” of the regular assembly. The local church can’t compete with talent or the budget of what we see in the media. We’ve got radio – instead of actually carving some specific time for worship and fellowship – why not just take advantage of the time you have as you are traveling from one place to another in your car – and call that worship? My Toyota can be my private little sanctuary – right? So why do a need a local church? We live busy lives today – So with the technology we have available to us - why is necessary to even come to a gathering? We can sneak in while we are driving, right? And then there’s also the internet. There are more messages on the internet than I can work through in 100 lifetimes. There are complete worship services – so why do I need the local church today? Add to that the reality that we live in a culture where so many Christians are extremely reluctant to even commit to a local church - is the local church even necessary?
Has our culture provided a substitute for the local church?
This is not a meaningless question. Millions have written off church life as irrelevant. But some benefits are to be found in the local church that not even the best media experience can offer, such as . . .
Actual relationships rather than imaginary ones. Weak as some churches are, they are still made up of living people who come together. The media-engrossed Christian isolates himself from other believers while imagining relationships that are actually not there. This is not living life, but skipping life. I am often saddened by the isolated person who misses out on people. There is no true fellowship except among believers. Once you know it, you will not be satisfied without it. How can the “one-anothers” of Scripture come about without the local church. Email? Instant messaging? Texting? The “one-anothers” of Scripture require face time not face book. Real relationship happens in the context of intimacy, not instant messaging. You can tweet all you want– but God still calls you to meet.
Compassionate care rather than mere talk of concern. The media pastors talk about their love for their audience, but they will not be there when your child experiments with drugs, or your spouse dies, or your business goes down the drain. Those in the media audience will not sit at your bedside when you are dying. Radio preachers say they pray for you, but they really don't know you at all. When you loose your job, the media preacher isn’t going to show up with a check or a bag of groceries when you need it.
Real accountability rather than unchecked liberty. It may not seem immediately desirable, but accountability is a precious gift. In the local church, if you stray from God, someone is there to bring you back, or even to lovingly discipline you. If you are alone, you may stray deeper and deeper into sin even though you have periodic religious media fixes. Rather, you must subject yourself to the answerability that comes from engaging with real people. If you understand the deceitfulness of sin, you know you need that.
Organized local ministry efforts rather than disconnected service We are called by called to reach the mission field that surrounds us. Our Jerusalem has to be reached first. Jesus designed his church to work together. A disconnected member is an anomaly and can’t accomplish by himself what can be done if we work together. We have to aim at something before you hit it.