Summary: Message attempting to take the focus off us and onto God and the unreached.
Church – It’s Not About You!
September 12, 2004
We’re setting aside our study of Matthew for a few weeks, because I want us to just cover something that is at the basis of what we are trying to accomplish as a church here at AWC.
If you have been part of our family here for very long, you have no doubt noticed some things that have changed over the last year or so.
For instance, we hung these banners during the 40 Days of Purpose campaign last Spring.
We stopped taking an offering and started receiving the offering by putting offering boxes in the back of the sanctuary.
Lowell and I have chosen to drop the suit and ties for worship.
One change you might or might not have really noticed is this big ol’ cross standing up here. We’ve brought it out the last two Easter seasons.
We’ve left that up here on purpose – as a reminder that what Jesus went through on our behalf was hardly pretty. It was ugly and brutal. And my hope is that it will give you a renewed sense of gratitude for what He did to give you eternal life.
Well, why are we doing these things? Is it because PB has a personal agenda about the way church ought to be done? Believe it or not, that’s not the case.
Today and next week we’re going to just look at what the Bible says about the church.
And I think that as we go through these things that you will find that nothing we are doing is arbitrary, but has a real purpose behind it.
Next week we are going to explore the question about how the church should operate in the world nowadays.
But today I want us to look at four key questions that need to be considered when looking at the church, as it looks to relate the timeless truths and principles of Scripture to contemporary society.
My desire in this is to help us sift through the unimportant stuff regarding how we should “do” church to find the important stuff about being the church.
So buckle up as we get ready to dive in, okay? Let’s get going. The first key question we need to look at in examining what the Bible says about the church is…
Who does the church belong to?
Now how about this for an easy one, huh? It’s not a trick question. And I’ve even printed the answer for you right there in your note-taking guide.
Who does it belong to?
Jesus, of course! In Matthew 16:18 Jesus says that He will build Peter’s church. Oh, I mean that Jesus said He would build PB’s church. Oh, that’s not right either. He said He’d build your church.
And the survey says, EEEEEHHHHHH!!!”
No, folks, Jesus said He would build HIS church.
"…and on this rock I will build my church…"
Why do we need to talk about something so obvious?
Because it might be obvious to some, but maybe not to all. And it might be obvious in our minds, but not necessarily in our hearts and attitudes.
You see, the church doesn’t belong to you, even if you’ve been here for many, many years. The church doesn’t belong to the Local Board of Administrators, as wonderful as those people are in this church.
The church doesn’t belong to me, even though I am the pastor God has appointed for this time and place. The church doesn’t even belong the denomination known as the Wesleyan Church.
The church belongs to Jesus. Even this local church.
The church in general is described in a couple ways by the Bible. First…
It’s described as His Body…
Eph. 1:22-23 –
And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, 23 which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.
You hear the term, “Body of Christ” a lot when people describe the church, because that’s what it is.
This gathering is supposed to be a model of that greater body, with Christ as the head. The second way the church is described in the Bible is…
…and His household.
…you will know how people ought to conduct themselves in God’s household, which is the church of the living God…
Did you know that this church building is not God’s house? So what’s God’s house? You and I. The Bible says that God dwells in us, not buildings.
A household is a family, not a building. Now I’m grateful for this building, which has been dedicated to the worship and service of God and His kingdom, but what if a tornado took it out? Would the church still exist? Absolutely! Because we exist, and we are the household of God.