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Summary: The church needs to be able to count on us.

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Impact Series #2

Iliff and Saltillo UM Churches

“Commitment to the Church”

Ephesians 2:13-22

Acts 4:32-35

INTRODUCTION: Have you ever felt like an “outsider” in some groups that you were in? Sometimes you feel that no matter what you do, you are not “in on the conversation--don’t know the background information where you can understand the jokes or the remarks? Sometimes you feel when you walk into a room that people stop talking or look at you? You feel a coolness but can’t get close to people? People smile, but you feel it is a “plastic smile?” How many can identify with this? It makes you feel uncomfortable doesn’t it?

Other groups you have felt like an “insider” from the beginning. Maybe you don’t try any harder to fit in, but you “just do.” You just feel that you “BELONG.” I think we can all relate to both types of groups. Sometimes we feel like an outsider and sometimes like an insider.

Paul talked about people who had not yet come to the Lord. They were on the “outside” of Christianity. Last week we talked about taking the first step of commitment-- that of Commitment to Jesus Christ. We can’t save ourselves because we all fall short. We can’t ever live up to a set of rules or put ourselves in right standing with God. This is what the Jews thought they could do during Paul’s day. They felt that they were in the “in group” because of their strict keeping of the law and that the Gentiles were the “outsiders.” No way did they want them to be included either.

In today’s scripture Paul begins by giving an account of the great change that had taken place because of what Jesus had done on the cross. He is addressing both Jews and Gentiles alike.

When you commit your life to Jesus, then what? Is it all taken care of and then you just forget about it? Maybe you are baptized and join a church and say, “Well, I’ve taken care of that. I’ve bought my heavenly insurance policy.”

What can we get out of today’s scripture that will move us forward in our relationship with the Lord? Is commitment to the church necessary today?

1. You Belong: In what ways has your commitment to the church been a positive thing in your life? A negative thing? Why did you choose the church you are in? Because this was the church your family was in? Because it was the only church in the community? Because you married someone who went to this church?

There are probably a lot of reasons why you are in a particular church. It might be the style of worship, the friends or family you have who go there, the services that the church offer.

But you might go there because you simply feel “you belong.”

STORY: A woman kept calling her husband to get up one Sunday morning. He said, “I don’t want to go to church. I’m going to stay right here in this bed.”

She said, “You’ve got to go to church this morning.”

He continued to tell her, “I’m not going.

The church is cold and unfriendly.

The people don’t like me.

I don’t fit in.

She says, “get out of that bed, NOW!”

He said give me three good reasons why I should.

She said, 1. the church IS friendly

2. they do TOO like you.

3. and besides that, you’re the PASTOR.

Paul was trying to get across to the Jews who felt they were so near to God and on the “inside” track as well as to the Gentiles who felt they were on the “outside” that both groups were “brought near through the blood of Christ” (vs. 13). He was the common denominator who could put them all on the same standing as nothing else could do. He said, “Christ had destroyed the barriers that have separated us up to this point. He has brought peace with God to people who had not had peace. He has reconciled us to God through the Cross.

Verse 17 says, “He came and preached peace to you who were far away (the Gentiles) and peace to those who were near (the Jews) and he said through Christ we both have access to the Father by One Spirit.” He says when you commit your life to Christ, YOU BELONG. You are fellow citizens with God’s people and members of God’s household.” (vs. 19). No longer are you foreigners or strangers--you are on the “inside.”

God “does TOO like you.”

2. Privileges and Responsibilities: Not only do we have privileges as members of the family of God, but we also have responsibilities. So now that you know your standing in Christ--now what do you do about the church?

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