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Summary: We as followers of Jesus are called to be the church. What would God think of the church today and what it is doing? What would Jesus want us to do as the church? What would Jesus think of our service? What would He notice?

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Title: Community-God’s Community

Date: 1/29/17

Place: BLCC

Text: 1 Corinthians 1.2

CT: We as followers of Jesus are called to be HIS church.

[Screen 1]

FAS: I read an interesting book recently by J.D.Vance. (A young man in his 30s). It is titled, “Hillbilly Elegy”. It caught my interest by claiming to give insight into providing a civilized reference guide for an uncivilized election. It was credited to being a book both sides of the aisle could understand. It claimed to give the reason for why the working white class came out so strongly in the recent presidential election. It gave a first hand look at what it was to grow up in a poor eastern Ky. town and then in a manufacturing town in Ohio. And back and forth. The author who is the main character in this memoir got through this childhood to become a Yale Law school grad after going through the marines and overcoming many obstacles. It was a good read, but the part that caught my attention was the way he spoke of the church he had been exposed to as a child.

Here is what Mr. Vance said about the church he had known as a child:

“Religious folks are much happier. Regular church attendees commit fewer crimes, are in better health, live longer, make more money, drop out of high school less frequently and finish college more than those who don’t attend church at all.”

He based this on a phenomenon that social scientists had long observed over the last several decades.

It was found that the relationship was causal: It is not that people who happen to go to church live successful lives also go to church, it’s that church seems to promote good habits.

Doing the wise thing as I recently taught in Sunday school.

I liked what I was reading.

Then I read this paragraph. “The juxtaposition is jarring: Religious institutions remain a positive force in people’s lives, but in the part of the country slammed by the decline of manufacturing, joblessness, addictions and broken homes, church attendance has fallen off. The church offered something desperately needed by people like me.( Vance speaking) For alcoholics it gave them a community of support and a sense they were not fighting addiction alone. For expectant mothers it offered a free home with job training and parenting classes. When someone needed a job, church friends could either provide one or make introductions. When my Dad faced financial troubles, his church banded together to purchase an old used car for the family. In the broken world around me –and for the people struggling in that world –religion offered tangible assistance to keep the faithful on track.”

LS: What would God think of the church today and what it is doing? [Screen 2] What would Jesus want us to do as a church?

What would Jesus think of our service? What would he notice? Would he see a church that is self-absorbed with their music and performance and preferences? I pray He would not. I pray He would see a church that is doing its best to follow his lead and reach out to others and encourage and build up each other in unity in Him and Him alone. I pray he would see a church that serves its community as it serves its Lord. [Screen 3]

I got the idea for this series after reading 1 Corinthians 1.2, To the church of God in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus and called to be his holy people, together with all those everywhere who call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ—their Lord and ours:

The church. God’s church. We are to be set apart as God’s people. To represent Him and be His light and service to a dark world. Do we? We get this warning in Hebrews. [screen 4]

Hebrews 10.24-25, And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, [Screen 5] not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

Church is really not an option if we are to follow Christ.

There are many who see the church as negative and would love to see it fall.

Jesse Ventura (wrestler and former Minnesota governor) said, “Organized religion is a sham and a crutch for weak-minded people who need strength in numbers. It tells people to go out and stick their noses in other peoples business”.

Less extreme criticizers of the church say things like, “I want Jesus but not the church.” Or “I am a spiritual person, but I’m just not into church”.

There are probably church experiences for some folks that made them feel this way. I can’t change that. Wish I could. But it breaks my heart for someone when they feel this way.

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