Summary: I realized the triumphal entry, the crucifixion and the resurrection will mean very little if anything at all until we answer this question.
“Does Church really Matter? Acts 9:18-30”
Today we begin looking for Easter and many will be preparing for egg hunts and the like. Sermons are preached today about the triumphal entry as Jesus made His way into Jerusalem. The crucifixion will be the topic from many pulpits and choirs will be putting on tremendous shows many will blessed and amazed.
BUT I believe we need to ask a very important question. I believe that Easter will be just another Pagan celebration until we answer the question; “Does church really matter?”
I wonder, sometimes, why bother with the whole thing when it looks like many don’t seem to care anyway.
I should have been preparing for a Good Friday message but as I looked at the next section of our Acts series, this question would not go away. As I studied for this message I was forced to look deep within my own soul.
You see, when I decided to preach on this subject, I thought it would be a nice little three-point sermon about the benefits of attending church. But I realized the triumphal entry, the crucifixion and the resurrection will mean very little if anything at all until we answer this question.
When you seriously study the church, which Jesus set up, (as we have been doing with this series) you MUST come to the understanding that it’s not about attending some activity and calling it church.
It’s about being church.
The question is not whether church attendance matters, but whether church matter. We must understand that the question has nothing to do with some Sunday morning event, but with the living, breathing body that we are to become.
Showing up will never be important, giving will never matter, until we answer the question at hand. DOES CHURCH REALLY MATTER?
But not just does church matter, universally, does church matter to me!?
I’m sure some of you have asked whether church matters sometime in the past.
Some of you may have even asked it this morning as you were crawling out of bed or preparing food for our fellowship meal.
What difference does church really make? Why do I even bother?
Sometimes we treat church as though it is optional. You may even say, on occasion; “I can do better on my own. I don’t need to be part of a church to live for God. Besides, church doesn’t do a thing for me anymore”
Does church really matter to us? Could you get along without church? Hundreds of thousands of believers today are living outside church. Does it work? Should it work? Do we really need to keep doing this every week?
Does church really matter?
Well God has a message for us today, and it simply is that church DOES matters.
According to our passage for today, church mattered to Saul.
Why was that? Because church matters to God. As Jesus hung on that cross, it mattered to Him.
The Pharisee, Saul was a truly religious man who hated Christ and His followers, or the people of “The Way” as they were known. He had made himself quite a reputation for his persecution of the church, arresting many and giving consent for putting many to death.
In Acts 9 Saul and his men were traveling from Jerusalem to Damascus to arrest as many of the believers as they could find there. Now keep in mind that the distance from Jerusalem to Damascus was 135 miles and took several days on horseback.
We know that something powerful must have been happening in Damascus because news of it had reached Jerusalem and Saul was going there to put a stop to it.
At least that was his plan, before Jesus intervened, and showed him just how much church meant to Him.
Now watch what happens next. Read Acts 9:18-30.
The first thing Paul did after his conversion was to be baptized. Then he spent some time with the disciples at Damascus. Some translations say he spent time with the believers there, but they weren’t just average ordinary believers.
The Greek word says disciples and there is a major difference. While he was with the disciples in Damascus he began preaching and sharing Christ, until that got him run out of town.
Now, what does any of this have to do with why church matters?
Well first we’ve got to understand what a church is.
When Jesus created His church, He never intended church to be what it’s evolved into today. A place where what you look like or where you’re from or your bank account matters more than the condition of your heart.
Church in the Bible was simply a group of disciples who were doing life together. Today it has become, more or less, nothing but a group of believers who attend a weekend meeting together and if that’s all church is, then I’d say it is pretty optional. But from the beginning Jesus expected that when people were saved, they would be baptized and be disciples, which means they are to be followers and imitators of Him.