Summary: There are no limits to what God wants to do with the church
1 Corinthians 3.1-6 “Family Photos”
1. This morning, I want to invite you to close your eyes. Not long enough to go to sleep, but just long enough to get a mental picture. Just long enough to allow your imagination to run wild for a minute or two. So close your eyes, and I want you to mentally look around this room. You know pretty well already who is here and where they sit. It’s the same place that they usually sit. Do you have that image in your mind? Is it locked in? Now, I want you to begin to place in among the people you see in that picture, some other people. These are the people you are praying for right now, to come to a personal decision about Jesus Christ. These are the people you believe are unsaved and you have been praying for an opportunity to share Christ with them. And for a minute this morning, I want you to imagine that you have been successful and that in among the people you have already visualized as being here, you also see these who have come to know Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. Looks pretty good doesn’t it? Better than the first picture? Now, take a picture of that. Mentally click the button. Now, I want you to imagine a third group of people. These are the people I mentioned not too long ago, that don’t yet come here. They will, some day, but they aren’t here now, and they aren’t even the people you’ve been praying for at this point. It may be that someday you will be praying for them, but you aren’t now, because you’ve not met them yet. This third group is the friend of the child you are praying for. This third group has the parents of your in-law. This group has your child’s soccer coach. This group has your newly saved neighbor’s yoga teacher in it. This group has people whom you’ve not met yet and even though you don’t know them, God does, and He is talking to their hearts and He is inviting them to a relationship and those you have seen come to know Jesus Christ have shared Him with others and now these you have never met are also here. Now look around at this church, with your eyes closed, and get this final snapshot. The church is full, practically overflowing. People here feel loved and love in return. People are ministering and being ministered to. People are finding new ways of connecting with other people and lost people and sharing the love of Christ with them. The church is outgrowing it’s current facility even with three Sunday morning worship services and multiple times for Sunday School. There are people using this building for various reasons, nearly every day of the week. Maybe we would be talking about a new addition or building a whole new facility to meet our needs. Now, take a mental picture of that. Take that snapshot. Can you see it? Now open your eyes.
2. Pretty awesome isn’t it. What you have just done, is taken a family photo of a functional family. To grab a mental image of what our church can be like when God gets a hold of our hearts and our passions and begins to ask us to move outside of zones of comfort and familiarity. When God helps us find authentic ways to connect with unsaved people so that we have an opportunity to show that we genuinely care about them and desire them to have the hope we as Christians have.
3. You see, a functional family, is regularly involved not only in worship like we spoke about last week, but is also involved in outreach. That is, to move beyond our walls and our comfort zones and to make it a practice to share Christ with those around us. With our neighbor, our co-worker, our children’s teachers, our friends, or whoever the Lord leads us to.
4. Now, we do need to understand something. We don’t build the church. God builds the church. That’s what Christ said to Peter when He said to him, “upon this rock I will build my church and the gates of hell will not overcome it.” (Mt. 16.18) Notice, He didn’t say to Peter, “now you build my church”, but instead He said, “I will build my church.” And we see this idea again, over in 1 Corinthians 3. If any church in scripture seems to take on the characteristics of dysfunction, it was the church in Corinth. Paul had preached there several times in his missionary journeys. Acts tells us that Apollos had also preached in Corinth and yet, even reading through this letter, we find that the Corinthian church had some real moral problems, and dissensions, and backbiting. There were some tremendous issues there. And one of the issues that Paul deals with in this letter is that of choosing who we’ll follow. That is to say, some said, I follow only Apollos, others said, for me, it’s Paul. And there were others mentioned as well.