Summary: What is the Church? Many see it as a social club. Others only know it as a place to practice their religion. But the Church is much more than that. It is a living organism. It is Jesus Christ Himself, who loves it, builds it, and died for it.
Title: God Is Building A Church
Text: Matthew 16:18
What is the Church? Many see it as a social club. Others only know it as a place to practice their religion. But the Church is much more than that. It is a living organism. It is Jesus Christ Himself, who loves it, builds it, and died for it.
I. THE FOUNDATION OF THE CHURCH IS JESUS CHRIST.
…on this rock I will build My church…
Note: The foundation upon which the church is built is the same as the subject of Peter’s confession, Jesus Christ, the Son of God. It’s all about Him.
A. It’s Not About The Pastor.
Illustration: Fig-uratively Speaking
Members of one congregation were socializing after the morning service, and conversation turned to the sermon. The pastor had spoken about Jesus’ encounter with an unfruitful fig tree.
People made various comments before one woman piped up, "Well, this morning’s message has inspired me to take action."
"What do you plan to do?" someone asked.
"I’m going straight to the store to buy cookies," she replied, with a wink. "I have a sudden craving for a fig newton." (Kimberly Malkogainnis, Copperton, Utah. Christian Reader, "Lite Fare.")
B. It’s Not About The Deacons.
Illustration: We Have The Majority
There once was a pastor who was having trouble with his congregation; they couldn’t agree on anything. The chairman of the deacons said, "Pastor, this can’t continue. There has to be a conference, and we have to settle all areas of dispute once and for all." The Pastor agreed.
At the appointed time the Pastor and the Deacon board met around a magnificent mahogany table in the conference room of the church. One by one the issues were dealt with and on each issue, it became more and more apparent that the Pastor was a lonely voice in the wilderness. The chairman of the deacons said, "Come on, Pastor, enough of this. Let’s vote and allow the majority to rule."
He passed out slips of paper and each man made his mark. The votes were collected and the chairman said, "You may examine them, Pastor. It is eleven to one against you. We have the majority."
Offended, the Pastor rose to his feet and said, "So, now you think because of the vote that you’re right and I’m wrong. Well, that’s not so. I stand here," and he raised his arms impressively while looking heavenward," and call upon Almighty God to give us a sign that I’m right and you’re wrong."
No sooner were the words out of his mouth when there was a deafening clap of thunder and a brilliant flash of lightning that struck the mahogany table and cracked it in two. The room was filled with smoke and fumes, and the chairman and the deacons were hurled to the floor. Surrounded by rubble the Pastor stood erect and untouched, his eyes and smile flashing with triumph. Slowly, the chairman lifted himself out of the rubble. His hair was singed, his glasses were hanging from one ear, and his clothing was in disarray.
Finally he said, "All right, eleven to two. But we still have the majority."
Right and wrong does not rest with the majority but with the Authority who is Christ. He is the One whom God has given authority over all people. (Traditional, Source unknown.)
C. It’s Not About Me.
1. Don’t come to church to get a blessing, come to church to be a blessing.
2. Don’t come to church to see what you can get out of it.
3. Come to church to see what you can put into it.
Illustration: Along For The Ride
Church attendance is infected with a malaise of conditional loyalty which has produced an army of ecclesiastical hitchhikers. The hitchhiker’s thumb says, "You buy the car, pay for repairs and upkeep and insurance, fill the car with gas--and I’ll ride with you. But if you have an accident, you are on your own! And I’ll probably sue."
So it is with the credo of so many of today’s church attenders: "You go to the meetings and serve on the boards and committees, you grapple with the issues and do the work of the church and pay the bills--and I’ll come along for the ride. But if things do not suit me, I’ll complain and probably bail out--my thumb is always out for a better ride." (R. Kent Hughes in Disciplines of a Godly Man. Christianity Today, Vol. 36, no. 6.)
II. JESUS NEEDS YOU TO BUILD A CHURCH.
…I will build My church…
A. Jesus Needs You To Be A Member Of The Church. (Hebrews 10:25)
Illustration: Every Christian A Member
Jack Jones wrote: "Putting a hog in the living room will not change the hog’s nature, but it will damage the living room. A lost man’s nature will not be changed by placing his name on the church roll, but the church will suffer by his being a member. Every Christian should be a church member; in fact, there is no place for a true Christian outside the church. But the church membership has nothing whatever to do with the salvation of the soul. Billy Sunday was right when he said, "Joining the church does not any more make one a Christian than entering a garage will change one into an automobile.’" (Robert G. Lee, Sermonic Library, pp. 9-10. http://www.net153.com/illustrations/index3.html.)