Summary: A study on the 7 model churches as described by Jesus in the book of Revelation. Learn why the church is so important, and your part in what He’s up to in these last days.

How to Be a Faithful Church

Series: Will the Real Church Please Stand Up?

Sept. 17, 2006

To start out this morning, I want to ask you, what you think of when I say the word, “Church”? Some people think of an organization – maybe a denomination like the Baptists, or the Lutherans…Maybe, when you think of the word, ‘church’, you think about a building or an event.

I heard about a family who went to church for the 1st time in a long time… Mom, Dad, their 11 year old daughter, and 7 yr. old son. It was the 1st time the little boy had ever been in church, so he watched everything intently. He kept his eyes on his parents so he could know when to stand, when to sit and when to pray. As the offering plates was passed that morning, he was amazed to see people putting money ‘in’ the plate, but that nobody was taking it ‘out’. He watched as his dad carefully took a dollar bill out of his wallet, creased it down the middle and put it in the offering. On their way home, the Dad began to complain about the service “The music was too loud… the preacher preached too long… the piano was off key!” The little boy listened and then piped up… “But dad, you have to admit, it wasn’t a bad show for a buck!”

More than we’d like to admit, that’s the way a lot of people think of church. It’s an hour-long event that happens on Sunday, and when it’s over, you go on your merry way. Now the Sunday morning worship service is important… but the church is more than an event! A building may be where a church meets… but the church is more than a building. The truth of the matter is… YOU are the church. You and I, (if you’re a follower of Jesus Christ this morning) make up the church of Jesus.

It’s important to know that, because if we don’t really understand what the church is, we can’t be all that God calls us to be.

Some people wonder, “Why is the church so important anyway? Why can’t I just have a relationship with Jesus, and forget about the church?” Let me see your hands, how many of you know someone who consider themselves to be a Christian, but aren’t a part of a local church? As I listen to them, I think they give some pretty irrational reasons for not attending. To point out the weaknesses of their excuses, someone came up with a humorous list called “Ten Reasons Why I Never Wash.”

1) I was forced to wash as a child.

2) People who wash are hypocrites – they think they’re cleaner than others.

3) There are so many kinds of soap, I could never decide which was right.

4) I used to wash, but it got boring.

5) I wash only on Christmas or Easter.

6) None of my friends wash.

7) I’ll start washing when I’m older.

8) I really don’t have time to take a bath.

9) The bathroom isn’t warm enough.

10) People who make soap are only after your money.

The reasons people don’t attend church are really pretty silly, and the reason you can’t just have a relationship with Jesus and ignore His church is because the bible says… that the CHURCH is His Body! To love Jesus but ignore His church is like saying to your wife… “I love you honey, but I can’t stand your body!” (Men, don’t try that at home!) What I’m saying is that it’s impossible to be in right relationship with Christ, if you’re not in right relationship with His church! It’s true!

The church is Christ’s bride and He’s madly love with her. You can’t just write “her” off and think everything’s right with Him! It doesn’t work that way! If you said to me, “Chris I like you, but I can’t stand your wife.” I’m sorry, but we’ve got a relationship problem here! You don’t understand! We’re a team…and you can’t reject my wife… and still think everything’s hunky-dory with me! The same is true with Christ and His church!

Since the beginning of history God’s been trying to gather the people who really love Him together. He tried it with Israel, but after 1000’s of years of patiently working with them, they ultimately rejected Him and were unfaithful to His promises. God’s plan finally succeeded when He sent His Son, Jesus… Through His death and resurrection, He brought together people who would totally belong to God. Those people are called His church! READ I Peter 2:9. That’s us! If you’ve given your heart to Christ this morning, and responded to His love and forgiveness… you are chosen by Him, and you “belong” to Him! Why? So you can tell other people about this great God we serve!

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