Summary: What do we think of Church? Are we the unified body that Paul discusses Christ had called it to be or are we caught up in what we define of as a "church"? We, as a body of believers, should be in this together to glorify God.
Text: 1 Cor 16:19-20, Title: In This Together, Date/Place: NRBC, 6.10.12, PM
1. Opening illustration: Mackenzie and I having the conversation about household chores, and me saying, “Oh, no, we are all in this thing together”
2. Background to passage: these are part of Paul’s final greetings in the Corinthian letter. These were typical of most first century letters, but point out some interesting points about early church life.
3. Main thought: How do we think about church?
1. Association of Churches (v. 19)
1. Paul extends greetings from the churches in Asia to the church at Corinth. This demonstrates the kind of brotherhood that the early Christians felt. No internet, FB, or mobile phones, and so communication fo the affection between churches was done by person contact. This shows also the cooperation. In Maine the local association was the entire state, here it is the entire Christian world. Churches felt like they were in this thing together. They supported missionaries together. They met in conferences together (Acts 15). When one church suffered, the others wept with it, prayed, and sent money or people. The cooperated to accomplish the mission, to accomplish together what they couldn’t do on their own.
3. Illustration: the primitive baptists and us getting together for a Men’s retreat,
4. Explain being a Southern Baptist-subscribing to the BF&M 2000 and cooperating in missions and education. Explain the levels of cooperation. Talk about the Mell Association. What kind of sense of comradery do you feel with Victory Baptist Church or Liberty Baptist Church or FBC Chula? What about the believers in Peru or in Indonesia? The Voice of the Martyrs constantly, compassionarely speaks for the persecuted, and address them as our brothers and sisters. We have a Day of Prayer for the Persecuted church, but why not pray for them daily? Probably because we don’t feel that connected to them. But these are part of the bride; part of the redeemed; among those who have called upon Jesus as their only hope and been made accepted in the Beloved. How about our involvement and the effectiveness of our Mell Association?
1. Definition of Churches (v. 19)
1. Someone said the other day that he was afraid that Southern Baptists have been too narrow in their definition of the church. Maybe so. This text says that a church existed in the house of Aquilla and Priscilla. It had no building, no projectors, no choir, no cantata, no stained glass, no hymnals, and no pews. It met more than just once a week. Meeting usually meant a meal (must have been baptist), but that meal was not followed by a nap, but by the Lord’s Supper (nope, not baptists). Point is, they are not the typical church that we are used to. All that having been said, I don’t think that our form of church is illegitimate. And those in the first century didn’t have in mind what we are doing, but didn’t forbid it either. This is one of the reasons that we only get snipets of what these services look like,
3. Illustration: Ever been to Journey or The Bridge (Nashville), some in our association thought that they weren’t Southern Baptist because they turn the lights down in worship or take drinks into their sanctuary. In Peru, we have been working for 3 years convincing people that the church there in our area will not have a building or paid pastors, and look like an American church,
4. Do house churches fit into your perspective of church? What about churches that meet under a tree in Mozambique? What about churches that do interpretive dance or have satellite campuses or halogram images of the pastor preaching or apps for their phone for their church? What about churches with no pastors at all that don’t take up an offering or churces that don’t believe in youth ministry or Sunday School? If we are going to really reach the world, we must open our minds a little bit. We will have to plant house churches, and churches that look different than us. We have to carry out evangelism differently than we did 30 years ago. It’s not 1982 any more. The outward expression of a baptist church can have lots of variation...and that’s OK, within certain biblical boundaries.
1. Intimacy of Churches (v. 20)
1. Paul says to greet one another with a holy kiss. This was a cultural display of brotherly love and affection. Men would kiss the cheeks or forehead of other men, and women to women. It was an expression of family affection. They were close to each other in Corinth. They didn’t just see each other one hour a week, and somehow expect to be close to each other.