Summary: A big question is “What in the world is God doing?” Making a case for the Church.
About 20 years ago, I was finishing a graduate degree. An organization in Orlando wanted me to come and work for them. Lots of perks. A new car – a demo – every six months. Some free medical care. Lots of travel. Close to my mom and dad. But I read a verse that said that Jesus loved the church and gave Himself up… for the church. The church is the place where the kingdom of heaven invades the world. I didn’t want to be on the fringes of that. So, I came to help build the Kingdom of God here in NE Ohio by starting a church.
There haven’t been many nights since I came that I put my head on my pillow and wondered, “Am I doing something that matters? I don’t have to wonder, “Does my life count?” And that’s a good feeling.
How about you? Are you engaged in something bigger than yourself? Do you have a sense of purpose and meaning? Are you making an eternal difference?
You can be busy – carting kids around to games, buying a big house and filling it full of stuff, adding to your portfolio and still carry with you a sense of aimlessness. When you put your head on your pillow, do you have a nagging sense of emptiness? If there’s any of that in you, then this talk is for you.
Three weeks ago, we talked about “Designer genes.” We asked, “Did God really create the universe?” and made a case for a Creator.
Two weeks ago, we discussed the “Rolling stone.” We asked, “Did Jesus really rise from the dead?” and made a case for a Savior.
Last week, we tackled “Nothing but the truth.” We asked, “Are the Scriptures really true?” and made a case for the Bible.
Today, it’s “Kingdom come.” The big question is “What in the world is God doing?” We want to make a case for the Church.
I’ll admit it. A lot of what God does in this world confuses me. I often wonder what He’s up to in this world. What’s He up to in my life? But I have learned one thing that He’s always doing: He’s always building His kingdom. The kingdom.
Did you know that over 100 times, Jesus referred to the “Kingdom”? It’s His priority. It’s the first thing He talked about when He started teaching publicly.
Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.
Matthew 3:2 (ESV)
And when He taught us to pray, He wanted us to pray about the Kingdom first.
Pray then like this: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come…
Matthew 6:9-10a (ESV)
See, God is King of the universe. And this world has rebelled against His rule. What He is doing is seeking to for His rebellious creation to come under His authority and recognize what a good and wise King He is. All of creation ought to serve Him and worship Him as King. And when that day comes there will be no more war. No more selfishness. No more greed. No more hurt. No more injustice.
So, what’s God up to in this world? He’s building His kingdom. Now, here’s some good news.
God invites you to be involved with Him in His work. When you see the Father at work around you, that is your invitation to join Him. Henry Blackaby
How does God work in this world to usher in His kingdom? The way He’s working in this world is through His church. The church is the place where the kingdom of heaven invades the world. The church?
A lot of people have written off the church. They say the church is boring. That it’s irrelevant to my daily life. That they make you feel guilty there. That all the church wants is your money. That the church is full of hypocrites. That the church is the last place I want to go.
And sadly, sometimes all that is true. But we are praying, “Not here at CVCC, Lord.”
We believe that this local church can be more and more irresistible. That it can be a place where people actually want to come. Our dream is that on Sunday mornings, children in our community will be shaking parents to get them out of bed and so they can take them to church. Our dream is that outsiders will come here and actually look forward to coming back the next Sunday. They’ll say, “I’m not sure I buy into all that they are teaching but I’m willing to go back to check it out. I don’t understand everything but I want to see more.”
When the King walked this earth announcing the kingdom, you couldn’t marginalize Him. You couldn’t ignore Jesus. And the church is His body. If it was impossible to overlook Jesus, then it should be impossible to overlook the church. You shouldn’t be able to drive by and not notice that we’re here.