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Summary: A general and brief discussion of how Sunday morning can, and should, impact everyday life.

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Church 101: A Beginners guide to Church

Part 1 - The Basics of Church

Michael Dusing, it an article about the church wrote,

“An area of Christian theology often minimized and taken for granted is the doctrine of the Church. In part, this is due to the common assumption that some areas of theological study are more essential to salvation and the Christian life (e.g., the doctrines of Christ and salvation) and others are simply more exciting (e.g., manifestations of the Holy Spirit or the doctrine of last things).”

Tonight we begin a series of studies we are calling CHURCH 101: a beginners guide to church

The purpose of this study is not to discuss deep theology or doctrine as it relates to the church

Rather it is to look at how the church plays an integral part in the lives of believers on a daily basis

Matthew 16:18 – “I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.” (NIV)

Matthew 16:18 – “I will build my church; and all the powers of hell shall not prevail against it.” (LB)

Some initial observations about the church…

1. It’s origins are divine

It is built by Christ

“I will build”

It is not a organization built by humanity to meet our social needs

2. It’s nature is divine

It belongs to Christ

“my church”

3. It’s power is divine

“all the powers of hell shall not prevail against it”

It reflects the power of Christ to overcome death and hell

4. It’s future is divine

“hell shall not prevail against it”

What is the Church?

If we are looking for a good Webster’s type definition then a good one would be,

“The Church is God’s creation and design; it is His method of providing spiritual nurture for the believer and a community of faith through which the gospel is proclaimed and His will advanced in every generation.”

When Jesus said, “I will build my church” he used the Greek word ekklesia the first time in the New Testament

That word comes from two other words

ek – meaning out or out of

kaleo – meaning to call

ekklesia, then, came to denote a group of people called out and assembled for a specific purpose (religious or otherwise)

The English word “church” and its related cognate term originated from the Greek word kuriakos, “belonging to the Lord.” and came to designate the place where the ekklesia met for worship

So then the church is a group of people called out of a life of sin and death and into a life that belongs to the Lord and regularly gathers with the intention of worshiping, discovering and doing the will of God, which is to influence the world for his kingdom.

The church then is an influencing agent for God.

So the question remains, “What does all that do for me on Tuesday afternoon?” “How does church influence the rest of my life in more than a theoretical way?”

Those are valid questions because, lets face it, life is hectic

And on Tuesday or Thursday or Friday or another day for that matter, it’s hard to remember anything about Sunday Morning at church

Let alone reflect the image of Christ to the world

But before going any farther let me say this…

The Church, while created by God, is populated by people

In other words, you will always be able to find people in the church who have done or will do stupid things

I run into people all the time that tell me they don’t go to church because it’s filled with hypocrites

Actually, it’s simply filled with imperfect people who act in accordance with their imperfections

Don’t expect this or any church to treat you perfectly because no one is capable of doing that

You can expect the church to do it’s best to relate to you the love of Christ and the grace He offers, but it will do it imperfectly.

We have to be willing to look beyond the imperfections of people and see the perfect messiah that they represent

That said, there are several things you will find in church that will help you successfully navigate everyday life

1. You will find fellowship

The church is a community of people who gather around a common interest with a common purpose

That interest is Christ and that purpose is to represent him as best they can to you and the rest of the world

Hebrews 10:25 says, “Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another”

When we stop going to church we loose contact with God’s people…fellowship suffers

And one of the benefits of fellowship is that it give us opportunity to encourage one another.

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