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Summary: Picture Perfect ME OR WE? – (Part 3) THE CHRISTIAN LIFESTYLE IS MORE ABOUT "WE" THAN "ME."

✎ Some day Susie and I hope to build our “dream home,” but before we do we have to overcome some obstacles. First we need to talk together about the house we picture in our minds. We both would like to build a house, but I’m sure that the house I want to build is not the same as the house she wants to build. After we agree on the mental picture of what the house will look like, then we need to talk with an architect who can see the house we describe and draw the plans on paper. Next we will need a builder to take what is on paper and make it a reality. Once the house is built, hopefully it will be picture perfect; the house we pictured in our mind will be a reality. Unfortunately we may discover that not everything turns out the way we imagined. . .

Jesus said he would build His Church. Jesus won’t settle for anything less than a Church that is “PICTURE PERFECT.” Jesus won’t take any shortcuts to save time in construction, nor will He lack the resources to do everything He has planned. God is building His Church!

The Church is no ordinary building. Jesus is not using common building materials in its construction. The church is being built with “living stones” (1 Peter 2:5); Believe it or not, Jesus wants to use each of us to build His Church; you and I are the miracle that is Praise A/G–a part of His “PICTURE PERFECT” Church.

Are you wondering why God would want to include you in the building of His Church; you might be the first to admit that you’re not perfect, so how can you be a part of a church that’s “PICTURE PERFECT?” Or perhaps you don’t feel like you are a part of the church; you’re not important. I hope that this morning you discover how God will take ordinary to imperfect and insignificant people and make them a part of His “PICTURE PERFECT” Church.

✎ A good set of blueprints should do two things. It should show you WHAT the building is going to look like and HOW it should be built.

The Church is a community of believers united together in Christ. This morning we are going to look at three “PICTURE PERFECT” plans Jesus has for the Church; three images that show us what the church looks like and how it is built.

1. THE PROCESS; HOW THE CHURCH–THE COMMUNION OF THE SAINTS--IS BUILT.

Before we look at the “Picture Perfect” PLANS, lets look at the PROCESS. In other words let’s start with the how and then move on to the what. (This way when we look at the three pictures the process or the how should be obvious and jump out at us.) Look with me at Romans 12:5 and discover how Christ joins us together into His Church

+ Romans 12:5 so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. (NIV)

The Church is built as “we who are many form one body.” In the Church Christ takes the many and makes us one. How does that happen? Two things happen which unite us.

A. First, we are IN CHRIST.

If you read your Bible too quickly, you might miss two very important words: “IN CHRIST.” When we slow down and take time to understand what the words “in Christ” mean then these words will seem to appear on almost every page of the New Testament.

Our union with Christ is what it means to be a Christian; anyone who has not been united with Christ is still dead in their sins and transgressions.

1. IN CHRIST we have a new beginning; we’re born again!

+ 2 Corinthians 5:17 If anyone is IN CHRIST, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! (NIV)

2. IN CHRIST we are made righteous; free from sin.

+ Philippians 3:9 and be found IN HIM, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ. . .(NIV)

3. IN CHRIST we are reconciled to God; we’re God’s friends.

+ Ephesians. 2:13 But now IN CHRIST Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near through the blood of Christ. (NIV)

4. IN CHRIST we are kept by the Holy Spirit.

+ Ephesians 1:13 And you also were included IN CHRIST when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked IN HIM with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit. (NIV)

5. IN CHRIST we have our identity.

+ Galatians 3:28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one IN CHRIST Jesus. (NIV)

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