Summary: A final sermon on the series about the meaning of the church.
November 17, 2013
For the past 10 weeks, we’ve been talking about the church, and I thought I was finished with the series last week, but there’s one more to talk about today. So, I want to start with a simple question — “What is the Church?”
It’s a simple and difficult question all wrapped in one package.
When we talk about the church, we usually think about the building. But this is not a biblical understanding of the church. The word “church” comes from the Greek word EKKLESIA, which means “an assembly” or “called-out ones.” So, the root meaning of “church” is not of a building, but of the called out ones, or the assembly. Romans 16:5 says Greet also the church that meets at their house. How can you have a church in someone’s house? Only because Paul is referring, not to a church building, but to the body of believers.
During this series we’ve seen that the church, you and I, are the body of Christ. Paul reminds us in Ephesians 1:22-23 ~ 22 And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church,
23 which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way. The body of Christ is made up of all believers in Jesus Christ. Again, that’s you and I.
But, here’s the struggle, “What’s the difference between you, a follower of Jesus Christ and someone else who is not a follower of Jesus, but who is a good person?”
Don’t just say Jesus! I know that’s the obvious answer. But it goes beyond that. Because if Jesus is not making a real and relevant difference in your life, which then you bring out into the world around you, then honestly . . . what good is your faith in Jesus?
Okay, I know you say, “Well, I’m saved, I’m going to heaven.” Okay, you’re right on that one. But aren’t you being a little or maybe even a lot selfish. You’re not sharing your faith, you’re not participating in the body of believers to help in any way. So, what is the real difference between us and them (the non Christ followers)?
Let me show you some pictures of another church at worship.
Discuss individual pictures . . .
(I will say to go to the next slide)
Let me also read part of the article to you about this church, which I read about on Yahoo this past week.
The writer said, It looked like a typical Sunday morning at any mega-church. Several hundred people, including families with small children, packed in for more than an hour of rousing music, an inspirational talk and some quiet reflection.
The leader of this church is Sanderson Jones. He said, "If you think about church, there's very little that's bad. It's singing awesome songs, hearing interesting talks, thinking about improving yourself and helping other people — and doing that in a community with wonderful relationships. What part of that is not to like?"
Sunday Assembly — whose motto is Live Better, Help Often, Wonder More — taps into that universe of people who left their faith but now miss the community church provided.
I left out one major distinction about this church. The people who attend are atheists. As the article stated, “the only thing missing from their worship, was God.”
The leaders are trying to raise $800,000 so they can start these atheist assemblies around the USA. This is not a joke. These people are serious about what they’re attempting to do. And they are doing it right in front of us. And the headline is Atheist ‘mega-churches’ take root across US, world. That was the Yahoo headline.
But do you hear what they think of worship? Listen - - If you think about church, there's very little that's bad. It's singing awesome songs, hearing interesting talks, thinking about improving yourself and helping other people — and doing that in a community with wonderful relationships. What part of that is not to like?"
Folks, that’s the church. But . . . we have to be committed to our relationship with Jesus Christ. He comes first, He comes before all other relationships. He is the One who guides us into our other relationships and into loving and serving. Are we just about lip service. We show up, we do our thing, we give a little and we leave. But we really don’t have that community which is so vital and important to our existence. Deep down, we long for relationships and that’s why these atheists are meeting. They want community, they are searching and I believe what they are really searching for is a relationship with Jesus Christ, but they just don’t get that, yet.