Summary: The church was created by God -- what would happen if we remove him from it? This sermon reminds us of the role of the church in the world with the presence of God within it.
1. God’s three organizations:
d. What happens when we take God out of these?
2. There are some “mega-churches” in the US today which loudly and boldly proclaim the name of Yeshua (Jesus) to the world.
3. Did you know that there are churches which are starting to distance themselves intentionally from the One who established the church?
a. Broadway Presbyterian Church in Upper Manhattan, New York, as reported in the January 26, 2002, issue of World Magazine. The article said that in the early 1900’s through the 1960’s the Broadway church was a powerful witness to the Gospel of Jesus Christ, with more than a thousand active members. But their number shrank to about 120.
Why? Well, over the years a subtle change crept in as their emphasis switched from presenting the Gospel to helping the homeless. They set up soup kitchens in the church building & began massive feeding programs for those in need.
Now, at first glance we would think that helping those in need is a very worthy & Christian thing to do, & it is! And they should be praised for doing so. But, at Broadway, prayers were never offered in the soup kitchens, nor was the name of Jesus ever mentioned - because they were concerned that someone might resent it.
b. Lakewood, TX congregation of Joel Osteen – no crosses or Christian décor so that people are not offended
c. C3 Exchange in Spring Lake, Michigan (formerly known as Christ Community Church) has taken down its cross from the building and no longer speaks the name of Yeshua (Jesus) because of the church’s diversity which now boasts of Buddhist; Muslim; Atheist; as well as Christians and other religions – they no longer want to be an exceptional community but rather an inclusive one where they can “practice being human together” (religious humanism)
d. There are Presbyterian Churches in central Texas that apparently have received some kind of Federal money to do similar things
4. Let’s explore “Church” for a few minutes this morning:
I. The Church is the “Bride of Yeshua (Jesus)”
In 2005, a 32 year old woman by the name of Jennifer Wilbanks set off a nationwide hunt as fears of abduction and even murder became the talk of news stations all across the airwaves. Rescue teams were put on alert, and volunteers gave up days of work to search for her while the shadow of suspicion began to grow longer upon the fiancé who had planned to marry her within a few short days. As we all know by now, it all turned out to be something other than an abduction or a murder, but in fact turned out to be a simple case of “cold feet” and a “runaway bride”. Thankfully, that was the case as far as her life goes, but many people have become very irritated that one woman would put so many other people at risk and inconvenience for the sake of her own needs.
In a USA Today article we read the following quote:
Agents said in the report that Wilbanks "was scared to marry (fiancé) John Mason because she is afraid of an imperfect world. Wilbanks stated that she could not be the wife that her fiancé John Mason needed. Wilbanks wanted to disappear without a trace."
A. The Price of the Bride
1. Price of the bride is negotiated by the fathers of Bride and Groom
2. High value – some bride prices were as high as the cost of a house
B. The Proposal to the Bride
I like it when a guy makes one of those bold public marriage proposals. In the middle of a crowded restaurant (guy down on one knee popping the question, producing the ring, girl breaks down crying…), at half time of a big game, on Oprah in front of a national television audience. One guy took his girl up in a hot air balloon and had written in a field “Will you marry me?” It was all caught on camera. I would hope a guy is pretty sure of himself when he takes that kind of risk. (Can you imagine getting turned down on national TV? GIRL – “Nah! Not interested!” or “Could I have some time to think about it?”)
1. Groom presents a cup of wine to the potential bride
2. She accepts (drinks from the cup after the groom) or rejects
3. If she accepts she understands that she has been “bought with a price”
4. Us -- 19 Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, 20 for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body. 1 Corinthians 6.19-20