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Summary: Jesus has a vision for His bride to be a beautiful, glorious church. This will happen when we commit to fellowship, discipleship, ministry, worship and evangelism.

THE FELLOWSHIP: THE CHURCH I SEE

OPENING TEXT:

“Where there is no vision, the people perish.” (Prov. 29:18).

“Where there is no revelation, the people cast off restraint.” (NKJV).

“If people can't see what God is doing, they stumble all over themselves.” (MSG).

INTRO TO TOPIC: I love the church! For as long as I have been a Christian, I have been a committed member of a local church. This morning, I want to talk about The Church I See. What has God called us to be as a local body?

TEXT: “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish.” (Eph. 5:25-27).

• Church isn’t just a place to go to on Sundays; it is the body of Christ - God’s family.

THE BIG IDEA: Jesus has a vision for His bride to be a beautiful, glorious church. This will happen when we commit to fellowship, discipleship, ministry, worship and evangelism.

OUR CHURCH’S VISION:

We exist to REACH people with the love of God, Evangelism

to CONNECT them in loving relationships with other Christians, Fellowship

to help them to GROW in their faith through God’s Word, Discipleship

to challenge them to DISCOVER their gifts, Ministry

and to GLORIFY God with their lives.” Worship

THE CHURCH THAT I SEE: This is where we’re headed – we’re not there yet!

(The vision for the church must of course be solidly founded on principles from God’s Word!)

We’re going to use Acts 2:42-47 as our guide…

2. THE CHURCH I SEE… IS COMMITTED TO: DISCIPLESHIP:

41 Then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them. 42 And they continued steadfastly in the apostles' doctrine…

What is discipleship? “when believers GROW in their faith through God’s Word”

1. The church that I see… is growing in their faith by reading the Bible on a regular basis, memorizing Scripture, and most importantly, applying the Word to their lives.

2. The church that I see… bring their Bibles to church, takes notes, and is hungry to learn more about God’s Word.

1. THE CHURCH I SEE… IS COMMITTED TO: FELLOWSHIP:

42 And they continued steadfastly in… fellowship, in the breaking of bread…. 46 So continuing daily with one accord… and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart,

What is fellowship? “when believers CONNECT in loving relationships with one another.”

1. The church that I see… shares their lives together and cares for one another (Acts 4:32).

“Now the multitude of those who believed were of one heart and one soul; neither did anyone say that any of the things he possessed was his own, but they had all things in common.”

2. … has fun together (gladness).

3. … walks in unity (Psalm 133). Strife is the #1 thing that will destroy a church!

4. … refuses to gossip about one another: “A gossip tells secrets, so don't hang around with someone who talks too much.” (Prov. 20:19).

5. … bears the burdens of one another (Gal. 6:2).

6. … is kind to and forgives one another (Eph. 4:32).

7. … confesses their sins to one another and prays for one another (James 5:16).

LORD OF THE RINGS ILLUSTRATION:

Lord of the Rings is a story written by JRR Tolkien, a devout Christian who led CS Lewis to the Lord. Although he made it clear that his stories are not allegories, he still wrote from a Christian worldview and you can learn good biblical principles from them. In The Fellowship of the Ring, a young hobbit named Frodo is chosen to go on a mission. The tag-line for the movie based on the book says this: “Fate has chosen him. An evil will hunt him. A fellowship will protect him.” That’s like us in the church: God has chosen us, an evil hunts us (the devil) and a fellowship (the church) is designed to protect us.

3. THE CHURCH I SEE… IS COMMITTED TO: MINISTRY:

43 and many wonders and signs were done through the apostles.

What is ministry? “when believers DISCOVER and DEVELOP their gifts”

“God has given gifts to each of you from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Manage them well so that God's generosity can flow through you.” (1 Peter 4:10).

1. The church that I see… is committed to discovering and develop their God-given gifts.

2. … is always looking for opportunities to do good and serve people:

“Whenever we have the opportunity, we should do good to everyone, especially to our Christian brothers and sisters.” (Gal. 6:10).

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