Summary: This is a Purpose Driven Sermon on the Importance of The Church. The third sermon in a series.
God’s Committed Community: The Importance of The Church
Two weeks ago we looked at the Nature of The Church and we found that the Bible calls The Church:
1. A FELLOWSHIP.
2. A FAMILY.
3. A BODY.
4. A FLOCK.
Each one of these terms has special implications on how we are to treat other members of the church.
Last week we used the word SHINE as an acrostic and found the five purposes of The Church.
S – stood for SEEK and to SHARE.
H – stood for HELP.
I – stood for INCLUDE.
N – stood for NURTURE.
E – stood for EXALT.
This week we are going to continue the study of The Church and look at The Importance of The Church.
Before we look at The Importance of The Church let me tell you that I have very deep convictions about The Importance of The Church. If you understand my convictions about The Church you will also understand why I make some of the decisions that I make. Why I do some of the things that I do when it comes to pastoring BFC. Did you know that:
Decisions are basically made on four motivations:
1. Circumstances – What is happening around me. That means that sometimes we make decisions on the bases of the situation we find ourselves in.
2. Convenience – What is easy. Sometimes we make a decision because what we choose to do is simpler. A statement that goes along with this type of thinking is – work smarter not harder.
3. Critics – What do other people think. We are often influenced by others opinions and so we make decisions based on that.
4. Convictions – A deeply held belief.
Now let me make this clear: a conviction is not held in the same way that an opinion is. An opinion is something you will argue about – a conviction is something you will die for. It’s been said:
If you don’t stand for something you will fall for anything.
Everything changes – fads – fashions – even science text books change. The only thing that does not change in life is the truth. Truth by its nature does not change.
True, the grass withers and the wildflowers fade, but our God’s Word stands firm and forever." Isaiah 40:8 (MSG)
My convictions about The Church come from The Bible. It is our source of authority for what we do. If you understand these convictions you will understand three things:
1. You will understand why we do what we do in this church.
2. You will understand why we will be criticized.
Everyone will be criticized – but I would rather be criticized for following God’s Word then for any other reason.
3. You will understand the standard that I use for making decisions about the church.
Let’s now look at three convictions about The Church:
CONVICTION #1: JESUS LOVES HIS CHURCH
I am absolutely convinced – without a shadow of doubt – that Christ loves The Church. In fact that is what The Bible says:
Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, Ephesians 5:25 (NKJV)
Circle “gave Himself for it.” Often we say that Christ died for my sin – He died for me – and He did – but that is not what this verse says. This verse says that Christ died – sacrificed Himself – gave Himself for who – The Church. That is how important Christ considers His Church. Jesus loves His Church.
“This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers.” 1 John 3:16 (NIV)
Circle “us” and then let me ask you a question – who is us? Us is The Church. Jesus laid down His life for us. Tall ones – short ones – thin ones – Oh Pastor Tom don’t go there – but it’s true – Christ loves His Church and church is people – The Church is us..
Christians that say I love Christ but I don’t need to be involved in The Church are immature. They just don’t get it. Since we are going to live together forever we need to get along. It’s not enough to love God – you must love The Church too. We must love what Christ loves.
Personally, I want to be a part of Christ – that means I must be where Christ is. I must be involved in what He is involved in. Look at this next verse and tell me what Jesus is involved in.
I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it. Matthew 16:18 (NKJV)
From this verse I understand that Jesus is actively involved in building His Church. He is bringing them in, He is building them up, He is training them up, He is sending them out. What is The Church? Look at the next verse.