Summary: What is a church? Is it a place for the religious and the ceremonial? Is it a place for history and tradition, Is it a place for socializing and cliques Or is it a place where the love of God is known,

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The Loving Church 1 John 4:7-4:21

When was the last time that you heard someone telling someone else just how great church was last week.

• When they were totally blown away with the joy,

• The excitement, the reality of people in relationship with Jesus Christ.

The truth is more often than not

• If the subject of church comes up

• That people are complaining about the service

• People often tend to have a negative view have of church.

• The real world when it comes down to it have no idea

• About who we are and why we are who we are.

An older sister was sitting next to her younger brother in Church one Sunday morning unsuccessfully trying to keep him still and quiet. Finally she said, “I wish you would calm down.” “I can’t”, he said, “it’s just so boring.” And his sister turned and said, “It’s supposed to be boring.”

Another little boy was in church with his mother, and He was a good little boy, quiet & well behaved. He didn’t cause any problems. But every once in a while he would stand up in the chair, turn around, look at the people behind him & smile at them. His smile was infectious, & soon everybody behind him was starting to smile back at him, too. It was all going fine until the mother realized what the little boy was doing. When she did, she grabbed him by his ear & twisted it a bit, told him to sit down & remember that he was in church. Then he started sniffling & crying, & she turned to him & said, "That’s better."

It’s sad, isn’t it, that many people have the impression

• That when we come to church that there isn’t anything here to really bring joy into our lives?

So lets talk about The perfect church

• But to do this we have to start out with the question What is church?

• If I were to ask you that question what would your answer be

• And it has to be a short anwswer, what words come to mind?

• Boring, irrelevant, out of date, hypocritical

• Or would you say that it is a place of joy, hope, love, companionship, caring?

The truth is, there is no perfect churches.

• No matter where you go,

• You’re going to find things that you like

• And you’re going find things you don’t like.

You could go to one of the new megachurch’s,

• And you could hear the contemporary music, see the flashing lights,

• The live band complete with the guitars and the drums,

• You could see and be a part of the lights and the choirs

• And all the technological wizardry that goes along with it

• Maybe this is what you like

• Maybe it leaves you saying -Yeah! --Praise the God – this is Church!"

• Then again, you could go and say, "They call this noise ’music?’– this isn’t a church!"

So What is church?

• Today in Britain there are a lot of churches that are more extreme than the one I just described

• These churches come in a variety of different atmispheres

• They come in different types and styles and flavours and expressions

• However all of these churches call themselves a church

• There are Churches in a pub, CafĂ© church, Goth church, internet church

• There are quiet churches, loud churches, traditional churches, contemporary churches, cultural churches.

So what exactly is church?

• How do we define church?

• Is it something we come to on a Sunday that has a definite order of service,

• One that has a distinctive style of worship or type of preaching.

• I guess it could be but church is more than that.

• Is it somewhere where we come to catch up on all the latest news and gossip

• That’s happened in the past week – a a kind of social club.

• Maybe, but at the same time church is more than that.

Perhaps church is just a place for the great Ceremonial occasions,

• The ritual, the performance.

• Hatch em, match em, and dispatch em.

• Baptisms, weddings, and funerals.

• The great ritual moments of life.

• But church is so much more than that.

Is your definition of church a place that is filled with history and tradition,

• That no matter what must never be altered, or tampered with,

• It shouldn’t be changed in any way

• Because if we changed it the mystery of the faith be lost –

Now there is no better example of a church

• That’s so rich in history and tradition is Westminster Abbey.

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