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,

The Loving Church 1 John 4:7-4:20

When was the last time that you heard someone going on about how great church was last week.

• They were filled with joy, There was a sense of excitement,

• The Spirit was moving

• And it felt like everyone there had made a connection with Jesus

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.

• And when it comes down to it The real world

• Has no idea 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.”

It’s sad, that so many people have the impression

• That when they come to church

• That there isn’t anything here to bring joy into their lives?

So let’s talk for a minute about The perfect church

• But before we can do this we have to answer the question What is church?

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

• I'm looking for short answers,

• So what words come to mind when I say church??

• Boring, irrelevant, out of date, hypocritical

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

Well the truth is, there are 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 a megachurch

• The kind with a band and contemporary music,

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

• And all the technological stuff that goes with it

• Maybe this is what you like

• And when you left your response to the question would be

• Yeah! --Praise the God – this is Church!"

• But another person’s response may be , "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 atmospheres

• They come in different types /styles / flavors / expressions

• But at the same time all of these churches call themselves a church

There are Churches in a pub, Café church, Goth church, internet church

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

So with all this in mind 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.

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

Maybe church Is 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.

Maybe church is a place for the great Ceremonial occasions,

• The rituals, the performances

• Hatch em, match em, and dispatch em.

• Baptisms, weddings, funerals.

• The great ritual moments of life.

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

Maybe church is a place that is filled with history and tradition,

• That no matter what, nothing can ever be changed / altered, / tampered with,

• Because we have always done it that way

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

Now there is no better example of a church

• Filled with history and tradition as Westminster Abbey.

• And One day a tour group was being shown the Abbey.

• They were shown all the symbols of Britain’s history.

• They saw the place where the monarchs are crowned.

• They visited the tombs / the memorials.

• It was a wonderful trip backwards in time.

• But at one point during the tour

• A member of the group asked the guide a interesting question.

• She said, “Sir, this is all very fine, but has anybody been saved here lately?”

That’s a good question for any church.

• “Has anybody been saved here lately?” (ELAB)

What we need to understand today is that We are so much more than ceremonial,

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