Summary: The five purposes of every church
The Purpose of Christian Community Church
Moving Ahead Together, Part 1
September 5, 2004
There is no such thing in the Christian life as maintenance only movement - forward or backward. If you are not growing spiritually then you are dying spiritually. There is no way getting around that reality. It follows that as a church or a community of faith we are not created for maintenance either, we are created for movement.
Today I want to introduce this series by looking at our purpose as a church. Why does CCC exist? Does it exist because it is the oldest church in Homer? Does it exist because we have a building? Does it exist because those of us who have been here along time want it to exist? Does it exist because it is my church? I want us today to look at Acts 2:42-47 with a bird’s eye view and highlight the five purposes of every church. Then over the next several weeks, I will pick those purposes apart and share how we are going to fulfill them. Then we will review and reinforce them until we are all on the same page or looking at the same map (many ways to get to the number eight – addition, multiplication, division).
Nothing without clarification has a distinction. I want to clarify what makes us distinct as a church. If we know where we are going then we will know how to get there. If I am going on vacation and go to the travel agent and ask to purchase tickets but do not have a destination then I will get nowhere. I.e. illustration for balance
Let’s read the text together.
We see in this text a radical devotion to the Lord Jesus Christ and community life. This is evidence of the spirit working in our midst – radical devotion to Christ, Awe of God, selling personal property to help others out, meeting daily for fellowship and worship that flows out of glad and joyful hearts, a respect of the community, and the Lord bringing people to himself.
This is not in the order of the text but is the order that most logical for us today.
1. Magnify: We Celebrate God’s Presence and Power in Worship
Our first purpose is worship. There was a sense of awe among the people as well as joy and the response of hearts that stand in awe of God with glad hearts is worship. Take the common statement that he worships the ground she walks on. What do we mean by such a statement?
This is why I say faith is not just knowing truth about the gospel but savoring it. Do we as a people in our minds and hearts worship the ground Jesus walks on? Does he have your attention in such a way that reflects that statement? Not anything else but him. Not ministry, not job, not a relationship, not a toy, but him.
So worship is more than mere actions or doing the right thing. Jesus condemns worship of the religious leaders in Matt 15:8-9 when he says these people honor me with their lips but their hearts are far from me He points to an internal reality that is missing – the heart. So the essence of worship has to do with an inner condition of the heart. The essence of worship is cherishing Christ as gain. Paul says the same thing in Philippians 1:20-21. I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. 21 For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. The apostle Paul is saying that he will worship Christ in life or death because to live is gain and die is gain.
If worship is the condition of our hearts then it does not matter what songs are being played or who is playing them. My ability to worship is conditioned primarily upon my heart attitude.
2. MEMBERSHIP: We Incorporate God’s Family into our Community
As Christians, we are not alone in our walk with the Lord, not alone in our relationship with the lord nor are we to minister alone. When Christ created the church he created a community of people that are meant to play together and pray together. This is why I have entitled this serious ‘Moving Ahead Together.’ So our second purpose at CCC is fellowship. What is fellowship? Most of us have a tame view of fellowship in contrast to the New Testament. The phrase here ‘devoted to fellowship’ is a summary statement. If that is true what other words in the passage do you think expand this phrase? It is interesting to note that before he talks about eating together he talks about selling items to help the needy among them. Why do I think that he is expanding upon fellowship? The text tells us that they had everything in common. That phrase comes from the same Greek word.