Summary: A sermon that highlights 4 key Roles of the Church especially in uncertain times.
To have a proper understanding and appreciation of the role of the church in the 21st century, we must begin by defining the church and the 21st century.
What is the Church?
1 Corinthians 12:13 tells us that ‘for by one Spirit we were all baptised into one body – whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free – and have all been made to drink into one Spirit’. From this verse of scripture, we can say that the Church is the gathering of people from DIFFERENT TRIBES (Jews or Greeks), people with DIFFERENT BACKGROUND (slave or free) who BELIEVE IN CHRIST (Jesus is the person that binds us and brings us together). As a result of our union and relationship with Christ, we RECEIVE THE HOLY SPIRIT (one Spirit) who dwells in us and works through us.
The Message version of Ephesians 1:20-23 states that ‘All this energy issues from Christ: God raised him from death and set him on a throne in deep heaven, in charge of running the universe, everything from galaxies to governments, no name and no power exempt from his rule. And not just for the time being, but forever. He is in charge of it all, has the final word on everything. At the center of all this, Christ rules the church. The church, you see, is not peripheral to the world; the world is peripheral to the church. The church is Christ’s body, in which he speaks and acts, by which he fills everything with his presence.’
From these verses, the church is the body of Christ. It is through His body; through the Church that Jesus acts and speaks. The church is not just one of the many segments or sectors of society, the church is not on the same level with government, entertainment, education, media etc., the church is above and supreme to every other sector of society because the church has Christ as its head and Christ our head is not on the same level with any President, political leader, Chancellor, Principal, Head Teacher or any top CEO or business guru. The church is over all these sectors by virtue of the fact that our head is above all these sectors.
What is the 21st century?
The 21st century is the current century we are in not the one Moses, Elijah, John the Baptist or Paul and Silas were in. It is present day reality. It is the century that more than half of the world’s population has access to the internet. According to Our World Data, we have 7.7 Billion people in the world today with 3.5 Billion people today as internet users. This means that 1 in every 3 people in the world today uses social media platforms.
The Role of the Church
We are all familiar with the account of David and Goliath (1 Samuel 17). Behind the popular story of a young lad who threw a stone on a huge giant and killed the giant, are some fundamental truths about the church especially in the 21st century.
To help us better understand the lessons we want to bring out from the story of David and Goliath that relate to the 21st Century Church, let us take a look at the key players or characters in this story.
David – he represents the present day church.
David’s father and brothers – they represent our families.
Saul – he represents the once churched people who are now unchurched. Before now, Saul had been anointed by God. He had been used by God to win battles for the Israelites, he had even prophesied at a time. Saul started off as a man in the plan and agenda of God. But at this point in his life, we can say that Saul had dropped out of church; Saul had disobeyed God, drifted from God’s plan for his life and was now consulting with a witch when he had a problem or needed guidance. Saul was in a backslidden state. Many of such people exist today. People who have drifted from God. They also include those who do not have a personal relationship with God but were brought up in Christian homes and used to attend church either because their parents took them there or they felt it was the ‘right’ thing to do every Sunday. Now, they are at point in their lives were they don’t see the need at all to be in church or any Christian gathering or church setting. This group of people are increasing each day.
Goliath and Philistines – they represent the extreme unchurched people. In 1 Samuel 17, we see Goliath challenging, insulting and mocking the people of God. This group, represents those who don’t believe in Jesus, don’t know Jesus. They practice other religions, have beliefs contrary to the Word of God. We have here the Muslims, the Atheists, Hindus, Buddhist etc. This group is also on the increase.