Summary: In this message we talk about what the bible says about the local church.
WeAre . . . The Church
(note when you see B/S that is when I say brothers and sisters)
WELCOME – to church!
NOW - I want to start off this morning with some God-breathed words from the pen of both Matthew and Paul.
When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?”
“Guys, it’s time for us to talk about my identity, about who I am…?
“Well,” they replied, “some say John the Baptist, some say Elijah, and others say Jeremiah or one of the other prophets.”
Then he asked them, “But what about YOU, who do YOU say I am?”
Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” Jesus replied, “You are blessed, Simon son of John, because my Father in heaven has revealed this to you. You did not learn this from any human being.
Now I say to you that you are Peter (which means ‘rock’), and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it…
Then he sternly warned the disciples not to tell anyone that he was the Messiah.
“Guys, I need you to keep my Identity on the down low until it is time. I will let you know when… okay?
AND NOW – that you know who I am, let me tell you why I am here… AND – you better brace yourselves, because it might not be what you expected.
From then on Jesus began to tell his disciples plainly that it was necessary for him to go to Jerusalem, and that he would suffer many terrible things at the hands of the elders, the leading priests, and the teachers of religious law. He would be killed, but on the third day he would be raised from the dead.
But Peter took him aside and began to reprimand him for saying such things. “Heaven forbid, Lord,” he said. “This will never happen to you!”
Jesus turned to Peter and said, “Get away from me, Satan! You are a dangerous trap to me. You are seeing things merely from a human point of view, not from God’s.”
Then Jesus said to his disciples,
“Oh yeah, let me tell you a little about your identity as one of my followers…’
“If any of you wants to be my follower, you must deny yourself, take up your cross, and follow me. Those who want to save their lives will give up true life, and those who give up their lives for me will have true life. - Matthew 16:13-25
AND – check out these words from in Ephesians chapter 5.
Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26 to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, 27 and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. – Ephesians 5:25-27
“The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field. 45 “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. 46 When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it. – Matthew 13:44-46
Cry Out To Him Prayer (James 5:16-18; Mt 7:7,8; Eph 3:20,21)
THIS MORNING - we kick off our new series called, ‘CHURCH…’
UNDERSTAND--countless ideas, images, thoughts, perceptions, beliefs and emotions come into people’s minds whenever they hear the word CHURCH.
QUESTION – what comes into your mind when you hear the word CHURCH? How does what comes into your mind make you feel?
NOW - some of these ideas, images, thoughts, perceptions, beliefs and emotions are: good, true, hopeful and helpful, but others are: bad, wrong, false and destructive.
Brother and sisters…
What is the church?
Why is it here?
Why does it matter?
Is it all that important?
Should you even care?
What should it look like?
What is your role and responsibility in it?
AND - the most important question of all
WHERE - do we go to find the answers to those questions and to many others about the church?
To our culture?
To a pastor or a church leader?
In the latest book or at the latest Christian Conference?
UNDERSTAND - there is only one place that we can and must go to in order to discover the power, beauty, meaning and purpose of the church… to the living and active, enduring forever - Word of God.
HEY - checkout what Paul wrote in Ephesians 2 about what the church must be built upon… He has been talking about who we are in Christ and about the dramatic change it makes in us.