Summary: People have many ideas about what makes a church "spiritual," and not too many of them are biblical. In today’s sermon we will find that a spiritual church is characterized by its devotion to Jesus Christ.
What Does A Spiritual Church Look Like?
Illustration: The Tater Family
Some families make church their home. Others find other uses for the church. Take the notorious Tater family, for example. Perhaps you’ve met some of them.
· The chief of the clan is old Dick Tater, who insists on running everything in church.
· His brother Ro Tater keeps everything in a spin.
· Aunt Agi Tater has a knack for stirring up trouble;
· and her husband, Irri Tater, is always getting under someone’s skin.
The next generation of Taters has its own characteristics.
· Hesi Tater and his wife, Vege Tater, would just as soon wait until next year whenever a new project is suggested.
· Aunt Imi Tater would love to create the first generic church.
· Devas Tater announces constantly that everyone in the church is doomed,
· Her husband Poten Tater promises he can lead the church out of trouble.
(Adapted from an article in Today in the Word, May, 1996, p. 8.)
I. A SPIRITUAL CHURCH IS UNIQUELY DEVOTED TO JESUS CHRIST. Acts 2:41-42
Illustration: Our Daily Bread
A guy from Tyson Foods arranges to visit the Pope. After receiving the papal blessing he whispers, "Your Eminence, do we have a deal for you. If you change The Lord’s Prayer from "give us this day our daily bread…" to "give us this day our daily chicken…" we will donate $500 million dollars to the Church."
The Pope responds saying, "That is impossible. The Prayer is the Word of the Lord and it must not be changed."
"Well," says the Tyson man, "we are prepared to donate $1 billion to the Church if you change the Lord’s Prayer from "give us this day our daily bread…" to "give us this day our daily chicken…."
Again the Pope replies, "That is impossible! The Prayer is the Word of the Lord and it must not be changed."
Finally, the Tyson guy says, "This is our last offer. We will donate $5 billion to the church if you change the Lord’s Prayer from "give us this day our daily bread…" to "give us this day our daily chicken..." and he leaves.
Next day the Pope meets with the College of Cardinals to say that he has good news and bad news. "The good news is that the Church has come into $5 billion. The bad news is that we are losing The Wonder Bread account." (Source unknown.)
Note: Churches, as well as individual Christians, who are motivated more by economics than by morality are not living up to the biblical standard of righteousness. 1 Timothy 6:9-10
A. A Spiritual Church Is A Saved Church. Acts 2:42a
“And they continued steadfastly…”
1. A church must be composed of only saved individuals if she is to devote herself to the holiness and righteousness of God.
2. The presence of unbelievers in the membership of the church causes problems in every aspect of the life of the church.
a. Worship becomes forced and unnatural because unbelievers cannot worship in spirit and in truth. John 4:24.
b. Fellowship is artificial and contrived because believers and unbelievers have no common spiritual ground upon which they can stand. 2 Corinthians 6:14-15
c. Discipleship is impossible because an unbeliever has no desire to be conformed into the image of Christ. Psalm 42:1
d. Ministry is hindered because unbelievers have no spiritual gifts through which they can minister.
e. Evangelism that involves unbelievers in the presentation of the gospel falls into the category of the blind leading the blind.
3. This does not mean that unbelievers should be excluded from the church service, only from the membership.
a. They need to hear the gospel.
b. They need to see the gospel at work in the lives of genuine believers.
4. Membership, however, is reserved for believers only. Acts 2:47b
B. A Spiritual Church Is A Scriptural Church. Acts 2:42b
“… in the apostles’ doctrine…”
1. The Bible is the only authoritative source of spiritual information, and is useful in all matters of faith and practice.
2. A commitment to biblical preaching and teaching is absolutely necessary for a church to be spiritually healthy. 1 Peter 2:2
C. A Spiritual Church Is A Fellowshipping Church. Acts 2:42c
A church had a sign in front: JESUS ONLY. One night a storm blew out the first three letters and left US ONLY. Too many churches have come to that. (Vance Havner, from The Vance Havner Quote Book/On This Rock I Stand. Christianity Today, Vol. 30, no. 16.)
Illustration: Warmth Rather Than Light
People join churches more because they want warmth than light. We like to think it’s our stunning proclamation of the truth that keeps them in the pews. Sermons may get them into church the first time, but what keeps them coming are friendships that foster inward awareness and support. (Jack R. Van Ens, Leadership, Vol. 8, no. 3.)