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Summary: To stress the importance of the Church of Jesus Christ

This past fall was Stacy’s parents 40th wedding Anniversary. Stacy had left earlier than me and the kids for Belleville to help get things set up for the party. So we drove separately. The party was a great success and we had a wonderful turn out. Since we drove separately, I left the following day to come back to Leon and took Shelby and Austin with me and left Shayla and Kagen with Stacy. (Splitting up kids when driving is always a wise thing to do when traveling).

We got to Salina and I had to stop and use the restroom. Shelby was sleeping and I told Austin that I was going inside the gas station to use the restroom and I would be right back. I went in and did my business and came back out. I took off as I was getting on the Highway I turned around to make sure Austin had his seat belt on because He hates his seatbelt and has a habit of taking it off whenever we stop. As I turned around and asked, “Austin is your seat belt on?” I realized Austin was not in the car!! I woke Shelby up and she said she didn’t even realize we had stopped and she didn’t know Austin was gone either.

I was really freaking out!!!Austin had left the car when I was in the restroom and was walking around the gas station looking at candy and toys. When I left the restroom I assumed Austin was still in the car but this was not the case.

So, here I was, on the highway, with nowhere to turn around until a mile or two down the road. Gary, I have to tell you, I was speeding!! Horrible thoughts were racing through my mind and getting back to the gas station seemed like an eternity.

I finally got there and sure enough Austin was standing in the store looking at some sunglasses. I was relieved I had him but then my thoughts turned to what Stacy was gonna say about it when she found out I left our youngest son and a gas station in Salina Kansas.

Have you ever been left behind? I learned a very valuable lesson that day, make sure I have everyone before I take off!

In one sense each one of us has been left behind this morning. Jesus has come. He gave His life for the salvation of the world but He left behind something very important to help us and to encourage us, His Church. We are not alone; God is with us through His church.

There is no question that the Church has its problems. It will never be perfect because it accepts you and me and others like us, but even with all of its faults and failures Jesus loves His Church and here we can find His love and His plan for our lives.

This morning, the Sunday after Easter, I would like for us to look at “What He Left Behind,” His Church. I believe in the church, because I believe in the plan that God gave us – that He left behind.

I. The church first of all is a place to begin.

A. In verse 19 we read, “Therefore Brothers and Sisters since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus…”

1. As people we need opportunities to begin anew and afresh. A place where we can be loved and accepted for who we are and grow into what we were meant to be.

2. The church is that place to begin! Because we start not with just who we are and what we are, but who God is and what He has done and what He promised He will do.

3. Do you need a new beginning this morning? You will not find it at work or in society in general. The only place where we are actually invited to come and start our life over is in and through the church.

4. It is here that God is constantly reshaping us and making us into the people He wants us to be. We are rough along the edges.

5. But what other power or authority on earth is vested with the purpose of allowing us to start over – to begin again! In John Chapter 3 Nicodemus is told by Jesus, “you must be born again.” And Nicodemus responds, “How can a man be born when he is old? He cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born, can he?”

6. What the world throws away and discards, God loves and accepts and calls His spotless Bride!

7. Do you want a new life today? Do you need to start over? You can! No matter where are or what you have done, Jesus left behind His church as a place for us to start over.

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