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Summary: When churches forget who they are and what is their purpose they quickly sink into a sea a of insignificance with no effectiveness and no power.

Series: Being the Body

WHAT IS THE CHURCH?

Matthew 16:13 (quickview)  18

18 And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.

I have discovered through the years that one of the most important aspects, if not the most, of success is “IDENTITY” (knowing who you are and what is your purpose). Without is a certain formula for failure.

-Businesses that lose their identity will soon disappear

-Athletic Teams that lose..... soon find themselves with losing seasons

-Individuals that lose... live miserable lives

Churches are no different. When churches forget who they are and what is their purpose they quickly sink into a sea a of insignificance with no effectiveness and no power. Sadly, this is what has happened in many of our churches today and our society is paying the price. We are in a crisis situation. We must stop, examine and regain our identity.

I. THE DEFINITION OF THE CHURCH

“Church” (ekkleesia, a gathering of citizens called out from their homes into some public place; an assembly)

(from Thayer’s Greek Lexicon, Electronic Database. Copyright © 2000, 2003 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)

(Michael G. Moriarty) In evangelical individualism people think of their personal relationship with God in isolation (““Just me and Jesus””) and forge their destiny apart from any church authority. While holding relatively low opinions of history, traditions, and the church, they turn to the experiences of self and isolate themselves from their brothers and sisters in the faith. True spirituality is perverted as it becomes a quest for inner stimulation rather than growth in biblical knowledge and the application of truth in community. Healthy Christians do not live in isolation. The Perfect 10: The Blessings of Following God’’s Commandments in a Post Modern World, pp. 52-53

Yet membership in a confessing body is fundamental to the faithful Christian life. Failure to do so defies the explicit warning not to forsake "our assembling together." His understanding of this prompted Martin Luther to say, "Apart from the church, salvation is impossible." Not that the church provides salvation; God does. But because the "saved" one can’’t fulfill what it means to be a Christian apart from the church, membership becomes the indispensable mark of salvation. "So highly does the Lord esteem the communion of His church," Calvin wrote," that He considers everyone a traitor and apostate from religion who perversely withdraws himself from any Christian society which preserves the true ministry of the word and sacraments." Charles W. Colson, The Body, 1992, Word Publishing, p. 70.

(Heb 10:25) Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.

II. THE FOUNDATION OF THE CHURCH

Not Programs

Not Social Activities

Not the Preacher

Not the Music

It is a Steadfast Belief that ....

Jesus Christ is Christ, the Son of the Living God


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