Summary: A sermon based on Ephesians 3:10 about the church. (Much material taken from sermon of the same title on Sermon Central from Pat Damiani)
Sermon for 4/26/2009 on Ephesians 3:6-11
Why Be Part of the Church?
Signs you’re in a Bad Church
10. The church bus has gun racks. 9. The church staff consists of Senior Pastor, Associate Pastor and Socio-pastor. 8. The Bible they use is the "Dr. Seuss Version." 7. There’s an ATM in the lobby. 6. The choir wears leather robes. 5. Worship services are B.Y.O.S.: "Bring Your Own Snake." 4. No cover charge, but communion is a two-drink minimum. 3. Karaoke Worship Time. 2. Ushers ask, "Smoking or Non-smoking?" 1. The only song the organist knows is "I Wonder If God Likes Country Music"
A. There are good churches and bad churches.
C. I, and many others, have been hurt by the church. Many have given up on the church and no longer want to have any part of a local church.
B. The New Testament lifts high the church. Vs. 10- His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known.
D. This verse (vs. 10) is difficult but this verse does contain some practical, relevant principles for all of us who are followers of Jesus Christ. In fact, Paul deals with a fundamental issue for all of us. He gives us several reasons why all of us need to be part of the church.
Thesis: Why Be Part of the Church?
1. To play my part in God’s plan (vs. 11- according to his eternal purpose)
A. The church is not just an afterthought in the mind of God. From the beginning of time, the church was part of God’s plan to redeem His people and to bring all of them together as one. Before God created Adam and Eve, he intended to break down all the dividing walls that separated people and bring them together through the work of His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.
B. We see in vs. 10 that God is using the church as His primary means of carrying out his plan that is leading to the time when God will restore all things. God is still using the church as His tool for advancing His plan here on earth.
C. Pat Damiani- When I was in elementary school, our school held a Christmas pageant every year. And every student in the school was part of that pageant. But there were a few special roles that only the 6th graders were allowed to try out for- the 3 wise men, the shepherds, the speaking angel, and of course, Mary and Joseph. Certainly the highlight of my entire elementary school experience was to be selected to play Joseph. Not only that, the girl selected to play Mary with me was the girl I had a crush on. Doesn’t get much better than that!
D. But the great thing about the church, in contrast to the Christmas pageant, is that there is no starring role. The only starring role is left to Jesus. (Eph 1:10 NIV) to bring all things in heaven and on earth together under one head, even Christ.
E. Within the Body of Christ, there is no role that is more important or less important than any of the others. Some may be more visible, but that doesn’t make them any more crucial to God’s plans through the church. (1 Cor 12:22 NIV) On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, (1 Cor 12:23 NIV) and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty,
F. We need to play our part in God’s plan. God has a plan for our lives. Do we want to focus on ourselves or do we want to be a part of something that is bigger?
G. Dead Poets Society- The powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse. What will your verse be?
2. To witness to Christ’s work (vs. 11- which he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord)
A. The church is a result of what Jesus has done. (Eph 1:22 NIV) And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, (Eph 1:23 NIV) which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.
B. (Mat 16:18 NIV) And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.
1. Some have taken this verse out of context. Not going to talk about this in depth this morning, but let me just say that the language and context of that passage makes it clear that Jesus is referring to Himself in his role as the Messiah as the rock on which His church would be built.