Summary: How God can use the local church to change the world.
100 million in U.S. don’t go to church at all.
2050 – 10% will attend! My grandkids generation…
Instead of spending our time on what the church has become, let’s look at what it’s supposed to be. What it was designed to be.
The early Christian church was heavily persecuted, but they stuck together in community. Acts 2:44…they were always together, praying, worshiping, learning…doing life together. They devoted themselves to the apostles teaching.
The leader of the church is Jesus Christ. While we as Christians, both pastors and volunteers carry out the daily actions of the church, the focus HAS to remain on Jesus. Eph 5:23 says the church needs to submit to Christ.
1 Corinthians 12:18-20 tells us the church is the body of Christ. Each person is a part of the larger picture. It’s made up of people working together. It’s funny Paul would use ‘the body’ as an example! Most of us see imperfection in our bodies! Church is not perfect, we are not perfect, but the head of the church, Jesus is!
There is no perfect example of a church, it’s not about size (though an Acts 2 church should be growing) It’s not about a worship style. Traditional/contemporary…It’s about content. It’s about putting Jesus Christ first.
Church isn’t meant to be done alone!
Answer: The Bible says that believers must not keep apart from other believers (Hebrews 10:24-25).
Finding alone time to worship God is important, if you can’t do that, you’re missing a lot of scripture…but the thinking that we don’t need to gather together is a wrong one. We need the church for many reasons.
There’s a popular commercial that says ‘life comes at you fast’. Life isn’t always easy. It’s often these tough times that we realize the how the church can help, when the church is working right.
REDWOOD TREES IN CALIFORNIA
300 ft high, 2,500 years old…roots 4-6 ft deep, 250 long…but they’re intertwined, tied in with each other. When storms come, they stand. There is a God-given support system with the local church. We connect with each other, stand by one another and do life together…encouraging each other to live as Jesus did.
Why church? I have to make this personal. It’s not good enough for me to ask you to get involved, to ask you to submit to Jesus, without sharing how it changed my life.
I grew up in a strong, Bible believing Baptist church. I remember Sunday school. I have the church to thank for an early foundation, I have my parents to thank, for sacrificing, I have volunteers way back then to thank for taking the time to instill biblical doctrines in me…as do you with your kids and their teachers at church. Don’t take this for granted. What we do in Wee/Kid Ventures is so very important. What the church does in the lives of Jr. High students/high school students will set them on a course of understanding biblical ideas that will change the world. Even if it comes in the form of camps, water balloon fights and mud wrestling☺
In the early to mid 90’s I found myself far from God. I was living for myself, I was hurting everyone around me…I didn’t really care what God thought, I only cared what I thought. I was so selfish it sickens me to think about it.
Yet, in the back of my mind, hanging around like a bad rash…was God constantly reminding me that church was the reason I felt guilty. Jesus was using the efforts of my church past to remind me I could get back on track. To remind me there was a place out there somewhere that wanted me back. There was a God big enough to accept me back…
What we encountered that day, back in 1995 changed my life forever.
Church, done like it is supposed to be. Not perfect, but willing.
First Lifegroup, showed me I didn’t have to do it alone. Memories of great times, vacations with them…serving alongside them..
I WOULD NOT be doing what I’m doing today without that Lifegroup life. I learned ‘first century church’ community can be had, for even the most, private, self-centered, prideful of persons…me.
We talk a lot about serving where you’re gifted around here…spiritual gifts…
In ’96 I finally said ‘yes’ to using my musical gifts for God. Those are memories I won’t ever forget. Serving Jesus within the local church, when the local church is working right…will change you forever. I started to learn that life was not about ME! I thought it was about me! I was so focused on myself I couldn’t see hurting people around me. I started to realize my gifts, my time, my money was not given by God to keep locked up in some dark room only to be pulled out when it benefited me.