Summary: A sermon about what the church provides for the believer. Worship, Fellowship, Discipleship, Ministry, Evangelism

Why Do You Need The Church?

Psalm 122

. Vance Packard calls America “a nation of strangers.”

• Today: an epidemic of loneliness in our society. (4 out of 10 experience intense loneliness)

• “Everywhere you look, there are signs that people are hungering for fellowship, community, and a sense of family.

Beer commercials don’t sell beer, they sell fellowship. Think about it…No one is ever portrayed drinking alone. They are always in the context of enjoying each other’s company…

“It doesn’t get any better than this.”

People long to be connected.

• There are many analogies for a Christian disconnected from a church: a football player without a team; a soldier without a platoon; a tuba player without an orchestra; a sheep without a flock. But the most understandable and biblical picture is that of a child without a family. That family is the church. God does not want his children growing up in isolation from each other, so he created a spiritual family on earth for us. A Christian without a church family is an orphan. Rick Warren, The Purpose Driven Church, p 314-315

Theme: “The church provides people with things they cannot find anywhere else in the world.”

I. The Church Provides: WORSHIP - Helps You Focus On God

• Matt. 2:1-2 Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him.

A. Worship Prepares You (Spiritually & Emotionally) for What Lies Ahead

1. Sometimes in our trials we focus so intently on our experience that we forget to focus on God.

a. Clemson vs. Boston College…11 seconds to go in the ball game, Will Harper fires the ball to his favorite receiver, an outstretched Aaron Kelly…sailing across the goal line for the go-ahead touchdown….the only problem….he lost his focus at the last second and the ball ricocheted off his hands to the ground…Clemson lost the game.

• When you lose focus, you lose games.

• Lesson: Ps. 71:5 “You are my hope; O Lord God; You are my trust from my youth.”

1) Over and over in this psalm he calls to mind the character and attributes of God: His glory, His power and strength, and His faithfulness.

a. When you are in the middle of trials, everyone will have an opinion or a suggestion or a remedy…

1. But after all is said and done, there is only one thing that you can put all your trust in, and that is the character of God. Dr. David Jeremiah, Sanctuary

II. The Church Provides: FELLOWSHIP - Helps You Face Life’s Problems

A. By Providing the Support and Encouragement of Other Christians

1. Acts 2:42a “And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship…”

• Koinonia – something in common; koine’ Greek – language of the common people

2. Jonathan’s Armor-bearer – 1 Sam. 14:7 And his armor-bearer said unto him, Do all that is in your heart: turn thee; behold, I am with thee according to thy heart. (support encouraging/)

• Four Lessons Learned from Geese (Brotherly Love / Fellowship)

This fall when you see geese heading South for the winter, flying along in V formation, you might be interested in knowing what science has discovered about why they fly that way. It has been learned that as each bird flaps its wings, it creates uplift for the bird immediately following. By flying in a V formation, the whole flock adds at least 71% greater flying range than if each bird flew on its own. (Christians who share a common direction and a sense of community can get where they are going quicker and easier, because they are traveling on the thrust on one another.)

1) Whenever a goose falls out of formation, it suddenly feels the drag and resistance of trying to go it alone, and quickly gets back into formation to take advantage of the lifting power of the bird immediately in front. (If we have as much sense as a goose, we will stay in formation with those who are headed the same way we are going.)

2) When the lead goose gets tired, he rotates back in the wing and another goose flies point. (It pays to take turns doing hard jobs - with people at church or with geese flying south.)

3) The geese honk from behind to encourage those up front to keep up their speed. (What do we say when we honk from behind?) (“Don’t Tell Me You’re a Christian, Show Me”)

A man was being tailgated by a stressed out woman on a busy boulevard. Suddenly, the light turned yellow, just in front of him. He did the right thing, stopping at the crosswalk, even though he could have beaten the red light by accelerating through the intersection.

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