FIRST: WHAT IS A CHURCH?
In the New Testament
GOD’S CHURCH, OR MY CHURCH?
The gospel saves us from something for something in the body.
Ephesians 2:10 (NLT) For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.
1. God’s church belongs to him, and he is the authority. He has a mission.
Matthew 28:18–20 (NIV) 18Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
The church has been given a mission: go and make disciples (more on this later).
2. God’s church is organized under right doctrine, leadership, and behavior.
Ephesians 4:11–16 (NIV) 11So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, 12to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. 14Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming. 15Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. 16From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.
KEY PHRASES IN THIS TEXT
THE REALITIES WE ACCEPT IN THIS MISSION
1. We as leaders are responsible to God for protecting the team/flock. (Hebrews 13:17)
2. We have a broken sinful nature that leads us to focus on what we want rather than what God wants, forget, and change. (Hebrews 2:1)
3. We have a culture that draws our people away from the faith. (Romans 12:1-2)
4. We have false teachers—even well intentioned pastors/coaches—who divide the team. (Acts 20:28-32)
5. We have a spiritual enemy. (Ephesians 6:10-12)
The right statement isn’t “I need to find a church I like,” unless I’ve been changed so that I like the church God likes. What we have done here is protect and promote alignment.
QUESTIONS TO DISCUSS IN LIFE GROUPS OR WITH YOUR FAMILY AND FRIENDS
Passages to consider: Matthew 16:18-19; Ephesians 1:22-23, 2:19-22; or select one from the sermon.