5. All of its members are allowed to use their spiritual gifts to build it up.
6. It’s members are diverse, but unified under Christ as their head.
7. It has leaders within it whose job is to serve and protect.
8. It incorporates elements of communion and baptism, worship, prayer, teaching, community, and social service.
These are just some good indicators,they aren’t complete or infallible.God seems to have a lot of grace when it comes to what is and isn’t a church.
Okay, so I have a pretty good idea of what a church is now, but…Why should I be part of ?
1 Really good reason to be part of a church, and 7 pretty good ones.
1 Really good reason to be part of a church:God tells us to in the Bible!
Hebrews 10:23-25 -So far Hebrews has been about…the Hebrews.-About how Jewish customs and beliefs foreshadowed Christ and were fulfilled by him.-Hebrews 10: the need for sacrifice is fulfilled and the new covenant is here because of Jesus.- The author urges the reader to not let go of the hope they have because of Christ.
Hebrews 10:23-25 “Without wavering, let us hold tightly to the hope we say we have, for God can be trusted to keep his promise. Think of ways to encourage one another to outbursts of love and good deeds. And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage and warn each other, especially now that the day of his coming back again is drawing near.”
Hebrews 10:23-25 -The author of Hebrews, urges the reader to not stop meeting with others, assembling together as a group, but to “encourage and warn each other”.- When we don’t meet as a church we miss out on the possibility of encouragement in the story of Jesus and warning about the dangers in life.-Meeting with other Christians helps us from backsliding.
1. One way people “see” God in the world is by Christian love for each other.“No one has ever seen God. But if we love each other, God lives in us, and his love is brought to full expression in us.”-1 John 4:12
2. Metaphors for the church are collective:-Body of Christ (1 Cor. 12, Eph. 4)-Family of God (Eph. 2:19)-House of God (Eph. 2:20)-Temple of God (1 Cor. 3:16)- Flock (1 Pet. 2:25, 5:2-4)-”You are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s own possession” (1 Pet. 2:9) - Christ’s Bride (Eph. 5:22-32, Rev. 21)You don’t see Christians talked about as a group of individuals, but as a community.
3. Jesus made it a habit of meeting with people at the synagogue.“When he came to the village of Nazareth, his boyhood home, he went as usual to the synagogue on the Sabbath and stood up to read the Scriptures.”-Luke 4:16
4. People need community, being part of a church helps provide that.“God said, "It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a companion who will help him." -Gen 2:18
5. Where else are you going to “one-another” other believers, or use your gifts?“Live in harmony with one another. Don’t be too proud to enjoy the company of ordinary people. And don’t think you know it all!” –Rom. 12:16“Since you are so eager to have the special abilities the Spirit gives, seek those that will strengthen the whole church.” -1 Cor. 14:12
6. Baptism and the Lord’s Supper can only be done in a church community.“ For you were buried with Christ when you were baptized. And with him you were raised to new life because you trusted the mighty power of God, who raised Christ from the dead.” Col. 2:12“This cup is the new covenant between God and his people—an agreement confirmed with my blood. Do this to remember me as often as you drink it.” – 1 Cor. 11:25 Junior high pastor’s communion elements.
7. Jesus loves the church, a lot. “Imitate God, therefore, in everything you do, because you are his dear children. Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ. He loved us and offered himself as a sacrifice for us, a pleasing aroma to God.” – Eph. 5:1-2“…just as Christ loved the church. He gave up his life for her to make her holy and clean, washed by the cleansing of God’s word. He did this to present her to himself as a glorious church without a spot or wrinkle or any other blemish. Instead, she will be holy and without fault.” –Eph. 5:25-28
There are lots of other good reasons to be part of a church…Ultimately we have to come to a place where in our freedom in Christ we bind ourselves to others for their benefit, our building up, and the purpose of God.God didn’t call us out to live by ourselves, but in community.
The church fails over and over again…But God loves her.Shouldn’t we try to?