Monday, January 17, 2011

The Church

During the 60's movement - "Jesus, yes. Church, no". Young people especially - leaving the "organized church", organized religion.

Compare today: especially young adults - "Yes" to Jesus, spirituality, God, but "No" to church once again. "No" to traditional worship, music, liturgy, etc.

Question: Is this reasonable? Valid? Practical? Biblical? Helpful?
Answer: on one hand, the church is far from perfect. There is a constant need for assessment and correction in the church.
But, Jesus and the church are inseparable.

DEFINITION: church is the community (gathering) of believers. (in Christ/Christianity)

BROAD APPLICATION: house church: Rom 16:5 citywide church - 1 Cor. 1:2 region - Acts 9:31
Therefore, could be THE church (universal) , the churches (places in an area) or a church (local body)


I. Scripturally
A. Founded by Christ - Matt. 16:18
B. Paid for by Christ - Acts 20:28
C. Identified with Christ - Acts 9:4 -
D. and extension of Christ - body - Eph. 1:22-23, 4:11-12

Question: Can you accept Him and reject His church??? Can't separate the two.
Compare: Stalin - yes/communism - no. They are inseparable.

II. Historically - the church is the:
A. Primary means of spreading the gospel
B. Primary means of developing believers
C. Primary place of worship and prayer
D. Primary platform for mission work
E. Primary pipeline for mission support

You find that where Christianity grows, the church grows, and where the church grows, Christianity grows. They are parallel, go hand in hand.

III. Individually.
The Jesus people mentioned earlier either:
A. fell away as it was just a fad
B. entered established churches
C. started new churches!! Because that's what happens when people embrace Christ.

Christianity does not (cannot) thrive apart from the church.
Christians do not (cannot) thrive apart from the church.

You cannot (legitimately/effectively) separate Christ and the church - Biblically, historically, doctrinally, practically, etc.

#1. The church is not perfect. Because it consists of people - all of whom are sinners.
Some of whom are lost. - 2 Tim. 2:16-20

#2. The church is in constant need of critique and correction.
Christians should be the harshest critics, but for correction not destruction. - Example: correct a child to build up or to tear down?

#3. The faults of the church do not negate the benefits of the church. Example: the sex scandal in the Catholic church. Terrible, yes, but that doesn't mean that everything that the Catholic church has accomplished over the past two thousand years should be thrown out.

#4. It's foolish to abandon the church because of the faults.
Comparisons: do away with public education because had some students dropout.
Do away with hospitals because some people have not recovered, or died.

#5. It's detrimental to abandon the church because of its faults.
A. Detrimental to the church because it handicaps the functioning of the church
B. Detrimental to you - does the body need the hand???
C. Detrimental to yours - does the hand need the body???

Given the evidence, we Christians should be church:
1. Participants - more than attendees, but actually doing something in the church
2. supporters
3. adjusters
4. promoters

Bill Hybols once said, "the New Testament church is the hope of the world"

There is value in Christ without the church. The church is not necessary for salvation.
There is value in church without Christ!! - not eternally, but for the here and now.

BUT, the design, ideal, God's will, intent??? - the church and Christ.!

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