INTRO: There are those who say the church is not important. There are those who say any church will do. There are those who forget Whose the church is. But I want you to listen to two statements: Eph 3:10 - ... known by the church the manifold wisdom of God and Eph 3:21 - Unto Him be glory in the church ... The church belongs to Him by right of purchase, design and government. It is when these things are forgotten that the emphasis shifts from God to man! Glorify God in the church ...
I. IT IS THE BODY OF CHRIST
A. When I think of the body of Christ ...
1. I think of His visible form - Jno 1:14
2. I think of His ministry - Acts 10:38
3. I think of His death/sacrifice - Heb 10:10
4. and I would not neglect, minimize, belittle any one of these
B. Note this: Col 1:18,24
1. the church is the body of Christ - Eph 5:30
2. why, then, would I treat it with any less respect, regard than His physical presence, body?
3. if Jesus should be here personally, I would most certainly glorify God for His presence ... but scripture says, Glorify God in the church!
II. BY FOLLOWING GODS DIRECTIONS FOR IT
A. I am remembering Lev 10:1-3
1. by altering Gods directions they did not glorify God!
2. yes, there was a religious observance
B. Mt 16:18 I will build my church
1. the design - in every particular - is His
2. what He has revealed through inspired New Testament writers must be observed - so, 1 Tim 3:15 - 1 Cor 4:17
3. making any modifications means that God will not be glorified ... will not accept
C. This needs careful thought from us
1. we must distinguish between opinion and doctrine
2. we must, at times, distinguish between what may be permissible ... but not expedient
3. both knowledge and attitude are issues here
III. BY PROMOTING PEACE IN THE BODY
A. Think about 1 Cor 14:33
1. the nature of God is order, orderliness
2. this orderliness in the physical realm is kept by naturess being subject to His law
3. nature submits to His law - and cosmos
B. Some texts to consider
1. 1 Cor 12:25 no division in the body
2. Gal 5:15 bite and devour? not spiritual
3. Phil 2:14,15,16 murmurings, disputings will reflect negatively on the ability of the body to hold forth the word
4. so, Eph 4:1-3 (not peace at all costs if peace on that basis compromises truth or is otherwise harmful to the body)
IV. BY LOVING THE CHURCH
A. Eph 5:25 The Lords love for the church
1. there is no escaping His love for it - sacrificial
2. the church is the bride of Christ ... He love her and promotes her well being
B. If the church is the body of Christ ...
1. can we love Jesus without loving the church?
2. unashamed love for the church will bring God glory in her - I love your church, O God - because she is the apple of your eye!
CLOSE: Whom do we glorify in the church? Ourselves? Or God?
Cecil A. Hutson
18 April 1999
You Must Hear the Gospel
You must hear the gospel and then understand and recognize that you are lost without Jesus Christ no matter who you are and no matter what your background is. The Bible tells us that “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) Before you can be saved, you must understand that you are lost and that the only way to be saved is by obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians 1:8) Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6) “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12) "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." (Romans 10:17)
You Must Believe
You must believe and have faith in God because “without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6) But neither belief alone nor faith alone is sufficient to save. (James 2:19; James 2:24; Matthew 7:21)
You Must Repent
You must repent of your sins. (Acts 3:19) But repentance alone is not enough. The so-called “Sinner’s Prayer” that you hear so much about today from denominational preachers does not appear anywhere in the Bible. Indeed, nowhere in the Bible was anyone ever told to pray the “Sinner’s Prayer” to be saved. By contrast, there are numerous examples showing that prayer alone does not save. Saul, for example, prayed following his meeting with Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:11), but Saul was still in his sins when Ananias met him three days later (Acts 22:16). Cornelius prayed to God always, and yet there was something else he needed to do to be saved (Acts 10:2, 6, 33, 48). If prayer alone did not save Saul or Cornelius, prayer alone will not save you. You must obey the gospel. (2 Thess. 1:8)
You Must Confess
You must confess that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. (Romans 10:9-10) Note that you do NOT need to make Jesus “Lord of your life.” Why? Because Jesus is already Lord of your life whether or not you have obeyed his gospel. Indeed, we obey him, not to make him Lord, but because he already is Lord. (Acts 2:36) Also, no one in the Bible was ever told to just “accept Jesus as your personal savior.” We must confess that Jesus is the Son of God, but, as with faith and repentance, confession alone does not save. (Matthew 7:21)
You Must Be Baptized
Having believed, repented, and confessed that Jesus is the Son of God, you must be baptized for the remission of your sins. (Acts 2:38) It is at this point (and not before) that your sins are forgiven. (Acts 22:16) It is impossible to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ without teaching the absolute necessity of baptism for salvation. (Acts 8:35-36; Romans 6:3-4; 1 Peter 3:21) Anyone who responds to the question in Acts 2:37 with an answer that contradicts Acts 2:38 is NOT proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ!
You Must Be Faithful Unto Death
Once you are saved, God adds you to his church and writes your name in the Book of Life. (Acts 2:47; Philippians 4:3) To continue in God’s grace, you must continue to serve God faithfully until death. Unless they remain faithful, those who are in God’s grace will fall from grace, and those whose names are in the Book of Life will have their names blotted out of that book. (Revelation 2:10; Revelation 3:5; Galatians 5:4)