Eph 2:18-22 3:21
INTRO: As early as I can remember, the Lords church has been an integral part of my life. It would not be inaccurate to say that the church has been a constant influence on every aspect of my familys experiences. I have never had cause to regret that our lives have been caught up in Christ in His body. Seldom, if ever, does a day go by that thoughts and words about the church are not heard in our family. I am truly thrilled and grateful for Gods plan for the church.
I. IT IS A PLACE TO BELONG
A. This is so important to human beings
1. homeless, orphan are two sad, sad words
2. belonging is almost essential to human happiness, contentment ... not many hermits!
3. place to belong gives identity - part of who we are
B. Note: fellow citizens; household; holy temple (text)
1. descriptive words of belonging, of involvement
2. at v.16 one body ... each belongs in the body
3. 2 Pet 1:1 a body of parts of like precious faith - identity
II. IT IS AN EDIFYING PLACE
A. So many organizations permit membership
1. its usually what can I. give the organizations
2. not too interested in my growth, my welfare
3. leaving that group, Im pretty much same person
B. Eph 4:12 ... the perfecting ... the edifying ...
1. the church is a place within which to grow!
2. to think only in terms of social fellowship, appearances and such misses the impact of Gods plan
3. moral and spiritual growth ... growth in steadfastness ... growth in the Christian graces ... growth in our relationships all should be enhanced within the church
III. IT IS AN ENCOURAGING PLACE
A. Does the world encourage me to be better?
1. maybe with financial incentives to be better at my job, better athlete, better etc.
2. but offers no encouragement to be really better
3. in fact, opposite may well be true
B. 2 Thes 1:11,12 Encouraged by anothers prayer
1. or 1 Thes 4:18 comfort one another ...
2. because the church is comprised of human beings, we may not personally be always encouraged
3. yet, Gods design is for encouragement for life in the world to be found in the church
IV IT IS A SERVING PLACE
A. Purpose for life is a very real need
1. yet, self-serving, self-seeking, are ways of life so characteristic of our age
2. so, the real need for selfless purpose goes begging
3. and emptiness finally descends on people
B. I am challenged by Gal 5:13,14!
1. ready for service lowly or great
2. so, Eph 2:10 created for them!
3. not until the church becomes a serving place for you will you find your greatest joy in Christ!
V. IT IS A PLACE OF CONCERN FOR ME
A. I am referring to discipline, correction
1. there is a prescribed order of life in Christ
2. Phil 3:17 this walk is for my god; it is for my maximum efficiency and joy in Christ
B. And gods design is for this to be developed in the body
1. Gal 6:1 speaks of this concern, development
2. the church is not a do your own thing place - it is truly a do the Lords will place ... and His will is for our good (note Mt 6:10!!)
CLOSE: I simply cannot imagine my life without the church. I rejoice to have been a partaker in gods plan for the church.
Cecil A. Hutson
17 September 2000
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)