With another Advent season affectionately in the rear view mirror we’re moving forward into 2015 by focusing on the Church. Let’s begin with a question: What is the Church? Have you ever given this some thought? When you think about it, doesn’t it seem strange to you that in this sophisticated day and age a group of people would regularly meet together to sing songs and hear someone talk to us? Do we really enjoy singing that much? Do we really enjoy coming to hear someone tell us how we ought to live? I mean honestly this is a strange thing we do. We not only sing, and hear someone preach, we give a certain % of our money to this place called the church.
So, why do we do it? Why do we do this thing called Church? Perhaps you’ve thought the Church existed to meet your needs, to serve you in time of need, and give you everything your heart desires. Perhaps you’ve thought the Church was some kind of glorified soup kitchen that’s lasted throughout the ages to help homeless and needy people find food, clothing, and work. Perhaps you’ve thought the Church is a place where only good people go. We don’t let bad people in here, only those who’ve cleaned up their lives and don’t make a mess of their kids, marriages, or careers are allowed in here. I’m sure that’s what some people think about the Church, honestly it’s probably what some of you think of the Church. You see from a worldly perspective this all is very strange indeed, but from the Bible’s perspective, from God’s perspective, this place called the Church is the place we as Christians are called by God to build our lives around.
Charles Spurgeon once said it like this, “All who have first given themselves to the Lord, should, as speedily as possible, also give themselves to the Lord’s people. How else is there to be a Church on the earth? Give yourself to the Church. You that are members of the Church have not found it perfect and I hope that you feel almost glad that you have not. If I had never joined a Church till I had found one that was perfect, I would never have joined one at all! And the moment I did join it, if I had found one, I should have spoiled it, for it would not have been a perfect Church after I had become a member of it. Still, imperfect as it is, it is the dearest place on earth to us…”
So as begin this new series on the CHURCH hear me loud and clear: God doesn’t call us as Christians to follow Christ alone, but with other particular people. Lord willing, for the next 3 weeks I am going to lovingly argue with you so that you understand clearly what the Church is, why each of you ought to build your life around it, and then give yourself to it as opposed to building your life around yourself and then seek a church to serve you. Specifically throughout the next 3 weeks we’ll take a laser focused look into these things, and in particular give 3 answers to the question ‘What is the Church?’ Answer 1: The Covenant Community. Answer 2: The Blood-Soaked Community. Answer 3: The Unified Community. All of these questions we’ll find answered for us in Ephesians 2:11-22, hear the Word of God.