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November 1, 2020 1:00 am
Not all the blessings God has in store for believers have to await eternity. In the here and now, He’s provided the Church where we can serve other believers for mutual encouragement and help. In this message we learn why the local church is so vital for every Christian.Click here to listen (Duration 54:30)
Not all the blessings God has in store for believers have to wait eternity in the here and now he's provided the church where we can serve other believers for mutual encouragement and help today why the local church is so vital for every Christian from Chicago. We welcome you to The Moody Church. Our weekly service of worship and teaching under the ministry of Dr. Erwin lutes are today we bring you another in an eight part series on the inheritance of the redeemed later. Erwin lutes will speak on the gift of the church. Dr. Luther comes now to open our time of worship and we bow together in prayer asking the Lord to unify us and to remind us that we are indeed God's people would you join us, please.
Now father we pray in Jesus name, that we shall bring to you.
Any distraction that would keep us from worshiping you acceptably through Jesus Christ, we thank you that because of the Holy Spirit. We are one.
Help us to understand that unity to appreciated, and to live it out. In Jesus name we ask a man we ask in the name of Jesus answer the prayer that we have just some we need to see you in new we need to see the great need.
We need to see our calling in the light come and revive us, cleanse us from our impurities cleanses father from our laziness, revive us. We ask in Jesus name, and maybe seated in woman in the church said these words. I am so lonely I can hardly stand it.
I want to be special to someone but there is no one who cares about me. I can't remember anyone touching the smiling at me or wanting to be with me. I feel so empty inside brothers and sisters today. God created us to belong were supposed to be long and today in this world of fractured families. When we have so much individualism and so much brokenness.
This sense of belonging is more important than ever. And God through his word and through his creative power has given us a vehicle if I might call it that, by which there can be that sense of belonging.
That sense of family. That sense of oneness for which we were created.
It is possible this happens to be number five in a series of messages entitled the inheritance of the redeemed.
That is to say that all of the blessings that come to us, simply because were believers, we inherit them. Today's blessing is one that you may not even have known about or thought about it, is the blessing that is often times disregarded or not taken seriously. It is the blessing that sometimes seems to be so optional that is the blessing of the new creation that we call the church. Now the church's unity is very different than other kinds of unity very different. You have, for example, that there are organizations today that that bring people together because they have a common interest. Their interest may be photography their interest may be music Rebecca and I were in Colorado at a bread and breakfast where we had bed and breakfast.
I should say where we have some friends who run it in a whole group of people came in and they were into flyfishing when I heard that I actually thought that they were fishing for flies. I thought you know we could. We is to build a do that on the farm and I learned a little bit more about it, but somehow that did not really spark my interest so I'm not into flyfishing but many people are aiming. They were up early in the morning they were committed and so you have these interest groups you have interest groups of those who are perhaps sent interested in the same kind of entertainment. The same sports we all like skiing or we all like baseball. That's not the kind of creation that God created when we come to a church that's not what it is when we belong to the members of Jesus Christ. We actually share the very same life because these other interest groups don't necessarily your commitment to them doesn't necessarily affect your view of sexuality.
Your view of marriage, your view of generosity and how you get to various causes, it doesn't affect that were as the life of God in the church affects us to the very core of our being. Because metaphysically, that is to say beyond the physical.
God created something brand-new just like he created the world's Genesis chapter 1 verse one you're a member of the body. You're a member of the family are a member of the temple as were going to be learning here in a few moments and you inherit that when you receive Christ as Savior. What a wonderful thing to be in the church that belongs to God. Now we sometimes have our differences. Of course I heard about a man who didn't like the music that was not here at Moody Church that was another church and he came to his pastor and said you know if God were alive, he'd be shocked at what is happening in his church.
Now I want you to take your Bibles and I want you to turn to first Corinthians chapter 13. What were going to be doing is looking at three different images of the church and our place in that church and why they gift of unity and they gift is so very special. First of all, were looking at the gift of one body now I'm in first Corinthians, and actually I thought I was in first Corinthians and that's where I was supposed to go. Bill is it in the New Testament first Corinthian right first Corinthians 12 1318, of course, page 939. You'll notice what it says. First Corinthians chapter 12 verse 12 for just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ.
For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, Jews or Greeks, slaves or free, and we are all made to drink of one Spirit to stop there. There's a lot of controversy that goes on about the baptism of the Spirit. There are those who have said, you know, if you're baptized with the spirit will speak in tongues, etc. know that is incorrect.
There is no connection between the two if we went into acts chapter 2, and I'd help you to understand why, but just take it that this is the clearest diverse in the New Testament regarding what the baptism of the Spirit does and what does it do you Gentile bond free. We are all made members of one body by the baptism of the Holy Spirit that happened to you whether you realized it or not, when you believed on Jesus. Whether you acted on it or not you are a part of something much larger than you are, namely the body of Christ. Three characteristics of this body.
The first characteristic is simply this, that it has unity.
I read it in verse 12, perhaps read it too quickly for just as the body is one and as many members and all the members of the body, though many are one body, so it is with Christ Jesus. Christ is the head of the body and we participate in his life. You don't have a head severed from the body and the body continuing to live.
We are actually living with in and granted in this miracle of conversion, the very life of Jesus, the oneness of the body. And that's because of the unity that we need to understand that certainly the Holy Spirit connects this, but we have to connect with one another. Going to church is not optional, is not something that you simply decide to do if you don't and then you don't like the church so you don't attend. Years ago I toted a true story about a man who was staying in the home of the doctor and that the doctor was on call soy since I have to go is as if you're hungry open the fridge and whatever is there. You can, and the man. The doctor was called away. The man opened the door of the refrigerator and they are wrapped in a plastic bag was a human hand. The man telling the story and I remember him telling it said that after that he wasn't hungry. Somehow the hunger just dissipated. What's wrong with the human I have two of them up here and I am now looking at both of them in. I see them every single day human hands are beautiful but when they are cut off from the body. They are repulsive and there are some people who cut themselves off from the body.
Now you can't extricate yourself from the body of Christ. If you're a believer, but you can reject the body.
The local church in such a way and you can become angry. You can go your own way and you can try to manage your own darkness, but we need one another. They unity of the body first characteristic of the body is there is unity.
Secondly, there is diversity. Verse 14 for the body does not consist of one member, but many if the foot should say because I'm not a hand, I don't belong to the body. How would we walk. If the foot was upset with the fact that it was a put a knot and and then that would not make it any less a part of the body, and if the ear should say because I'm not and I don't belong to the body.
What if the EM ear should say I don't belong to the body. What if the whole body were an eye, verse 17.
What would you do it, prop it up on the couch and all that it could do all days watch TV if the whole body were an eye. Can you imagine that and then it says if the whole body where an ear, what would it be well you shut off the TV and all that you can do is listen to the radio. What Paul is saying here very graphically. Is this that we come to the church with differences. It is not just merely racial differences in political differences that it has to do with gifting and and if we had time we'd explore this passage were talks about various gifts that the Holy Spirit of God ministers and what Paul is saying is, is that just because some gifts are more prominent than others. That doesn't mean that they are more important and we must realize that we are called to these differences. We are called to diversity and that diversity exists within the church. It also by the way exists in marriages this past week I was in Florida I prayed seven times this past week and a guy came up to me and he said my wife and I can look at the same clock and still disagree as to what time it is their differences even in marriage. I hope that that gets resolved by the way, because there are some things couples should be able to agree on. But the point is that we are not the same and every one connects some way within the body and if you physically are unable to serve you. Also are important to the body because you are giving other opportunities to people to serve you. In other words, the body must function.
Despite its differences, its aptitudes and its gifting. There is unity there is diversity and there is also, you'll notice interdependence. Now notice this verse 21 the eye cannot say to the hand. I have no need of you, nor again to the head or the feed.
I have no need of you in on the contrary, the parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable and on those parts of the body that we think less honorable we bestow greater honor and are un-presentable parts are treated with greater modesty, but the whole point is that the parts that we see the parts that are exposed. The parts that are hidden they are all absolutely necessary, and interdependent on one another.
If I were to stumble when I'm going down the stairs at my feet were to stumble.
My hands would reach out and try to save me and do all that they possibly can to mitigate the below, by the way, I had a very serious fall couple of months ago, fell backwards, my hands were unable to help me think of falling backward on concrete on your head. Amazing that I survived that with no permanent damage. At least that's what the doctors tell me, for which I'm grateful. But my hands about a fallen forward date of said look will be smashed but we have to protect the head.
Wouldn't it be wonderful if we as a body of Christ acted that we are willing to sacrifice for others and say I'm putting myself out for this person over here is weaker part of the body that is needing a part of the body because I am a part of the body and Paul goes on to say verse 26 if any member suffers, all suffer together for one member is honored, all rejoice together and you rejoice as if there exaltation and blessing is your own and you imagine that if we were so free of sin that when we saw somebody with more money or more exaltation. We rejoiced as if it was our own. That's what the members of the body of Jesus Christ. Do you get rid of all the petty stuff all of the image building all of the need to feel that you have to someone because when one member is honored your honored when one member is going through a trial you are there in your participating.
When I was about all I guess maybe 18 or so I was helping my father build something else on the farm and I was hammering spikes. I mean I'm talking to you about two by fours if you know what those are, nailing them together with spikes that were probably 3 inches long. Or maybe longer. Well, this wasn't my cup of tea. That kind of work was never my fastball, so to speak, but I was doing it and as I was leaning over and hammering with all my might. I hit this finger. This finger we didn't go to the doctor that day. We waited till the next day, but isn't it interesting that only my finger hurt, but that night all the parts of my body were awake to keep my hurting finger company. I never slept one wink that night I could've said well you know the fingers hurting, but my legs aren't so let me sleep no we willing to stay up with people who are hurting, even at great personal cost. That's the way the body is supposed to function. So the apostle Paul says that there is a unity that comes about because of the baptism of the Holy Spirit and one image of the church is the body. There are other images of course and were gonna very briefly look at to others and now were turning to the book of Ephesians and in Ephesians, what we find in chapter 2 is the fact that the apostle Paul talks about two other images of the body and will see where this is going. The passage of Scripture that was read to us comes from chapter 2 and I'm just going to lift out of Fraser to we are members of the same family. You'll notice he says we are members of the household of God. In verse 19 the household of God were members of the same family and them. As the apostle Paul develops this thought earlier in the text. If we had time to read it and to look at it more carefully what we discovered is that Paul says that he's taking. Jew and Gentile hated each other. Jew and Gentile, something like Arabs and Jews.
Certainly we can think in terms of racial hatreds and racism and we can pour all that into this text and the apostle Paul says very clearly that God has made us into one new man boy that impresses me.
That's in verse seven the end of verse 14 and 15. He has created in himself one new man in place of the two. What that means is that in the reconciliation of the church. It is not that the Jews had to become Gentiles or the Gentiles had to become Jews. God says I am building a transnational community that transcends all this and you don't have to become one or the other you stay who you are but you are united in the body in the family together and I have created the new man, which means that when we speak about racial reconciliation or other kinds of reconciliation. Blackstone have to become whites, whites don't have to become black, Asian don't have to become a become Latinos we we maintain all of that identity.
But there is a fundamental family unity that transcends all of that. I love the phrase read it last night says God killed or the hostility, the church of Jesus Christ should mirror the kind of unity and reconciliation that kills hostility between races between the rich and the poor between the educated and the uneducated, and that hostility has to be put to death and Jesus as I have already done that.
If you only accepted it and acted on it because you are members of the same family.
This is by one Spirit we have access to the same father. We have the same father God we have the same brother Jesus and we have the same companion. The blessed Holy Spirit of God. So we are definitely unified in our relationships within the family and what we must do is to emphasize that now there's another figure of speech we talked about one body very briefly. I talked about one family there's another figure of speech here that I want us to understand and that is one temple. You'll notice it says in verse 19 of chapter 2 of Ephesians. So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and the members of God's household, built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the cornerstone in whom the whole structure being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. In him you also are being built together.
Do you see this text, you are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the spirit. The imagery of the temple.
The simple fact is that 10 God has decided to go into the quarry of sin. Do you remember how Solomon's Temple was built. The Bible says that Solomon's Temple was built without any noise at the temple site because they quarried the stones far away all of the noise took place there and then they were brought together and they fit perfectly, which is truly amazing. You have ever been to Israel. You know how impressed you are with the fact that all of these buildings. I mean if you see Herodian stones. Stones that Herod that are beveled together and they work late 20 times. You wonder how they did this, but all of the stones were brought together and they all fit together in the imagery that the apostle Paul has Peter says that we are living stones is simply this, that God goes into the quarry of sin, and he digs for himself and chisels for himself. Some stones and he goes into every country of the world. Every racial bit of diversity every strata of rich and poor every kind of aptitude and gifting. God goes into that quarry.
He chisels out the stones. He chooses them.
He brings them together and they rub together so that they become smooth. That's why God made us very different and he brings us together because he is building a temple in this temple is very special because it is being built by an architect whose name is God and it's going to be a very famous temple because some buildings are famous because of who lives in them. Rebecca and I've been to England a couple of times and I remember being in standing at the gate there at Buckingham palace famous because that's where the Queen lives she was having tea that afternoon and we felt deeply rejected because we were not invited to team, but at least we saw the building.
Love to go in there sometime but I probably will never happen. Why because it's so famous because of the person who lives there. If you come with us on the tour to the sites of the Protestant Reformation. We will be in the Wartburg Castle and you know we go through the castle we see all of the things that existed in the 12th and third century, but everybody is anxious to get to a certain room because that's a rumor. Martin Luther live or 10 months where he translated the New Testament into German were supposedly through inkwell at the devil, by the way don't think he did. I think that he said in his table talks. I thought the devil with Inc. if you want to fight the devil you don't throne inkwell item there is in a demon in the world is alluded to see that I just missed it.
If item with Inc. you give people the Bible that does not hinder tour guides from sometimes rubbing some sort on the side of the wall and say well that's where the inkwell landed, my friend. Why do we want to get to that room because famous person was there, he occupied it and something important happened there. The reason that the church of God is so incredibly important is did you notice the text we are being built together for a habitation of God, God dwells within his church and the various stones from all parts of the world and here at The Moody Church where we have people from more than 70 different countries of origin, we come together and we fellowship together. Why, because this is where God dwells all you say. He dwells within us. Yes, he dwells within us.
But there is no substitute for the fact that when people are gathered together in worship as a church in the name of Jesus. God shows up and says I dwell with these people. Genesis chapter 3. He walked with Pete, get to the book of Exodus, you find out that he wants to dwell with the people he wants to live with his people.
He wants to live among us. Now I've given you these three images because we are the representatives of Jesus Christ on earth. By the way, very interesting. Have you ever read this in acts chapter 1 in acts chapter 1 it says the former treatise have I written to you, O Theophilus, Luke wrote this, O Theophilus in all that God, Jesus, rather began to do and to teach. He wrote the gospel of Luke. That's where Jesus began to do and to teach his work, but obviously what Luke says is and then he commissions his apostles. We are the continuation of Jesus Christ on earth. Not bragging, I'm only telling you the truth, we are Jesus on earth, I think, for example, the church in Berlin which I've been to many times which was smashed during the war the image of Jesus was smashed the Kaiser Wilhelm church and when was put together. They couldn't find the arm and so today it is a statue of Jesus without the arm as a representative of the fact that we are his arms. We do his work on now. All of these images are wonderful. But how do we apply them.
This is God's gift.
The connectedness of the church. You know it's possible during this series of messages when I talk about the various gifts that are given to the church to simply listen and then not to open your gift not to apply it. That certainly is possible all the way through to tell a somewhat embarrassing story about Rebecca and me. You know one Christmas we are receiving so many Christmas cards that we put them in a basket and we opened many of them, but there were some we didn't open because we said to ourselves, we don't have time right now you know were gonna wait a couple of days and then were going to open the rest. Well, we didn't do that. So the next Christmas we come across some on opened Christmas cards. Well that was manageable. One of the little problems with it is that one of the cards had $100 check written out to us. Not sure exactly how we handle that. You know, having you don't throne up and say hey I got your check.
Finally, I think we just ignored it, hoping that her bank cover for her and tell her check was never cashed. Possibly we can, God gives us. All of these checks. He gives us all of these blessings and we can hear about them and we never open them. Now if we are the body of Jesus Christ. If we are his family. If we are his habitation his temple. Who are we in the world. Where is our strength.
What I like to do is to suggest to you where our strength lies as a church at this moment of great need. Here in the United States of America. I think first of all our strength lies in our basic unity and understanding that unity and with that unity, loyalty and commitment to the local body of Jesus Christ. I hope that you understand that you know there are people who look at the church as them as a gasoline station. You drive up your car Sunday morning you get it filled and then you leave and you pay as little as you possibly can for the gasoline and we all like the fact that gasoline prices are falling. And wouldn't it be wonderful.
You know you're listening to the radio. You know there's a cheap gas over here this station sells it for this. Wouldn't it be wonderful if they said and by the way, if you go down the street another 2 miles. The station is giving away free everybody be there. And some people look at the church like that we can come we can be filled.
We can enjoy the music we can learn from the sermon. We don't have to make any commitment and it's all free and we make no commitment either by our gifts, our talents, or our money and we just come every week to be filled up, that is not the way the church is intended to function everyone making a contribution. Everyone loyal now pastors senior pastor sometimes come and go.
I'm treading very carefully here for the next few moments and you're a member of the family. That doesn't mean that you jettison the family because there is some service station down the road that has a higher octane what you do is you stay committed to the church because your loyalty is very important as a matter of fact the Bible says this in the book of Colossians that you cannot enter into all that God has for you. If you look at the church as a filling station. It says that your hearts may be knit together in love, to reach all the riches of the full assurance of the understanding and the knowledge of God's mystery. Did you notice that unless your hearts are knit together in love, you cannot enter into everything that God's plan and that's why we have TMC communities.
That's why we have small groups. That's why we have because because the loneliness and the sense of alienation. You can't live the Christian life on your own. You need the body of Jesus Christ and to become a part of it in a meaningful way. So our strength. I think is really dependent on our unity.
I think also. Our strength is dependent upon her purity and here I'm thinking of two different kinds of purity.
First of all doctrinal purity and how we thank God for the fact that the gospel of Jesus Christ is preached here, and even in evangelical circles today. The gospel is being left behind. It's got all kinds of substitute for the gospel. May it be that Moody Church ever and ever, until the coming of the Lord always leaves with a redemptive message to a broken world. The gospel of Jesus Christ which is our most precious possession. So on the one hand I'm trying to bug doctrinal purity, but I'm also speaking about moral purity part of my grief is that we are absorbing our values from the world and not from the text of Scripture, not from the fellowship of the saints, not from the word of God. I just think of how far the church is gone and oftentimes how far the church has gone down throughout the years and what how we are so accepting of things that years ago would have never been accepted by the church and the moral impurity like termites in the building. Weekends are witness and that actually is the third strength that we have and that is the witness of the body of Jesus Christ. A study was done to find out why people don't witness why don't they share the gospel with their neighbors with their friends and so forth and it was very interesting. It wasn't because they didn't have the right knowledge. Many of them even took courses on witnessing but didn't witness line almost in each instance, it was because of unconquered sin, unconquered sin.
Therefore, as their consciences bothered them because of their own weakness in their own failure, possibly even their own addictions. How are you going to commend Jesus to somebody it is not delivering you to understand why it's so important for the church to humble itself to seek God that we might see victories and even as we saying this morning that we might see the kind of revival whereby we hear stories of deliverance and help and freedom and what comes to the witness of the church. We have to do it in two ways. First of all what we need to do is to do it by our works know Bishop Sam will who died in a hail of gunfire when and where Sadat was assassinated in Egypt in the 80s told a friend of mine. He said the way in which Christianity one North Africa is because of the kindness of the Christians you know in those days there were plagues in the. The pagans just threw the bodies away burned them and the Christians took them and wash them and gave them a decent burial, arguing that because of the resurrection. Even the wicked have a right to a decent burial and then babies in those days were discarded. If he didn't want a baby. They didn't have abortion like we do today. You just leave it in the back alley and let it cry itself to death, but the church organized baby runs and picked up all these abandoned children and brought them all to nursing mothers who accepted them as if they were their own and the pagans that were as old as love coming from the pagans began to say, tell me about your Jesus, my friend. Today, the world cannot entertain us.
They can outnumber us. They can out finance us, but let it never be said that they cannot love us because we have the blessed Holy Spirit of God in our heart and we take a stand against certain things.
As you know, but in our personal relationships. We are always loving, accepting humble broken and welcoming. The people of Chicago but also to the people in our lives.
So what we must do is to understand that at the end of the day we approach life with a very redemptive message yesterday I was speaking in Palm Beach at a memorial service was a very interesting memorial service.
Where had the opportunity of preaching the gospel and I concluded with this story, which I will summarize and that is speaking of the gospel. Here I am on a plane and I meeting a young man by the name of Joshua maybe 40 something obviously successful. I said tell me your story that's always important, always ask people there story. Everybody has a story.
The attic has a story of the atheist is a story the religious fanatic is a story. Democrats have their story. Republicans have their story.
Everybody has a story. Listen to people stories. Some of the best ways to witness okay brought up in a church harsh judgmental father.
He becomes of age, throws it all away goes into atheism for a while now. He was into Buddhism.
The old story of I hate my dad.
I hate his God I hate his church.
He had two problems. The first problem was seven, the intellectual one why Jesus and not Buddha. Now that was easy for me to answer. I won't go into my answer but you know, of course, that Jesus is the Savior and Buddha isn't Buddha claimed enlightenment, but he never had the nerve to say I am the light of the world. He who follows me shall not walk in dark shall have the light of life. Jesus has all the credentials of Savior hood that nobody else has so we could dispense with that. The other was the anger, the anger against the church, the anger against his father. That's difficult and I may be speaking to some of you here and that's your issue.
You know the church show the trade you because God knows where members of the same body of the same family. The same temple. We are filled with struggles with sin shortcomings and them we are a lot less than God would want us to be. We humbly confess that we are so far from perfect.
But sometimes it's embarrassing. Would you today overcome that barrier and say I am going to receive Christ and not let my bitter experience about the church stand in the way of my redemption be tragic if you allowed your bitterness to be the barrier. The verse I gave to this young man whom I give to you today the same verse come unto me all ye who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, my yoke is easy, my burden is light come to Jesus Christ's outstretched arms.
Tell him you're tired of managing your darkness and you come to him for light for life and salvation the end of the day it's all about Jesus and at the end of the day we scatter after today and high-rises in banks in hospitals in offices. Why we represent Jesus wherever we are. That's why we're here is representatives on earth. Father we pray that you might have.
Help us to understand that when you created the body when you created the new man.
And when you are creating this temple that those are your gifts to us.
Help us to live them out wherever you've planted us all. Lord Jesus, come to invigorate us and to help us to the light in the gospel that saves sinners. We pray in Jesus name, amen on today's Moody Church.
Our Dr. Erwin Lutzer right another in a series of eight messages on the inheritance of the redeemed for the Christian life is often hard, but we can be glad that Jesus stands before the father praying for his own that we might be able to persevere next time. Join us as we learn about the gift of an intercessor worldwide tyranny and oppression are on the rise. This is an echo of what happened in Nazi Germany and is the mark of nations that forget God for your gift of any amount to The Moody Church. Our will send you a copy of Erwin Blitzer's book when a nation forgets God. Seven lessons. We must learn from Nazi Germany about 1-800-215-5001. That's 1-800-215-5001 or write to us at The Moody Church 1635 N. LaSalle Boulevard Chicago, IL 60614 online to moodyoffer.com that's moodyoffer.com join us next week for another Moody Church. Our with Dr. Erwin Lutzer and the congregation of historic Moody Church in Chicago