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Hey, Look Who's Starting a Church!-Part A

Connect with Skip Heitzig / Skip Heitzig
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August 28, 2021 2:00 am

Hey, Look Who's Starting a Church!-Part A

Connect with Skip Heitzig / Skip Heitzig

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August 28, 2021 2:00 am

Church was God's idea. It's His plan. Jesus Christ is the founder, architect, builder, owner, and director of the church. Today we look at the first mention of the church in the Bible and consider our spiritual origins. As we listen into a conversation between Jesus and His followers, let's also rediscover our spiritual roots as the people of God. You'll discover that in New Testament terms, both Christian and church are synonymous--one implies the other.

This teaching is from the series Church? Who Needs It.




This week's DevoMail:

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Dr. Stephen Davey
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Pastor Rick Gaston

If you were to ask people, tell me what you think of church or what it is, they would say it's a building made out of stones or wood. It's probably got a cross on it or a steeple.

It has colored windows, etc. To other people, it's an institution, a long standing institution filled with frowning old men. We gather together and banter back and forth about things that have nothing to do with real life. It's being questioned both inside and outside the church walls, and that's why it's so crucial for us to know why it was started in the first place. Well, today here in Connect with Skip weekend edition, Pastor Skip will go back and examine the motivations of its founder, Jesus Christ. Stay with us as we do just that in today's study. But before we do, these are the last couple of days you could order this month's resource at In nearly 40 years of expository teaching, I still love hearing that one of my messages spoke to someone personally, that it urged them on to know God better or become more like Him.

But that's not because of me. That's just the power of the Word of God doing the work of God in the hearts of the people. Get to know the God who knows you with Pastor Skip's Picks, a collection of some of Pastor Skip's most memorable teachings, including Is the Rapture Real?

and Overcoming an Anxious Mind. This four DVD collection is our thanks for your gift of $25 or more to help keep this ministry connecting more people to Jesus. Call now to request your copy of Pastor Skip's Picks, 800-922-1888, or give online securely at Today we'll look at some verses in Matthew chapter 16. So open your Bibles and let's join Skip Heitzig as he shares a startling fact about serving in ministry. Every month 1,600 ministers quit. 1,600 ministers leave the ministry for a variety of reasons. Discouragement, failure, contention in their churches, burnout. 70% will say they felt like God called them to the ministry before their ministry began, but a mere three years afterwards, only 50% will say they feel God called them to the ministry. Of this group, same source, 50% of pastors are so discouraged they would leave the ministry, but they can't think of another way to make a living. 80% of pastors' wives wish their husbands would choose another profession, and many will divorce. Now those statistics shock you, because we don't typically think of a pastor saying church who needs it. We typically say it's only attendees of a church or outsiders who would say that, but there's a large group of people in the ministry who are saying church who needs that. No wonder Stuart Briscoe, a great pastor from Wisconsin, said the qualifications of a pastor is he needs the mind of a scholar, the heart of a child, and the hide of a rhinoceros.

Not many survive, to be honest. I heard a story of a mom who heard her son's alarm clock go off early Sunday morning. He paid no attention to it. Ten minutes later, it went off again. Ten minutes later, it went off again.

He was just pushing the snooze button. Finally, she, on the fourth time, walked into the room and said, you've got to get up. And he said, give me three good reasons why. She said, okay, number one, because it's Sunday and you've got to go to church.

Reason number two, because you're 43 years old and you know better than to just lie around like this. And number three, you're the pastor of the church and everybody's expecting you to come. You've probably heard that before in a variety of different ways. The title of this message is, hey, look who's starting a church, because I thought this week and I remembered that's what they said of me when we started a little Bible study that became this church many years ago. When we first started, we were called by some a cult.

Others said it won't last two years. Others said they'll never make it using these silly boxes. They've got to take a formal offering or this thing will never fly. And still others said, well, he doesn't really look like a minister. And one pastor in town, well-meaning, tried to buy me a robe so I would look more presentable to the congregation. Can you imagine me?

I agree with you. I relate to John Haggai who said, one of the reasons I held back from entering the ministry is that I met so many people who looked like ministers. Could I be a minister and not look like it?

Well, yes, that's possible, but every once in a while I slip and I look ministerial. Kind of slumped over, sad, down in the mouth, judgmental, you know that look, he writes. I heard a man who was standing in line and a girl said, are you a minister?

And he said, no, I've just been sick for the last three weeks. The text that we're looking at tonight is a reassuring text to me, honestly. It's one of the great, great texts on the church because it is the passage of primary reference when it comes to the church. In other words, the very first occurrence of the word and thus the concept of the church is found here in Matthew chapter 16. Jesus said, I will build my church.

It's a reassuring text. It's not Skip's church and it's not your church either. It's his church. I know that a pastime of Americans has been for several years to go church shopping. And there's a lot of churches to choose from in every community across our land.

There are young ones, old ones, there's loud ones, there's quiet ones, there's fun ones, there's boring ones. There's ones that have long services with lots of litany and lots of movement and others that are very, very short. There are some churches that have a specialty in expository preaching and others that do more of a sermonette. I once read that sermonettes are for Christianettes who can't wait to get outside and smoke their cigarettes. Thought I'd pass that along.

That's no charge. But in all of this, we've left someone out. The founder and the director of his church. And so we look at it tonight in the second message in our series, Church Who Needs It.

And we look at Jesus' original design and intention just by a very single singular text of scripture. He says a lot about the church that he starts. He names it, he builds it, he owns it, and he keeps it.

And those are the four things we consider tonight. First of all, notice what he does name it. Notice the designation used by the Lord Jesus. He calls it his church. You will find that term throughout the New Testament 110 different times in a singular or in a plural rendition.

It's a 110 times used word, but this is the very first time that it's used. Now to modern ears, church has a very religious sound to it. And to others a very Western sound, a very outdated sound to it. If you were to ask people, tell me what you think of church or what it is, they would say it's a building made out of stones or wood. It's probably got a cross on it or a steeple.

It has colored windows, etc. To other people, it's an institution, a long-standing institution filled with frowning old men who gather together and banter back and forth about things that have nothing to do with real life. Still to other people, the church is nothing more than a social club, a social gathering, where everybody goes a few times in their life. It's the place where you're hatched, matched, and dispatched.

And that's about it to many people. The original term church carries none of those connotations. In fact, you may not know the original idea of the church. The Greek term is a secular word and has a governmental usage. The Greek word is ekklesia, and it simply means an assembly. And originally, it was an assembly of Greek citizens who would gather regularly many times to adjudicate certain cases in their community. It's even a word used in the book of Acts, chapter 20, when Paul's at Ephesus and they gather into that huge arena and shout for a couple hours, great as Diana of the Ephesians, and the moderator of that event says, this is an ekklesia. This is a solemn assembly.

This is a gathering of the citizenry of our state. You did not mean that in a spiritual sense, but in a pure secular sense. Let's go just a little bit deeper with that word. It's that Greek word ekklesia, but it comes from two words that are put together. Ekk, which means out or out of or out from, and the word kaleo, which means to call.

Ekkaleo, to call out. And so the meaning of a church is it's a group of people called out separately from the rest of the community who meet frequently over a common goal. That was the original intention of the word church, ekklesia.

The fact that Jesus uses and chooses this term as the kickoff verse for what he's going to build is to me very, very revealing. If he spoke of it as an assembly of people, it means he must want us to what? Assemble, not rocket science. It's an assembly. We're to assemble.

This tells me a couple of things. Number one, Jesus never ever wanted his followers to be isolated from each other, but always to be integrated together with each other. Hence the term that he used, church. He didn't say, upon this rock I will build my monastery, or upon this rock I will build my private little gathering place for meditation.

But it's an assembly. There is a proverb that I thought of as I was contemplating this word, and that's Proverbs 18 verse 1. You know it, or a lot of you do. A man who isolates himself seeks his own desire.

He rages against all wise judgment. The cure for isolation is the gathering together of God's people for the sake of accountability. You see, without a network of people around me, I'm easier prey to temptation.

I'm easier prey to the value systems that are around me in the world. It's the group gathered together that keeps me on target more and more. A follow-up question. How often do I have to assemble? Wrong question.

Now we sound like the 43-year-old pastor still in bed. How often do I have to assemble? The best question is, how often do I get to assemble? How often can I, not do I have to?

Because there's no rules on that. We're just told to do it frequently. When my wife, Lenya, was first a believer, it was such a radical departure from her agnostic, atheistic background. She wanted to learn so much so quickly. She went every night of the week.

I couldn't get a date. She had a date with Jesus every night for a period of time. Hebrews 10 tells us very plainly, we're not to forsake assembling ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhort one another and so much the more as you see the day approaching. Why is it the manner of some? Why is it the manner of some to just do church and Christmas and Easter and a wedding and maybe a funeral? Why is it the manner of some that you can't drag them to church? And for others, you can't drag them out of church.

I can't give you the full answer to that in this message, but here's a hint perhaps. Listen to what John the Apostle writes in 1 John 3 verse 14. If we love other Christians, it proves that we pass from death to eternal life.

A person who doesn't love them is still dead. Now I can understand why an unbeliever would not want to go around church. He doesn't want to be around people that are full of life and talk about Jesus and heaven. It's like, you are from Mars.

I cannot connect. When you're in death, it's hard to be around those who are in life unless you have a desire to move from death into life. So Jesus wants his followers not to be isolated but to be integrated together. And something else, because the word means to call out of, it means to be separate and distinct from, it tells me that this isn't just an assembly. This is a holy assembly. We're not to ape the world or try to make the church so cool and hip and how can we attract more worldly people to our spiritual gathering by making it so much like the world. No, we're not supposed to ape that. We're to be a different group of people bent on loving God.

We're called out from the world. So he names it. He gets to do that. Second, he builds it.

He builds it. Now notice that Jesus is very, very simple in this conversation. He asks two questions.

And the first question almost didn't really count as far as the test is concerned. He was just getting information. He knew what they were saying. He wanted them to say what others were saying.

But the second question was the all-important question. Who do you say that I am? You're the Messiah, said Peter, as the spokesman for all of them. You're the son of the living God. And Jesus said, Blessed are you, Simon Peter.

Right on, buddy boy. Upon this rock, I will build my church. Now, honestly, we take a lot of potshots at Peter. He's been beat up by a lot of pastors and non-pastors. We say, well, he's impetuous and he says stupid things, but he, among all of this group, got an A on the test.

He got the answer right. Now I want to look carefully at this because some people think mistakenly that Jesus built his church on Peter because of this verse that we read. Can I just say, if the church of Jesus Christ is built upon Peter, we have a very weak foundation.

A very weak foundation. I know Peter means rock, but it might not be the kind of rock you're thinking of, not some massive boulder, but some nugget. So if you're thinking of it in entertainment terms when he said you are Peter, rock man, don't think of Rocky Balboa. I want you to think of pebbles from the Flintstones.

And you will have a better idea of what the language originally means. Now let me explain that to you. Let me paint the picture. Jesus with his disciples travels 25 miles to the north from the hot plains of the Sea of Galilee to Caesarea Philippi. It was a landmark where they went. It was the base of a huge 10,000 foot mountain in the Middle East, Mount Hermon, or Hermon. Out of a huge rock, massive rock, flowed water that was the mouth of the Jordan River. The Jews called it the living water.

It gushed forth and it fed and refreshed the nation. In that place also were 14 other religious temples built. Once it was the worship of Baal in that area. At another time it was the worship of Paneas, the Greek god Pan, they said was born in a nearby cave.

Even Herod the Great built a temple to Caesar Augustus because they deified Caesar and worshiped him as a god. So it's as if in contrast to those faulty foundational belief systems, Jesus takes them to this rock where the water is coming out and says, blessed are you Simon son of Jonah, flesh and blood didn't reveal us but my father in heaven. You are Peter and upon this rock I will build my church. Now allow me to give it to you in the Greek language. Listen to the translation. You are Petros, a pebble. And upon this Petra, this massive rock, I will build my church.

You see it's a play on words in the original language. The church is not built on pebble Peter. It's built on Mount Messiah. It was the confession that Peter made. You are the Christ, the son of the living God. That's what I'm going to build my church on. That confession that I am the Messiah.

Not on Peter, but on what Peter said. That's the massive rock of truth. That's why Paul says in 1 Corinthians 3, for no one can lay any other foundation than the one we already have which is Jesus Christ.

Now there's a great truth here that emerges. You want to be able to survive church? Now I ask it in that way, because I meet people all the time who go, I've been so burned by churches. I've been so disappointed by churches.

You want to be able to survive? Get your eyes off people. Get your eyes off Peter. Get your eyes off Apollos or Cephas. Get your eyes on Jesus. He is the rock, not the people. Now let's take it a step further. More than just surviving, are you thriving?

Are you thriving? Because what the church is built on is this great confession of truth, and Jesus builds his church by giving them truth on a consistent basis, especially truth about him, that builds them up. So you can go to church, and you can sing at church, and you can get married at church, you can get buried at church, but if you can't say with deep conviction like Peter, you are the son of the living God, then you're not a part of the church.

That's what it's built on, that solid rock foundation. No wonder Paul said to young Timothy, who was just starting in the ministry, he talked about people who have a form of godliness but deny the power thereof, or as the New Living Translation puts it, they will act as if they are religious, but they will reject the power that could make them godly. Those are people who go and sing and do things and are social, but they never abide by the solid truths that transform. That's what he builds upon, those great stones of truth for transformation.

So, once again, the church is a group of people that is called out separately from the rest of the community who assemble regularly, who confess with deep conviction that Jesus Christ is their Lord. That's what it is. That's what it is. So, he names it, he builds it. Because of that, he owns it. I want you to notice one single pronoun.

That's what we want to camp on. You are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church. I just want to zero in on that ownership for just a moment. My church.

Notice to whom it belongs. It is not the property of a pastor. It is not the property of a board of directors, or of a committee, or of a group of bishops, or of a pope, or of a denomination. Jesus said, it is my church. You know, Jesus didn't start a church just so people would have some place to get married or buried.

He started it so the world would know that he is the Christ, the Son of the living God. So, the question is, how are we as the church doing and fulfilling that mission? Well, we're all out of time for today, but before we go, if you'd like a copy of this teaching, hey, look who's starting a church.

It's available for just $6 plus shipping, or you can get the entire series, Church Who Needs It, for only $37 plus shipping when you call us at 1-800-922-1888, or when you visit And next time, we'll talk more about why the church was started. So join us as we continue our new series, Church Who Needs It, right here on Connect with Skip Weekend Edition, a presentation of Connection Communications. Make a connection. Make a connection at the foot of the crossing. Cast all burdens on His word. Make a connection. A connection. Connecting you to God's never-changing truth in ever-changing times.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-09-12 17:50:24 / 2023-09-12 17:59:04 / 9

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