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September 25, 2021 2:00 am
Church-shopping and church-hopping have long been one of American Christians' notable patterns. Most want a church that suits them, helps them, and pleases them. But since Jesus paid for it, it's His church (Acts 20:28). So what does He want from us as a group? What should the collective people of God be like? What ingredients and activities ought to be part of our makeup as a congregation? In short--what kind of church would Jesus attend?
This teaching is from the series Church? Who Needs It.Links:
This week's DevoMail: https://connnectwithskip.com/devomail
It can happen and often does that over time, churches, organizations will turn inward to themselves. Even though Jesus said, go into all the world. Somehow we have learned to interpret that is Jesus saying come to our churches, and I do think that evangelism can take days in church at our meetings often does, but that's only the beginning where to go. We are to be sent it away. Back in 1992 Christian music group, BC talk released an album called for you last for that album was a so-called love is a verb which claims that love is a word that requires the manager, while the same is true of the word church we most commonly think about words and now we go to worship God but is a word that should also be over. We should put into action and take church with us wherever we go, will explain how to do that on today's broadcast of correctly skipped weekend edition. But before we get to Skip Heitzig's message. Here's what we have for you this month in the correctly skipped resource Center, New York Times best-selling author Joel Rosenberg is now based in Jerusalem and he's releasing the new nonfiction book enemies and allies I traveled with Joel to the middle of the cities to meet with Kings Crown Prince. We sat together on the east lawn of the White House for the signing of the historic Abraham accordance and I previewed his new book enemies and allies.
I can tell you it contains never before published quotes from behind closed door meetings with some of the most powerful and mysterious leaders in the Middle East. You will want to read enemies and allies by Joel Rosenberg includes insights and analysis. The authors conversation is the first name. She what is needed. Leaders meet's house first language means come beneath the most interesting consequence leaders enemies and allies by Joel Rosenberg includes insights and analysis from the authors conversations with some of the most controversial leaders in the world will send you a hardcover copy of enemies and allies. Thanks for your gift of $35 or more to give.
Visit connectwithskip.com or call 892 1888 John chapter 17 again today. So open your Bible. So let's join Skip seizures. One person's unusual way of attending church for the very first time. True story. January 26 in Saxony, Germany, 23-year-old driver was going way too fast in his car as he was speeding down the roadway and he didn't see the band in the road. His car went off the road into the ditch up the ravine and launched 35 yards into the air and landed in the second story of a church building a freak accident see attending church for the wrong reasons isn't always great to do true story never happened before.
This is probably the closest is guys come to church a long time now. There were three churches in a small Midwestern town was a Presbyterian Church together with them was a Methodist church and the other was a Baptist church and the whole town had a problem. Including these church buildings and that was an infestation of squirrels that year.
So the church leadership of all three organizations decided to get together to find out what we do with them.
Presbyterian leadership got together and felt that God predestined the squirrels to be there so they were just gonna live with them.
The Methodist decided that they would treat the squirrels in a loving way with the spirit of Charles Wesley and humanely capture them and move them to a secure location at the edge of town and release them, which they did in three weeks. They were all back the Baptist. It seems had the best idea. They voted the squirrels and as members of their church baptize them and they said they haven't seen them except for Christmas and Easter. If you know anything about the background of those organizations will appreciate that. It's clear that many people see church in particular church attendance as optional and nonessential. Perhaps the problem is with the church itself and I don't mean a particular church I'm speaking up. All of us in general.
God's people. Perhaps the problem is with the church itself. Perhaps we have forgotten, or maybe never really were in touch with the whole purpose of our existence. Why do we exist what is our purpose.
What is God's vision for the church or to put it in terms of our title this week and last week what kind of church would Jesus attend is easy to answer the question simply by reading the words of our Lord himself in John 17 is a great place for that because it's the longest recorded and most intimate communication of Jesus with the father before he is about to be crucified, and in this prayer.
There are four characteristics that Jesus wants for his followers, and thus wants for his church. Number one, it should be a place that radiates the glory of God. That's number one on the list. We should be all about making him famous in declaring his name and it's all about him number two. It should be a place that reveals God's truth preaches his word is unashamed of the gospel teaches people the truth. Week by week number three and four are we gonna cover this week. Two more qualities in both of these qualities really speak to how we interface with the outside world. One thing we must never do. We must never become so heavenly minded that we are no earthly good. We have been accused of that.
Throughout history, the church is so heavenly minded there no earthly good. However, there is some dispute as to what it means to be earthly good to discuss a little about today. I heard about a man who was visiting New York City and he walked by a store and he noticed a sign in the window that said Chinese laundry. He was on his way to dinner and so he made a mental note okay to remember this next day he shows up at that store with his laundry.
He needs to get a washed. He walks into the store, plopped it on the counter and says to the clerk, I want it washed and the clerk says you want to what I want to washed and I've always heard that Chinese laundries do the best work in the man smiled and said sir, this is not a Chinese laundry. This is a sign shop, and let that sink in a little bit you get that. But that was one of the signs of the many signs in the window that he saw Chinese laundry. This is not a laundromat. This is a sign shop while I share that with you because I think churches can send out false signals about their purpose.
That is, people come with soiled lives and the cross is just a sign could be inside the church to be outside the church got the sign, but the people inside are not equipped to take soiled lives and disciple them and get them out of darkness into light. So let's look at the final two characteristics of the church Jesus would attend number one are in the outline actually number three is it's one that rescues the enemies of God when I say enemies I mean everybody is not a believer. The Bible says is at enmity with God in the year either.
Jesus friend or you're not very there for him or against him and we should be about rescuing the enemies of God. Look at verse 14. I have given them your word in the world has hated them because they are not of the world. Just as I am not of the world. I do not pray that you should take them out of the world, but that you should keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world. Just as I am not of the world, sanctify them by your truth. Your word is truth. As you sent me into the world. I also have sent them into the world and look at the 20th verse. I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in me through their word. It's pretty clear than the Jesus was getting a commission to his followers of evangelism to be sent out. In fact, the word to be sent as Opera style.
Oh we get the word apostle from it means to be sent out and go on a mission even as I have come and gone on a mission.
I'm sending them out on a mission. So he anticipates that the church is followers will go out and do evangelism and have success at their evangelism is with verse 20 is all about those who will believe in me through their word now for all of my hyper Calvinist friends. I share verse 20 with you. I want you to notice that God not only elects people, but he elects the means by which those people come to him and it is through the word, or the testimony of his followers, whether that's one-on-one evangelism or the testimony is mass evangelism. God ordains that means by which they come.
So Jesus came to rescue people. I have been sent into the world. In verse four he says I have finished the work that you have given me to do and he will do that at the cross and then he went to heaven back ascended.
Now we are sent into the world. So here's the thrust. Jesus is all about rescuing people and he uses his ambassadors us to do that. There's my make a point that I want to make church is not primarily a bless me club church is not primarily entertain me club or pick me up club or help me club that we should be blessed and help to minister to know? It is not a place where primarily we should turn inward and really make it about ourselves, except that we are prepared to do something out there and that is rescue people. Somebody said church is the only society on earth that exists for the benefit of non-members. Do you really recall what what our Lord said to his followers that instead of looking within. He says lift up your eyes and look at the fields that their white and it's a good it's a great statement look around the Cyprus. Look around your world in any generation at any time and notice that the fields are already white for the harvest, and he continued and he who reaps gathers fruit for eternal life.
It can happen and often does that over time, churches, organizations will turn inward to themselves.
Even though Jesus said, go into all the world. Somehow we have learned to interpret that is Jesus saying come. He to our churches instead of church go ye to the world and I do think that evangelism can take place in church at our meetings.
It often does, but that's only the beginning where to go.
We are to be sent.
In fact, one of the healthiest patterns and I see it here so often is the pattern of saved serving and sent so many times I watch people come forward and I've watch them and let them in a prayer to receive Christ and then after a period of time to get involved and start serving the body and serving one another and then they decide they want to be sent out to the mission field or to start a church or a leader group, but I often see a very good and healthy pattern of saved serving and sent I've been reading a book lately. I didn't bring it with me, but I want to share some of the thoughts about the church. Every time I do a series I like to take a couple books that will inspire me afresh in this a book by a 97-year-old man named John Stott. I read a lot of his books over the years. He believes that historically the church has failed in precisely this point of rescuing the enemies of God are evangelism and it's because historically he says we have suffered from a false identity. He said the church often becomes one of two things either a religious club to religious clubs about our club. It's our country club.
Our members come and we enjoy the benefits of our club and it's about our club and what we do in our club and you like our clubhouse. It's a religious club is all about the private benefits of the members. This is introverted.
Christianity says stop the other false identity that can happen is a becomes a secular club. It's all about social service for the community.
Will the church exists not to worry about heaven or hell or eternity near the gospel but we gotta help people in our community in our town, so it essentially is Christianity without Christ. I believe both can be done both a vertical relationship with God of worship and glorifying him while at the same time we can adequately wonderfully serve our community, but this is vital.
The primary way we can best serve our community is to give them the life changing gospel message that will get them to heaven. Please understand that if we give people food in Band-Aids and say nothing about how to get to heaven than all we do is make them feel really good on their way to hell. I don't know any other way to put that except baseline so the primary way we can serve our community is to be a sufficient light so as to get them from this earth into heaven, says John Stott if all churches had been faithful to this, the world would long ago have been evangelized and we do that well. According to Jesus, I think there's three ways we do it we do it by knowing something we do it by growing in that something we don't like going out into the world, knowing your position growing in preparation and going out into the world. First of all, you gotta know who you are. If you don't know who you are and what you're up against will never do anybody any good. So this organelle. Look at verse 16.
They that would be us. His followers in context, his disciples, they are not of the world. Just as I am not of the world. Verse 18 as you sent me into the world.
I also have sent them into the world that your position you're in the world but you are not of the world.
Please understand what that means with the Bible refers to as world because mass doesn't mean the earth or necessarily people but it refers to a system.
A system the world is a system of belief and activities that is hostile against God, and it is controlled by the devil.
He is called the prince of this world. He's called the God of this world so it's a world system and ideology that is opposed to God and especially Christ Jesus came here to rescue people you came in to rescue people and then he said I'm sending them out in the world, though they're not that that that they don't fit into their separate from the ideology of this world, but I sent them out to do a task.
So why is it that that since were in this world, but now there were believers were not of it system any longer. Why are we so occupied or should I even save pre-occupied with the world values Dwight Lyman Moody from Chicago century ago said the church reminded him of firemen straightening pictures on the wall of the burning house.
What what a picture that is is not firemen goes in the house is burning.
And when that goes you know, I don't think that picture looks quite right. I just move it up. What are you doing the house is burning down. There's bigger fish to fry here. Moody said the church can remind me of that. So we need to know our position were in it were not of it were to we need to be growing need to be growing in our preparation. That's verse 17, which we touched on last week. Sanctify them or separate them, or make them holy by your truth. Your word is truth is I hear Jesus as their in the world but not of the world. Okay, I remember something very vividly. It wasn't long after I prayed to receive Christ back in 19 long time ago that I felt like I didn't fit any longer. I was a fish out of water. I felt like when I went back to my old friends in my old digs and started hanging out again. I just thought I am not in my element. This is not who I am anymore. I remember feeling that because I minute but I'm not that. But for me to be in it and survival well and make an impact. Well, I need some preparation and that's verse 17 I get sanctified, made holy by God's truth which is his word took this but were like were like astronauts you can go to space, just as you are.
It's not your element you need a specialized suit or pressurized suit that gives you the elements of the earth to survive in a hostile environment or if you were to try to go under the water. You can't breathe water. You need a special pressurized suit that gives you the surrounding elements of this environment for you to survive.
So it is as believers. This world is in her element.
The only way working to survive the pressure of this world and its system poised against God is to have sufficient pressure from within by the Holy Spirit working through the word of God, which is truth which sanctifies us that pressure that realignment week by week, day by day is what prepares us for the next phase. So we need to know we need to grow and then we need to go. That's the third part of this we need to go see our knowing and are growing should always lead to going and tell you what it's really bad news when it doesn't. It's really bad news when we know who we are and we start growing in our knowledge and become very theologically adept and we know the fine points of theology, and we do nothing with that for the world would become fat and sassy spiritually speak. We need to exercise we need to be going.
That's the whole point of verse 18. As you sent to me into the world.
I also have sent them into the world, I discovered there's five responses.
The Christians have toward the world and I think only one of them is the best response is the last one. One response.
The Christians have had to the world around them is to isolate is to isolate the world's bad.
Gotta get away from the world want anything to do with the world. All move away from it. That was the whole basis of the monastic movement monasteries will survive is for us to leave that and get away over here by ourselves. That's to isolate number two is to insulate to insulate also not a good strategy is very similar to the first, but is a little bit different. This is the belief that says okay the world is bad and I gotta protect myself and protect my children protect my family and remove them from certain institutions and remove us from certain things and just sit here in this little bastion of Christianity and pointed all the bad things in the world is 1/3 response people of had and that is to vegetate vegetate. They become very apathetic very apathetic.
They know the truth but they have no passion, philosophy and law.
Church should be more than just something we had to do something we should put into action. Insured church can be a noun, but it should also be over. But what we learn the church of the practice. When we go to your job or school or when we go out for lunch or to the movies or when we go anywhere for any reason without thought were going to have to wrap things up for today. But before we go, we want to let you know how you can get a copy of today's teaching church, Jesus will attend part two. Just give us a call at 1-800-922-1888. Each copy is available for just four dollars plus shipping at of today's lesson resonated with you and you like to share with others, swing bar website that connectwithskip.com and would you like to help in sharing these teachings around the world.
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Just visit connectwithskip.com and come back next time. As we take one final look at what type of church. Jesus will attend our next broadcast of connect with Skip weekend edition the presentation of connection so you guys ever changing and ever changing time