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What Every True Church Should Be - Part 2 - Part B

Connect with Skip Heitzig / Skip Heitzig
The Truth Network Radio
May 11, 2022 6:00 am

What Every True Church Should Be - Part 2 - Part B

Connect with Skip Heitzig / Skip Heitzig

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May 11, 2022 6:00 am

Since it is Jesus who builds the church, and since it's Jesus who paid for the church, He gets to decide what it should be like. In the message "What Every True Church Should Be - Part 2," Skip shares about what exactly marks a true church.

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Jesus is praying for unity based on truth. Unity based on truth. Unity based on what? Truth.

I want you to get that. Unity based on truth. And in particular, unity based upon the truth of who Jesus Christ is and what he has come to do.

That's the unity. Today on Connect with Skip Heitzig, Skip shares how you, as part of the church, can emulate God's love in your words and actions. But first, we love sharing how you're already making an impact on others through your support of this ministry. Listen to this letter a listener sent in. Stories like this one only happen because generous listeners like you give and your support today will help take these teachings even further and connect more people with God's truth. So please visit connectwithskip.com slash donate to give today. That's connectwithskip.com slash donate or call 800-922-1888.

Again, that's 800-922-1888. Thank you. Now we're in John chapter 17 as we dive into our study with Skip Heitzig. Put on the whole armor of God that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.

Think of the spaceman, the astronaut in the spacesuit. Put on the armor of God that you might be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. Then he lists all the pieces of armor. But he finally says, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God. So Jesus says, sanctify them by your truth. Your Word is truth. That's the Bible. The Bible. Read it to be wise.

Believe it to be safe. Practice it to be holy. Or as Peter put it, as newborn babes, desire the sincere or pure milk of the Word that you might grow thereby. We know and you need to grow. We need to be knowing our position. We need to be growing in preparation. But at some point, we have to be going. Because if all we do is know and grow, you know what happens to people who just accumulate a lot of knowledge and keep growing and growing and feeding and feeding on truth?

They get fat, spiritually obese. It's like, I got all this great knowledge. Okay, so go work it out.

Work it off. We've got to go out. And so after knowing our position and growing in preparation, we have to be going for penetration. And that takes us back to verse 18, the word sent. You sent me into the world. I've also sent them into the world. That is the goal of knowing.

That is the goal of growing. I made a list of five things. I've discovered there are five different responses that Christians have historically had to the world around them.

There may be more, but just to make it easy, there are five basic responses that Christians in any era at any time in any age have toward the world system around them. Response number one, and it's not the best response, is to isolate. They isolate themselves.

They become isolationists. Their whole goal is to escape the world. I'll go live in a monastery. I want to get away from all the bad things that are happening. The world is evil.

It has fallen. There have even been attempts in American history to create Christian communities, Christian villages, towns, cities that are only occupied by Christians. Because, gosh, wouldn't it be great just to have all your neighbors as born-again Christians?

Okay, you're describing heaven now, but I get it. Christians all day long, the only people you work with are believers. Take it from somebody who works with Christians all day long, it ain't what you think it is. We're still fallen human beings, sinners saved by grace. It's like anybody else and any place else. So response number one, and it's not the right response, is to isolate.

Here's another response historically Christians have had toward the world. Not to isolate, but to insulate. They become insular. It's all about protecting themselves.

I'm in this bad place called the world, so I need to protect myself and to protect my children and protect my family. So I'm going to be way over here, and I'm going to notice the bad things in the world, and I'm going to point at them and say, that's a bad person. That's a bad thing.

Look how bad that is. Some people, all they do is spew negative bad comments about all the bad things around them. You know who was really good at that? The Pharisees. The Pharisees didn't evangelize, they just pointed out all the bad people. Even Jesus they thought was bad because he ate with tax collectors and sinners. He mingled with them. And they pointed out, that's bad.

So you can isolate and you can insulate. Those are not the best responses. A third response historically the church has had toward the world is to vegetate. I think this is even worse because this is a person who is apathetic. He's just vegging out, man. He has no passion for the lost, no concern for the lost. He looks around and notices people are dying and going to hell.

So, at least I'm not. And their goal is to make it through life with as much personal comfort as possible. And who cares about everybody else? That's vegetating. All three are not what Jesus intended. They are not to vegetate.

Let me give you a fourth response and this is not a good response either. To imitate the world. Be just like them. Act just like them.

And some believers, some Christians actually think this is a good strategy. Yeah man, I want to show the world that I'm as cool as they are. I do what they do. I can be like them. Well you're not going to attract unbelievers to the same thing they are.

The only thing that's attractive is that you are different from they are. You have raised the bar. So these responses, as you can see, are not the best responses. We are not to imitate. We're not to isolate. We are not to insulate. We're not to vegetate.

Here's the best response. To penetrate. To penetrate the darkness with light.

To go out into the world to rescue souls out of it. That's penetration. We want to go for it.

We want to go for penetration. Because Jesus said you are the light of the world. You are the salt of the earth. Last time I checked, salt doesn't do a whole lot of good in the salt shaker. It's not as good as when you empty the salt out of the salt shaker. Then it's on your food and you go, mmm that tastes good. Salted it up a little bit. Spiced it up a little bit. I'm so grateful for the salt being here in the salt shaker. But at some point we need to get out to rescue souls.

I'm going to throw some up on the screen and let's read this together. I love this paragraph. Live churches are constantly changing. Dead churches don't have to. Live churches have lots of noisy kids.

Dead churches are fairly quiet. Live churches' expenses always exceed their income. Dead churches take in more than they ever dreamed of spending. Live churches are constantly improving for the future. Dead churches worship their past. Live churches focus on people.

Dead churches focus on programs. Live churches dream great dreams of God. Dead churches relive nightmares. Live churches don't have can't in their dictionary. Dead churches have nothing but. Live churches evangelize. Dead churches fossilize. Now think of that last part because that's true for churches.

That's true for individuals. You have one of two options. If you don't evangelize, you will fossilize. You'll start turning inward. It's all about me and my blessing and my group and that's the tendency. You can't evangelize or you will fossilize.

So we need to be knowing our position, growing in preparation, going for penetration. Listen, I love people coming to church. I love the church full. But the goal is not to fill churches. The goal is to fill heaven.

To fill heaven. So that is one of the marks of the church. That's what Jesus prayed for.

That's what he wants. We are to be those who are demonstrating God's glory. Communicating God's truth and penetrating God's world. I'll give you a fourth and a final mark, trait, characteristic that Jesus wants and prays for his church. We are to be a church that emulates God's love. We are to emulate God's love. Now we come to the final part of this prayer in verse 20 and it's the most exciting part of the prayer because you're in it.

You are. He is praying for you. Verse 20, I do not pray for these alone, these 12, these 11 apostles. I'm saying 11 because of Judas. But also for those who will believe in me through their word.

Well, that's us. We believe the testimony passed down from the apostolic era, the last 2,000 years to us. What does he pray for? That they all may be one. As you, Father, are not one. When they are in me, and I in you that they may be one in us that the world may believe that you sent me. And the glory which you gave me I have given them that they may be one, just as we are one. I in them and you in me that they may be perfect in one that the world may know that you have sent me and I've loved them as you have loved me.

me. Father, I desire that they also whom you gave me may be with me where I am, that they may behold my glory, which you have given me for you loved me before the foundation of the world. O righteous Father, the world has not known you, but I have known you, and these have known that you sent me. And I have declared to them your name and will declare it that the love with which you loved me may be in them and I in them. Now that's a mouthful.

So I kind of want to distill it down. Jesus prays for and four times he prays for four times he mentions that he prays for oneness, praise for unity, that they may be one as we are one, which is to me very interesting that of all the things Jesus in looking to the future of the church, what he prays for, he does not pray for our safety. He does not pray for our health. He does not pray for our successes. He does not pray for our happiness. He prays for unity.

That's noteworthy. That's high on his list that they may be one as we are one. Now let me explain unity because I want I want you to know what it does not mean. Unity is not unanimity. He is not somehow praying for some ecclesiastical ecumenism, where we're just going to, you know, forget denominations and all get together in one group and hold arms and sing Kumbaya and just all get along. That ain't going to happen.

If you're thinking that's going to happen, that's an unrealistic expectation. Because as I read my New Testament, even the best and closest followers of Christ didn't see eye to eye. In fact, didn't get along sometimes. There was an argument among the apostles as to who would be the greatest in the kingdom. And at one point, two of the apostles were asking Jesus to sit in the kingdom, one on the right hand, one on the left hand, which brought the whole mess up again, and they argued again. And then Peter and Paul argued about the law in relationship to the Galatian Christians. There's a couple of chapters in Galatians all about that argument, one in particular. The Jerusalem Council in Acts chapter 15 had a falling out, had a quarrel as to the requirements of salvation. And then there's that classic argument between Paul and Barnabas.

They had a falling out. And it says that the contention between them was so sharp that they split company into two completely separate evangelistic groups. That's in the Bible.

That's just the early church. So when he says, I'm praying that they may be one, he's not praying for unanimity. And he's not praying for uniformity. Unity is not uniformity, where we're all going to think that we're all going to think the same. We're all going to vote the same. We all have to read out of the same version of the Bible. We're not going to agree on everything. Somebody once told me, a mentor told me, if you find two people that agree on everything, one of them isn't thinking. So we're not going to agree on every topic, every subject, every theological subject. We're not going to agree on church policy. We're not going to agree on every song that we sing. There's some of you going, I hate that song.

Or some of you saying, I wish we'd sing that song more. That's just what it is. That's style. And we should understand that because we're all from a family, right? You grow up in a family, you have brothers and sisters, presumably. If you had a large family, you know what diversity and unity are all about. You're one family, but you're very different from one another in that family.

You have one kid who's rambunctious, one who's very, very quiet and off to himself or herself. You may have one person who's a morning person, one who's a night person, very different personalities, but still one family. There's unity in diversity. Welcome to the church.

All the kids are different. You got some fuzzy fundamentalists, you got some crazy charismatics. You got some reformed, you got some deformed. You got some pre-trib, mid-trib, post-trib. You got all millennialists, pre-millennialists, post millennialists. And you're thinking, I have no idea what you just said.

Hang on a couple of weeks, we'll be explaining all that. Some prefer stained glass windows and robes and candles and the organ and hymns, and others prefer guitars and granola. But we're still God's people. It's unrealistic to think we're going to agree on everything and let me say how thankful I am that there are different churches in this community and other communities to accommodate all the different people with different styles.

That can be a good thing. So when he says that they may be one as we are one, what is he praying for? Listen carefully. Jesus is praying for unity based on truth. Unity based on truth. Unity based on what? Truth.

I want you to get that. Unity based on truth, and in particular, unity based upon the truth of who Jesus Christ is and what He has come to do. That's the unity. And it's not like He's saying, boy, I hope that they have unity. He is knowing that they will have unity. It's not something we hope we get, we already have.

We already have, and I want you to see that. Go back to verse eight. Jesus said, I have given to them the words which you have given Me, and they have received them, and have known surely that I came forth from you, and they have believed that you sent Me. I pray for them. I do not pray for the world, but for those you have given Me, for they are yours, and all Mine are yours, and yours are Mine, and I'm glorified in them.

Now I am no longer in the world, but these are in the world. And I come to you, Holy Father, keep through your name those whom you have given Me, that they may be one as we are. Did you get that? Our unity is based on the belief that Jesus came here to do the Father's will. That's what He said. So here's what it means. I'm a Christian the same way you're a Christian. I believe in the finished work of Jesus Christ sent from heaven to die on a cross for my sins. You're saved by the same belief. My Savior, if you've received Christ, is your Savior.

That's the unity. So if you believe that Jesus Christ has been sent from the Father and has come to pay for your sin, we're family. If you don't believe Jesus Christ is sent from the Father to pay for your sins, we ain't family.

You might be a neighbor, you might be a nice guy or gal, but you're not family. Because there are certain things that we would call essentials of the Christian faith. Other things we would call non-essentials. When it comes to essentials, we divide over that.

We make a division. You have a kooky idea about Jesus, a kooky idea that's not biblical about how you get saved. We're not family. But if you believe that, that Jesus is who He said He is, what the Bible says He's come to do the Father's will, die on the cross for your sins, you can believe anything you want pre-trib, mid-trib, post-trib. You can have any belief you want about styles of worship, modes of baptism, etc., because all of that is non-essential.

It's secondary. And we're still family. So as Augustine put it, in essentials unity, in non-essentials liberty, but in all things charity. Now, Jesus, as I mentioned, prays for unity based on truth, four times in this last section, four times, over and over and over and over again. He prays that they may be one as we are one. So it's pretty important for Him to repeat it to the Father four times.

Why? Why is it so important? Verse 21. Here it is, that they may be one as you, Father, are in Me and I in you, that they may also be one in us. That's the unity.

Here it is, that, or better yet, so that the world may believe that you sent Me. You see, unity helps create belief. Our unity makes outsiders want to be part of the community. They're looking for a real place that gives authentic love and is together over the essentials.

They're looking for something like that. And when they see it in us, that's attractive to them because they can't get it at the Elks Club or any other club. They see it in the church. So unity among Christians proves the reality of the Christian message.

You want to hear that and even write that down. Unity among Christians proves the reality of the Christian message. That's why, that the world may believe that you sent Me. You see, we live before watchful eyes, and they, the world, is noticing with great scrupulousness our unity or our disunity. Imagine how ridiculous it seems to an unbeliever when they look at churches and see them fighting over the wearing of robes, the colors of pews, the styles of music, the length of hair, the modes of baptism. It's absurd because we're out there supposedly trying to rescue them from their plight and bring them into God's family. And they're saying, I don't need rescuing. I don't need to go into your family because your family is like a soap opera.

Right? So division in the church, bickering in the church, will turn people off. It will send people away.

I want you to see what Paul Bilheimer wrote. He said, the continuous and widespread fragmentation of the church has been the scandal of the ages. It has been Satan's master strategy. The sin of disunity probably has caused more souls to be lost than all other sins combined.

Powerful statement. Think of your New Testament. There was arguments within congregations back then. Paul wrote to Romans and Corinthians, and there were people arguing over eating meat, not eating meat, right, to idols. So Paul never said, listen, you got an argument going on. Go down the street and start another church just for meat eaters only. And then the other group, go down the street and start another church for non-meat eaters only. No, he just said, work it out.

Those are non-essentials. Let there be unity over the essentials. So then our challenge is to become the people that God intended us to become, the church that Jesus prayed for, one that would demonstrate His glory, one that would communicate God's truth, one that would penetrate God's world, and one that would emulate God's love. If we don't, if that isn't what we're fixed on doing and being, then we're going to turn out to be another Epcot, an entertainment place, a place that people go to visit occasionally, instead of what he intended, a place where people do life together.

That wraps up Skip Heitzig's message from the series 2020. Right now, we want to share about a great resource that will help you cultivate an enduring faith through every season of life. What stands between you and a more fruitful walk with Jesus? Find out how four prominent women in the Bible faced their struggles in a new teaching series from Lenya Heitzig called Queens of the Bible. Here's Lenya on the Queen of Sheba. Hearing is the first step toward spiritual blessing.

Right now, hearing is a step toward blessing because faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God. Hear more from Lenya as she explores the faith and the failings of four different queens in scripture. The Queens of the Bible collection of teachings is our way of saying thank you when you give $35 or more today to support this Bible teaching ministry. Look, the cost of following Christ is to go wherever he leads. Get your copy of these unique teachings when you call 800-922-1888 or give online securely at connectwiscip.com slash offer.

Connectwiscip.com slash offer. Tune in tomorrow as Skip Heitzig gives you a startling glimpse from scripture about what you can expect in the future. There are some people who have an unhealthy preoccupation with prophetic things. That's all they're about. That's all they study. They look for signs. They see signs in everything. There's a flower by the road that must be a sign at the end times. It can become an unhealthy preoccupation, but it can also become a healthy occupation. Connect with Skip Heitzig is a presentation of Connection Communications, connecting you to God's never changing truth in ever changing times.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-04-20 14:06:04 / 2023-04-20 14:16:43 / 11

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