Welcome to Delight in Grace, the teaching ministry of Rich Powell, pastor of Grace Bible Church in Winston-Salem. Everything about the church is related to the character and purpose of Jesus Christ. With Christ as the cornerstone and the builder, God can transform anyone from anywhere into a beautiful reflection of His grace. Let's join Pastor Rich as he unpacks Ephesians 2 19-22 in this message titled Christ, Our Cornerstone, preached on July 16, 2017. Today we pick up with the third and final part of this sermon. Church is not a place for casual spectators and yet it's very, very easy to do in our American culture because we're all about entertainment. We're all about come see the show.
So I'm the clown of the show, right? That's not what church is about. It's not about casual spectators and they do not contribute to the unity of the church.
So I challenge you this morning, do you need to rise up? Do you need to engage the gift that God has entrusted or gifts that God has entrusted to you and invest yourself in the church, this beautiful masterpiece, this temple that God is building? Number two, personal kingdom builders.
This is kind of the opposite of casual spectators. You get people who come into the church, okay, I'm here, put me to work, here's what I can do for the church. And they are personal kingdom builders and they take an unhealthy ownership of what God has entrusted to them and say, it's my ministry, I'm going to do it my way.
That does not contribute to the unity of the church. Pastors can very easily slide into that rut. They can become these celebrities. People are looking to them and they're up front. They're the up front person. They're the one everybody sees, you know? And they can become personal kingdom builders. Here's the problem with that.
Once that king of that kingdom leaves, the kingdom falls apart. Here's the third thing that does not contribute to the unity of the church and that is ethnocentric faith practitioners. That's people who come to church with an us versus them mentality. It's very pharisaical. I will only worship with this kind of people. Now some of you might need to apply that, whether this kind of people is socioeconomic, political, whatever, racial, whatever.
But that's pharisaical. You need to understand that and that does not contribute to the unity of the church. The church is a diverse people and a people being transformed into a holy temple of God. Fourth thing, worship and culture warriors.
Many of us come from different experiences. Many come from different backgrounds, different kinds of churches. And the worship culture warrior is the person who comes into the church and says, well, all my life I have grown up with this kind of church experience and if the church starts doing something different, then I am on the war path because my experience becomes the standard of what is right and wrong in church. That's arrogant.
And if that's you, I challenge you to stop. It's God's church. It's not your church. It's not my church. It's God's church. You need to be contributing to the unity of the church. Here's the fifth thing, theological eggheads.
Do not contribute to the unity of the church. Listen, this does not mean that theology is unimportant. Theology is foundational. What I am teaching here this morning is theology. But I'm not calling as God does not call us to become theological eggheads.
What do you mean by that, Rich? Where there is an elite exactness and we dive deep into the depths of theology and I have, you know, my theology is exactly this. And if your theology doesn't perfectly align with mine, then I look on you with disdain while you just don't know the word of God like I do. That's a theological egghead and that does not contribute to the unity of the church. Theological frameworks are at odds in much of the church today and it needs to stop. Here's the sixth thing that does not contribute to the unity of the church, gossipers. People who talk about people instead of investing in them. If you see a problem with somebody, don't talk about them.
Come alongside them. That contributes to the unity. But if all you do is just talk about them, you are contributing to the disunity of the church. The Bible has a lot to say about that, don't you think? Number seven, Holy Spirit usurpers. Holy Spirit usurpers. Who is in the business of transforming us? The Holy Spirit is. You and I can easily become Holy Spirit usurpers. When you see somebody who's doing something you don't think they ought to be doing, and you think, I need to go change that person.
I want you to know something, okay? It's not my job to transform you. It's the Holy Spirit's job to transform you. I can invite you to walk with me and let me walk with you in a God-ward direction and it is your relationship with God that will transform you, but I can't come to you and say, you know, you just need to straighten up your life. That's being a Holy Spirit usurper. Now I can challenge you as to whether or not what you're doing is in line with God's character and purpose.
And we all ought to be able to do that. But it's not your job and it's not my job to transform somebody to make them conform to what you think your standard is. These things all contribute to the disunity of the church. God's vision for the church is unity. In Proverbs 6 19 it says there are seven things that God hates.
Number one, what's the number one thing God hates? Pride. All seven of these are rooted in pride, human pride. You say, how about a casual observer?
Well, I'm just going to be over here and live in my own little world and not get involved. That's pride. That's pride.
Don't you love windows? Turn that, there you go. Number one thing God hates is pride. Number seven, one who sows discord among the brothers. You see, God, the unity of God's people is a big thing with him.
It's a big thing with him. My vision for our church is that we are an intentional community of grace that loves God, demonstrated by loving people in a culture of discipleship. So I have two questions for you this morning. Are you listening to me, please?
Two questions for you. This is our vision. This is God's vision for our church. Ask yourself this question, what is my fit in this? How is God using me in this equation, in this description?
Ask yourself this question, am I all in? I want you to ask those because, you know, in the Old Testament, God was very much about challenging the people about unity. God hates disunity and those who sow discord among the brothers. But in the New Testament, Christ prayed for the church. The night he was in the garden, the night of his betrayal, the night before his crucifixion, Jesus was praying to his father and he prayed not only for his disciples because he is the one that was going to commission them and they were going to go out into all the world and plant the church based on the foundation of God's self-disclosure, the person and work of Jesus Christ. But here's what he prayed, not only for his disciples, but this is Christ's prayer in John 17, 20 and 21, that he prayed for those who will believe through their word.
Who's that? That's you and me. Jesus prayed for you and me the night before his crucifixion. He prayed for those who will believe through their word and what did he pray? That they may be one in us. You see how this is kind of big on his agenda? That they may be one in us.
Why? That the world may believe. Isn't that powerful?
That's powerful. Christ prayed for this. He prayed for the unity of the church. A church that grows into a holy temple in the Lord. Now remember as he says this, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. Remember that outside of Ephesus was this magnificent temple of Diana that guess where it is today? Ruins.
Just a few remnants of the ruins of the temple of Diana. But where is the church today? It's thriving around the world. Is it thriving here?
Is it thriving here? God is growing his church into a holy temple in the Lord and that temple is not limited to a physical building. God is not about holy buildings. He's about holy people. He's building a community of people reflecting the beauty of Christ by living the gospel in the outflow of the indwelling Holy Spirit all around the world.
And for us it's here. This is our Jerusalem. And some people are going to Samaria, Judea and some people are going to the uttermost parts of the earth because everywhere God is building his church and it is a beautiful thing. And he is building his church because not only are we a diverse people, not only are we a people being transformed, not only are we a beautiful people, God's vision of unity, but we are a bridge-building people.
Because this whole text of Ephesians 2 is about reconciliation, our reconciliation to God, what he has done to bring us to himself. So as you are a bridge-building people, as you encounter people, whether it's friends, relatives, associates, neighbors, at your home, outside of home, in the marketplace, on the ball field, as you encounter people, listen, see the image of God. See the image of God in that person. God created them in his image. You need to see the image of God and see it regardless of who they are or what background they come from. You need to see the image of God.
And then ask this question. How can I be a bridge for this person or this family to the community of grace? How can I be a bridge for this person or this family to the community of grace? Most often those opportunities to be a bridge comes at some point of crisis in their life. And you know what? Everyone encounters such crisis.
Everyone. Are you ready to be a bridge for them into the community of grace? Or to bring us to them, to come alongside them? I want you to think about these things this morning, loved ones. God is building his church and it is a beautiful thing.
Know your part in it. Father, we are grateful for your word. We are grateful that you've made yourself known to us.
You've not left us to our own devices, our own imagination. But Father, you have revealed yourself and we thank you for that. We thank you for the church that you are building and the picture you have, the portrait of this church that you have painted. Lord, help us to understand the beauty of it and to know our fit in it, Father. Rescue us, Father.
Forgive us. Rescue us from the things that we might be doing that do not contribute to the unity of the church. But may we recognize, Father, that you are building this church into your holy temple and a beautiful thing it is. Work in our hearts and our minds, I pray today, Father. In Jesus' name. Amen.
Let's be dismissed. Thank you for listening to Delight in Grace, the teaching ministry of Rich Powell, pastor of Grace Bible Church in Winston-Salem. Visit our church website to see upcoming events or to listen to more messages at www.gbcwinston.com. To discover how to live by grace, tune in on weekdays at 10 a.m.
Whisper: medium.en / 2022-12-10 09:49:28 / 2022-12-10 09:54:35 / 5