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 16th, 2017.
Today we are continuing with part two of the sermon. The cornerstone determines the position of the entire structure. That's the significance. That is Christ to the church. So, meaning this, everything about the church is related to the character and purpose of Jesus Christ. And you are only a building block in the church so far, insofar as you are vitally connected to Jesus Christ. That's the church that He's building.
The truth is the foundation. Christ is the chief cornerstone. But this church that He's building is a place of His presence. That's why He calls it a temple. He says it's being built together for a dwelling place of God. A temple, His Holy Spirit in each of us and all of us, the same spirit. We represent the presence of God. And it is the Holy Spirit is the resident and the builder of the church.
And you know what? The world notices who lives there. The world notices who lives in this temple. We are the temple of God. Who is it that resides in this? Is it indeed the Spirit of God?
Or are we just stones built together doing our own thing? See, this is God's temple and God is building a very beautiful thing which He calls His church. Something that becomes abundantly clear from this text is the understanding that church is people. Church is people. And I would like you to really work on changing the way you think, your whole paradigm about church. Instead of waking up on Sunday and saying, we're going to church today. Rather, it is better to say the church is coming together today.
Because that's what you are. This building does not represent the presence of God. You and I do. We are the temple of the Holy Spirit. We are the temple that God is building as a dwelling place for God. I'll never forget when I was a pastor in Michigan, I was invited to consider, to apply, to become a representative for a fellowship, an association of churches up there. And so the leader wanted me to come and he wanted to show me all the churches that were in his fellowship. So he took me through this whole slide presentation. Do you know what he showed me? Buildings. And as I was, I was a bit younger then, not as wise as I am now, but I remember, even in my youth and ignorance, I remember thinking, all he's showing me is buildings.
He didn't show me one slide of people. He's just showing me buildings. That's a wrong focus, isn't it?
It's a wrong focus. God is not in the process of building this holy building of material. He's in the process of building the holy people.
And that's you and me. And so the church's people, a few observations I want to make about that from this text. Number one, the church is a diverse people.
A diverse people. That's why he emphasizes the Jew and the Gentile. We are one in Christ. We are one in Christ.
And so Christ, he is the propitiation for the sins of all people. All people are invited to Christ. And so the church is a diverse people from all kinds of backgrounds, whether it's an ethnic background or whether it's a religious experience background. We come from all different backgrounds. We are a diverse people. And earthly labels and divisions do not work in the family of God.
They ought not to work in the family of God. Grace is the great equalizer. And God can take any person from anywhere and make them his own masterpiece in Christ. And that's what he's doing.
That's what you are. We are a compilation, a gathering, an assembly of such persons. People that God has taken from various backgrounds and he's forming us into a masterpiece in Christ. So the church is a diverse people and we ought to understand that it ought to be and is an assembly of diverse people, a family of diverse people. It is also a people being transformed.
Because as we see from this text that it is growing, he is building it, he is growing it. So we are a people being transformed and this speaks of movement from what was to where we are now. You once were not, but you are now. So we are a people being transformed. We are being built. This speaks of change. This speaks of progress. As God is building his church, there necessarily, when there is growth, there is necessary change.
There is progress. That's why we say come as you are, but don't stay that way. Anyone's welcome to come in here and worship with us.
Anyone, but don't stay that way. Many of us in here come from rigid legalistic backgrounds. You're welcome here, but don't stay that way.
Others come from very loose living lifestyles. You're welcome here, but don't stay that way. Because we are a people who are being transformed. God is in the business of building his beautiful church.
Not only are we a diverse people, not only are we a people being transformed, but we are in fact a beautiful people. As he describes it here, listen to it again as you read Ephesians 2, 21 and 22, in whom the whole building being fitted together grows into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit. Do you see the Apostle Paul, through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, painting this portrait of this beautiful temple of God? And it's not a temple built with material, it's a temple of people. We are the temple of God. And God offers this magnificent vision of this temple and this vision for this people is unity. A diverse people, a people being transformed into something very beautiful. The unity of the church is big on God's agenda. And every part, vitally connected and contributing to the unity of the church, his beautiful temple, that's God's vision for the church. And I asked you this morning, I don't know why you're here. Well, I know some of you why you're here.
But you need to ask yourself that question. And what is it that contributes to unity? And let me offer a sidebar now that will list maybe some things that do not contribute to unity of the church.
Because God's vision is unity for the church, a beautiful temple, a family being built together. But here are seven things I want to talk about. This is not major on them, but seven things that do not contribute to unity.
Now see if maybe the Lord is going to work in your heart and say, okay, here's something you need to work on. Number one, casual spectators. Now I'm not talking about visitors.
However, if you have been a visitor for 10 years, I'm talking about you. Okay, casual spectators. Listen, you cannot sit back and complacently contribute to the unity of the church.
It's not done passively. You contribute to the unity of the church by being vitally connected to the church and investing yourself in it. The 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 to 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. So here's the problem with that.
Once that king of that kingdom leaves, the kingdom falls apart, okay. Here's the third thing that does not contribute to the unity of the church, and that is ethnocentric faith practitioners. 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. This does not, 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 Lord of God like I do. You've been listening to Delight and 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 09:44:31 / 2022-12-10 09:49:22 / 5