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October 22, 2020 12:00 am
Diane shine even conservative estimates, there are now more evangelical Christians than members of the economy. This party around the world listen to those around the world on average by conservative evangelical estimate 510 local churches will be formally established today. Today Jesus Christ is not neither gospel is advancing in powerful ways. Whenever God save someone wherever that takes place.
That person becomes part of the universal church. We are united in faith with our brothers and sisters around the globe, and even though it may go against our individualistic culture in the United States were also called to belong to a local church family today. Stephen Davey continues a lesson he began yesterday where he looks at five reasons why it's vital that you be a member of a local church or in a series called upon this rock. Today's lesson is entitled why we belong here. Stephen love and enjoy the local church is a statement that we have joined the resistance that pervades our culture and our church culture is so easy and tempting incident to the church for what it does for me what to do for my family put together provide.
I like to give me I'll stick around. We resist together our own pride, our own consumer mentality. Our own self-centeredness and our own desire to exercise radical individualism by submitting and belonging. We belong to the church. Secondly, because we've been included in the family portrait.
Matthew ransacked the New Testament the church is referred to a number of different ways we looked at one and for Chinese 12 is a physical body you find the church referred to as a bride Jesus Christ the bride and groom a beautiful study that's in Ephesians chapter 5. If you read through that infected brings up the thought that if you really love Jesus Christ, wouldn't you love his bride.
While Jesus, but I don't like his bride, you say, but the bride messes up so often the bride isn't like the bridegroom. In fact, it occurred to me in my study that the greatest problem in this church is that you and I are part of it. The greatest threat to this church is you and me. If anybody has the right to abandon his bride. It is Christ the bridegroom, but he is chosen to redeem us, his bride is chosen to faithfully love us and allowed nothing to ever separate us from him. Romans 839. Aren't you glad about that. Also told the church as a family.
First Thessalonians chapter 4 verse 10 Peter writes in first Peter chapter 2 verse 17 he says will allow the family of believers.
Most people never really think of loving anybody outside their own family and you ransacked the New Testament and you discover the significance. In fact, the priority of your spiritual family. Paul writes to Timothy in fact informs us that were told in the church to treat older men as fathers younger men as brothers older women as mothers and younger women as sisters in all purity you happen to join the family and you have plenty of fathers and you have plenty of mothers and you have plenty of brothers you have plenty of sister when you came to faith in Christ. This way every one of us work photoshopped into the family of the pictures are added by the power of the Holy Spirit you discovery your family. Let me let me just a little further and say it is a picture of many families. Local church is a picture of one family regardless of race status rank standing income. We rented together. We believe that this is why we belong. Thirdly, we belong to the church because we've exchanged observing for owning sort of address vocabulary issues for little bit here, not just members or owners of the staggering trees to discover about even the coming kingdom. We will talk about it. I think we don't really think about all that much, were called co-trainers. That's another way of saying what Kyle errors that this is our kingdom. This is someplace we just attend.
This is this is joint ownership. Let's start with the idea of membership is been asked many times you know where the Bible does it say or talk about church membership with the understand the Bible the New Testament correctly you'll find the idea everywhere. In fact, you'll find the amazing reality is this, the Christians were so closely attached to a local church that they were actually viewed as and talked about as simply the church as if they were individuals. The church princes were told of Paul before he was saved he went by the name Saul the Old Testament nine Hebrew name that he began to persecute the church without some ethereal thing that's people who are attached to.
We read in acts chapter 11 verse 22. That the news of what was happening reached the ears of the church. Interesting. Again, a reference to a physical body.
The people are hoteliers in acts 1427. They gathered the church together X 15 three. The church commission. These missionaries on their way, sent them on their way. Acts 15 verse four. They were welcomed by the church fact, it's interesting were told in acts 12 one. The King Herod arrested some who belonged to the church in a very real way, biblically speaking, you could say that the church is its members, the church is its members on a practical notice impossible for elders and deacons to serve the church unless they know who belongs Peter give the elders in fact a serious command to shepherd the flock of God among you is a thing shepherd the church universally sings shepherd the church among you that local assembly where you been given oversight. First Peter 52 that isn't a suggestion for elders at his command. In fact that's a command that elders lose sleep over and agonize over and pray over Paul said effectively the same thing to the elders at the church in Ephesus.
He said to them, in acts 2028. Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock, does that mean all of the churches everywhere know all of the flock, which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers shepherd the church of God. Obviously the elders were to accept the responsibility for real people. For real lives not just some gathering bloodily only titers of vast difference between a crowd and the church is a vast difference between an audience and the flock flock.
By the way also. Evidently in the New Testament knew their leaders were because they are commanded to give double honor to those who work hard at preaching and teaching for 7517 evidently have to know who they are yet to observe their lives yet to be involved in the ministry that they are giving themselves to this is vastly different than watching somebody on a screen or showing up for an hour. This is life on life's is physical, tangible, real apostles wrote to the church and commanded each church listen to how these must occur locally not a serial way.
He says this be devoted to one another. So if I rejoice with one another. Romans 1215 serve one another in Galatians 513 carry one another's burdens.
Galatians 6. To forgive one another. Ephesians 432 encourage one another. First Thessalonians 511 offer hospitality to one another. First Peter 49 pray for one another. James 516.
Observers will never engage in those commands. Only those who sense, ownership and responsibility to those in the assembly may add this. This is where I think we need to tweak your vocabulary. If anything the church can be self-satisfied with his membership rolls many on your all.
Is it that's all that matters.
Many churches membership is sorely joining a club and by the way our culture and in our country now simply use us as a club you know you pay your dues and you show up every so often and you you play you like each other and if you don't there's another club you can go to join the church to our world. I fear that many Christians is like joining the tennis club or the bowling league or the country club or the birdwatchers club or whatever and are in our world, and especially this country. The word remember has simply come to mean you found something you're interested in not necessarily something to give your life for I think it's time we change the mentality of a member for that of an owner.
This is in the club where you remember this is a living body which you are a co-owner and by the way when you're an owner using differently.
Some of you on businesses. One of the things you struggle with is is that there are a lot of people that have the mentality of an employee, you have the mentality of an owner, that's when you pull into the parking lot you're you're interested in the weeds that are growing, you might impose your the CEO, but this is you on this company. Your concern about every aspect that's the mentality of an owner and employee comes in and says okay to do this is all going to do and then I'm out of here.
I can't wait to the weekend. Everything is different when you're an owner you talk differently.
You talk about what the church is doing you talk about me tell you what my church is doing me on the lookout for people that are visiting your house.
This is your house which means this is your morning dig August people said well if I go to fall prey to keep moving along. Steve and one of the exciting things about the day in which we live is the fact that the days of casual Christianity or perhaps going away and maybe even dissolve it on. We talked about in our last session were heading into a day when cultural Christianity and Congregational Christianity which means nothing more than you just show up. It is nice and pass out some business cards me feel good about yourself, all asking to dissolve in place of convictional Christianity. That's because the only people are going to be willing to wear the name Christian as its marginalized and demeaned and shouted down. If not, just ignored are people who are truly following Christ. You imagine somebody today this Lords day North Korea and Turkey and Sudan in Iraq saying you know I think I'm going to adopt the name Christian because I things can be good for my business makes me feel good for coming to find a church inherent those Christians are you kidding its life or death. That's why some of these countries will may baptize a Muslim.
They asked him in the tank. Are you prepared to die item missionary tell me just observe rightly. It's time that membership in the church shift to a gut level offer nothing self committing self-sacrificing self-denying cross bearing Christ exalting ownership. This isn't a club. This is the living demonstration in a local area of the body of Christ and in a very real way. This family lasts forever, so we belong leads me to add to this for we belong, because everybody's watching everybody's watching. I'm amazed at how many times on the shows are inviting pastors are getting opinions from seminary presidents and professors. Sometimes you want to hang your head in shame with what they say interesting. Curious you guys believe what you think about this. One of the reasons I'm so grateful belong to Christ Church in this generation is because as time moves along. We have been given the opportunity to make a clear demonstration and delivery of the grace and gospel of Jesus Christ. There was ever a day when people are watching the church and listening to people who belong to the church like you and me. It is today. Thank you go back to the beginning and and one of the things we often overlook is the scandal of the Jerusalem church to the Jewish community. It was entirely hated in its culture, because by the time you get accepted. 20.
They decided to make this clear distinction and they began to move their worship from Saturday to Sunday and they began calling it the Lords day it's a it's a day belonging to the Lord by John in his revelation, as I was in the Spirit on the Lord day that was actually rather scandalous for nearly 2000 years now, the church is dedicated to this day, to Christ is no coincidence we can worship any day, but it is this day that is special.
Why is the day which he rose from the dead. This is the day when the Spirit descended and formed the church. While you celebrate by the way, your wife's birthday on her birthday couple guys got it right. I mean, you can celebrate early and I've had two daughters. It was kind of a whole week thing Don celebrated the day after you missed it. Okay, if you so early that's fine. Just make sure you celebrated on the day because that is the day in which she was born Sunday is the day in which the church was born, and for 300 years plus country it's been sympathetic to this observance. Even back to my childhood reserve Sunday, so that our focus could be depending on schedules and everything else on the Lord himself. In fact, I research and didn't have any time absolutely no time at all to mention blue laws which ought to go back and just sort of read their history is fascinating. That's all changing shading the churches early changing the culture by just a few months ago my air conditioner. Our air-conditioner broke and I called her provider to set up his own appointment as soon as we can't associate the receptions.
Looking at her calendar. She gave me a date and I checked while I was on the phone with her and I and that day was Sunday, as I said that's that's Sunday and I thought you made a mistake she had fact I could tell by the tone of voice.
She thought I was rather odd that issue with it. I find totally like a beer. I pastor church only busy all day and maybe home for a quick nap. I don't want anybody ringing the doorbell then presents a so we reschedule the early church called the Lord's day belonging to him. You know it's waning today in the church that Matthew Henry wrote a commentary in the 1700s. Charles Spurgeon was 100 years later, every believer a reader on his knees.
He wrote that Sunday was the day to receive and embrace our privileges and benefits further along we go. When our world needs to see is this special relationship with each other and with our Lord demonstrated on what we still call and I say more often I say Sunday to you and I love your pick it up but I talked about the Lord's day the Lord's day that you might notice around here. We stuff this day with opportunities for spiritual growth and fellowship and discipleship, and corporate worship. We canned the Lord's day.
Most of the year with something in the morning we corporately gather and something in the evening. We want to maximize this day not minimize it. We can worship any day.
We why we are following the president of the New Testament church. The call this day, his speak personally and transparently one of the shepherds is going to give an account to Christ for your growth and development with burdens, man. It's on my prayer list causes me to be concerned, among other reasons, is the fact that this morning I am going to priests several thousand people.
And tonight I will preach to several hundred.
And I don't really have an answer to it other than to say I fear what it says about us. I don't understand you don't have to go to church to be a Christian like you not to go home to be married, but I recommend both kind. We follow in the perspective. More recently, the Puritans who 400 years ago called the Lord's day, quote the market day for the sole. I love that the market day for the sole, day of rest. By the way it is. It's a market for the sole decision the day to casually check in.
It is the day to intentionally stock and remember the world is watching teaching a greenhouse class.
Precious couple in this class who recently come to faith and she said I live near this church and I gotta tell you for years use so irritated we had to change our travel schedule our chores, our plans around this church so that we wouldn't get near to get caught in the traffic.
She said I was often curious what in the world is going on over there. The man quickly to this idea of the world. Watching stunning fact that the angelic hosts are watching is something we often will think about. But if we have time to explore this there's this stunning revelation from Paul to the Ephesians in chapter 3 the goddess is demonstrating his wisdom through the church in the face of the angelic hosts were told that the angelic because search curious the holy angels are curios they don't listen there there there testified by this thing, this organism. This body we are spectacle to the world and to the angelic hosts of the gospel of the grace and the mercy of God. If he can pull back the blinders of our eyes, we would see the area for over the angelic hosts who are watching. We belong because everybody's watching and I want to be apart from one more we belong to the church because Jesus Christ is not finished. Aren't you glad that Jesus didn't finish building his church before you became a part of it. Aren't you glad of that picture was eventually photoshopped and great to know that he still at work. He still is not finished and in this greenhouse class I'm teaching now which is the second largest ever taught in history this church seven less than last year which was the largest already told them what excites me about this class of prospective members. One of the most exciting things is what they communicate to me.
The Jesus Christ is still building this local assembly. He has plans for this church. He has new disciples.
He has new needs. His new ministries bound up in their hearts. We haven't even started yet.
We we we see in them new participants and new leaders and new servants and new teachers who will join with us. He is not finished any certainly not finished with the church around the world was be careful that we don't translate what we might see happening here in soon and only as part of what God is doing out there very quickly in Indonesia. There are so many Muslims coming to faith in Christ, believing the gospel that the government no longer will publish the statistics that show religious Association because their shame today in China, even conservative estimates are that there are now more evangelical Christians than members of the Communist Party that around the world listen to this around the world on average by conservative evangelical estimates 510 local churches will be formally established today. Jesus Christ is not finished and neither are we enjoying this part way through this lesson you've been listening to wisdom for the hard Stephen Davey Stephen is the pastor of a church in Cary, North Carolina. Today's lesson is called why we belong, and it comes from a new series entitled upon this rock upon this rock was a series of sermons. Stephen preached to the church he pastors because the church was in the process of revising its Constitution and bylaws with the current state of our culture.
It seemed wise to revisit those documents sent to clarify some things that may have been self-evident.
35 years ago when they were first written. If you're a leader of a church, you might be interested in seeing a copy of the doctrinal statement Constitution and bylaws of the church. Stephen pastors give us a call at 866-482-4253. We've also heard stories from churches who purchase the CD set to this series so that their elders and deacons could work through it together. The series is called upon this rock and we have it available as a set of CDs.
If this is something that you'd like to purchase either for your personal use or for your church you can give us a call and we can help you over the phone. You'll also find this series upon this rock on our website which is wisdom online.org if you're interested in studying God's design for the church. This series will help you and I encourage you to get your copy today. It's always a delight when we hear from our listeners, why not write and tell us how God is using this ministry to encourage you. You can write to us and send your email to email@example.com if you prefer to send us a card or letter in the mail. Our address is wisdom for the heart PO Box 37297 Raleigh, NC 27627. Thanks for joining us today be back tomorrow for our next lesson here on wisdom for the heart is