Why be part of a Church?

—Ephesians 3 & 4

  • Andrew Fountain – Sept 16, 2018

 
 
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Goal

To answer the question:
Why be part of a Church?

Outline

  • What church is and what it is not
  • What it means for us

The Mystery Revealed (Eph 3)

  1. To me, though I am the very least of all the saints, this grace was given,
    to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ,
    9and to bring to light for everyone what is the plan of the mystery
    hidden for ages in God who created all things,
  2. so that through the church the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places.
  3. This was according to the eternal purpose that he has realized in Christ Jesus our Lord

Metaphors for the Church

  • Bride of Christ (love and relationship)
  • Temple or city (dwelling place of God)
  • Body (unity and love for one another)
  • Army (victory and purpose)

What does the word mean?

  • Greek ἐκκλησία (ekklesia) literally means “gathering”
  • Congregation would have been a better translation
  • Used for a riot in Acts 19:32
    Now some cried out one thing, some another, for the gathering was in confusion, and most of them did not know why they had come together.

Universal Church

  • So the church throughout all Judea and Galilee and Samaria had peace and was being built up. And walking in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, it multiplied. [Acts 9:31]
  • to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen. [Eph 3:21]
  • But 80% of the time it refers to individual congregations:
  • And he went through Syria and Cilicia, strengthening the churches. [Acts 15:41]

Kingdom

  • God’s new creation life inside us
    • Power, rule, values
    • Invisible, like yeast
  • The church is the visible manifestation of the new Kingdom community
    • imperfect, impure
  • The true church will be revealed as the pinnacle of the new creation

A Church

  • Regularly meet together (the word “church”)
  • Significant commitment to one another (body life)
  • Committed to a body of truth
  • Operation of the gifts of the Spirit for the building up of one another
    • Not just to receive, but to give as well
  • A New Testament model of leadership

Parachurch

  • ministries, societies, businesses, independent charities
  • prophetic ministry, healing ministry
  • Bible Colleges, missionary societies, publishing companies
  • Christian record labels, bookstores, clothing companies
  • Speciality church:
    • youth, bikers, surfers

The Body: Eph 4:1-7

Christianity

  • People who call themselves “Christians”
    • Bible is full of errors, no literal resurrection
    • Bible is insufficent—we need other books and traditions
    • The Bible is God’s Word and is our authority (Evangelical)
  • Evangelical=Good News (We are saved by God’s free gift, not our own works)
    • Cessationist (Supernatural gifts of the Spirit have ceased)
    • Continuationist (Supernatural gifts continue)

Acts 18:9–10

  1. And the Lord said to Paul one night in a vision, “Do not be afraid, but go on speaking and do not be silent,
  2. for I am with you, and no one will attack you to harm you, for I have many in this city who are my people.”

The Body: Eph 4:1-7