Pastor Steve Williams : Why the Church is a Big Deal

Jesus' Greatest Idea · 45:14 · Recorded January 7, 2018

Why The Church Is A Big Deal

Today’s Bible text: Matthew 16:13-18 (p. 902)

1 Corinthians 1:2 (TEV) To THE CHURCH of God which is in Corinth, to all who are called to be God’s holy people, who belong to him in union with Christ Jesus, together with all people everywhere who worship our Lord Jesus Christ, their Lord and ours:

1. It’s the most visible expression of God’s eternal purpose.

Ephesians 1:4-5 (NLT) Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes. God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure.

He wanted a ‘forever family’ of people.

2 Timothy 1:9 (NLT) For God saved us and called us to live a holy life. He did this, not because we deserved it, but because that was his plan from before the beginning of time—to show us his grace through Christ Jesus.

God’s family is his Church.

1 Timothy 3:15 (NCV) That family IS THE CHURCH of the living God, the support and foundation of the truth.

Ephesians 2:19 (TLB) You are no longer strangers to God and foreigners to heaven, but you are members of God’s very own family.

Hebrews 2:11 (CEV)  Jesus and the people he makes holy all belong to the same family. That is why he isn’t ashamed to call them his brothers and sisters.

2. It’s the only thing on earth that will last forever.

Ephesians 3:21 (HCSB) To Him be glory IN THE CHURCH and in Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever.

3. God is using it for a great, cosmic purpose.

Ephesians 3:10-11 (NIV) His intent was that now, THROUGH THE CHURCH, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms,  according to his eternal purpose which he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord.

4. It’s what Jesus sacrificed himself for.

Ephesians 5:25-27 (NCV) Christ loved THE CHURCH and gave himself for it  to make it belong to God…He died so that he could give THE CHURCH to himself like a bride in all her beauty. He died so that THE CHURCH could be pure and without fault.

5. It’s the greatest force on earth!

The widest dispersion

Matthew 18:20 (NLT)  “Where two or three gather together as my followers, I am there among them.”

Colossians 1:6 (TLB) The same Good News that came to you is going out all over the world and changing lives everywhere, just as it changed yours.

The fastest proliferation

Acts 2:47 (NLT) And each day the Lord added to their fellowship those who were being saved… Acts 6:1 (NLT) The believers rapidly multiplied… Acts 21:20 (NLT) “You know, dear brother, how many thousands of Jews have also believed…”

The biggest participation

John 16:7-8; 14:12 (ESV) “I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you…Whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these…”

The simplest administration

1 Corinthians 12:27; Ephesians 4:16 (TLB) All of you together are the one body of Christ, and each one of you is a separate and necessary part of it…Under his direction, the whole body is fitted together perfectly, and each part in its own special way helps the other parts, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love.

The strongest motivation

Mark 12:30-31 (NIV) “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength’… ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”

6. It has the highest source of authority.

Ephesians 1:22-23 (NLT)  God has put all things under the authority of Christ and has made him head over all things for the benefit of THE CHURCH.  And THE CHURCH is his body.

Matthew 28:18-19 (TLB) He told his disciples, “I have been given all authority in heaven and earth. Therefore go and make disciples in all the nations…”

7. It’s got the surest guarantee of victory.

Matthew 24:14 (HCSB) “This good news of the kingdom WILL be proclaimed in ALL the world as a testimony to ALL nations. And then the end will come.”

Matthew 25:34 (NLT)  “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the creation of the world.’”

  • When the word “Church” is used, virtually everyone has some negative baggage about the subject. What baggage do you find yourself carrying about the Church you need to offload?

  • What’s your overall reaction to the truths from Scripture in this message about what God says about his Church? Which of the ideas is new or refreshingly different for you? Which would you like to give more thought or study to?

  • What do you think keeps the Church today from seeing or living out these truths more meaningfully? What can we do to change that?

  • There’s an ongoing debate within American Christianity about whether large Churches (300 or more people attending regularly) are better or worse than small ones (less than 200 people in attendance). While there are obviously issues of personal preference involved, what are the advantages AND disadvantages you see in a Church body’s size? What do you think matters to God most in this “debate” and what scriptures lead you to your conclusion?

  • What scripture verses from this message seemed to “reach out to” you with a challenge about your Church involvement? What will you do about it?

  • Hello Parents! This month our elementary kids are in a series we’re calling Training Camp. We’ll be teaching kids about becoming stronger. But, we are not talking about physical strength. We’re talking about developing the kinds of habits that will help us grow stronger spiritually. Today our bottom line was if you want to grow stronger, read God’s Word. Ask your kids about the three things we said we can learn from God’s Word (What is true, what to do, what not to do). Check out your child’s handout for more ways to grow stronger together!

  • He Has Won

  • Let Every Heart

  • God I Look To You

  • Great Are You Lord

  • Lay Me Down

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