This week we are looking at our second kind of spiritual food – Christian community, which goes by a special name you may have heard before: church.
Abraham Lincoln was once quoted as saying “If all the people who fell asleep in church on Sunday morning were laid out end to end….they would be a great deal more comfortable.”
BUT…..this is such a far cry from what the Bible holds out to us as the purpose of church and the relevance of church for the individual Christian.
This week we are discussing the place of “church” in the life of a follower of Jesus.
Now this word can mean a lot of things in English. Church can mean a building, a weekly event, an institution, a denomination, or a community of people.
Like Lincoln, some of these may have negative associations for you. Hard pews, unsingable tunes, and excruciating boredom are just a few of the ingredients that make up the common image of the church.
The last one is the most important. A group of Christians. Sometimes they need buildings, sometimes they have services, but even when they have neither, they are a church.
The church at its most fundamental is made up of people.
The Greek word for church is ekklesia which literally means “an assembly” or “gathering of people” called out to be and do something specific. And these people, this community is meant to be a preview of the world as God wants it to be.
As we read in the letter to the Ephesians we see what God’s intent is—3:10-11. (p.193) (LOOK IT UP TOGETHER)
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.
So what I would like to do first this morning is look at 3 ways of thinking about the role of the church…what has God called this group of people to be, WHY has God called a group of people together……
Question: Where have you experienced Christian Community before?