Our sermon series is called Rediscover Church – why the body of Christ is essential. We are posing nine key questions about church. And as we consider the answers, I hope you take the next step in deepening your relationship with Christ and our church. Maybe you have been watching on-line and waiting to take the step of joining us in-person. Come on out and join us!
The questions come from the book Rediscover Church I have been reading by Collin Hansen and Johnathan Leeman. Our Growth Groups are joining the discussion each week through the rest of this series. If you would like to try a growth group, you will receive a FREE copy of the book. Please sign up for a Growth Group at the Welcome Center.
What is a Church?
The book’s definition of a church follows:
A church is a group of Christians who assemble as an earthly embassy of Christ’s heavenly kingdom to proclaim the good news and commands of Christ the king to affirm one another as his citizens through the ordinances and to display God’s own holiness and love through a unified and diverse people in all the world following the teaching and example of elders.
– Rediscover Church by Hansen & Leeman
Today’s final question is: Who Leads?
We’ve defined the church and what its purpose is. We’ve talked about why we gather and what we do when we gather. We’ve discovered how to love each other and those in our community. So today the last question we will answer is who leads the church? Is it run by an outside organization? Does everyone get a say in what happens? Who are the leaders? Why? How? And so what?
Church’s Purpose is Discipleship
As we saw several messages back, the purpose of the church is to make disciples who make disciples. The Great Commission is to proclaim the Gospel, baptize in unity, and teach people to obey God’s Word.
READ Ephesians 4:11
As churches seek to fulfill this mission, in Ephesians 4:11 Paul said God provides shepherd and teachers to lead. These shepherds or pastors are to equip the members of the church to do the work of ministry. The pastor’s job is training disciples to make disciples.
A pastor is often described as a shepherd looking after the church members as sheep in a flock. He leads them to safe water for drinking. He leads them to green pastures for food. He protects them from predators and dangers outside the church and those that sneak inside disguised as other sheep. He searches for the lost member and brings him or her back to the church. Matthew and I were just talking about a great book called A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23 by Phillip Keller. I highly recommend it.
But the directions Paul gave to pastors named Timothy and Titus reminded me more of a military quartermaster. Who knows what that job entails? According to goarmy.com, the quartermaster officer is responsible for making sure his soldiers have the equipment, materials and systems in place so they can succeed in their missions. He is not the one on the front line completing the mission, but he makes sure his troops can succeed in doing their jobs. Just like a quartermaster, the pastor is called to equip the church members to complete the mission.
I preached through the book of Titus back in 2019 and 2020. You can find those messages on our website if you search for Titus or God’s Design for Church.
READ Titus 2:1
Also in 1 Timothy 3:1, a pastor or overseer must be able to teach. In 1 Timothy 4:16 Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching.
Peter encouraged pastors to be an example to the church. Not in ministry for shameful gain or domineering over people like a dictator. But instead humbly teaching and caring for church members like family. Encourage an older man or woman as you would your own father and mother. And treat younger men and women like brothers and sisters.
In Acts 6, we see the early church in Jerusalem respond to a problem.
READ Acts 6:1-7
We can see three distinct things they do:
Spot and serve tangible needs in the church – serve the church members. Take care of their needs
Protect and promote church unity – the way people were being taken care of pointed out some apparent favoritism. So the deacons protected the unity of the church by righting those wrongs.
Support the ministry of the pastors – by taking initiative to care of the pressing needs in the church, the deacons helped the pastors focus on their ministry of prayer and God’s Word. They support the pastors by sharing the work load.
I would encourage you to read the final chapter of the book. It’s the conclusion and we will talk more about it in Growth Group tonight.
God gave us the church to disciple us – to form us into men and women who are committed to becoming more like Jesus Christ. It connects us to the Creator who made us with individual personalities and gifts so we can worship, grow, and share together as a family. A family with the best Father of all. So we invite everyone to become part of this great family.
If you are not part of this church family – And I know I’m partial – but I highly recommend it.
You might not get the church you wanted, but you get something better: you get the church you need.
Our church may not suit all of your preferences, but it will help you grow as a disciple and give you opportunities to serve and share with others. Come join us!
You can’t become part of the church family until you have joined God’s family. Have you accepted God’s loving gift of salvation? It starts with admitting your sin and trusting in Jesus as your Savior. The Bible tells us our sins separate us from a holy God. But God, who is rich in love and mercy sent His Son Jesus to be the Savior of the world – to die in our place, paying for our sins, and then rise from the dead to show His power of death and the grave. Salvation restores the broken relationship between you and God that was caused by sin. The church is called to proclaim the Gospel, and then invite new believers to be baptized and taught how to live as a followers of Jesus Christ.
Have you trusted in Jesus as your Savior and become part of God’s family?
Are you a member of this local church family?
Will you accept a challenge?
Just keep showing up. Be faithful in Sunday worship, Sunday School or an adult class. Join a Growth Group. You are not meant to grow on your own. Your meant to do this in a community.
If you do this consistently, you will begin growing spiritually. You will develop deeper friendships. Great knowledge of God’s Word. Understand how to think and live biblically. You will get the things you need.
If you don’t, you will judge the church as failing to meet your needs. Not making you happy.
Remember, you a necessary part of this local church. If you are not here and fulfilling your role, the whole body will not function properly for you or anyone else.
I encourage you to rediscover church and join us in trying to do it the way Jesus planned.