Friday, October 27, 2017

The Body of Christ

Adapted from Jim Garner’s sermon – Authentic Churchianity
So those who accepted his message were baptized, and that day about 3,000 people were added to them. And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread, and to the prayers. Then fear came over everyone, and many wonders and signs were being performed through the apostles. Now all the believers were together and held all things in common. They sold their possessions and property and distributed the proceeds to all, as anyone had a need. Every day they devoted themselves to meeting together in the temple complex, and broke bread from house to house. They ate their food with a joyful and humble attitude, praising God and having favor with all the people. And every day the Lord added to them those who were being saved. Acts 2:41-47

The church is the body of Christ, of which He is the head. It is where we have opportunity to express our worship and exercise the gifts of the Spirit the Lord has given us.  We are many members working together for a common goal.  We all have different strengths and God has designed us all to fit together so we can work as one for His glory. 
Just what should the Body of Christ look like to the world? Below are seven characteristics of an “Authentic Church”:
                Motivated by the Gospel (v.41)
Romans 1:16 – “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is God’s power of salvation to everyone who believes, first to the Jew and also to the Greek (Gentile).”
                Meaningful membership (v.41-42)
Ephesians 4:15-16 > “Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.”
                Mentoring leadership (v.42)
2 Timothy 2 > “You then, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.  And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable people who will also be qualified to teach others.”
                Moved by God's power (v.43)
Mark 5:19 > “And He did not let him, but He said to him, "Go home to your people and report to them what great things the Lord has done for you, and how He had mercy on you."
                Minister to one another (v.44-45)
When God’s power moves in people’s lives, people move their lives under the presence of God.  Our stories are all a part of God’s story and no matter what the details are, God can use our stories for His glory and to help others.  God has redeemed you from your past so you can grow and live for Him in the present which will someday impact someone else’s future.
Titus 3:5-7 > “…he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.”
                Meet together regularly (v.46-47)
Hebrews 10:23-25 > 23 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. 24 And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, 25 not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.
Community - unity with a common purpose. Our service (ministry) is an indication of what or who is a priority in our lives. This is evident by the emphasis we place on how we sacrifice our time, energy, and resources.
                Mobilized to multiply (v.47)
2 Corinthians 5:20 > “Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.”

We are the body of Christ, an extension of Him. He is able to work through us to take His gospel beyond the foundations of the buildings in which we meet. He can work through us,  each and everyone but woven together into one, in which we become a unified body to bring light and hope to a hurting, dark world.

Scripture to Claim:  

But God has so composed the body, giving greater honor to the part that lacked it, that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together. I Corinthians 12:24b-26

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