This is the sermon for Sunday morning, November 29th, 2009.  This will be the last in this series for a month, as I will preach a sermon series starting next week dealing with Christmas entitled, “The Christmas Prophet.”  Then Iwill pick up the Faith Foundations sermon series at the first of the year.

Faith Foundations part 8

The Church

Matthew 16:18.

Matthew 16:18b ESV – I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.

INTRODUCTION

Here we see the great promise of Jesus Christ concerning His Church.  He will be the one to build it, and Death (or Hell or Hades) gates will not overcome it.

As we are going through this series entitled, “Faith Foundations,” we are now turning our attention to the church and what the Bible has to say concerning it.

Why is it important to have a doctrine concerning the church?  Well, the church has fallen into difficult times.  Many a leader has fallen; many churches are no longer preaching God’s Word and seeking Christ, but have become seeker sensitive and preaching topical subjects based on either entertainment or what is popular in our day, or some type of self-improvement feel good sermons.

We’ve got to get back to what the Church was intended to be by Christ:  the Body of believers which have been called out of the world and are redeemed by Christ Jesus of all the ages; the called out ones from every tribe, and tongue, and people and nation.

Let’s begin.

What does the word “Church” mean in Greek?
The Greek word is ekklesia. It literally means, “Called out ones.”

We are the ones who have been called out by God to become followers of Christ.  Peter describes the church well in His writings.

1 Peter 2:9-10 ESV – 9But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. 10 Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.

The Head of the church – Jesus Christ.

Remember in our text Jesus said that He would build His church.  He possesses and owns the Church, purchased the church with His precious blood.

We must also consider the fact that the church is not the building, but those called out of darkness – people.

Jesus is the founder of the church, and the head of the body.

1 Corinthians 3:11 ESV – For no one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.

Colossians 1:18 ESV – And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent.

Now let’s look at few things that make up a true New Testament church:

Baptized believers.

Like I said earlier, people are what make up the church.  Now while I don’t believe in Baptismal Regeneration, I do believe that every believer should be baptized because Jesus commanded it, and the disciples practiced it.

Matthew 28:19 ESV – Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

Acts 2:38 ESV – Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

Now please hear me out this morning.  I’m not saying you are not saved if you haven’t been baptized after you repented of your sins and turned to Christ, neither am I saying that you are not a member of this church if you haven’t done it.  What I’m saying is that this is what the Bible declares and we need to be obedient too it.

Our outward profession of faith is not the sinner’s prayer, but according to Scripture it is water-baptism.

The Preaching of the Word.

In the last 25 years or so, we’ve lost what it means to preach the Word.  The best way to preach the Word is not to find a topic or felt need, but to open up the Bible and preach it line upon line, precept upon precept, chapter by chapter, verse by verse.

I wasn’t taught this way.  It was years later that I have come to realize that this is what true Bible preaching is.

You see, our services have to be centered on the preaching of the Word.  We are gathered together to hear from God.  This is more important than the songs we sing, or the clothes we wear, or our time of fellowship with each other.

Notice what Paul said to Timothy.

2 Timothy 4:2 ESV – preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching.

Observing the Lord’s supper.

This is not just some traditional thing we do, but it is a very holy moment in our services where we remember the death of Christ and actually experience His presence spiritually among us as we partake.

1 Corinthians 11:23-26 ESV – 23For I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took bread, 24and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, “This is my body which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” 25In the same way also he took the cup, after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.” 26For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.

Singing in Worship.

According to Scripture, when we gather we are to sing together.

Colossians 3:16 ESV – Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.

Three types of songs listed:

  • Psalms – songs based on Scripture.
  • Hymns – songs based on the person of Christ – usually rich in theology.
  • Spiritual songs – songs inspired by the spirit, songs sung from a heart of gratitude to the Lord.

Spiritual gifts.

We covered this already, but we should ask the Lord to move in our midst through the gifts of the Spirit in a Scriptural manner.

1 Corinthians 14:26-27 ESV – 26What then, brothers? When you come together, each one has a hymn, a lesson, a revelation, a tongue, or an interpretation. Let all things be done for building up. 27If any speak in a tongue, let there be only two or at most three, and each in turn, and let someone interpret.

Prayer.

Finally, when we gather together, we should pray for each other’s burdens, in a Scriptural manner.

James 5:13-16 ESV – 13Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praise. 14Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. 15And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. 16Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.

CONCLUSION

As we conclude this morning, I hope that you see the importance of the church, and it is my prayer that each of you here would desire to get involved and come to worship the Lord out of a heart of gratitude when we meet, that you would come believing that God’s Word will be proclaimed, and that you will come for prayer, or come to lift up others burdens in prayer.

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