Last Sunday Jinson preached from 1 Peter 2:9-10 and shared with us the vision and goals for the Church in the year 2019.
As mentioned, the three goals we want to focus in 2019 are
- Neighbourhood Ministries – Reaching out to our neighbours with the gospel and planting new Gospel Communities.
- One-on-one Discipleship – Where everyone is sharing life with at least one person.
- Establish Covenant membership – Committing to church life and fulfilling the vision as a family.
Jinson also highlighted that the responsibility of fulfilling this vision of the Kingdom of God is not just upon the elders of the church, but it is the calling laid out for every follower of Jesus.
Some of you may be finding all this overwhelming?
And the questions you are asking are ….
Q: Why should I get involved in church so deeply when I have other things to focus in life?
Q: Am I not supposed to focus on my career and my Job the most?
Q: Am I not supposed to find a spouse, get married, have children & settle down in life?
Can’t I just be a regular person who comes to Church on Sunday whenever I’m free and relaxed?
Hidden behind all these smaller questions about Church is a larger question most people are asking today is “Why Church?”, Why is Church important?
In today’s sermon, I will be answering this question.
But before I begin, I want to let you know that we as leaders totally understand these struggles. We too work in corporate companies as full-time employees just as you guys and voluntarily serve in the church.
I’m not saying this to boost, but I’m saying this to let you know that we are not asking you to do anything that we are not doing.
What I’m going to share about the church today are the very reasons that motivate us to sacrifice our time and energy because of the joy and fulfilment we experience in serving God and his people.
This calling is not just for church leaders but is for each one who’ve put their faith in Christ and is his followers.
The Right picture of the Church
But, let me first start by presenting the right picture of the church.
The word ‘church’ in Greek (Yunani) is the called ‘ekklesia’ and ekklesia means ‘an assembly’ or ‘called out ones’. It is not a building or a place, but it is people.
This is important for our conversation because most people when they hear the word church the visual is of a building with a cross on it, which is a totally distorted view.
Church, is an assembly of people gathered together for a common purpose of glorifying God. And this assembly is led by a leader.
Ephesians 1:22-23 tells us that Jesus is the head of this church, this assembly.
“And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all.”
And for the assembly of Jesus followers to function well, it has to be organised well. And that’s how we get the understanding of Universal church and the Local Church. The universal church is the whole assembly of Jesus followers spread around the world, and the Local church is a unit of the universal church that operates locally.
The idea is similar to a political leader (for example Mahatma Gandhi) who gathered a group of people across the nation for a common purpose and then established offices in different regions and assigned local leaders to lead them.
Similarly, when we talk about the church – the head of the assembly is Jesus, the common purpose is bringing Glory to God’s name, the different establishments are the local churches and the elders are the leaders appointed by the head shepherd, who is Jesus, to lead God’s people towards the common goal.
Now, coming back to our question
Why Church? or
What is the purpose of the Church? or
What role does the church play in our individual lives?
To answer this question, we will look at two scripture verses out of which I will share 4 functions of the church and talk about how each of them functions contribute to our individual lives.
The first verse is Acts 2:42 where we get to see the activities that happen within the church and Matthew 28:19-20 where we look at how that transcends into the world.
Acts 2:42 – “And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.”
Matthew 28:19-20 – “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, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
1. Why Church? Because the Church helps us gather a RIGHT PERSPECTIVE ON LIFE.
Acts 2:42 gives us a description of what church life looked like for those new believers who heard Peter share the Gospel and were cut through their heart, repented of their sins and were baptized in water and in the Holy Spirit.
The first thing they did was they devoted themselves to the apostles teaching.
Brothers & sister, the world around us offers various different perspective on life, there are thousands of books available in the market that give different outlook on life.
Some will say money is the answer to all life’s problems, others will say knowledge is what liberates men, and others who say freestyle living is the answer to all emotional setbacks.
Remember that all these observations are human perspectives based on individual experiences and it is only the Bible that opens our eyes to the truth and sets us free.
2 Timothy 3:16 says “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness.”
We get the right perspective on life only in the church because it is only in the church where we are introduced and taught from the manual provided by our manufacturer God.
Moreover, the church not only addresses specific issues periodically but also increases our appetite to go back home and read and meditate on scriptures even more.
And therefore, the church is important because when we come here with an open mind to receive what’s been taught from the manual of God, the Bible, we gain enlightenment and a right perspective on life.
And therefore it is important that we pay attention to the preaching of God’s word, even if we’re not able to make to church on Sunday make sure you go back read the notes without fail.
We meditate on what’s been preached, when the scriptures convict us of sin, confess and repent to God and to a fellow brethren.
Finally, walk in obedience and change your belief’s, your lifestyle as the Spirit of God leads you.
2. Why Church? Because Church encourages us to have and maintain a RIGHT ATTITUDE TOWARDS PEOPLE.
The second thing we see the people do in Acts 2:42 is they regularly fellowshipped with each other.
If you look at history, humanity has always thrived when they’ve come together in unity. Great exploits have been recorded that proves the effects of the union of human spirits. Every being on this planet, be it social or wild, flourish when they live, share, and grow as a community.
A human being is a social being, and we like to share our feelings, happiness and sorrows with other humans. And in doing so especially within the church context helps us develop right relationships with people, not just with church folks but also with the world outside.
Through his church, Jesus joins us together in a community where we learn to love, forgive, bear with one another, encourage, help, exalt, correct, uplift, etc.
God has joined us together as a family for a purpose, and we need to see it that way. Not running away from each other but running towards each other for support and encouragement.
That is why we encourage participation in Gospel Communities and One-on-one discipleship.
When we do so, we develop a right attitude towards other people which also reflects in the way we deal with the world outside.
3. Why Church? Because Church helps build RIGHT RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD.
The thirdd activity we see in Acts 2:42 is participating in the Lord’s supper and praying together as a family helping build a healthy and right relationship with God.
We are professional forgetters, even though we’ve heard the Gospel and its implications on our personal lives a thousand times, the devil is continuously behind our back distracting us to follow a false path leading us to death.
But when we come to church and participate in the holy communion, when we gather in communities, and a have a meal, when we join hands and prayer for each other – we remember our Lord and his sacrifice on the cross for the redemption of our sins. We express our dependence on him in prayer.
All of this leads to building a right connection with God. As a result, we carry the light of Christ to every place we go.
4. Why Church? Because the Church reveals to us the RIGHT PURPOSE TO PURSUE.
We have to remind ourselves that the end goal which God is accomplishing for himself is to gather his called ones from all around the world. And it is our great privilege to be a participant in this great work.
In Matthew 28:19-20 Jesus said – “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, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
Beyond our career, our jobs, our dreams, making money & travelling the world, the truest purpose in life, for which we are all created is to serve God and to participate in his Kingdom work. Everything else is secondary.
Every one of us will find true fulfilment only when we pursue the purpose for which we are created, every other pursuit will just give us a temporary sense of satisfaction and happiness.
It is only in the church where we are made aware of our purpose and given the opportunity and direction to serve God and purse the right purpose for life.
And that is why we encourage each one of you to serve in some way or the other.
As I conclude, I hope I’ve given you enough reasons to get up from your bed every Sunday morning to come to church with joy and excitement in your heart to gain a RIGHT PERSPECTIVE ON LIFE, to develop a RIGHT A RIGHT ATTITUDE TOWARDS PEOPLE, to build a RIGHT CONNECTION WITH GOD & to PURSE THE RIGHT PURPOSE IN LIFE.