Why does it Matter? Why does the Church Matter? – Hebrews 13:17

Today is Thursday, April 23, 2020, and I am Pastor Kim Alexander and you are listening to COVID-19 Connection Series # 32

Welcome and so glad that you have joined me.

How are you today?

Announcements:

Today in the News:

Across my desk‘Experts know best, say homeschooling needs regulation, reform. I want to read sections of this article put out by Onenewsnow.com. Homeschooling Summit

NBC News – Trump says Georgia is reopening “too soon”. President Trump said he strongly disagrees with the governor of Georgia’s decision to ease social-distancing restrictions and reopen some businesses tomorrow – but stopped short of saying he would intervene.

The Washington Post reports: The bigger U.S. study of coronavirus outcomes showed that hypertension was the most common underlying condition in COVID-19 patients who died in hospitals.

The Wall Street Journal reports: The First-Ever Virtual NFL Draft kicks off tonight. Here’s how the league is pulling off the socially distanced event, the NFL draft picks will be announced from commissioner Roger Goodell’s ‘man cave’. That’s right the NFL 16 billion-dollar business will be conducted out of a home basement. It is estimated that millions of people will be watching.

CNN reports – A team of researchers from India, upon discovering a new species of green pit vipers, have decided to name the snak eafter the one, the only Salazar Slytherin (one of the founders of the Hogwart School of Witchcraft and Wizardy. Slytherin was known for his ability to talk to snakes. What makes this new snake stand out is the orange-reddish stripe found on the side of the head in males.

 

 

 

 

What do you See? – Double Take

 

 
 

Pause for Prayer:

  • Bob Ahsmuhs
  • Tom Spann
  • Terry Robinson – ALS
  • Shut-in’s
  • Governor Little and reopening Idaho
  • National revival
  • Our Christian response to COVID-19
  • That the Church would make a difference today
  • Cup of Grace
  • Personal Bible time

Today our WORD from the Lord comes from Hebrews 13:17,

   Obey those who rule over you, and be submissive, for they watch out for your souls, as those who must give account. Let them do so with joy and not with grief, for that would be unprofitable for you.

Today I want to have a word with you about: Why does it Matter? Why does the Church Matter?

What significance does a right ecclesiology have for the church today? A right ecclesiology matters for the churches leadership, membership, structure, culture, and even character. Ultimately, a right ecclesiology touches on God’s glory itself. The church is not only an institution founded by Christ; it is also His body. In it is reflected God’s own glory. How will theology, the Bible, and even God himself be known apart from the church? Remember the Church is God’s Plan A – there is NO Plan B.

If not the Church, then what community will understand and explain God’s creation and Providence to the world? How will the ravages of sin be explained, the person and the work of Christ extolled, the Holy Spirit’s saving work, and the proclamation of the second coming to coming generations if not by the church?

Getting the doctrine of the church right becomes a benefit to people, as the truth about God and his world is more correctly known, taught, and modeled. We as the people of God must know this book – the holy Bible well.

    I. This Matters for the Church’s Leadership

Centrality of Preaching in our Churches – Paul said to Timothy, “Preach the Word…” 2 Timothy 4:2

Pastors and churches today must recover the understanding that their primary role is to preach the word of God.

This must happen for the sake of the flock and for the sake of reaching those outside the flock.

The purpose of preaching God’s word to God’s people is to build up, or edify, the church, which is God’s will for the church – Ephesians 4:11-12.

Preaching helps the people of God to grow and mature in the faith – Colossians 2:7-10.

Preaching allows us to get a biblical perspective of church discipline – Matthew 18; 2 Corinthians 5.

Congregations are better fed and healthier, and then they become better witnesses in their community. Don’t you ever say, “I just don’t feel like I’m being fed at that church.”

The Importance of Believer’s Baptism and Believer’s Communion

God’s spirit creates believers through the preaching and the hearing of the word (Romans 10:17), yet God also intends for those believers to be collected together in a congregation that is pure and protected.

  • Saved – I have been converted
  • Baptized
  • Partaking of the Lord’s supper
  • Healthy intake of God’s word
  • Being witnesses to the community
  • Leaving a lasting legacy

Hebrews 13:17 promises that leaders will give an account for those under their charge. Don’t make it difficult for a spiritual leader to care for your soul.

   II. his Matters for the Church’s Membership

A right ecclesiology also has implications for church membership. Therefore, the reason for the requirement for membership should be widely and clearly understood. Here at SLBC we require all perspective members to participate in our Membership 101 Class. My desire is for you to know everything about us. But I also want to hear your own testimony of how you came to faith in Christ. Membership class protects the church from having people join us without ever having been truly born again. Many churches care less about a saved membership. We are not one of them.

Why Join a Church?

Most evangelical Christians today seem to treat their church as one more thing to help out their Christian life, perhaps along with Bible study, Christian music, books, retreat, and keeping a Journal. Today is the age of the Buffet Church. One author calls these Christians, “The Fellowship of the Fickle Floaters.” Many Christians conceives of his or her spiritual life as fundamentally one’s own business, managed by selecting among various helps. This approach contrasts an older and more biblical way of thinking about the Christian life that is congregationally shaped, where the demands of the gospel are made concrete in a particular local church.

This is why you will hear me say:

  • Hatched – birth
  • Matched – marriage
  • Dispatched – funeral

The local church provides you everything from the cradle to the grave.

Being a member of a local church should be made to seem normal for Christians. Life lived in regular love, fellowship, and accountability make the gospel clear to the world. Jesus said that Christians love for one another would enable the world to recognize Christians as those who follow Christ – John 13:34-35

  • Church membership actually activates congregational evangelism. Share the Good News.
  • Church membership helps one clearly understand their own assurance of Salvation – 1 John 4:11-13
  • Church membership is good for the weak Christian because it brings them to a place of feeding and accountability.
  • Committed church membership is also good for the leaders of the church.
  • Church membership is required for God’s work to go forward. How is a leader supposed to care for sheep if he has no idea who his sheep are?
  • Church membership is required to receive the gifts that God gives them in their leaders.
  • Church membership actually glorifies God as Christians gather together to form the body of Christ, his characters reflected and expressed.

Recovering this understanding of church membership should be one of the chief desires of congregations today. Do you love your Church?

What are the Requirements?

The idea that membership in a local church should only require a profession of faith in Christ is an ideal that is both common and destructive in the life and witness of the church. Historically, Baptist have realized that any profession of faith should be tried and deemed as credible. After all, a saving profession of faith includes repentance. A Christian life will be revealed not only by participation in baptism and the Lord Supper, but also by regular attendance at a congregation gathering and a submission to the discipline of the congregation. This includes regularly praying for the congregation and tithing. Every congregation has the responsibility for deciding what membership standards are appropriate for its own church.

   III. This Matters for the Church’s Structure

Americans do not distinguish authority, which is something good, from authoritarianism, which is something bad.

A lot of Christians are dealing with inward rebellion. This has been made vary obvious to me during our quarantine time. If you are one of them, I would ask that you ready do some soul searching. Rebellion in the heart is not good for the believer.

God Instituted Church Leadership Structure

God has also placed leaders within the body to teach, give direction and guidance, be examples, and make decisions. Exercising trust in almost every sphere, whether marriage, family, work, the state, or the church, is for the Christians ultimately a reflection of trust in God

Rejecting leadership deprives the Church of Christ gift, improvises the body, and hinders the church in its life and work. The polity of the church is like the prongs of a ring which hold the precious treasure of the gospel. Comparatively unimportant, its purpose in role is to secure that which is most important.

While the most biblically structured congregation will make mistakes, the nearer a church polity gets to the recognizing the biblical responsibility held by the pastor and the congregation, the better protected and prepared the congregation is for the storms that inevitably come to all churches in this fallen world.

   IV. This Matters for the Church’s Culture

Not only are matters of leadership, membership, and formal structure affected by a doctrine of the church, so too are matters of church culture.

Culture of Discipling in the Church

Matthew 4:19 – The He said to them, “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.”

It has been said that the soundness of a church is greatly improved when the congregation cultivates a culture of discipleship and growth in which individual Christian growth is normal, not exceptional.

My heart as a pastor is DISCIPLESHIP. All of us taking on the heartbeat of Jesus Christ.

One indicator of growth, moreover, is an increasing level of concern for the spiritual state of others. A concern for others should include non-Christians around the world (thus an emphasis on missions), in the congregation’s own local area (thus an emphasis on evangelism), and especially for other members of the congregation (thus an emphasis on discipling one another). A culture of discipling, evangelism, and missions best encourages the church to be what God is made it to be – a reflection of his own character.

Disciples produce disciples!

Current Challenge of Nominalism

One of the biggest problems we’re facing in the church today is a growing nominalism.

Nominalism defined by P.K. – Knowing truth and refusing to live it out. As if truth doesn’t really exist. English definition for nominalism – Anti-reality.

Congregation after congregation is marked by membership rolls filled with nonattending members.

You may ask a Pastor how many people attend his church, and he will often respond by sharing with you the number of people that are on his membership roll. But I know for a fact that a church can have a large membership roll and many of them never attend, or are sporadic in their attendance. Sometimes they are called C&E Christians – Christmas and Easter Christians.

I want to deal with this topic again tomorrow. Where we will look at the answer to nominalism?

Another large problem that we see within the church today is that too many believers their lives indistinct from non-believers around them. It’s just plain hard to tell who is and who isn’t a Christian.

Both nominalism and living indistinct from those who are unsaved is what dulls and undercuts Christian evangelism; it pushes the church and individual Christians towards disillusionment, apathetic discouragement, or division; and ultimately it dishonors God. This has just got to stop. God’s people must stand up and be accounted for.

Question: If you were arrested for being a Christian would there be enough evidence to convict you?

What part of TRANFORMATION/NEW CREATION do we not get? 2 Corinthians 5:17

I want to challenge you as a believer not to be satisfied with the status quo.  Don’t allow your life to be nominal. Your life and my life have been transformed by the power of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Therefore, we must make a difference in this world while we are alive. We have been called, like David, to SERVE our generation well (Acts 13:36).

How important is the CHURCH in your life? Are you just an attender, or have you stepped up and taken OWNERSHIP?

As I bring this to a close remember, I’m in touch so you be in touch. Get connected with your SLBC Church family. Pray for, call, send out a postcard. Let your Church Family KNOW that you are thinking of them

And as Dr. Robert Cook from the King’s College used to say as he brought his daily radio broadcast to a close, “Walk with the King today and be a blessing.”
 
Please remember that this material is taken from The Church by Pastor Mark Dever.