Sermon Follow Up - Week 50, 2022December 11, 2022 Sermon Application
TWO GUIDING QUESTIONS DURING THIS SERMON SERIES
Are you growing in the knowledge of God?
Are you growing in loving God and loving people?
What do we believe about the church? This has always been an important question to answer, but today it’s just absolutely vital. The idea of church for many, if not an antiquated idea that needs to just pass away, is that it’s generally optional and unneeded. Thirteen years ago, Kevin DeYoung tried to put in plain words the cultural view of the church was at that time:
Community is hip, but the church is lame. Both inside the church and out, organized religion is seen as oppressive, irrelevant, and a waste of time. Outsiders like Jesus but not the church. Insiders have been told they can do just fine with God apart from the church.” – Kevin DeYoung, (Why We Love the Church)
Many have their own view of the church, including those who are in the church. But the question we're in need of considering isn't first "what is your view of the church," but...What is God’s view of the church? And then consider if our view resembles his.
“Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood.” (Acts 20:28 ESV)
GOD VIEWS THE CHURCH AS THE OBJECT OF HIS LOVE.
- What could be more telling of his love than the truth that God obtained the church with His own blood! “Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15:13 ESV)
- Who specifically is this church that God loves and obtained with his own blood?
The universal church is the true, worshipping community of God’s people, composed of all the elect from all time. Throughout salvation history, God by his Word and Spirit has been calling sinful people out of the whole human race to create a new redeemed humanity, whom Christ purchased with his blood. With the giving of the Spirit at Pentecost, God’s people were reconstituted as his new covenant church, in continuity with the old covenant people of God but now brought to fulfillment by the work of Christ. All of God’s people are united in one body—with Christ as the supreme, sustaining, and life-giving head—and set apart for God’s own possession and purposes (Sovereign Grace Churches Statement of Faith, Section 12)
As an expression of Christ’s universal church, the local church is the focal point of God’s plan to mature his people and save sinners (Sovereign Grace Churches Statement of Faith, Section 12).
We don’t just gather on Sunday mornings and Wednesday nights because it’s something on our calendar but because the only wise, ever present, all-knowing, all-powerful, unchanging, holy, good, faithful, sovereign, just, merciful, loving, gracious, patient, eternal, supreme, Creator God obtained THIS church by spilling His blood for us! God LOVES Sovereign Grace Church Dayton!! God is pleased when we gather united in this location to grow in our love for Him and to glorify Him! Jesus died to obtain that!
- What makes up a local church?
Standing over all the other important messages that we stand firmly on, is the one, vital message that we want more than anything to be known for…the grace-soaked message of the pure gospel of Jesus Christ. It is this message that is the power of God for salvation for all who trust in Christ. We sing of Christ, we pray to Christ, we trust in Christ, and we proclaim Christ and him crucified.
[The church does not]…consist of three guys drinking pumpkin spiced lattes at Starbucks talking about the spirituality of the Violent Femmes and why Sex and the City is really profound. [The local church is one] that meets – wherever you want it to meet – but exults in the cross of Christ; sings songs to a holy and loving God; has church [leaders], good preaching, celebrates the sacraments, exercises discipline; and takes an offering. …a church that combines freedom and form in corporate worship, has old people and young, artsy types and NASCAR junkies, seekers and stalwarts, and probably has bulletins and by-laws. – Kevin DeYoung (Why We Love the Church)
if we understand the implications of Acts 20:28, Christ died on the cross, not just to add us to the universal church as individuals going our own way until we get to heaven, but he died on the cross to add us to local churches – to local manifestations of the universal church that proclaim one primary message with grace and truth. He shed his blood not to save us so we would remain isolated from one another, but to save us INTO a community of believers called the body of Christ.
Therefore, all Christians are to join themselves as committed members to a specific local church (Sovereign Grace Churches Statement of Faith, Section 12).
GOD VIEWS THE CHURCH AS THE SETTING FOR HIS CARE.
There is an assumption that this text reveals about believers. It’s the fact that we, as the church of God, bought with the precious blood of Christ, need care! We are not self-sufficient. We need help!
- God shows us his care through Pastoral care
Christ has given the offices of elder and deacon to the church. Elders occupy the sole office of governance and are called to teach, oversee, care for, and protect the flock entrusted to them by the Lord. Deacons provide for the various needs of the church through acts of service. God gives these and other people as gifts to serve and equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ. (Sovereign Grace Churches Statement of Faith, Section 12).
- God shows us his care through each other.
“And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, 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.” (Hebrews 10:24–25 ESV)
According to this verse one of the means to do this is to meet together. Certainly, this “meeting together” includes doing so in homes and coffee shops but throughout God’s word, God’s people have always gathered together, as our Statement of Faith says…
… for the teaching of the Word, prayer, the sacraments, congregational singing, fellowship, and mutual edification through the exercise of spiritual gifts (Sovereign Grace Churches Statement of Faith, Section 12)..
We gather to rejoice, to celebrate the gospel together, to enjoy one another, to encourage one another, to sing with each other to our Lord, to pray, to hear the word preached, to enjoy the gifts of baptism and the Lord’s Supper that the Lord Jesus himself instituted. And we do so week after week, and sometimes day after day, to grow together in dependence on our Lord, to care for each other, and to protect one another from our tendency to grow hardened to the things of God. As we gather, the Holy Spirit utilizes the manifold gifts he has given to the church for the church to be built up and strengthened.
Grow in Loving the Local Church
- Grow in making the Local Church a Primary Priority in your life. Prioritize attendance at what this local church provides. Sundays, Wednesdays, men’s groups, women’s groups.
- Consider how you might serve one another. The needs are plentiful…from kitchen help to greeters to nursery workers…there are plenty of ways to serve together and to serve each other.
- Consider how you might grow in looking across at another person here you don’t know well and get to know them. Each of us have stories that are rich with wonder and difficulty, pain, sorrow, and rejoicing. And we have been loved and redeemed by God.
- And as you get to know each other, consider how you might pray for one another when you’re together, when you’re in your prayer closet, when you’re at work or school or at play. Wear each other on your heart.
- Consider how you might grow in being hospitable to one another, sharing lives, playing together, and enjoy meals together.
How patiently and lovingly might we interact with one another even in the middle of significant disagreement or difficulty if we would only recall that each of us are loved and purchased in mercy and love by our gracious God.
Know that God’s Purpose for the Church is Clear.
Our mission statement echoes the last portion of our statement of faith regarding the purpose and mission of the church when we say this:
We exist to glorify God by maturing and multiplying disciples (followers of Jesus) who enjoy, declare, and display the good news of Jesus Christ for the joy of all peoples.
We are part of something eternal here.
- By the Spirit and the Word of God we are being transformed into the image of Jesus together.
- Our message is the gospel of Jesus Christ, and it is this message that we want to share unceasingly with both grace and truth.
- We can be assured that as we proclaim the gospel of Jesus, that some will come to believe, and we will have the privilege to take them deeper into the glories of Jesus even as we continue in the same.
- We can be assured that as dark as the days around us may get, the Lord promises to build, guide, and preserve those whom he obtained by his own blood to the end of the age.
- We can be assured that on that day when Jesus returns, he will complete that which he began and gather the church from every tribe, every tongue, and nation as a people for his own possession to dwell with forever and ever.
SGC Dayton is an imperfect place made up of imperfect people that point each other to the perfect Savior in imperfect ways through the perfect word of God in the power of the Spirit.
And it’s just simply glorious!
Sermon by C.H. Spurgeon - The Best Donation - Consider taking time to read this full sermon for your encouragement this week (below are two excerpts...)
- "I remember the difficulty that I had, when I was converted, and wished to join the Christian church in the place where I lived. I called upon the minister four successive days before I could see him; each time there was some obstacle in the way of an interview; and as I could not see him at all, I wrote and told him that I would go down to the church-meeting, and propose myself as a member. He looked upon me as a strange character, but I meant what I said; for I felt that I could not be happy without fellowship with the people of God. I wanted to be wherever they were; and if anybody ridiculed them, I wished to be ridiculed with them; and if people had an ugly name for them, I wanted to be called by that ugly name; for I felt that unless I suffered with Christ in his humiliation, I could not expect to reign with him in his glory."
- "You that are members of the church have not found it perfect, and I hope that you feel almost glad that you have not. If I had never joined a church till I had found one that was perfect, I should never have joined one at all; and the moment I did join it, if I had found one, I should have spoiled it, for it would not have been a perfect church after I had become a member of it. Still, imperfect as it is, it is the dearest place on earth to us."
PREPARATION FOR NEXT SUNDAY
Familiarize yourself with the following song...
Light of the World (Sing Hallelujah)