A Series of Messages on What a Church IS and DOES
July 18, 2021 AM
Pastor Craig Ledbetter
Bible Baptist Church, Ballincollig, Cork, Ireland
I. Introduction (Ephesians 4:11-16)
A. A real church gets its instructions on how to BE a real church from the Bible
1. We find out what we are and what we are supposed to be doing from THIS Book
2. The Bible is our only pattern that we follow
B. This morning I want us to see how we are to treat people in a church…
1. Ephesians 4:11 And he [JESUS] gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;
2. Ephesians 4:12 [WHY?] For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:
3. Ephesians 4:13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:
4. Ephesians 4:14 That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;
5. Ephesians 4:15 But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:
6. Ephesians 4:16 From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase OF THE BODY unto the edifying of itself in love.
C. Did you notice four things?
1. God refers to something called “a perfect man”, “the body of Christ”, “the whole body”
2. Every part of a body is supposed to be supplying the needs of the rest of the body
3. That every part of this “body”, when doing ITS part, makes for growth and increase of the entire body
4. And the body is supposed to edify itself in love – build, improve, mature it
D. So, God compares an assembly of believers, to “a body” – no matter how small
1. Last time, I showed you God compares a church to a Temple - a place for worship
2. This morning, we will learn a church is like a Body / a group that acts as one, acting and reacting just as Jesus would if He was still here on earth (Colossians 1:23,24) If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven; whereof I Paul am made a minister; Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for his body's sake, which is the church
3. Jesus starts with just 2 or 3 people, and calls them His body on earth
a. People tend to notice big church buildings, and large crowds of worshippers
b. But don’t notice
just 2 or 3 believers gathered together in Christ’s name.
Jesus notices those 2 or 3, and if their assembly has the right characteristics, it is a church! Even though it is small
1) A human body, no matter how small, is stall a human body
2) It has many parts, but is still one whole body
3) So is a church!
E. Therefore, We born again believers represent the body of Jesus Christ alive and active on earth today
F. And more than that, we are connected (1Corinthians 12:26) And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it.
G. So, How are we treating each other?
II. Some Hard Truths
A. Not every church is actually a church
1. Just because a group of people who gather for religious exercises and is accepted as a church to the government, and to society… does not mean they are actually what Jesus started 2,000 years ago in Matthew 16:18 “I will build MY church”
2. But only born again believers in Christ, committed to other believers as a body are a church – that is what Jesus saved us to be – His BODY in the world, today
3. Remember last week’s definition of ekklesia - an group of people, called away from their work, from family, from sleep, from busyness, from problems, from the world… to assemble together, with the goal of becoming like Jesus
B. Not every Christian is a member of a local church body (Acts 2:46,47)
1. For many Christians, just being saved from hell is enough for them – they desire nothing more than a free ticket to heaven
2. Very few Christians know that God places believers into “a local body of believers” that they can assemble with and be a church
3. Acts 2:46,47 And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart, Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.
4. Are you just sitting and watching, or a member, knit-together with other believers
5. Ephesians 4:16 From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase OF THE BODY unto the edifying of itself in love.
C. And not every Christian cares for other Christians like Jesus intended them to
1. Leaders are guilty of fleecing their flock instead of feeding them – like wolves
2. Individual Christians mistreat each other horribly (Galatians 5:13-15)
a. Galatians 5:13 For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.
b. Galatians 5:14 For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
c. Galatians 5:15 But if ye bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not consumed one of another.
3. Disrespectful, fault-finding, critical of one another, stand-offish, not committed to building each other up in faith and faithfulness
D. We are SUPPOSED to live and act like JESUS would if He were here today
A. It All begins With a Choice (Romans 12:1,2) It always does!
1. Romans 12:1,2 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
2. “Be not Conformed” means, do not allow this world to press you into an image it wants us to be
a. That is how 99% of people live – according to the pressures & opinions of others
b. That’s why the world uses the word FASHION (to SHAPE someone’s life) to describe clothes people should wear, hairstyles people should have, tattoos people should get, cars people should buy, and drugs people should take
3. Instead choose to be transformed from the inside out starting with new birth
a. No one can transform themselves – we need a Saviour on the inside - Jesus
b. The Bible says, at the moment of salvation, We have passed from death unto life; We have changed destinations, from hell, to heaven now - AMEN
c. But more than that… the Bible says We are different than we used to be – not perfect, but changed / transformed on the inside
4. So, Paul begs, pleads, and reasons with us in chapter 12 to LIVE THAT transformed life on the outside – a life sacrificed to the will and work of God here and now, in the midst of this world today!
a. The Christian life is a life lived like Jesus would live if He were in your shoes, in your home, at your work, in your school, at your shop, or office!
b. 1Corinthians 6:19 What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?
c. 1Corinthians 6:20 For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's.
5. Why? All because of God’s mercies towards us, His grace towards you and me, personally paying off all our sin-debts, and inviting us to repent and turn to Him to receive such forgiveness, and a NEW life! Remember that… a new life!
B. Summary so far…
1. Everyone who is saved, has been transformed into a new life
2. We should not live according to the fears and fashions of this world
3. But, We should live that new life no matter the cost… Amen? Amen!
C. Christians Are Part of Something Bigger Than Themselves
1. Every born again believer is part of something bigger than themselves
a. For most of our lives, people yearn to be part of something big and powerful…
b. Like Religious crowds, rock music crowds, shopping crowds
2. Every believer is part of the body of Jesus Christ (Romans 12:3-5)
a. According to 2Corinthians 5:17, We are no longing living in our sins, we are living IN Jesus Christ’s LIFE… Therefore if any man BE IN CHRIST, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
b. Romans 12:3 For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.
c. Romans 12:4 For as we have many members in one [HUMAN] body, and all members have not the same office: [FUNCTION]
d. Romans 12:5 So we [BELIEVERS], being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.
e. 1Corinthians 12:27 Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.
1) Some are toes - Some are fingers - Some hands - Some eyes - Some are ears
2) Don’t be arrogant & imagine you and I are more important than we really are
3) We each have our God given function
4) And we all are part of an assembled body – the body of Christ Jesus!
3. So, each person who is saved, is part of one body of believers – a huge church; Christ’s church – throughout all time (Ephesians 1:19-23)
a. Ephesians 1:19 …And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power,
b. Ephesians 1:20 Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places,
c. Ephesians 1:21 Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come:
d. Ephesians 1:22,23 And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.
e. THAT is the Church that Jesus is building today!
4. How did we get into the body of Christ? (2Corinthians 12:12,13)
a. By receiving Jesus into our life, that is when He received US into His life!
b. The Holy Spirit of God put us in there, the moment when we got born again!
c. 1Corinthians 12:12 For as the [HUMAN] body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ. [GRAPHIC of HUMAN BODY]
d. 1Corinthians 12:13 For by one Spirit [THE HOLY SPIRIT] are we all baptized [PLACED] into one body [CHRIST’S BODY], whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.
5. The body of Christ is big enough to hold every believer, everywhere, throughout all time! And will assemble together one day as one glorious church
6. But THAT church is not assembled yet. Not yet. We will be all together one day soon in heaven – (described more in Hebrews 12)
7. So, until we all arrive to heaven, God calls us believers, to assemble here, whenever possible, especially on the First Day of the week, together, locally as a BODY of believers – a church!
a. Like a school body assembles in the morning before classes begin
b. Like a sports body assembles to play a match – as a team
c. So also is A CHURCH
1) In other words, we are not just people who claim to follow Jesus who go our separate ways – No!
2) We are people who have sacrificed our plans, our schedules, our lives so that we can link together with other believers into one unit, one group, with one heart and one mind, to represent Jesus Christ in our community as a church, and to turn our world upside down!
d. In the business world, when people get together to make or sell a product it is called a Company, a Corporation
e. In God’s world, it is called a CHURCH
D. We Are All Gifted with Spiritual Abilities (Romans 12:6-8)
1. Romans 12:6 Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith;
2. Romans 12:7 Or ministry, let us wait on our ministering: or he that teacheth, on teaching;
3. Romans 12:8 Or he that exhorteth, on exhortation: he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness.
4. We have all been specially, spiritually, supernaturally gifted to do a special function in a church – my hand has a calling, as does my feet and my ears
5. God gave to every church Seven gifts that edify the entire Body of believers
6. Look at that list of gifting… (I love this list)
a. Prophecy – preaching from the Bible & reminding each other what God said do
1) Pastors, evangelists and Missionaries have this gift
2) So do many others who are afraid to use that gift
3) Speak up for God, from pulpits and in coffee shops
b. Ministry – serving the needs of one another to the lowest level
1) All of us are commanded to humble ourselves and SERVE each other
2) But some, more than others – they have the gift of serving, and carrying people’s burdens
c. Teaching – patiently explaining what God’s word says and means
d. Exhorting – encouraging each other – so much criticism, when people need some hope, and comfort
e. Giving – making sure everyone has enough money / supplies to meet the need
1) Many Christians think God has blessed them with large amounts of money simply for their own benefit
2) But some Christians are blessed so that they can give it away
f. Ruling – management, and decision-making of the entire body of believers
1) Some of you are great with planning, and directing
2) You have run a business, coached a sports club
3) That is the gift of management and ruling
4) The question is, why only use it on this world, and miss out on serving the Lord’s body of believers?
g. Mercy – showing kindness to the body, in an angry world
1) Probably THE most important of all spiritual gifts
2) The ability to show mercy, and kindness to people who don’t deserve it
7. Not only has God saved you and me, but he has gifted every one of us for a high purpose
a. To serve in this church using one of those abilities!
b. To minister to and help and care for the body of Christ here on earth today
A. How? How are the Members Supposed to Treat Each Other? (Romans 12:9-16)
B. It is a big list! And it is what it means to BE in the body!
1. Everyone who is saved, is transformed into a new life
2. We should all live that new life no matter the cost – a living sacrifice
3. Everyone who is saved throughout all time, is part of one body of believers – a huge church; Christ’s church
4. Each believer is supposed to assemble and be a member of a local church, linking together with other believers, to live and act as one body
5. Each member is gifted to serve in their church, taking care of each other, as Christ’s body
6. ALL THAT and more is how the Body of believers treats itself
B. Are you a member of this body of believers?
1. Being part of a church is a lot of work
2. Not everyone who is sitting in a church is actually part of that church
3. Are you a member of this church? Do you like what you see?
4. Are you even qualified to be a member of this church?
5. Sitting in a chair in a building does not make you a Christian, nor a Church Member
6. Everyone is welcome to come and see, and hear and learn and test what they hear
7. But there are people who will have spent years in a church, and will miss heaven
8. Don’t be that one who stays at a distance – not from us, but from Jesus Christ who loves you and wants you and will save you if you just ask Him today!
9. You have got to be born again & decide to follow THE Pattern of life found in Jesus
10. And then you have to ask to become a member - Talk to me after the service
C. Are you serving in this church? Or just a spectator?
D. I plead with you
like Paul did in Romans 12:1,2… present yourselves, a living sacrifice, to serve!