Archive for June 2011

Why Church? Part 2

Why Church? Part 2

“Is the Church An old rusty machine that we are trying to crank up for another generation? Or THE REASON for all Creation? The Glorious Church?” (Sibs Sibanda)

 1.     What did Paul think?

  • Paul gets a bad reputation amongst Christians and non-Christians alike. So what did this alleged misogynistic, hyper-hierarchical, over-organiser think about the church:
  • Eph 3
  • Although I am less than the least of all the Lord’s people, this grace was given me: to preach to the Gentiles the boundless riches of Christ, 9 and to make plain to everyone the administration of this mystery, which for ages past was kept hidden in God, who created all things. 10 His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms, 11 according to his eternal purpose that he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord.
  • If anything Paul only adds volume to the glorious vision Jesus set his disciples.
  • Earlier in Eph 2 this is what Paul says about Jesus and his church:
  • 19 Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household, 20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. 21 In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. 22 And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.
  • To summarise last time and intro this month:
  • What I hope we can take from this is that Jesus saw the church for what it is = people, who he had called out and who he would die for and who he would build more people on top of and who would love each other and the world they are in.
  • That the early church did what is natural and not ungodly, they got organised as the needs of people dictated it.
  • What Paul does is add some grandeur and beauty to the purpose of the church – he raises the bar as we’ll see, he also adds some more organisation, but people are the focus and Jesus is the focus and none of that will be anti the spirit of what Jesus had in mind.
  • Paul doesn’t seek to change the church idea that Jesus presented.
  • Paul just focuses in on the church in a more detailed way than Jesus.
  • For example: 1 Cor 14
  • If we take this 1 chapter as a good example of the way Paul is different from Jesus what we find is that Paul did not add flavour or ingredients but he gave a more detailed recipe!!
  • Jesus came to seek and save the lost, he ascended afer 33 years mission accomplished, but he let others get on with establishing a body that had him as the cornerstone, centrepiece, who worshipped him, followed him, knew the life giving grace that only he and his cross could provide.
  • THEN Jesus grabs Paul on the Damascus road, blinds him, converts him, restores his sight, send him to preach the very gospel he’d been trying to kill off and causes him to write half the NT with a more detailed recipe for how the church is to look.
  • So in our on-going “spot the difference” between Jesus and Paul:
  • Paul’s main themes in 1 Cor 14 are do things in church that blesses others more than trying to look good yourselves.
  • THAT IS NOT THAT DIFFERENT FROM JOHN 2 where Jesus clears out the temple and starts to clear out selfish religion to eventually replace it with Christ centred selfless family called the church.
  • See Paul is arguing in 1 Cor 14 with a bunch of Christians who want to preform special languages to prove how godly and great they are and who by so doing are alienating each other and visitors.
  • Paul says, no, this is not on.
  • He lists a load of requirements and these can make him seem organised, regulatory, rules focused, hierarchical: all the things we say Jesus wasn’t.
  • The truth is, Jesus was just as strong – if not stronger with an equivalent selfishness that he sees and is recorded in John 2.
  • Paul says don’t give a tongue without an interpretation.
  • Jesus says, I’m going to turn your table over and cause a real mess rather than let you sell one more pigeon in the house of God!!!!
  • What is behind it all, a desire for a people who would put God first.
  • An immediate outworking of putting God first is the second greatest commandment.
  • Love your neighbour as yourself.
  • Paul says in 1 Cor 14 – uninterpreted tongues mean you are not putting God first because you are not loving your neighbour as yourself.
  • So Paul raises the bar of what the church is in places like Eph 2 &3, by focussing it all on Jesus as the head, the cornerstone, the one who the church is for
  • He then says – and this is more detail to the recipe, this is how we act like the body that has Jesus as its head, cornerstone and the one who it is all for.
  • See Paul talks about giving money, about serving each other, about working hard, about loyalty, about leadership, about denying ourselves and about marriage and what family should look like.
  • Jesus talked about all of those things as well.
  • This “spot the LACK OF difference” campaign that I’m running is on-going because I’m convinced it is still question that is out there, people are asking it: essentially they think Jesus was cuddly and Paul was an animal!

2.     So what is church? 

  • A community that was launched by Jesus with community and outreach and care in it’s DNA
  • It centred on Jesus and worship of him
  • It centred on the cross
  • It loved each other in community and loved the poor, the world around them
  • It was generous
  • It wasn’t perfect
  • THEY didn’t need buildings but used them!!
  • They valued the Holy Spirit and His gifts, again in community etc
  • A real comminty that knew each other, helped each other, stuck by each other, thought the best of each other – put others best before their own needs
  • It wasn’t enough to be a Christian – being a Christian meant you were now part of a local body of family members who looked after each other.
  • It suffered together
  • It faced problems, dealt with sin, embraced serving leadership, Spirit filled worship, bible based teaching and applied it to their lives.
  • The church was brilliant
  • The church is brilliant!!
  • Why Church? Is a question I sometimes ask myself but from a pastor’s perspective
  • Why do I keep doing it?
  • I might find a more respectable career
  • I wouldn’t get the stigma of looking like I don’t do anything apart from on Sundays
  • I hear stories of how churches treat each other and treat their leaders and I get scared of the same kind of treatment.
  • Pastors and wives who cry for months because of the hurt done to them.
  • Why do we do church?
  • Cos we love Jesus
  • Cos we love the church.
  • I love what he wants the church to become and a lot of what inspires me about the church is in Paul’s words:
  • Its job is to display the multifaceted wisdom of God!! WOW !! what a church, what a people!!
  • I also love what the church is now
  • The church in the NT was NOT perfect, people were lying and dying for lying
  • Yet we look at the same chapters in Acts and say, “Wow, would love to have been there” THAT CHURCH WAS REAL, AWESOME
  • It was real, it was really imperfect!!
  • Same as our version today
  • Our global church is then represented by local churches like Silklife Church
  • Not perfect but brilliant
  • I love the church and what it will become and I love Silklife Church and what it has already become and loving the church means loving the people who ARE already the church here
  • In turn this means we can say with confidence that the people of Silklife Church are not perfect but they are brilliant and I love ‘em!

Posted June 8, 2011 by silklifechurch in Leadership