Today’s message summary of August 6, 2017 from Pastor Gus Brown:
The church is a place of assembly where God calls His people together for a common goal and purpose.
The church is not just the pastor, elders or deacons are doing all of the work. It is a mindset that prevails where the people come together as a group under the power of the Holy Spirit. Everyone comes together in this way in order to have a greater impact within the community.
The church is critical for the survival of many people. In nations where people and children are starving, the church steps forward to help those who are in need. It is the benevolence of the people within the church, led by Jesus Christ, that helps to take care of “His sheep.”
The church is on a decline not because of witness but because many are failing to live in a Christlike manner. God does not live to serve us–we live to serve Him.
It is important to remember that Jesus Christ is sufficient for us. All he requires of us is to have faith in Him. He prevails for us and we will not be defeated as we trust in Him.
And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the forces of Hades will not overpower it.
How many of you believe that God’s church is going to prevail? Jesus Christ has already prevailed and won the battle, but that doesn’t mean that you relax from participation in the church. You are to keep after it in spite of the opposition that Satan will put in front of you.
Oswald Sanders says, “the overriding need of the church is to discharge its obligation to raising up generations for leadership that is authoritative, spiritual and sacrificial.”
The church must prevail. The world cannot defeat the church.
1 Peter 2:1-5
Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice, all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and all slander. Like newborn infants, desire the pure milk of the word, so that you may grow up into your salvation, if you have tasted that the Lord is good. As you come to him, a living stone—rejected by people but chosen and honored by God—you yourselves, as living stones, a spiritual house, are being built to be a holy priesthood to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.
We are like living stones that are being built into a spiritual house. Our sacrifice is in our work for Him. We don’t sacrifice because we don’t know Jesus Christ, but we do it because we do know Him, and desire to serve Him.
Our present church struggles with the equipping and training of younger people in order that they can get ready to serve.
The church has a challenge also in how often it can teach or instruct our youth in comparison to what the world teaches them. Only God can be the one to prevail over this situation. Collectively, we will prevail as we trust in Him.
I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth is already bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth is already loosed in heaven.
The word “key” stands for knowledge. The keys of the kingdom are truth. Scribes, or teachers of the Word of God would wear a key on his belt to symbolize the truth that he held (truth of the gospel).
The church is meant for all people to come and worship. The church needs to mirror the population of the surrounding community.
While He was reclining at the table in the house, many tax collectors and sinners came as guests to eat with Jesus and His disciples. When the Pharisees saw this, they asked His disciples, “Why does your Teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” But when He heard this, He said, “Those who are well don’t need a doctor, but the sick do. Go and learn what this means: I desire mercy and not sacrifice. For I didn’t come to call the righteous, but sinners.”
Walt Disney had a vision about EPCOT before it was created. EPCOT stands for Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow. He had a vision for this when he purchased the land for what is now Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida. He purchased 47 square miles of Florida wilderness to build it.
Others believed that Walt’s vision was such a fantasy that it could not possibly be realized. There were company managers that went behind his back and referred to his dream as “Waltopia.” The word “utopia” is a Greek word that means “no place.”
After his death in 1966, his successors didn’t know how to proceed with EPCOT. Company executives who lacked Walt’s ability to see beyond proven formulas retreated to a more conventional concept. The new president of Disney said EPCOT was now being reconsidered from the point of view of economics, operations, technology and market potential…not one’s imagination.
Note the reference to economics here. What is the first thing that often comes up in the church? Economics! Money! What we need to consider here is what God wants to accomplish. Money is a vehicle, for sure, but God determines the success of the endeavor.
Operations: God desires for His church to move forward. He does not want it to stand still.
Walt’s plan actually also included churches within its community where people actually would live and be there for several days…and also worship in the church while they were there!
You never want to stop using the imagination that God is giving you. Walt’s vision for Disney World and EPCOT is the same type of vision that we should also have for the church.
“Do not quench your inspiration and your imagination; do not become the slave of your model.”
–Vincent Van Gogh
A church model is just that–a model. It still must conform to the community around it, but keep in mind that God also may take you further than where you are.
The church is an assembly of a priesthood of believers.
1 Peter 2:9
But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for His possession, so that you may proclaim the praises of the One who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.
Your purpose, in this royal priesthood, is to declare the praises of Him and to stand and be ready for service–to meet His call and His desire to you to live for Him. You belong to God and your purpose is to praise Him wherever you go!
The church has a purpose, as well.
Now I rejoice in my sufferings for you, and I am completing in my flesh what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for his body, that is, the church. I have become its servant, according to God’s commission that was given to me for you, to make the word of God fully known, the mystery hidden for ages and generations but now revealed to his saints. God wanted to make known among the Gentiles the glorious wealth of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. We proclaim him, warning and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone mature in Christ. I labor for this, striving with his strength that works powerfully in me.
We are to act like Jesus.
For those He foreknew He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brothers.
Church is to have a cultural influence.
Church helps to transform people through its teaching.
Church holds to the practice of the values of Jesus Christ.