Defining the Church
The Church is a Noun, Verb and Adjective / Acts 2:42–47
The church exists to live the incredible hope and share the incredible hope found in Christ. We make that hope visible and possible.
What you will hear through this series is not as much of an “I” or “you” but a “we”
Stanley Hauerwas said that “first social task of the church is to be the church”
The center of the church is the Gospel. It is Jesus Christ. If it is anything else then it ceases to be the church.
If Christ is in the center then everything we do as a collected community forms around that.
• We all live with this desire for something more. Specifically we as humans created in Gods image desire two big picture things
• 1. We do everything we can to fill that desire. We are working toward a picture of the flourishing life
• 2. We all live with a desire to be connected to someone else.
• God has made Himself known, He has condescended to us. God has shown us what relationships look like and has called us to live lives of reconciliation
• God responds to the human condition and meets us there to free us from sin and allows us to live better lives on the earth.
Acts 2:42 ESV
And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.
• We are a storied people. Meaning that the way that we understand meaning and the way that we make meaning is through story.
Stanley Hauerwas defines the church as the place “where the stories of Israel and Jesus are told, enacted, and heard.”
Acts 2:46–47 ESV
And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.
• We are called the body:
• We are called the bride of Christ
Revelation 21:9 ESV
Then came one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues and spoke to me, saying, “Come, I will show you the Bride, the wife of the Lamb.”
• We are called the family of God
2 Corinthians 6:18 ESV
and I will be a father to you,
and you shall be sons and daughters to me,
says the Lord Almighty.”
• the church is a building
1 Peter 2:5 ESV
you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.
The church lives with God in it’s center. We are a community with a core to it. Our mission is to live in such a way that God is in the center and to live in such a way that it looks like God is in the center.
1 Corinthians 12:12–13 ESV
For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit.
Ephesians 1:4–8 ESV
even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight
• When we live with Christ in the middle, Christ as Lord, it changes how we live toward others.
The church is able to show the world Christ by the lives we lead.
Acts 2:44 ESV
And all who believed were together and had all things in common.
Acts 2:47 ESV
praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.
• There is a commitment to the other in our Christian lives, in our church.
• The passage also states the church had favor with all the people, and people were trusting Christ with their lives.
• If the One we live by, are freed by and we pattern our life by gave His life for the other,
• then the church is called to do the same
2 Corinthians 5:18–19 ESV
All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation.
– We begin with Christ in the middle but never graduate from that.
• This is the role of the church. We aren’t just called to be the church in these walls. We are called to be the church within the city.
• The church is meant to live incredible hope and share incredible hope with the world.
• And we want you to be a part, not just of the series, but of the church.