"What is the Church?" Part 2

Last weekend we began this two-part series on What is the Church? The church is not a physical building, but a group of believers or a spiritual body, and Christ is the head of the body or church. My desire was to help us see that the Universal Church is made up of all believers and that the smaller body is known as a local church, in specific areas. We then went on to understand how the local church is organized such as leadership and membership and why these things are so important and needed in every local church.
Today I want to talk to you about several other important aspects of what the local church is to look like as well. As we have previously mentioned, the local church is a smaller group of believers that come together to worship, fellowship, receive teaching from God’s Word, take part in the ordinances or sacraments and then go out and serve and share our faith with those who do not know Christ. The local church model is formed by looking at the priorities and structure of the early church during the time of the apostles. The side that I want us to see today is the more practical side of what the church is all about.
So, several questions that we must consider as we now look at the more practical side of what the Church is. These may be questions that you have considered at some point in your walk with Christ, and as you have been faithfully attending the church for some time.

1. What is Fellowship?

The Bible uses the Greek word (koinonia) to describe fellowship within the body of Christ. That word means participation with others in a common goal or purpose. The Latin equivalent is the word (communion), which points to the communion that is shared with believers as well as God. As the early church began to meet, believers began to get involved in each other’s lives. They began to come together for meals, to hear the teaching of God’s Word, to take part in communion, to minister and serve one another in a bond of unity, and fellowship was beginning to happen.
True fellowship is founded on the common ground of the gospel message. In other words, all Christians at some point in their lives realized that they were sinners in need of a Savior and that they were truly saved by the grace of God. When Jesus poured out His blood on the cross and died in our place, His death became our death.
Romans 6:1–4 ESV
1 What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? 2 By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? 3 Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.
His blood was the Atonement that was needed because He was the spotless lamb who came to take away our sin. There is nothing we can do to earn our salvation. However, as we have been saved by grace through faith we come to love God and obey Him and we give our lives over to Him. Has there come a time in your life where you have fully surrender to Christ and turned from your sin? As believers we share a common purpose to glorify God and to build up His church. We have a love for the family of God.
1 Peter 1:22–23 ESV
22 Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart, 23 since you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God;
Ephesians 4:12 ESV
12 to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ,
Ephesians 4:16 ESV
16 from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.
There are 3 important Parts that we see throughout God’s Word when it comes to understanding Fellowship.
-First, we need to see the importance of unity within the Church. First Corinthians 1:10 helps us to see that God’s desire for every local church is that we would get along and be united in the faith. But how exactly are we too do this? Turn with me to Ephesians chapter 4 so that we can see what it is that promotes unity.
Ephesians 4:2–3 ESV
2 with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, 3 eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
We as believers need to reflect and show humility, gentleness, with patience, and showing tolerance for one another in love. But, there is also something that is key to maintaining that unity within the body of Christ. Turn with me to Philippians chapter 2.
Philippians 2:3 ESV
3 Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.
We need to be humble and see others as more important than ourselves. This is not always easy, but it needs to happen in order for their to be unity and fellowship within the body.
-Second, we need to see that there is an importance of fellowship with God and with other believers. God’s Word is very clear that the believer enjoys fellowship with God and other believers. We see this in 1 John chapter 1.
1 John 1:3 ESV
3 that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ.
But, the question often comes up about those who do not know Christ. Can or should we hang out with unbelievers? Let me just say that “True Fellowship” cannot be enjoyed with unbelievers. What I mean by that statement is that true fellowship is based in our love for God because He has saved us out of death and brought us life. Our desires as believers are not the same as those of unbelievers. Our desires are to honor God and to bring Him glory through all that we do. Now please here me. This does not mean that we sever all relationships with our unbelieving friends. Use those relationships to show Christ through your life and words and deeds. Share the gospel with them. Be kind to them. Be loving to them. Pray for them. Serve them. But the deep fellowship and love that we enjoy with the Father, Son and Holy Spirit and other believers can never be enjoyed with unbelievers.
2 Corinthians 6:14–15 ESV
14 Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness? 15 What accord has Christ with Belial? Or what portion does a believer share with an unbeliever?
-Finally, we see the importance of fellowship because it involves ministering to other believers within the church. Fellowship within the body of Christ involves believers coming together and being part in each other’s lives. There are to be no lone ranger Christians. We should not stay at home and do on-line church other than for certain reasons. We come together in order to minister and serve one another. Speaking of which there are many texts throughout God’s Word that show us these “One Another” commands.
-We are to build up one another. (Romans 14:19)
-We are to love one another. (Romans 12:10)
-We are to encourage one another. ( 1 Thessalonians 4:18)
-We are to serve one another.
Galatians 5:13 ESV
13 For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.
-We are to bear one another’s burdens. (Galatians 6:2)
-We are to confess our sins to one another and pray for one another.
James 5:16 ESV
16 Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.
-We are to fellowship with one another.
1 John 1:7 ESV
7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.

2. What is Worship?

The English word “worship” originally was spelled (worthship), meaning to acknowledge the worth of someone or something. We worship when we give honor to God for who He is. Worship acknowledges God’s person, His nature, His attributes, and His works. All of this stems from a grateful heart that shows our adoration, devotion, love and submission to God. When we commune with God through prayer an a understanding of God through His Word, all of this encourages us as believers to truly worship God. When it comes to our worship, I think that there must be several questions we must ask.
1. Who are we to worship? Our worship belongs to God alone. But why is this? Our God is a jealous God and He is not willing to share His worship with any other.
Exodus 20:4–6 ESV
4 “You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. 5 You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me, 6 but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments.
Revelation chapter 4 tells us that it is God alone who is worthy to receive our worship because He is the creator of all things, and because of this Christians should have nothing in their lives that rivals God in adoration or worship. Ask yourself this morning, what aspect of my life do I need to guard against because if not careful this ______________ can tend to compete for the attention that God alone deserves?
2. How are we to worship? Or what is our worship to look like? I think that it is so important to keep in mind that God desires for our worship to be true. This means that we must be worshiping God in spirit but also in truth and worshiping from the heart.
John 4:23–24 ESV
23 But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. 24 God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.”
Don’t just worship God with your lips or mouth, because our worship should most importantly come from the heart. We are to worship God in truth, and this means that we should seek to know God by learning about His attributes and actions.
-God is Holy.
-God is Righteous.
-God is Eternal.
-God is Omniscient.
-God is Omnipotent.
-God is Omnipresent.
-God is Love. And there are many more attributes of God.
Above everything else God is to be glorified and praised. We as believers are to exalt Him, to recognize His as supremely worthy of honor, and so we acknowledge His attributes.
Let me ask you today, how important is it to take part in singing praises to God? When we enter into God’s house on Sunday’s are you excited to sing praises to God during the worship portion of the Sunday Service? Do you sing from your heart? Are you truly praising God with your lips, or is it just easier for you to stand there?
Psalm 66:4 ESV
4 All the earth worships you and sings praises to you; they sing praises to your name.” Selah
This is what our worship is to look like. We are to give praise to God. We sing praises about His name. However our worship also involves reverence.
Exodus 34:8 ESV
8 And Moses quickly bowed his head toward the earth and worshiped.
As we think about Moses, worship involves the bowing of the head. This shows reverence towards God. It also shows our humility and unworthiness before God. We also see in Revelation chapter 1 that John falls at the Lord’s feet.
Revelation 1:17 ESV
17 When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. But he laid his right hand on me, saying, “Fear not, I am the first and the last,
Again these texts point us to an awe and reverence as we worship a Holy and Righteous God.
Several other things we need to look at within the church are several ordinances that are very serious, so we will look at these in the weeks to come.
What is the Ordinance of Baptism?
Should children be baptized?
What is the Ordinance of Communion?
Who is Communion For?
(Pray and Lead into Communion)
Baby Dedication: Adeline Rose Kemp.
Church Membership: Jessie and Brooke Kemp.
Closing Benediction:
Psalm 95:1–6 ESV
1 Oh come, let us sing to the Lord; let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation! 2 Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving; let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise! 3 For the Lord is a great God, and a great King above all gods. 4 In his hand are the depths of the earth; the heights of the mountains are his also. 5 The sea is his, for he made it, and his hands formed the dry land. 6 Oh come, let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before the Lord, our Maker!
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