What is the Church after all?
Last week we began this new series looking at the importance of the church. We established that Jesus established the church, loved the church, and gave His life for the church. We are one holy catholic apostolic church. At Carmel, we are one small part of the greater church. There are many beautiful expressions of the Bride of Christ!
Today, Pastor Alex asked and answered three critical questions:
1. What makes a church a church?
-Right teaching of the Scriptures.
Right teaching shows the character of God revealed to people in order to know Him and His life through His Word. It must communicate the nature of man in how man is dead and an enemy of God until the gospel changes him to be alive in Christ. It understands faith and repentance in that we must turn from our ways to His ways. It focuses on the gospel being at the center.
-Right administration of the ordinances.
Both ordinances (baptism and the Lord's supper) show that the work of Christ is finished. They are symbols...not literal. Jesus lived them out and they preach a powerful visual message.
Baptism - It is a big deal! It means "to immerse" and is the way Jesus commanded us to show others that we are going to follow Him. We do not practice infant baptism because infants can't confess sins and willingly give their lives to Jesus.
The Lord's Supper - We do this as a symbol to remember the powerful reality that Jesus died for our sins. We do not believe in transubstantiation - the belief that the elements literally turn into the flesh and blood of Jesus. We do practice "open communion", which states that all believers are welcome to join us in participating in the Lord's Supper.
2. Is Church Membership Biblical?
Church membership is never explicitly spelled out in Scripture, but its importance is recorded throughout the New Testament. It is not a club or organization. It is an organism that lives and breathes. 1 Corinthians 12:12 shows us that we are part of a greater whole. If you want to belong, you must make a commitment. Often, people do not join a church because the do not want to be held accountable. The church is not the building, but the people that gather to be encouraged and sent out to be ambassadors.
3. What is the Mission/Purpose of the Church?
1. To worship God
2. To equip the saints for the work of the ministry (Ephesians 4:12)
3. For the ministry of evangelism and mercy.
All of this works together to MAKE DISCIPLES.
To Discuss Today:
1. JD Greear said, "You are either a mission field or a missionary. There is no 3rd option." Which are you? Why would you say that?
2. Are you a member of a church? Why?
3. If you need to become a member or need to be baptized, please take the step to go to the Carmel room on Sunday morning and start that conversation. If you know someone that needs the encouragement to belong to the body of Christ, talk to them and invite them to journey with you.