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Why Church? Why Is Connection So Important?

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This morning Pastor Ed Allen continued his sermon series "Why Church?" by focusing on why Connection is so important, looking at Ephesians 2:13-22.

[First, he did a commercial for an effort we'll be doing this year called "Deeper Higher."  We will be reading through the New Testament together, using a one-page daily devotional along with it.]

Last week, we learned that our character is a community project.  We are concentrating on building connections.

Why is connection so important?  We read Ephesians 2:13-22

Don't Miss This Principle #1:

Our connection to one another is a central part of God's purpose through Christ.

The central idea of Ephesians is unity, connection, community.  We need to be reminded of our need for connection and our calling to connection.

Notice what Paul asserts here:

Bringing unity to relationships is part of what God did through the cross.

This has always been God's purpose -- the cross was the high point.

In Jesus' prayer before his death, given in John 17, Jesus prays for us.  What does he pray for?  For unity.  "That all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you."

The most important issue to Jesus was that we would be one.

Don't Miss This Principle #2:

Our connection to one another is fundamental to who we are.

See verses 19-22.  Together, WE are God's temple.

You don't have Christianity if you don't have WE.

We're like an atom -- not like a lone electron spinning around Jesus.

Connection is fundamental to who we are -- especially as followers of Christ.

I'm in Christ.  Because of that, I'm in community.

What if God's main purpose in having me in NoVa isn't my job or home -- but my connections?

Church isn't a building.  It's a network of connections between people who love and follow Christ.

We all have a church.  (Your family is the most important part of your church.)  Is it a God-honoring one?

Because of this, we plead with you:  Step in!

Let Gateway Community Church feel the whole weight of you.  Even your weirdness or hardness or faults.

We're becoming a dwelling in which God lives.  When we get together, God's Spirit is here.

Why Church?

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Today Pastor Ed Allen began a new sermon series:  "Why Church?"  We looked at Hebrews 10:19-25 to answer that question.

The passage tells three essential actions:  Approach, cling, provoke.

APPROACH

"Let us draw near to God."

Why?  A new and living way was opened up for us, and since we have a great high priest.

How?  With a sincere heart, and with the full assurance that faith brings.

What enables us to draw near?  Our hearts were sprinkled, cleansing us from a guilty conscience, and our bodies were washed in baptismal waters.

This passage begins with "Therefore" -- based on all that went before in Hebrews, this is all because of who Jesus is and what He's done.

CLING

"Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess."

Yes, church is for the lame and broken.  There is no category of people who have it all together.

We cling to the hope we profess.

Don't let doubt derail you.  In the face of distress, cling. 

Why?  He is faithful.

PROVOKE

"Let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds."

"Spur on" means provoke, prod, poke.

We're the kind of people who stray from love and good deeds unless provoked.

It takes effort and consideration.

We spur on in a particular direction -- toward love and good deeds.

This happens with one another -- It's not something we can do alone.

That's why we meet together.

You can't encourage alone; you can't provoke one another alone.

You come to church because you need to be provoked -- and you need to provoke other people.

Two Challenges:

1)  Set a church attendance goal for yourself.

2)  When you come, be more present.

Be especially mindful, especially observant and considerate this month as you come to church.

We finished the service with "Spurring Time" -- talking with one another, praying with one another.

After the second service, there were food trucks outside, and then at 2:00, two people got baptized, making a public commitment to follow Christ.

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