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Why Church? The Body of Christ

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This morning, Pastor Ed Allen continued his sermon series "Why Church?" by looking at I Corinthians 12:12-27, where the church is described as the Body of Christ.

He began with an anecdote that Facebook friends have been legally declared to not be your actual friends.  Though the issue is still in doubt (from a different court ruling) and may some day go to the Supreme Court.  [I perked up at this, having taken the precaution to "unfriend" most of my author Facebook friends when I got on the Newbery committee -- except it turned out I missed a couple of published authors, which could be a problem.  So I'm going to say they're not legally my actual friends!]

The Bible doesn't talk much about friendship.  We're supposed to be Church with one another.  And the church is the body of Christ.  Here we read the passage, I Corinthians 12:12-27.

-- This means we actually represent Jesus to the world.

-- This also means the church is an organic, living organism.

Five things that govern how we think about the church and how we engage with it from this passage:

1)  The church is composed of many different parts.

There's diversity in our unity.  One Spirit and one body, but many parts.

2)  All of the parts of the body are needed.

There's not much conflict here at Gateway -- we don't know each other well enough yet!  Conflict is easy -- from different values, hurt feelings, and arrogance.

3)  All of the parts of the body are ordered and arranged by God.

We're not here by accident.  God arranged for us to be here.

That has implications for how we treat each other:

4)  We give honor to one another.  In fact, special honor goes to the parts of our body that seem most modest.

When it comes to our body, looks can be deceiving.

As an example, the reason we can sit down during the service is because of the people on set-up team.

*5)  We are all part of the body of Christ!

What if I don't know where I belong?  You are part of the body.

What if I don't know anyone?  You are part of the body.

What if nobody likes me?  You are part of the body.

What if I don't get it?  You are part of the body.

What if I'm super busy?  You are part of the body.

Therefore (because of all the points above), what we do here matters. 

What we do in the midst of these relationships matters.

Every contact leaves a trace.  How we engage here matters.

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.

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