Community. Faith. Love.
Romans 12:4-5, Ephesians 2:19-21, 2 Corinthians 5:14-15
George Owen Walton, collection of nickels, deemed fake, when inherited, appraised and proven authentic, value of $1.3 million… we can miss the most important things in life if their value is missed. Here are three basic values of the church. Why we belong, believe, and behave.
1. We exist as a COMMUNITY. Romans 12:4-5
- A. Community Defined: a unified group of individuals. Church is unified gathering of believers. In substance, it is membership. Expressed in membership. Movement of discipleship in the body. Who we are in the body.
- B. Membership Rethought: a literal connection to the church spiritually (the Body of Christ). Describes commitment. Sam’s and Costco have memberships. Joining an organization has personal benefit. Ken’s American Airlines membership is solely for personal benefit. This idea conditions our entire culture. The church is never LIKE the body of Christ, it IS the body of Christ.
- C. Church Revisited: membership for Jesus, as a part of the whole, functioning, characterized by love. We who are many are one. “So it is with Christ.” Not a man-made organization to remember our leaded. “The church expresses Jesus.” – Ray Steadman.
Membership for Jesus, we are saved, sins forgiven, made brand new in Christ. Jesus intends to lead the church, because he is the head.
As part of the whole, KGBC founders… “everyone had a job, asking, what can I do?”
Functioning, all parts are needed to function. This is an oxymoron, an “inactive church member.”
Characterized by love, always, for one another, for the head, for the lost. We are a community more than an organization. The bones of the ear, small, yet vital to hearing. Membership is not the goal… move from member to minister.
[M1 – Member]
2. We exist as a community of FAITH. Ephesians 2:19-21 – Faith Grows and Becomes Ministry.
- A. Member of God’s household. If the building did not exist, would the church still exist? YES. God dwells not in a house made with hands. Not a community of man, or social gathering, how does faith grow into ministry? All of us were once aliens, but now we are ALL included.
- B. Founded upon the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Foundation of Jesus, then the apostles. 1 Corinthians 1:23, in the body by the same foundation of faith.
- C. Growing into a holy temple in the Lord. We are a living and holy temple, bought with a price. We are a holy priesthood. Ministers to serve God. All are called to serve. 1 Peter 2:5. “Built up” is or means an activity that never stops. We never simply arrive at maturity.
- D. Ministering in His name. The goal of church is not membership. We must move to ministers. Today’s church is better at producing members rather than ministers. Even when the tree reaches its optimal height, it continues to grow. Growing is not optional. We are never grown up this side of heaven.
3. We exist as a community of faith to EXTEND the LOVE of Christ. 2 Corinthians 5:14-15.
For what? What is the goal? Ingrown is not good. The purpose is to extend the LOVE. Compels us, better, controls us. M3 represents our mission. 5:20 is the summary of the goal…
- A. Changed. Jesus died to free you from sin. Love changes us transformation.
- B. Called. Therefore, you are an ambassador, authorized to act and be on mission on behalf of the king or leader. Organized effort, or projects, but in any opportunity, you find to walk through the door of loving others for Jesus.
[M3 – Mission]
Mission Impossible, “Your mission, if you decide to accept it…” we do not have the option to negotiated mission of Jesus.
LIFE GROUP DISCUSSION QUESTIONS
For September 26, 2018
Romans 12:4-5, Ephesians 2:19-21, 2 Corinthians 5:14-15
Welcome – Greeting / Get Going
- Go around the room and introduce ourselves and mention one thing that few people know about you.
- If you could literally be a single body part, what part would you be? Why?
- Who are the other body parts that you would need help from in order to function properly?
Word – Digging Deeper
- Ken began his message by saying, “Some of the most important things in life are missed because their value is not recognized.” Why do so many Americans (even those who believe in God) not see the value of active involvement in a local church?
- What do you think is the value of church membership?
- Since there are so many churches yet only one body of Christ, how can we break down barriers and create unity with other Christian groups? In what ways does unity stop when it intersects with doctrine? Does anyone have a story?
- Who can describe the Cooperative Program? What is the principle it represents? (We can do so much more together than we can as an individual congregation).
- In Gestalt Psychology, “the whole is something else [greater] than the sum of its parts.” How is a gathering of the church something else than a gathering of individual believers?
- How are friendships formed in real life? (common interests, common activities, common location, common school, common gender, common history) Since Jesus may be the only common factor in the life of individual believers, how are friendships formed in the church? Who has a story of knowing well different people in the church, yet those friends don’t even know each other?
- In what organizations have you benefited by having a membership? In church, how do you explain to non-members that “membership has its privileges?” (more than you can now vote in a meeting or teach in Sunday School) Or does membership have any privileges?
- Ken said that we are better at making members than we are at making ministers. What will it take for us to get better at making ministers? How can we “make people thirsty” for more?
- The church may be the only organization in the world that exists for those who are not yet members. Who can explain what this means? Does it make sense? In what ways do we confuse making membership all about us? Are we members for what we get out of it or what we give into it?
- What are practical examples of membership in our society? (every team has a roster, every school has an enrollment, every company has its payroll) So, why do people resist membership in a local Baptist church?
- If membership is a literal connection to a spiritual family, what does this imply? (in God’s family we are his children. In human terms, a child without a family is called an orphan. All orphans long to be welcomed into a family). So, why are we so casual or apathetic about being in God’s forever family?
- What are the responsibilities or expectations of being in a human family? (chores, respect, love, kindness, support, encouragement, school, exercise, eating, hygiene, bills) So, what is a parallel to your spiritual family, being a member of God’s household?
- The church is founded upon Christ. What is the purpose of our salvation? What does God ask of us?
- Sin can distract us from God’s mission. How does sin work against the mission of God? How does sin distract us from the corporate mission of God?
- Why is it difficult to understand that we are called to be a royal priesthood? What did those in the priesthood do? What are ways in which priests serve others?
- If the church is one body and Christ is the head, how does this relate to church leaders and the laity?
- Church leaders and pastors are called to equip the saints for the work of service. Why do most American Christians prefer the staff to do the work of ministry? Is this healthy?
- Why are spiritual gifts important? Name yours. How does knowing your gifts help you better serve?
- Name some ways that you serve Jesus through the church. What impacts have you made? What is something that you never thought about until now that you can do for God’s kingdom?
- We are called to sharpen one another (Proverbs 27:17), why is it so difficult to address sin, in us and in others? What are the risks and benefits? Does accountability keep people from real connections?
- Membership naturally and logically moves toward a growing faith. How does being inactive in church relate to our faith? How does faith relate to love? How do these relate to obedience?
- In what ways to we often desire greater faith for self-improvement rather than to allow that faith to change us? (a tree is always growing even after it reaches optimal height) In what ways do you need to grow wider, not just taller? Ken mentioned, “ingrown is never good.” What does this mean to you?
- In what ways has God called you into his global purpose? When was a time when you told God you would be available later? What are the obstacles that keep you from being all in?
- Love controls us. How do we usually look at control in our lives? How can love empower us or the lack of love hold us back? Is love more powerful with an inward focus or an outward focus? Explain.
- What are the dangers of an inwardly-focused love (selfishness, conceitedness, tunnel vision)
- What are the benefits of an outwardly-focused love? (connection, purpose, service, evangelism)
Work – Ministry / Missions / Motivation
- Of the three M’s – name the one we do best as a church. Which must we work on to be more obedient and fruitful? In what ways is the church stagnant? What areas seem to be fruitful?
- Where are you personally? What will it take to move toward the next level? What is holding you back? What do you fear? What do you lack?
- Do people grow faster in groups or as individuals? Is the church then essential to proper growth?
Witness – His Story / My Story
- Who helped you see the importance of obeying Christ, not just showing up at church?
- When was a time where you avoided church membership, and what did you learn from it?
- Name some ways that you can serve others? What are some KGBC ministries in which you can get involved? Where can you find more information? (kgbc.us/pathway)
- How can we be ambassadors for Christ? What does that mean? (evangelism is love going public)