Finding Transformers #2
7 PM, Tuesday, October 13, 2020
The Organic Church #02
The church is an organic community
Sunday Sermon on July 13, 2020
As we live in a unique season when we can’t gather together to worship at church, I often think of these questions.
What is the church?
What is a Christian?
Can we worship if we cannot gather together at a church building?
How did the early Christians worship God?
How are the Christians in China worshipping God in their restricted situation?
How are the Christians who cannot gather because of the forces of their government?
First of all, these questions prompted me to remember what Jesus told Peter about the church for the first time in Matthew 16. Jesus asked the disciples “Who do people say the Son of Man is?” They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” Jesus asked them again, “But what about you?” “Who do you say I am” Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”
Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but my Father in heaven. And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock, I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”
What a wonderful blessing! - Jesus promised to build His church when He heard Peter’s confession about Him and to give Peter the keys of the Kingdom of heaven. This moment is a remarkable moment in Christian history because this moment is the first moment Jesus mentioned the church and said He would build His church.
What does Jesus mean by “building His church on the rock”?
It means that Jesus started building His church on the strong foundation of Peter’s confession, that Jesus is the Messiah and the Son of the living God, which means, Jesus did not start building His church with bricks first. Jesus did not build His church with a system or program. but Jesus started His church with Peter’s confession about Him.
So, what is the most important thing to remember when building, starting, keeping, managing, or developing the church?
It starts with a person's confession, actually Your confession and my confession about Him. A person’s Confession of Jesus as the Savior and the Son of the Living God is the very foremost foundation and cornerstone of the church. Peter’s confession of Jesus as the Messiah means that Peter took Jesus as the Savior of His life; he took Jesus as the Lord of his life and decided to follow Jesus as the Lord of his life. And that moment is the moment Jesus blessed him and started His church through his confession. Therefore, the most important aspect of the church is a person’s confession on Jesus Christ and dedication to Jesus Christ as the Lord of life.
In Paul’s expression in Galatians 2:20,
I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. (Galatians 2:20)
As we declare Jesus as the Lord, the Savior in our lives, Jesus starts His church IN us and the Holy Spirit starts dwelling IN us. Accepting Jesus as Christ is a matter of life, which means I am not the lord of my life but Christ is the Lord of my life. My life is not my life anymore but the life I have is the life of Christ.
This is the confession Peter and Paul made before the Lord Jesus Christ. These are the first moments Jesus started building His church. This is the reason the church is a matter of life, not a matter of the building or management because the church is all about the Lord changing our lives.
As Jesus started His church with Peter’s confession, Paul also described Christians as a church in 1 Corinthians 3;16. Looking at Paul’s description of a church as the body in 1 Corinthians 3:16, we can find that the church is all about life.
Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in your midst? (1 Corinthians 3:16)
Paul also wants us to understand ourselves as God’s temple where the Holy Spirit dwells. In order for the Holy Spirit to live in us, we must have an environment in which the Holy Spirit can breathe and survive so that we can keep the life of Jesus Christ alive in us. This is why the church is all about life, the breath of God, and the Spirit of God.
We go to a church building to worship God but before going to a church, we need to be the true church first where the Holy Spirit can dwell and breathe in us, no matter whether we are at home, workplace, the marketplace, school, or anywhere. This allows going to a church to worship together to be more meaningful for God and all of us.
I would like to encourage all of you to take this unique season as an opportunity to be the true church where you are now so that we can experience what God is looking for in our lives as a church, a son or daughter of God, and a Christian in the midst of the world.
An Organic Community
There is another reason I would like to describe the church as an organic community: an organic thing always has a life to maintain for its existence. This is different from an organization that can be managed and maintained by money, a system without life.
Paul described the church as the body in Ephesians 1:22-23 because the church must be alive and breathe through Jesus Christ.
22 And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, 23 which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way. (Ephesians 1:22-23)
I like the metaphor of the church as the body because the church must be alive, breathe in and out, and be healthy as our physical body. As we eat and digest every day, the church must eat and digest to be healthy. Therefore, it is very important to understand the church from an organic perspective.
We need to be careful with what we eat and how we digest what we have eaten for our spiritual health as a church because we must keep the life of Jesus Christ healthy in us. It is then we can live as a good and faithful church in the midst of the world.
Let us ask ourselves some questions:
What do you eat for your spiritual health every day?
Listening to sermons, watching Christian movies, reading the Bible, learning or studying the Word of God, or anything else? I hope you can eat more spiritual food as you eat nutritious food for your physical health.
How do you digest what you have eaten spiritually?
Do you use your time to pray for others? Do you use your energy to serve others in Christ’s love? Do you use your finances to help someone in need? Or do you write what you have learned and realized from reading the Bible or listening to sermons? I hope you can digest what you have eaten spiritually for your spiritual health.
Likewise, when we eat and digest well spiritually, our lives as a church can be healthy showing the life of Jesus Christ to be alive and active and the Holy Spirit actively working and leading our lives for the Kingdom of God.
This is the church from an organic perspective that maintains our lives as the temple of God while carrying the mission of God every day in the midst of the world. I hope and pray that all of us can live as an organic community with God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit so that we can serve others, to live as a church from the organic perspective for the Kingdom of God.
LET US PRAY
Father, we thank you for leading us into the basic understanding of Your church. Help us to remember we are the church where You live with us so that we can be a better and faithful church that keeps carrying on Your dream day by day with Your guidance until we meet Jesus Christ again. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.
Questions for discussion:
How does the church, as an organic body, differ from something like the Red Cross?
Read Matthew 16:13-19. What did Peter say to prompt Jesus to establish the church? What are the implications for us today?
Can you describe a time when you felt the presence of the Holy Spirit outside the confines of a church building? Were you surprised to meet the spirit while not “in church”?
Read Galatians 2:20. Christians claim Jesus as Savior and Lord. Is there a difference between the two? What exactly does it mean to say Jesus is Lord of your life?
How do you eat and digest spiritual food? Do you have healthy “eating” habits?