We Believe: The Church

      
As we continue our series on the Apostles' Creed, we look at The Church, not just our local church, but the universal body of believers.
Music This Week

Exodus 19:1-6

At Mount Sinai

1 On the first day of the third month after the Israelites left Egypt—on that very day—they came to the Desert of Sinai. 2 After they set out from Rephidim, they entered the Desert of Sinai, and Israel camped there in the desert in front of the mountain.

3 Then Moses went up to God, and the Lord called to him from the mountain and said, “This is what you are to say to the descendants of Jacob and what you are to tell the people of Israel: 4 ‘You yourselves have seen what I did to Egypt, and how I carried you on eagles’ wings and brought you to myself. 5 Now if you obey me fully and keep my covenant, then out of all nations you will be my treasured possession. Although the whole earth is mine, 6 you[a] will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words you are to speak to the Israelites.”

Matthew 16:13-18

Peter Declares That Jesus Is the Messiah

13 When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?”

14 They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”

15 “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?”

16 Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”

17 Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven. 18 And I tell you that you are Peter,[a] and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades[b] will not overcome it.

1 Peter 2:1-10

1 Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind. 2 Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, 3 now that you have tasted that the Lord is good.

The Living Stone and a Chosen People

4 As you come to him, the living Stone—rejected by humans but chosen by God and precious to him— 5 you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. 6 For in Scripture it says:

“See, I lay a stone in Zion,
a chosen and precious cornerstone,
and the one who trusts in him
will never be put to shame.”

7 Now to you who believe, this stone is precious. But to those who do not believe,

“The stone the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone,”

8 and,

“A stone that causes people to stumble
and a rock that makes them fall.”

They stumble because they disobey the message—which is also what they were destined for.

9 But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. 10 Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.

Sermon Outline

The church, then, consists of those whom the Lord has called out of the world into union and fellowship with Christ and into communion with each other. - Derek Thomas

The Church is God’s Plan

God chooses and preserves for himself a community elected for eternal life and united by faith, who love, follow, and learn from, and worship God together. God sends out this community to proclaim the gospel and prefigure Christ’s kingdom by the quality of their life together and their love for one another. - New City Catechism Question 48

The Church is a Holy Priesthood

Holy = Set Apart

“‘So you will be my people, and I will be your God.’” - Jeremiah 30:22

26 So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, 27 for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. - Galatians 3:26-28

The Church is on Mission

“The chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy him forever.” - Westminster Shorter Catechism Question 1

18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” - Matthew 28:18-20

8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” - Acts 1:8

Conclusion

We are all equally sinners…We are all equally helpless…We have all come to one and the same Savior…We have the same salvation…We have the same Holy Spirit…We have the same Father…We even have the same trials…And finally, we are all marching and going together to the same eternal home. - Martyn Lloyd Jones

Discussion Questions

  1. How do you think the church is viewed today? Why?
  2. How would you respond to someone that says they don't need the "church" to worship and simply worship God on their own? Is the church necessary?
  3. Read Exodus 19:1-6. Why did God choose Israel to be his "chosen people"? Why does God save some and not others?
  4. What does Peter mean by holy priesthood (1 Peter 2:1-10)? Does this change the way that you view the church and other Christians?
  5. The Bible says that the church is supposed to be on mission. What do you believe God is calling you to do as part of hist mission?
  6. What is something the Lord has been teaching you this week?