Listen to Sermon AUDIO (30 minutes)
Complete Transcription Below
[Transcriber’s Note: I post these messages, sermons, weekly. They are given by the greatest human teacher I have ever heard. If you’ve given up on religion or the Church, give this post one more chance. If you’re already a believer… buckle your seatbelt and get ready to dive deeper into your faith. Teaser excerpts are at the top; a link to the audio follows; and then a complete verbatim transcription is next.
Please let me know of any typos I have made or any suggestions to make this site better. I see myself as “one beggar showing other beggars where I found bread”. Thank you.]
If you’ve time to read only one thing, let’s “Begin with the end in mind” (Covey) THE CLOSING PRAYER:
“Father God we thank you for Your Word.. we thank you for this Essential in how it draws us and points us to the truth of Your Scriptures and reminds us of the significance of being a part of the Church… and for those of us who are here this morning who realize that many people’s false opinion about God and about the Church has come as a result of observing our poor behavior… we confess that to you and apologize for that and pray that Kirkmont would be a Salt and Light into this community… that we would function together as a place of LOVING FELLOWSHIP where the Word of God is preached with its integrity and it would bring Honor and Glory to You.
EXCERPTED QUOTES FROM BODY OF MESSAGE:
“If you’re a skeptic of Christianity or of the Church… I want to suggest to you that before you develop your opinion about the BRIDE OF CHRIST, you need to make sure you’re looking at the right thing… the right “bride” that is.”
“To the skeptics of the church… how would you feel about it if we turned people away who are obviously broken? You would call us HYPOCRITES wouldn’t you? But then, when you come to church and you observe those same broken people in our midst… you call us HYPOCRITES.”
“If we thought we were perfect we’d be here this morning worshipping OURSELVES, but we DON’T do that because we worship Christ who died on the Cross for our sins. Do some churches miss this though? … of course they do… I call the Country Club churches.”
“This ought to be one of the friendliest… no, THE FRIENDLIEST, most accepting place there is for our culture because we recognize our brokenness.
“Ya know today there’s such negativity about “Organized Religion” isn’t there? “I’m not into organized religion”… let’s just think about that… let’s think about if we applied that principle to other areas of life: let’s have UNORGANIZED SCHOOLS… wouldn’t that be wonderful… wouldn’t schools be so much more wonderful if we just decided to start whenever we wanted to start and the teacher might be in this room or they might be down this hall… and they can teach whatever they want… let’s just have unorganized schools… would that make them better?
Pastor Dan Borgelt
Kirkmont Presbyterian Church
Listen to Sermon AUDIO (30 minutes)
“Have you ever met one of those couples when you’ve just left thinking, “How did they end up together?” (Laughter). Maybe you met the guy and thought to yourself… “This is such a nice guy… ya know”… and then you meet his wife and you think, “Boy she is such a “NOT a nice person” (laughter).
Or maybe you met the wife and she seems so personable and kind and then you meet the husband, and then you meet the husband and you think, “Wow… he is so NOT personable or kind”.
Or maybe you met the negative half first, ya know… and you weren’t excited about meeting the other half.. you met the husband who wasn’t kind or pleasant to be around and then you met the wife with not great anticipation but then all of the sudden she pleasantly surprised you… or vice versa.
And you just left thinking, “HOW DID THOSE TWO END UP TOGETHER”… and you also left there preferring one over the other. Apparently there a lot of people who feel that way about God and the way they feel about His Bride.. The Church.
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In the Book of Revelation, chapter 19, vs 7+ describes as we saw in that video earlier the idea that the Church is considered to Bride of Christ. The Scripture says this, it says,
“Let us rejoice and be glad
and give him glory!
For the wedding of the Lamb has come,
and his bride has made herself ready.
Fine linen, bright and clean,
was given her to wear.”
(Fine linen stands for the righteous acts of God’s holy people.)
Then the angel said to me, “Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb!” And he added, “These are the true words of God.””
Ya know as a pastor I get to hear a lot bad things about the Church… a lot of people’s bad opinions about the Church… and people will say things to me like, “I’m into God, but I’m just not into the Church”… ya know… but I want to ask you this morning, “CAN YOU REALLY LOVE GOD, BUT NOT HIS BRIDE?”
I mean if that was me it wouldn’t… you could sing my praises… let’s just think of all the things we would say if we wanted to ‘sing my praises’… I thought that would be a fun exercise (laughter) this morning. Just raise your hand and share with the group what you like about me… you could SING MY PRAISES… you could say, “Oh he’s such a great pastor… he seems like such a nice guy… you’re so tallll… (laughter) whatever it might be… you could do all that… but then if you said, “HOWEVER… Amanda (wife).. not a real big fan of her…”, and you went on and on and said some bad stuff about her… I’m sorry, as much as I appreciate all the nice things you said about me… that’s going to cause a problem in our relationship… we’re just not going to be able to be that close, no matter how great you feel about me, if you don’t also like my bride.
And there are a lot of people out there who think they can do God without His bride. And they have no idea how much they’re hindering their relationship with Him.
Can you really love God but not His bride? You see I want to suggest to you that if we’re going to love God we need to also love His Bride… the Church as well.
– – – – – – – – – –
We’re in a sermon series here at Kirkmont called the Seven Essentials of our Faith; we’re looking at the most important things that we believe here as an Evangelical Presbyterian Church, or as an EPC church, and we’ve come to #5 if you take a look in your bulletin you’ll see this insert. Six of them are on one side and #5, the one we’re going to be talking about is on the back side. Last week for example we talked about the subject of GRACE and this morning we’re talking about the subject of THE CHURCH. Here’s what the ESSENTIAL says and then we’ll look at the Scripture to support it. Will you join me as we read this essential together… #5,
The true Church is composed of all persons who through saving faith in Jesus Christ and the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit are united together in the body of Christ. The Church finds her visible yet imperfect, expression in local congregations where the Word of God is preached in its purity and the sacraments are administered in their integrity, where scriptural discipline is practiced, and where loving fellowship is maintained. For her perfecting she awaits the return of her Lord.
We’re going to be looking at a few ways from this Essential that I think we might be able to encourage you to consider LOVING CHRIST’S BRIDE, THE CHURCH.
One of the first things to be looking at this morning is to embrace the idea that when we talk about The Church we need to distinguish THE TRUE CHURCH from all those people who are gathered at church… then we also need to look at the whole idea of the reality that this Essential embraces and OWNS the fact that we are an IMPERFECT church.
And then finally we’re going at the subject of the reality that God in His wisdom has organized The Church… a few points to help us LOVE GOD’S BRIDE, THE CHURCH.
The fact that is says, “the true Church” it implies there’s such a thing as a FALSE CHURCH… it implies the idea that there are people who gather together on Sunday mornings who aren’t necessarily part of THE TRUE CHURCH.
You have to make sure you’re analyzing the “True Bride of Christ” and again the fact that it says there’s a ‘true bride” implies that there is a “false” one.
“The multitude it says of your sacrifices —
what are they to me?” says the Lord.
“I have more than enough of burnt offerings,
of rams and the fat of fattened animals;
I have no pleasure
in the blood of bulls and lambs and goats.
When you come to appear before me,
who has asked this of you,
this trampling of my courts?
Stop bringing meaningless offerings!
Your incense is detestable to me.
New Moons, Sabbaths and convocations—
I cannot bear your worthless assemblies.
Your New Moon feasts and your appointed festivals
I hate with all my being.
They have become a burden to me;
I am weary of bearing them.
When you spread out your hands in prayer,
I hide my eyes from you;
even when you offer many prayers,
I am not listening.
Your hands are full of blood!
Wash and make yourselves clean.
Take your evil deeds out of my sight;
stop doing wrong.
Learn to do right; seek justice.
Defend the oppressed.
Take up the cause of the fatherless;
plead the case of the widow.”
To the angel of the church in Laodicea write:
These are the words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God’s creation. I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth. You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see.”
See, there’s a Biblical precedent for the idea that just because a large gathering of people come and worship God, it DOESN’T MEAN IT’S THE TRUE THING. It doesn’t mean it’s what God wanted or intended.
“For God so loved the world that He gave His One and ONLY SON that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life.”
“Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,”
That’s how we become part of the TRUE CHURCH.
I want you to consider all the people who attend church across America on any given Sunday morning, and I want you to think about what percentage of those people are actually part of the TRUE CHURCH.
I’m going to give you 3 options:
– 0 to 33%
– 34 to 66% of those people, and then
– 67 to 99%.
And then it helps to know that the Church is imperfect and this Essential makes that claim very clear. Back to my friends then, who are listening and might be skeptics… do you see that this essential… it tells us, it concedes to the idea that we are IMPERFECT.
In 1st John, chapter 1, verses 8 to 10 the Scripture tells us this… this is instead what we believe:
“If we claim to be without sin, (right… if we were up here saying we thought the Bride of Christ is PERFECT, then) we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness (that doesn’t mean he makes us perfect here on earth, but in the sight of God). If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word is not in us.”
Do you see the contrast? … how so many people have written off the Bride of Christ because it’s a group of hypocrites–who think that they are better than other people… but that’s not what the essential claims, more importantly it’s not what the Scripture says we ought to BELIEVE. We ought to embrace the fact that we are BROKEN SINNERS in need of asking Jesus Christ for forgiveness.
In Hebrews chapter 10, verse 19 through 25 the Scripture reminds us of the beauty of the opportunity we have together here in an organized local church.. it says this,
“Therefore, brothers and sisters, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.”
“So that, it says, that we would have preaching of the Word of purity, here in our Essential.
They are trying to make sure that the Word of God is preached in its PURITY.
The Essential goes on and it says we not only do that but we “Organize for the purpose of making sure the Sacraments are done with integrity… that is The Lord’s Supper and Baptism. We don’t just wander off and baptize each other in our backyard swimming pools and hand people grape juice and say “you took communion”.
And I suppose there are some benefits to by yourself. If you play soccer by yourself, you avoid the humility of messing up in front of other people… you would avoid the criticism of your teammates… the idea of letting down your coach… experiencing your coach’s discipline; you’re probably less likely to get really fatigued or even injured if you just played by yourself… you know and did soccer in the back yard.
“and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.”
Father God we thank you for Your Word.. we thank you for this Essential in how it draws us and points us to the truth of Your Scriptures and reminds us of the significance of being a part of the Church… and for those of us who are here this morning who realize that many people’s false opinion about God and about the Church has come as a result of observing our poor behavior… we confess that too you and apologize for that and pray that Kirkmont would be a Salt and Light into this community… that we would function together as a place of LOVING FELLOWSHIP where the Word of God is preached with its integrity and it would bring Honor and Glory to You.We ask all these things in Christ’s Name… Amen.