Week 6: THE BRIDE OF CHRIST — THE CHURCH

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.

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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?

Or let’s have unorganized SHOPPING CENTERS… nothing marked; RESTAURANTS… no menu
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WHY IS “UNORGANIZED” BETTER?
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Or why does ORGANIZED make something worse… I don’t get the objection to Organized Religion. I love one church sign I saw, “UNORGANIZED RELIGION EVERY SUNDAY AT 10:30″… (LAUGHTER).
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People ought to be able to come here and experience LOVING FELLOWSHIP… something they could never experience if they were trying to do the “God Thing” alone.  But sadly, people revert to that because the experience they find in many churches is not LOVING FELLOWSHIP.
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And I think some of you need to hear that when it comes to a relationship with God… yeah, there are some things you can do alone in your relationship with God… sure, and there might even be some bad things you can avoid by not being a part of a church… that’s actually true… we’re wounded people and we have the ability to wound each other… but at the end of the day, I am confident, that the BLESSINGS and the PRIVILEGES of being a part of Christ’s Bride, the Church, FAR OUTWEIGH any of the negatives.
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I invite you to come and experience God in that way.
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Pastor Dan Borgelt
Kirkmont Presbyterian Church
Beavercreek, Ohio
http://www.kirkmont.com/index.html

Listen to Sermon AUDIO (30 minutes)

Pastor Dan:
“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.

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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.
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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.

Well first let’s look at this idea of the TRUE CHURCH… that’s what it says right here in the very first sentence of this Essential. “The true Church is composed of all persons”… it says.
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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.

And what I want to suggest to you if you’re a potential 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.
When I was in seminary, Amanda and I were there studying together in a school called Gordon Conwell… we were both studying, getting our different degrees, and we had the pleasure of having her sister come out to Gordon Conwell and she began studying there as well, so she was living on campus with us.
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Her sister and I are both youngest children, and Amanda is the oldest child… so Amanda took care of us, basically (laughter). She cooked for us, she cleaned up after us… this is before she trained me (laughter) to be a better husband, but she did all those kinds of things, and I remember one night Amanda was out of town for the evening, and I remember her sister Cathy calling me up and saying, “What are we going to do for dinner?”… like we’re LOST here.
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So we went to a restaurant in the area called “Not Your Average Joe’s”, and we were out eating, and there I saw some friends of mine from the seminary and on our way out I met this friend of mine and his family and he says, “Oh is this your wife Amanda?” … well I mean I was in a little bit of a quandary because “Yes” wasn’t the right answer, but “No” had its own awkward elements to it as well (laughter)… so I said, “NO…” and I quickly explained that it was my sister-in-law and we left. But that made me think, that had we not had that conversation this person could have looked at Cathy and thought, “Well, that is Dan’s bride”… and that’s what his wife looks like, and that’s how she acts in a restaurant, and that’s how they interact together… and all these types of things… but they would be looking at the wrong “bride”.
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And friends… this worship service… it’s a public worship service; anyone can walk in here… right? … and be a part of this service… any_one’s allowed here.
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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.
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And so we have to realize that this is a public worship service… anyone is allowed to come here with all of their brokenness; not that there are any of us that are not broken in some way at all, but the point is, it’s a PUBLIC PLACE.
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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.

There is a need then to distinguish the larger gathering of the church of those who are here, from the TRUE CHURCH this essential talks about. It’s saying that the distinguishing qualities are not visible… they’re not outward, they’re not measurable by man.  We cannot come along and set up parameters to decide who’s part of the true church and who’s not… we can’t say, “Well show us your attendance history… tell us how long you’ve been a part of this church; are you an actual member or not… how much money are you giving, how do you dress when you come here; what is your personal behavior like; what Bible knowledge do you bring to the table, how loud do you sing when we sing songs… do you raise your hands ever… I mean we can’t measure those types of thing and say “THAT’S WHAT DETERMINES IF YOUR PART OF A TRUE CHURCH”… THAT’S NOT IT.
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They are INVISIBLE qualities and the Essential says what are those invisible qualities; it says it starts with “SAVING FAITH IN JESUS”. That is the primary foundation for what makes you a part of the True Church–Saving Faith in Jesus”.
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What it’s saying is that at some point in time in our life, if we want to be a part of the true church we have to come to the place where we transfer our TRUST, from ourselves, from other people, from other things and acknowledge before God WE NEED A SAVIOR and place all of our faith in Him.
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And then it says the next thing that happens is we receive then the HOLY SPIRIT… God’s Spirit immediately dwells inside of us and then the Essential says, it UNITES US WITH CHRIST.. not only now but for all of eternity as well.
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Do you see those things aren’t measurable… we can’t just point at people and decide whether they’re part of the TRUE CHURCH or not, but we know that reality exists, because some of you have transferred your faith to Jesus Christ and others of you are still holding out.
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Isaiah, chapter 1 verses 11 through 17.. it gives us this precedent of this idea that there was a gathering of people who were trying to worship God way back hundreds of years ago in the Old Testament and God was not happy with their gathering.

“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.”

The Book of Revelation, chapter 3:14-18 just in case you’re thinking, “Well maybe God’s rejection of people who are coming to church was just an Old Testament thing; we see it happen in the New Testament as well. In Revelation 3 some of you recognize this as God is writing to a bunch of different Churches in the City of Laodicea and He writes these words.

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.

What is the true thing… what is that essential tell us? … SAVING FAITH IN JESUS. John 3:16 it goes right back to the basics… the Scripture tells us this,
“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.”
In Romans, chapter 5, verse “1” it tells us a similar thing… it’s not about all the surface religion, it’s
“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.

Let me ask and speak to those of you who consider yourself to be regular church attenders, not the skeptics… all of you who would consider yourself to be part of the true church.  This concept.. it should cause you to question, to do sort of a survey of your life and say, “Am I counting on being a part of the church based on measurable things or have I really transferred my trust and my faith into Jesus Christ?
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Let me ask you a question as a congregation… an opportunity for all of you to raise your hands here this morning. For those of you who don’t raise your hands during the music, this a chance to raise your hands in a more controlled environment (soft laughter)… alright, so, I want to ask you a question, not that any of us know the answer… it’s sort of idolatrous that I’m even ASKING us the question, but let’s just for fun sake lets entertain the question.
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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%.

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OK.. are we ready?  Understand the question?
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How many of your think zero to 33% of all the people who attend church in America are part of the TRUE CHURCH…. OK.. alright, a few brave hands then more joined them… OK, that means they think two-thirds of you aren’t by the way… just thought you should know that.
– 34 to 66%… OK, alright.. a large number there.
– 67 to 99%… OK, a few hands there…
Alright now.. go ahead point to someone who you think is not a part of the Church.. (UPROARIOUS LAUGHTER)… I’m kidding… I’m kidding… (pause for laughter to stop).. alright, you get the point.
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There’s such a thing as the church and there’s such a thing as the True Church.  If you’re gonna judge the BRIDE OF CHRIST make sure you’re judging the right thing.
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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.
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Many of the accusations about the church being a bunch of hypocrites… and certainly there are some Christians who truly ARE… but many of them stem from the whole idea that we think that we are perfect, or at least better than other people.
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But the Essential is making it clear that… ah, we don’t believe that… that we make no such claim.. that here at Kirkmont we don’t think that we are better than anyone else. Why?… well, because the Essential says so, but also because the Essential is founded in Scripture.
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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.

WE BELIEVE, right… THAT CHRIST DIED SOME 2000 YEARS AGO, HIS DEATH ON THE CROSS FOR OUR SINS.
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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 them Country Club churches… right? … there are absolutely some churches who have completely lost their way… they believe that they’re better than other people in the church, they believe that they’re better than other people in the community… some churches absolutely do miss it.  But I would suggest that to be a part as we said, “of the True Church”… we need to have SAVING FAITH… you see that implies that you have something in your life that you need to be SAVED FROM.
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And so if someone out there thinks that they are perfect and so much better than other people… that as a church or a church-goer I would suggest that they’re probably not part of the TRUE CHURCH… because the mark of the True Church is a humble spirit and a sense of brokenness that says, “WE NEED JESUS… WE’RE NOT BETTER THAN ANYONE ELSE.
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This ought to be one of the friendliest… no, this ought to be THE FRIENDLIEST, most accepting place there is for our culture because we recognize our brokenness.
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FINALLY then, this idea that not only does it help to LOVE the BRIDE of CHRIST by realizing that we need to understand that some of it is the True Church and some of it is not, and to realize that the Church is indeed imperfect… but then finally to realize that this Essential claims that the church is an ORGANIZED ENTITY… it says, IT FINDS ITS EXPRESSION, the Essential says, IN LOCAL CONGREGATION.
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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?
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Or let’s have unorganized SHOPPING CENTERS… that would be great; none of the stores are labeled, you could just walk in and hopefully you’d find what you want to find… none of the items have price tags on… you don’t know where to really check out… let’s have unorganized Shopping Centers.
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Or let’s have unorganized RESTAURANTS wouldn’t that be great… you just sit down and they’re get to you when get to you and they’re bring you whatever food they want to bring you… because we’re not really organized.
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Or let’s have… I’ve seen this actually in Haiti first hand… let’s have UNORGANIZED ROAD RACE… that would be great, wouldn’t that be better for everybody?
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WHY IS “UNORGANIZED” MAKE SOMETHING BETTER?
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Or why does ORGANIZED make something worse… I don’t get the objection to Organized Religion. I love one church sign I saw, “UNORGANIZED RELIGION EVERY SUNDAY AT 10:30″… (LAUGHTER).
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I mean this is the part that should challenge us to embrace the reality that it’s inconsistent to claim to have any part of Jesus, but to not want any part in the local church.
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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.”
You know that last verse we used as our “Call to Worship” last week and just took it in as of itself, but the context is beautiful.  It not only states clearly in that last verse the importance of not giving up meeting together, but it tells us the premise of the reason WHY… is that because of what Jesus did some 2000 years ago on the Cross… He tore the curtain, he broke down the barrier that kept us out of the most Holy place–the presence of God and He made it possible for His people to gather together and to come in to His presence.
And this is clearly communicated to us through this expression, “Let us… let us.. let us”… it’s a public corporate gathering of one of our early churches that the Biblical author is spurring them on to realize the beauty of the opportunity that Jesus has made for them and that is to come together and enter into God’s presence in a way that they CANNOT REPLICATE ON THEIR OWN PRIVATELY.  And when we ignore that opportunity we ignore part of the privilege and the work of Jesus Christ on the Cross.
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It tells us that one of the beauties of coming together is not only entering into God’s presence in a special way… but it says that we might ENCOURAGE each other and spur each other on.
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Then it goes on and it says here in our Essential, it tells us there are some practical reasons why the church is organized.
So that, it says, that we would have preaching of the Word of purity, here in our Essential.
So here in the EPC, the Evangelical Presbyterian Church if you want to preach and be considered a pastor, you can’t just proclaim the title… you have to go to college; and then you have to go get a 3-year Masters of Divinity degree, and then you have to pass written exams, and then you have to pass exams by a committee, and then a committee brings you in front of a bunch of EPC pastors and elders and you have to pass those exams as well.
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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”.

I mean we believe that they’re important and sacred and set aside by the Scripture and therefore we do them in the context of a Worship Service with explanation of what we are doing.
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Biblical discipline” is another reason that it gives… and “Loving fellowship“.
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People ought to be able to come here and experience LOVING FELLOWSHIP… something they could never experience if they were trying to do the “God Thing” alone.  But sadly, people revert to that because the experience they find in many churches is not LOVING FELLOWSHIP.
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You know, right now, the Women’s World Cup is on… the Global Soccer Tournament… I played soccer my whole life, it’s really caught my attention, I’m very interested in it… and I was reflecting about soccer and this subject… and in my years growing up playing soccer I spent many, many hours alone practicing the game of soccer. I played soccer in my back yard alone; I would play soccer in the front yard; I’d get in my car and I’d drive down to a field and practice shooting by myself, and you know those were some wonderful times… I enjoyed many aspects of playing soccer by myself….
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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.

But here’s the thing… I mean, as many hours as I spend playing soccer in the backyard or at a field by myself I could never even come close to replicating the excitement and the enthusiasm of playing with my team in a game.
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And I think some of you need to hear that when it comes to a relationship with God… yeah, there are some things you can do alone in your relationship with God… sure, and there might even be some bad things you can avoid by not being a part of a church… that’s actually true… we’re wounded people and we have the ability to wound each other… but at the end of the day, I am confident, that the BLESSINGS and the PRIVILEGES of being a part of Christ’s Bride, the Church, FAR OUTWEIGH any of the negatives.
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I invite you to come and experience God in that way.
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You know… the day that Amanda walked down the aisle on our wedding day… I guess I don’t really know exactly what I had expected or anticipated but I can picture her walking down very clearly… and it was a church that I worked at… I know exactly what her dress looked like and her hair and the whole deal… and to me it was like, “THAT’S ABOUT AS PERFECT AS A BRIDE COULD LOOK”… ya know… I forgot to clean the house yesterday so I’m just tryin’… (LAUGHTER)… I’m teasing, I’m teasing; I didn’t, I didn’t [and his wife nodded in agreement that he didn’t… haha].
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No… but I’m being serious… you think about that moment, and you think about that concept, and imagine coming into the presence of God and Him seeing us that way. This Essential tells us at the very end… that for her perfecting, although she is very imperfect now, the Bride of Christ, the Church awaits the return of Christ.
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In Ephesians 5:27 it tells us that THAT’S going to happen… and I urge you to consider involving yourself, if you’re not already, in the life of a church. If it’s not this one, another one… that you might hold on to the blessed promise of being made perfect someday by Christ.
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Let’s close with this Scripture…
“and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.”
Let’s pray…
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.

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