We Are the Body of Christ
We go to church. We know people at church. And we know some things about church. But what is Church? The answers may surprise some. The first week we observed the behavior of Church in the beginning of Acts. We saw that the church was:
- Powerful in action (the miracle of tongues, 2:1-8)
- Global in scope (all nations were present, 2:9-11)
- Scriptural in its source of authority (Scripture was used to explain God’s work 2:16-21, 25-28, 34-35)
- Focused on salvation (3000 people were saved that day, 2:41)
- Serious about making disciples (Luke describes how the church shaped up believers 2:42-47)
Last week, we learned of a particular method of the mission, to love our neighbor. We discovered that love means to have a caring devotion over and above maintaining a human emotion.
Today we unpack several ramifications that spring from the message of the Gospel. We will examine it’s
- Personal Impact
The identity of the Gospel Message (1 Cor. 15:1-4)
- The implications of the Gospel Message
- You in Christ (Several Passages, please look to the screens)
- The immensity of the Gospel Message- The Church is part of God’s cosmic plan to share the Gospel. (Eph. 1:11-12)
- “The biblical data present an impressive case that election is not God’s choice of a restricted number of individuals whom he wills to save but the description of that corporate body which in Christ he is already saving” William Kline, The New Chosen People
- “Election does not have an individual emphasis in Paul, any more than it did for Israel in the Old Testament. Rather, it implies a covenant relationship through which God chooses a people for himself. This collectivism is of supreme importance for understanding the implications of election in Christ” (R. P. Shedd, Man in Community)
- Election is not God’s choice of a restricted number of individuals whom God is willing to save – it is a description of the corporate body which God is in fact saving through Jesus (Clark Pinnock, Perspectives)
- There is a plan – and we are predesigned for it
- The Church, existing in a particular location, is the working out of God’s plan from eternity expressed in time
- I am part of a destiny that was designed by God before the foundation of the world
- The imperative of the Gospel message (Eph. 1:13)
- It must be spoken
- Because the Gospel is news, good news… it is to be announced; that is what one does with news. The essential heraldic element in preaching is bound up with the fact that the core message is not a code of ethics to be debated, still less a list of aphorisms to be admired and pondered, and certainly not a systematic theology to be outlined… it is news, good news, and therefore must be publicly announced. (D. A. Carson)
- The personal impact of the Gospel Message
- You have God’s Spirit
- There is more to come
Application: We need to get very comfortable saying the following- I believe Jesus is God and he died for my
TALK IT OUT
- According to 1 Corinthians 15:1-4, who do we identify with as the very center of the gospel message? Why is that so important to understand?
- Pastor Rusty makes the point that the implications of the gospel are found in the fact that we are “in Christ.” Why is being “in Christ” so significant?
- Pastor Rusty makes this bold statement, “The church is part of God’s cosmic plan to share the gospel.” Why is this such a powerful statement for us as a congregation?
- Many people misunderstand election, thinking it means some are elected for salvation while others are doomed without a chance for salvation. Consider this perceptive statement, “Election is not God’s choice of a restricted number of individuals whom God is willing to save – it is a description of the corporate body which God is in fact saving through Jesus.” (Charles Pinnock, Perspectives) How should this perspective impact the way we view the gospel being for all people?
- Pastor Rusty says, “The Church, existing in a particular location, is the working out of God’s plan from eternity expressed in time.” How is this statement both encouraging and challenging at the same time?
- Theologian D. A. Carson makes the point that the essential element in preaching is neither a code of ethics to be debated, nor a systematic theology to be outlined… it is good news, and therefore must be publicly announced. What does this statement practically mean for us as believers?
- According to scripture we as believers have God’s Spirit living in us. How can this reality help us fulfill the mission God has given us?
LIVE IT OUT
- Reflect upon the fact that as a believer you are “in Christ.” List three practical ways you want this to impact your life this week.
- Since the church is central to God’s plan to share the gospel ask yourself two questions: 1) How can Concord better share the gospel and 2) Who do I as part of the Concord Church family need to share the gospel with this week?
- Remind yourself each day this week that the message of Jesus is at its very root good news, literally, the gospel. Ask God to help you be alert each day this week for opportunities to share His life-changing message of love and grace.
- If you’re a believer, thank God for the reality that you are in Christ and ask Him to help you live with a constant awareness of that reality. Pray that God will help you and our entire church family better engage with those who don’t yet know Christ and share His life-changing message of hope.