Church Is Optional

I have recently been thinking a lot about the importance of the Church and the purpose of the Church and was reminded of a sermon I preached back in the summer of 2012 on this topic. I reviewed my sermon notes and watched the video and guess what?? I still believe everything I said back then! And I’m just as passionate and in love with the Bride of Christ now as I was then.

Watch the video and let me know what you think (leave a comment below!):

Here are my notes so you can follow along:

Myth: Church Is Optional
Jathan Good – The LIFEhouse Church
Sunday August 19, 2012

Intro
I love you guys, and this church. I love that we are welcoming and sincere, not judgmental.
I love the church. I love Acts, and the adventure of starting the church.
God is passionate about His church

The Bride of Christ
Ephesians 5:22-27
Jesus died for his bride. What would you die for? Only something you love more than life.

Remember walking down the aisle? God is passionate about his church. Overcome w/emotion.

Not being connected to a local church is like saying “Jesus I love you, but I don’t like your wife.” ¬†Or…”Yeah, we’re married and I love you but I don’t like spending time with you, so I’ll be in & out”

— It’s ok to be uncomfortable—

The Body of Christ
Eph 5:28-32 Profound mystery, but we are part of the body. Jesus cares for us as much as his own body.
Rom. 12:4-6 We need each other.
1 Cor. 12:14-27 You ARE part of the body of Christ, but if not connected you’re a severed finger.
The body is better with all 10 digits.

Connection is the key (committed and active)
Americans are consumers. Be a communer.
Not called to have our needs met, to be fed, to be comfortable
Church hopping = leaches, not bunnies Don’t date the church
Committing isn’t a burden but a gift; it doesn’t tie us down, it’s an anchor in the storm

“My faith is personal; I don’t need to go to church to believe in God.”
But is believing in God enough? Even the demons believe!
How do you know you’re believing the right things about God?

Mark Dever: if you’re not a member of a church you might be going to hell

There is a spiritual battle raging – do you really want to walk through that battle alone?
Get into a small group!

Yes – your faith in God is personal. But God never intended it to be private.

Chuck Colson: ” For any Christian who has a choice in the matter, failure to cleave to a particular church is a failure to obey Christ.”

Charles Spurgeon – Good for nothing bricks
severed finger that’s inching alongside the body, or hitching a ride, but still not connected.
God wants more FOR you

God’s Plan A (your best life now)
The church is God’s ultimate and best plan for your spiritual health.
Volunteer Revolution: using your gifts to serve is the best thing ever – it’s what we were made for: Eph 2:10
– Called To Be In Relationship With Other Christians
John 13:35 (they will know we are Christians by our love for each other) Heb. 10:24-25 (don’t give up meeting together)
– The Purpose Driven Life: Worship, Fellowship, Discipleship, Ministry, Mission. All are hard to do on your own
Matt. 18:20 “Where two or three gather together as my followers, I am there among them.”
Read 1 John 3:16, “This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers.”
– God’s very nature is expressed in relational terms: Father, Son, Holy Spirit
– Jesus pointed to disciples and said “These are my mother and brothers.”
– Gen 1 and 2 – Being alone was the first thing God called “not good”

The church is God’s ultimate plan for saving the world.

Called to reach the world
Got to be part of a team.
Church of Our Savior
– Don’t fall into the trap of segregation and separation. Stay focused outward. Jesus came to seek and to save the lost – that’s our goal too.

Application
What’s your next step?
Don’t put the responsibility of your spiritual growth on the pastors. Follow up, be diligent about volunteering.

Further Reading. Recommended books: Why Church Matters? Joshua Harris; The Purpose Driven Life (Chapters 15-22 in particular) Rick Warren. Volunteer Revolution (Bill Hybels)

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