“built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.” – Acts 1:6-8
“What is a church?” Now that seems like an easy question, the sort of question one might answer in a simple sentence or two. “A church is a building in which Christians meet for worship,” is one obvious possibility. “A church is a group of Christians who gather for religious purposes” is another. Somebody who has had a bad experience might answer, “A church is a group for insiders and hypocrites.” While these 50,000 foot answers may be accurate, they don’t really tell us what a church is.
As I said on Sunday, I believe the church has two purposes, both of which are set forth in Matthew 28 in what is known as the Great Commission. The first is that the church is to take the gospel of salvation through the person and work of Jesus Christ to those who have yet accepted Jesus Christ as their personal Savior. The second is to disciple those who believe in Jesus Christ as their Savior to help them to grow in the grace and the knowledge of Jesus Christ. To achieve these goals, the church must be rooted in the Bible.
But there is another component to what makes up the church. Love. Jesus said the world will know we are His disciples by the way we love one another. Our love for Jesus will be expressed through worship, and our love for one another will be expressed through community. More than just Sunday mornings, we want to become a family of believers that share each others burdens and celebrate each others successes.
The world needs love — true, God-inspired love. God loves us and, in turn, we must love others with that love that abides in us. “So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.” – 1 John 4:16
All we want for people on the Emerald Coast is to encounter Jesus. Really encounter Him. We want them to see the living God. How loving He is, how kind, how active, and how present He is in our lives. We want to be a church that places winning those far from the heart of God above all things.
Finally, we want to be a church where everybody is welcome. Everybody. Because we believe everybody needs and should hear about the transforming love of Jesus.
- How do you answer the question, what is church?
- What does the Bible mean by church? (Ephesians 2:19, Colossians 1:24)
- What do you like about the church? What do you dislike?
- How do we build a bridge between volunteering in our community and sharing the life of Jesus with those in our community?
- What can you specifically do to fulfill the vision of Northstar?