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  • Zack DeBruyne

The Church: Do We Need it?






Imagine that you are stranded on a deserted island with nothing but a copy of the Bible. You have no experience with Christianity, and all you know about the Church comes from reading the Bible. How would you imagine the church to look like? How do you think it would function?

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Now think about your own church experience? Is it similar, or much different?

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Why do you think Church Matters?

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/ A C L O S E R L O O K /

What does the word Church even mean?

  • ἐκκλησία, (literally, a calling out; then) an assembly, meeting of assembly, Ac. 19:39; (a) a community, congregation, church, society.

  • Local assembly of people in a meeting-place

  • The global community of all believers

  • A small gathering of believers - house church

  • Followers of Christ who derived their identity and mission from Jesus and understood themselves to be the true heavenly community of God.

  • According to Scripture, the church is fundamentally a gathering of believers dedicated to worshipping God and supporting each other in the Christian faith.

  • Appears 114 times in Scripture.


/ T H E C H U R C H A S G O D W R E S T L E R S /

If the church is a community of people, chances are it is going to be messy. God’s chosen people, the Israelites, was the first community of believers - and they set a pretty bad precedent.

/ R E A D /

Exodus 32: 1-5, 19-24

  • Israel as the chosen people, community, ekklesia, of God.

  • Is-rael means ‘wrestles with God’.

  • These were the early believers, the first chosen and called out followers of God.

  • Imperfect, wandering, sinful, confused people.

  • Yet God remained faithful to them, and they remained followers of Him - in community, together.


/ T H E C H U R C H A S W O R S H I P /

/ R E A D /

Psalm 105:1-6

  • If the form of worship changed over the past 2,000 years, its heart and center did not.

  • God revealed himself to Abraham, promising that his children would inherit the land of Canaan. Abraham demonstrated his faith through prayers and sacrifice. Worship is a remembering of God's promised covenant to his people. Weekly covenant renewal!

  • Throughout the biblical period listening to God’s Word, prayer, and sacrifice constituted the essence of worship.

  • Modern people tend to restrict worship to what happens in church on Sunday.

  • Ancient Israel had a much broader concept of worship, offering worship in the home as well as in the temple several times a day, not merely on the sabbath and at great festivals.

  • Shachah is the Hebrew word for ‘worship’ and it means a number of things:

  • “To bow down, to work, to investigate, and to seek with care.”


/ T H E C H U R C H A S F A M I L Y /

/ R E A D /

Ephesians 4:2-6

  • The Church, the worldwide group of Christian believers, is considered to be one believing body. The universal body of Christ.

  • This is why we sometimes hear random believers call one another ‘brother’ or ‘sister’ even though we are pretty confident they aren’t related.

  • We are called as this body, both in our immediate church and in the global church, to humble, patient, and grounded in love.

  • Yet, the reality is, you cannot choose your family. There may be people you just don’t get, or even really like. But as the body of believers, we are called to support and love one another as we find our unity or ‘togetherness’ in Jesus -- not in ourselves.

  • Together - יַחְדָּֽו yahdaw - United or in union with one another, to move properly as a unit.

/ T H E C H U R C H A S T H E B O D Y /

/ R E A D /

1 Corinthians 12:12-27

  • We are a family of God-wrestling, Christ-worshippers.

  • Each of us has a unique, God-given ability and gift to share with that community.

  • All of you have different gifts. All of you are invited, even commanded, to participate in God’s broken human family by contributing and participating in this family.

  • So too, as a body, we are moved to action. We are the hands and feet of Christ.

  • The promises, acceptance, and love we received cannot be hidden under bowls (Matthew 5:14-16), but instead shared. Shared through our loving actions toward those we interact with daily.


/ T H E C H U R C H A S T H E W O R K O F G O D /

/ R E A D /

Matthew 28:16-20

Acts 1:6-11

  • The Great Commission (Matt. 28:16-20) is Jesus’ command to the first ‘Church’ right after rising from the dead.

  • Jesus Ascension (Acts 1) : Christ tells his followers of the power of the Holy Spirit that they will receive. One that they will have within them, that will move them, comfort them, and empower them to be witnesses to the world.


/ P R A C T I C E /

  • The local church needs you. No matter where you are in your faith journey, no matter how much or how little you can contribute.

  • Not only that, but the church is here to support you in your studies, in your difficult homesick moments, when you are struggling to make it through a semester.

What are some difficulties you’ve experienced with church? What are some things that may have kept you away from investing into a community of faith? Take 5-10 minutes and write down some of the reasons why you haven’t found a community, or if you have, what you can continue to do to participate in the community more fully.

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/ C O N C L U S I O N /

  • This does not mean that the church is perfect, or that you have to agree with everything every church believes. But what it does mean, is that you have the love and support of a community of Christ waiting for you to join them.

  • Our group is an extension of the church, but it is not the church. If you want help finding a community, or want to join some of us on a Sunday morning -- please do! We want you to join us.


/ P R A Y E R /

God, we thank you for the fact that you sent your Son to die for us. That you have called together bodies of broken believers all around the world, and called it the church - your own. Give us strength and courage to find a community, or to find ways that we can become a part of the church communities we find ourselves. Give us grace when it’s hard. Give us energy and strength when we need it most. We thank you for your church, for your love, and we pray this in your Son’s name.


Where is God when it hurts? Where God’s people are. Where misery is, there is the Messiah, and now on earth the Messiah takes form in the shape of the church. That’s what the body of Christ means.
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