The Whole Body

American consumerism and individualism have infiltrated Christianity and confused many Christians about the church. This confusion manifests itself in the trend to think of church as an event. We go to church, we sing or listen to others sing, we hear from the Bible, and we expect that this is all we need to endure another week at our jobs or with our families. This mindset leaves many Christians thinking that they have no responsibility when it comes to the church. Maybe they’ll give, but when the event itself is organized and performed by the pastors and the church staff, why should they feel a responsibility? These attitudes and actions have diminished the impact the church was designed to have. The problem begins with thinking that the church is an event instead of people. In Ephesians 4, Paul emphasizes that the church is a unified group of people pursuing commonality in belief and practice. That isn’t to say that we will all look the same, but that even when we differ, we’ll tolerate one another as we preserve the bond of peace in the Spirit we share. The church is a body of people, not a building or an event. The problem continues with thinking that the church demands no responsibility. Again, in Ephesians 4, Paul emphasizes that ministry is not the job of the pastor alone but of the whole church. Pastors are important for equipping the saints, but the end of that equipping is the saints doing the work of ministry to build up the body. Far from having no responsibility, we have a huge responsibility. One that requires a personal pursuit of maturity, an awareness of potential doctrinal error, and a willing investment in others. The problems culminate with thinking that church growth is merely having more people in the building and more money in the offering. Church growth isn’t really about numbers, finances, or buildings; it’s about attaining the measure of the stature that belongs to the fullness of Christ (Eph 4:13). When we settle for merely attracting a big crowd, we often fail to attain the depth of relationship that allows for the speaking of truth in love and the mutual growth that occurs when the individual parts are supplying what is necessary for the growth of the body. What this demands is a rejection of our American consumerism and individualism and a growth in love for each other. We need to care for each other enough to know each other and invest in each other’s growth. We need to love enough that we are willing to disciple each other and speak truth to each other. We need to set aside our agendas and give of our time and energy to each other. This is how Christ fulfills His promise to build His church. He works in each of us to move us from being self-centered, egotistical individuals to a loving, unified family in which we give from what He’s given to us to help us all grow into the image of Christ, not alone, but together. –Pastor Rory

Sunday at Liberty

9AM: 1 John 1:1-10–Walking in the Light, part 2

10AM: Pastor Rory–The Whole Body–Ephesians 4:1-16 (sermon notes)

5PM: Potluck at the Martins’

6PM: Evening Gathering at the Martins’–The Cornerstone–Psalm 118

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