Redwood trees grow to 300 feet tall, taller than the Statue of Liberty! And some are 2500 years old!
They are massive. But they can't survive on their own because their roots are shallow.
They survive because their roots intertwine -- the trees support each other.
This is an example of the first church. Church was made up of Believers of all different walks of life. Prior to this, worship at the Jewish synagogue was about The Jewish people worshiping God. The church excludes no one. A totally new concept at the time! The Jewish religion had a high priest -- the church no longer needed one because Jesus is the high priest and we are all called to be priests of God. The Jewish religion excluded gentiles. The Church welcomes everyone.
The church was at the center of the Believers' lives. Today, we have lost that and churches are dying.
"And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, 25 not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching." Hebrews 10:24-25
We gotta stay together. We need each other.
"We are unified by our common weaknesses, our common failures and our common disappointments and our common inconsistencies." Henri Nouwen
The New Testament Church:
1. Everyone baptized in the Spirit -- had Received the Spirit.
"When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place." Acts 2:1
2. Accepted the Message of Jesus.
"Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day." Acts 2:41
3. Devoted to Teaching and Fellowship.
"They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer." Acts 2:42
It wasn't until the 1500s that we had Bibles. Medieval churches might have had one book of the Bible.
Why we need each other in the Church:
Strength: There is strength in numbers. We give each other strength. We encourage each other.
"Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken." Ecclesiastes 4:12
"Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing."
1 Thessalonians 5:11
When those storms come we will fail of we try to stand alone, stay isolate.d
The worst a Christian wil experience is this life. The best nonbelievers will experience is this life. This is the hardest we will ever have it.
"And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned, they will be forgiven." james 5;15
And we can pray for each other.
"Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ." Galatians 6:2
And we can lean on each other.
Ministry: Each one of us has been tasked with the Great Commission:
"Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”" Matthew 28:19-20
Jesus said GO! This is not a suggestion.
"So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, 12 to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up" Ephesians 4:11-12
We are equipped to go. We are not meant to just absorb and be entertained. Each of us is called to be Jesus's hands and feet. They were learning and studying so they could teach others.
Worship: corporate worship -- necessary for us.
"speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, 20 always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ." Ephesians 5:19-20
"But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light." 1 Peter 2:9
Discipleship: We each are growing or dying -- those are the only two options. Stagnation is dying.
"Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts." Colossians 3:16
We learn from each other.
"And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable people who will also be qualified to teach others." 2 Timothy 2:2
We need to be growing leaders from among us.
Represent the family of God to the world.
See God in action through us! Through our church!
"But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect," 1 Peter 3:15
"Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household," Ephesians 2:19
"Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. 11 Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. 12 Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. 13 Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality." Romans 12:10-13
This is what we are supposed to do!
A lot of pastors burn out -- most don't even last 3 years. We need to feed each other's fire. Let us then be a church of:
"My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you." John 15:12
"This is how we know that we love the children of God: by loving God and carrying out his commands. 3 In fact, this is love for God: to keep his commands. And his commands are not burdensome," 1 John 5:2-3
“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’" Mathew 25:40
If we aren't doing then we aren't following. Love the least of these.