June 30 2019 Dick Cooper: The Love of God
4th July 2019
TEACHING June 30, 2019
SLIDE 1, INTRO: THE CHURCH BLANK SLIDE
I have been thinking about the church lately – what is a church, how is it supposed to function. So I decided to share a few of these thoughts with all of you today. But first just to spice things up let's start with a pop quiz.
Q1: What are the names of all the members of the old rock and roll band called The Beatles?
Q2: When I say the word “church” what pops into your head?
People, love, family, God -
EXTRA CREDIT: Who was the most important Beatle? George, George, John, Paul, Ringo
Lord, You are the great living God and we can praise You – Give us a new thought today of Your love for us – and we ask that You would speak through me.
Sue and I met while still in college. Early on in our budding relationship Sue popped the question – not that question - she asked one of those questions guys really dislike. You know the kind. The one's that make you think. She asked “Do you believe in God?” I wasn't sure what I thought. I didn't go to church but deep down I knew there had to be a greater power/creator. I wanted a well phrased insightful answer and I needed it quick. I came up with “Sure.” Fortunately it be what she was looking for and she answered “OK. Good.” Then she asked – Do you believe in love? I said, Yes.
A while later we got married and a while after that we first started attending a Bible Study thing at a place called “Solid Rock Foundation” on OSU. I am not making that up. The first night the speaker told anecdotes something like my life was a mess but then someone shared John 3:16 and it really changed my life, I went home and hit my folks up side the head with John 3:16. Laughter nods of thoughtful acceptance from others but I was puzzled. What is John 3:16?
SLIDE 2 “John 3:16”
That night I asked Sue what those names and numbers meant. She explained the Bible is a big book made up of little books with strange names on them like “Ichabod”. These are broken down into chapters and then numbers are added to each of the sentences and that are then called verses. Got it. Then I went to my cubbie-hole and found the index and looked for John. I wanted to be prepared at the next talk. Scrolling through the index I ran across Jonah first, then I finally found John, but wait there is also a 1 John and a 2 John and a 3 John. They must have run out of strange names. So what is the best John.
SLIDE 3 john wayne
I picked the one named 1 John because the 1 made it sound more important. 1 John 3:16 wasn’t as funny as I expected but it helped follow the speakers stories. Later I learned I had indeed memorized a verse from the wrong John it still worked fine.
SLIDE 4 john 3:16s
1 John 3:16
We know love by this, that He laid down His life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.
For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.
I hope you are all asking yourself right now. “What in the world is he doing up there? And what is he talking about? And why is he giving the teaching? I should be giving the teaching.” That is exactly what I am talking about today.
So let's talk about the Church – Notre Dame the grand lady of Architecture
SLIDE 5,6 notre dame
This is what I think about when I hear church. I don't plan on talking about it now other than to say we almost lost her and I am glad she hung in there.
We did a fund raiser a couple years back and since then have been looking at building a new building, new additions to this building, buying another building, renting, merging other churches; you name it. They must have had similar discussions over Notre Dame. Once decided it took 300 years to build Notre Dame. – So we’re ahead of schedule!
To start my study I typed “church” into the search box of Bible Gateway and came up with 112 hits. None of these were in the Old Testament but all scattered thru the new testament. The most notable thing about these 112 verses was that none of these verses talked about a building or a program or a meeting on Sunday morning. They all talk about the groups of God’s people. The church in someones house, in a certain city or region.
SLIDE 7 church verses
Sue suggested that I use a lot of references so here are all the church references. There may be another pop quiz on these so you may want to take notes.
We said we when we think of church as a building. as a building where groups of people meet. As a body of Christians. as a meeting that occurs with a body of Christians in a building on Sunday mornings. Never once does it mention a building.
Where did these impressions come from? I don't know. The New Testament was written over a span of about 100 years after Christ's death. Those writings are pretty much all we have to understand how things were back then. I think the scriptures are unclear because there is not a prescribed manner to do church. The scriptures are living and active and I think they adapt to different cultures and eras better that way.
But I do think there are important lessons we can learn from the first century church. And I want to talk about a couple.
The word church only appeared in one gospel and that was Mathew. Jesus talks about it in Matt 16
SLIDE 8 matt 16:13-18
13 Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, He was asking His disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” 14 And they said, “Some say John the Baptist; and others, Elijah; but still others, Jeremiah, or one of the prophets.” 15 He *said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” 16 Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” He got it right. That is who Jesus is.
Matthew 16:18 Jesus tells Peter Blessed are you Simon Barjona and I also say to you that you are Peter (Peter means rock or stone) and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it.” Jesus was not talking about a building foundation but Jesus was more likely referring to Peter’s admission of faith as the foundation of His church “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God” That admission of faith in Christ is the foundation for his body of believers. Not stone but gospel truth.
If we think of church as a building – we are accessories to the building. Some consider it God’s house – but God can speak to us at any time – So it is not God’s house.
Church is not necessarily a building, a service held on Sunday mornings, or a group of people who band together to accomplish some task.
If we consider that the building is the church then we could consider ourselves accessory items – candlesticks, bookends. We adorn the building, take care of this building but we are not vital elements. This building is where God speaks and must be kept special. We could see it as God's house and that is where we need to go to hear his voice. We need to keep in focus that we are the church. The building is just a convenient place to meet. Maybe not so much convenient. It needs to be taken care of but it serves our purpose not the other way around.
If we think of the church as a service, we may tend to think our Christian responsibility is complete after an hour Sunday morning. The service could become the only place where we hear God's message to us. We live our week looking forward to hearing God on Sunday and maybe miss hearing Him throughout the week.
If this service is this special we can tend to see those doing the service as being a step closer to God than us. They have God's ear and we not so much. God uses them more than me and I am not as qualified or adequate.
SLIDE 9 beatles
Next slide; Remember our extra credit? George, George, John, Paul Ringo. My bet is on Ringo
But take any one of them out of the group and the Beatles never happen. Each one in their own way was vitally important. None more than another. Just different roles and energy and talents. They all are equally important in totally different ways.
In a similar way we are all an integral part of one body here. And desperately needed by one another. All of us have unique giftings that are important. All of us together make a whole. All of us have our own unique relationship with God. Much like our relationships with our friends or family members, each is unique and different and important. Because we each hear from God in our own personal way we can all learn from one another in unique ways. There are times when someone may be more gifted in some unique way and they can be used in a way that may seem to us to be more important. Some may be lead singer, some lead guitar, some the producers.
Again we need to focus on what the bible calls the church – us. We are all part of one body – Christ’s body – the church, and our foundation is Jesus Christ the Son of the Living God. Now to each believer has been given the Holy Spirit to indwell the believer.
Let’s look at Peter the first. And just to be clear, who is Peter addressing?
SLIDE 10 1 pet 1:1-2
1 Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ,
To those who reside as aliens, scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, who are chosen 2 according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, by the sanctifying work of the Spirit, to obey Jesus Christ and be sprinkled with His blood: May grace and peace be yours in the fullest measure.
Peter was writing to all the Christians in an entire region. This text was more of a universally addressed text. He was not writing strictly to the tribe of Levi or Kohanim. He is addressing everyone.
SLIDE 11 1 PET 2:1-5
1 Therefore, putting aside all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander, 2 like newborn babies (this isn’t written just to the leaders), long for the pure milk of the word, so that by it you may grow in respect to salvation, 3 if you have tasted the kindness of the Lord. 4And coming to Him as to a living stone which has been rejected by men but is choice and precious in the sight of God, 5 you also, as living stones (from aliens to babies to living stones), are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.
SLIDE 12 1 PET 2:9-10
1 PET 2:9 But you are a chosen race (He is building on this – still talking about us!), a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; 10 for you once were not a people, but now you are the people of God; you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.
Peter indicates we are not just one body we are newborn babes, but also living stones built upon Jesus who is the living foundation and we are being built into a spiritual house for a holy priesthood and we are a chosen race and a royal priesthood.
Remember we are not just members of the body. We are members of the priesthood. And I think it is important to remember that we all have been given an equal portion of the Holy Spirit and all can and should minister to one another. If we aren’t, us individuals are missing out on all that God is intending to teach us.
As God’s priesthood we all have a responsibility to minister to others with the grace and gifting that God has given to us.
God has sealed us with a full portion of the Holy Spirit. In 1 Corinthians Paul has to address many serious issues in the church. In chapter 12 he addresses their misuse of spiritual gifts.
I’m going to talk about nutrition for a little bit – if I only ate one thing – like Snickers – all the time – I would probably be malnourished.
If I only listened to one commentator – I would be malnourished
If I only read one chapter of the book – I wouldn’t get it.
SLIDE 13 1 cor 12:4-11 DON'T READ??? – We are all to minister to each other – now, how do we do that? The Church in Corinth had some issues – he spent 11 chapters talking about the issues – and they were greatly misusing spiritual gifts…
4 Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit. 5 And there are varieties of ministries, and the same Lord. 6 There are varieties of effects, but the same God who works all things in all persons. 7 But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.8 For to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, and to another the word of knowledge according to the same Spirit; 9 to another faith by the same Spirit, and to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, 10 and to another the effecting of miracles, and to another prophecy, and to another the distinguishing of spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, and to another the interpretation of tongues.
There are a lot of different manifestations of the Spirit – and some say that is the limit of what He does – but I think Paul just ran out of words…
11 But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually just as He wills.
God is using each one of us. I learn things – and it is different from what others learn. That is why we can learn from each other.
A couple weeks ago, Alan and Annette led the breaking of bread – before that – the teens led – and there were maybe 9 or 10 people up here – and they shared what you guys had shared – and so that was maybe 20 people involved. Add Mike. And me – and me asking for song suggestions – so there were maybe 2 dozen people involved in that service!
God has sealed us with a full portion of the Holy Spirit. In 1 Corinthians Paul has to address many serious issues in the church. In chapter 12 he addresses their misuse of spiritual gifts. He explains that there is one holy spirit and he indwells each of his believers. This one spirit manifests itself through the believer in many different ways, gifts, effects, manifestations etc. One spirit unites us and provides a vast variety of helps to strengthen the church.
We are living stones and need nourishment. If we only listen to one radio station or read one author or get fed only by one source we will be malnourished.
Paul addresses gifts – and it is GOOD to have these gifts – but there is a better way.
SLIDE 14 1 cor 12:31
But earnestly desire the greater gifts. And I show you a still more excellent way.
This verse accomplishes two things. First it answers the age old question plaguing mankind for generations: Who? Who wrote the book of love?
But it leads into the greatest written epistle on love. Paul addressed complicated issues and tender topics in the last 12 chapters but now he wants to show something even more important. Then proceeds to 1 Cor 13, the greatest testament to love ever written. I am not going to go thru 1 Cor 13 today but it is definitely worth your while reading it, repeatedly or even memorizing it. In it Paul does say several important things.
Love never fails; ... But now faith, hope, love, abide these three; but the greatest of these is love.
Instead of looking at 1 Corinth I want to look at a couple different verses on love.
We have all hard of the one another verses – be kind, respect, forgive, etc and also love. I did the same thing and found 23 “love one another” references in the New Testament. The majority were in books by John. Let's look at one
SLIDE 15 john 13:34, 35
This is from Jesus to His disciples. They knew His love. They did not know what was about to happen – but we are to love as He loved.
A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.
As we learn to love one another just as Christ loved us the world will know that we are his disciples. Jesus' love takes Faith, Acceptance, Grace and Humility
And then back to the verse that started it all. Have a good week.
SLIDE 16 1 john 3:16
The new testament was written during the first century. Talks about people meeting in homes, discussing in synagogues, preaching on streets, preaching in court. In earlier days the Christians often met in homes, enjoyed dinner, broke bread at the dinner and used that time to share thoughts, lessons, scriptures, pray together, perhaps singing songs etc.
I think people tend to be more comfortable with structure and routine and eventually built what is the standard today for church worship times.
Some people say the church must follow the first century format. no more, no less. I am not that rigid. I believe Bible is living, active and not totally prescriptive. Probably not even possible I believe the Bible can be applicable throughout generations and cultures.
Let's look at the church at Corinth.
Corinthians had many issues; factions, divisions, competition, immorality and a general mis-use of Gods gifts to them. Paul wrote to straighten them out.
SLIDE 13 1 corinth 1: 1, 2
1 Paul, called as an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and Sosthenes our brother, 2 To the church of God which is at Corinth, to those who have been sanctified in Christ Jesus, saints by calling, with all who in every place call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, their Lord and ours:
Paul is addressing the CHURCH at Corinth plus all in every place. This message is universal even though it will be addressing many specific needs in Corinth.
SLIDE 14 1 cor 12:4-11
4 Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit. 5 And there are varieties of ministries, and the same Lord. 6 There are varieties of effects, but the same God who works all things in all persons. 7 But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.8 For to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, and to another the word of knowledge according to the same Spirit; 9 to another faith by the same Spirit, and to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, 10 and to another the effecting of miracles, and to another prophecy, and to another the distinguishing of spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, and to another the interpretation of tongues. 11 But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually just as He wills.
I think Paul is trying to show that there is one God and Holy Spirit. That Holy Spirit indwells each of his believers. We have a full portion of the spirit. That one spirit is capable of working different effects and gifts and ministries a in many different ways through each of us. A similar thought in Ephesians.
SLIDE 15 ephesians 4:11-13
Ephesians 4: 11 And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, 12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ; 13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ.
We see one spirit working through different individuals in different manifestations for one purpose: the building up of his body.
Paul addresses several issues with the Corinthians in the first 11 chapters. He addresses spiritual gifts which they seemed to be misusing. He says these are used to build up the body and are good and to desire them. But I will show you a still more excellent way.