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Oct 17, 2021

The Called-Out Church

The Called-Out Church

Passage: Matthew 16:14-18

Speaker: Matt Petty

Series: We Are

Category: Sunday Sermons

Keywords: church, faith, god, sermon, bible, christ, hope, grace, preaching, ekklesia, the church, loneliness, religion, jesus christ, christianity, connection, bible study, belonging, belong, inclusion, local church, vulnerability, matthew 16, ecclesia, what is a christian, online church, what is christianity, called out, burnt hickory baptist church, finding hope, we are, burnt hickory worship, why join a church, new testament study, how to belong, what are christians

Why is it important to be a member of a local church? Well, its biblical and beneficial. God’s heart is not for us to just attend church, but to belong and be the church. As we study the bible today in Matthew chapter 16, we see that Jesus calls out His followers, and begins the church. The English word for church is derived from the Greek Ekklesia which means the called-out body. Further on in scripture, we see that there is no such thing in the New Testament as a believer that exists independently as one who is not fully active in a local church. Our connection with a faith family is what sets Christianity apart from religion. Pastor Matt teaches us in this sermon, that God speaks to the church, God speaks through the church, and as the church, we are the hope of the world. Church is not just a place to attend, it’s a place to participate and belong, and it holds the power to impact the world and generations to come. Maybe it’s time for you to be planted in a local church and begin the active process of belonging and participating in the work God has planned and show the world hope and share His grace. Psalms 92:12-13 says that “the righteous will flourish like a palm tree, they will grow like a cedar of Lebanon; planted in the house of the Lord, they will flourish in the courts of our God. They will still bear fruit in old age, they will stay fresh and green, proclaiming, “The Lord is upright; he is my rock, and there is no wickedness in him.”

Well, good morning, church man, I'm telling you what, it has been an incredible morning already in the House of the Lord. I just want to say thanks for being here. Thanks for coming today. Even after for so many of you, the late-night last night celebrating the Bravos. Which we're going to do again tonight, by the way. But we are excited to be at church. Well, listen, welcome to week number two in a series that we're calling. We are. We're calling it We are, because we realize that there are some fundamental things, some baseline principles that God has bestowed in us, has given us has called us into that we need to spend some time looking at as the church.

Last week, we pointed out that over the last year, there has been almost two hundred people that have jumped into this place, new families, new people. And we want to make sure from time to time that we're all on the same field, we're on the same ground, we're moving in the same direction. So, for a couple of weeks, we're pulling back and we're looking at this idea of who we are. Last week, we started in the logical place, and we looked at who we are in Christ. We looked at what is our identity in him. Who is he and who are we because of him? And we said last week that our identity doesn't necessarily rest in our appearance or in our vocation or even in our family structure or where we are. But it rests in the fact that we are the children of God, that we are a couple of things that we were chosen by God.

Do you realize that God chose you, he chose you, he called you? But not only that, you're valuable to God. We looked at last week, you know what? We struggle so much with value. But if we can just realize that we are God's chosen valuable tools, but not only those two, but we are number three. Last week is that we're forgiven, but not just a little bit forgiven or fully forgiven, not because we then been covered in the blood of Christ, but we've been washed in the blood. He's made us new. And then because of all that, we walked out saying last week that that we're capable we are fully capable in Christ.

And can I just tell you, all week this week, my prayer is that message has just been rolling around in your brains and saturating your hearts with this morning. We're going to take another step in this series. We are. And we're going to bring it from the personal and we're going to look at the corporate this morning. In this week. we're going to look at that, we are cumulatively, we are the called-out church. We're the called-out church.

If you got a copy of scripture. Go with me to Matthew Chapter 16, Matthew Chapter 16, and we're going to get there eventually. But we got some ground to lay before we get there. As you're finding that, I'm going to ask you to do something today that maybe you have never been asked to do this. And I want you to do something as I'm speaking today in the 20 to 40 minutes that I usually go. I want to challenge you to I want to challenge you to rethink something. I want to challenge you to rethink your relationship with the church.

I want to challenge you to do that. Now, for some of you, that almost sounds blasphemous, like, well, know that I will not do that, but just go with me for a minute. I want to challenge you to rethink it. And here's why. For some of you. For some of you. Church has been an absolute integral part of your life from the time you can remember till today. It has been not only something you do, but something you are something you're a part of, something you have walked with.

And today is going to be a little bit of a reminder for you. It's going to be a little bit of an encouragement for you, a kind of a rallying of the people around you. But for some of you, when I mention the word church, I fully realize that word is a supercharged emotional word for you, because like we just mentioned, for some of you, you're new to this thing called church and you're just getting your feet wet. You're trying to figure out what it is. You're trying to look at, how it fits into life and what it does for you.

But for many others of you. You're trying to figure out how to reenter into it, because there was a day that you got burned by it. There was a moment where you felt like it turned its back on you and you kind of, as a result, turn your back on it. And there was a season of your life that had nothing to do with your life, but something happened. And now you're beginning to move back in it and trying to figure out what it is. And you were wounded, but you're just now back.

And I get that. So, I want you to rethink it today for some of you. There's another group that. You were taught for ages to keep it at arm's reach, to kind of keep it like in the family, but that person in the family that nobody really likes, you know what I'm saying?

Kind of keep it like right there and then for some of you, you've just been indifferent to the church for a long time. And in fact, you're just probably if you were to be honest, you're just kind of here to keep somebody off your back. And that's OK. I feel that. I want to ask all of us this morning as we walk through this text, as we walk to this idea to rethink your relationship with the church, because for some of us, church has just become a really big consumeristic struggle. I mean, think about it, a lot of us. We look at church as nothing but this thing that fulfills my need, that fulfills my want. That is all about my family's preference and all about no responsibility, but just making it a small part of my life.

So, with all of that being said, the reality is, because of all of those groups of people clashing for some reason in our culture, not necessarily here, but other places, there has been a result of a low commitment, low view and absolute wash of what church is that has led us to a low commitment of church and what it looks like in our lives. You see, when you look at church, I just want to lovingly point something out to us this morning. I think it's because a lot of us have a wrong view of what church is that leads us to this. In fact, I want to start with this principle. Here's my thesis for the morning to sound smart, right? Here's the kind of underlying point for the morning that'll get us started. I want you to write this principle and I put it in your notes.

Number one, God's heart is not for you just to attend church. It's for you to belong and to be the church. God's heart. Now, this is a big one, all right. God's heart is not just for you to attend church with. Some of you are like, oh, if you knew the morning, it was the day. Right. But know God's heart is not just for you to attend church is for you to belong and be the church. Now, what does that mean? It means this church is not a spectator sport. It's not. Now we know some spectator sports, a man who had a whole day college football yesterday. We had a whole day of kid’s football yesterday. We had a whole night of Braves Baseball last night.

We know what spectator sports look like. The church is not a spectator, not a spectator sport. One, because the reality is church is not a location. It's a body. Church is not a location. Listen, you're the church, you're the church, and we have a skewed view of this, which causes us to treat it flippantly. Let me do this. Let me go to Matthew 16. And I want to show you what Jesus said about the church. Is the first time that Jesus ever mentioned church, by the way. So, we should pay attention to it.

Matthew, 16. Incredibly familiar passage if you've been in church for a long time, but we don't normally use it when talking about the church. But I want to read it to you, Matthew, 16. Starting in verse 13 says this says When Jesus came to the region of Sisera, Philippi, he asked his disciples, who do people say that the son of man is? And they replied, well, some say John the Baptist, other Elijah and others Jeremiah, or one of the prophets. But what about you? Jesus asked. Who do you say that I am? Verse 16 - Simon Peter answered. Of course, he did. He always answers, right? Watch this. He says you are the Messiah, the son of the living God. Jesus replied, blessed are you, Simon, son of Jonah. For this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my father, who is in heaven.

Now, that's normally where we kind of stop and where we focus on. But I want you to see the last verse. It goes with the context of where we're going today. What's this in verse 18? Jesus says this, and I tell you that you are Peter. He looks at Peter and he says, I tell you that you are Petro's. He calls him Petro's, which by definition means you are a small little bitty rock. And on this rock, Jesus is pointing at himself at this point. He's like and on this thing right here, this big foundational rock. Watch what he says. Jesus says, I will build my church. I will build my church and watch what happens. And the gates of Hades or hell will not overcome it.

Now, what's happening in this passage is incredible when you think about it in the context of church. Jesus comes up to his boys, the disciples, and he says, hey, who do people say that I am? I need to know. Let's do a little review here. What are you hearing? What are you seeing? Give me some feedback. Peter steps up and says, you are the Christ, the son of the living God. And Jesus looks back at Peter. And he goes, you are correct, Peter. You are correct. And in fact, Peter, you are a small piece of small rock, a small stone, along with the rest of your boys over here. And along with the rest of the people that are my followers. And you guys will pile on top of me as the foundational stone, and I will build my church out of people like you, representing me as the messiah. That's the church. That's the church. The church is not a location. The church is a group of people who come together, built on the foundation of Christ, moving in a common direction that say we are small stones, not built on ourselves, but built on a foundation that will not crack, that will not crumble. That will not fail. That will not wither away. But as Jesus himself, the rock, that's the church. You see this foundation can teach you something about church. We've got a skewed view, don't we? Our skewed view says that we just go to church.

We go to church. But what Jesus said. No, no, no, Jesus, you are the church. You are the church. In fact, the word church, just by definition is the Greek word Ekklesia. So, it's a Greek word. Ekklesia, I say, it's a compound word. You know, it's just two words slam together to make one. It literally means ek, out of and Kaleo. That's the two words put together to call out of to call. Now, if you remember Latin from the ninth grade, they got their language mixed up. All right. The order is mixed up in Latin and a lot of other language. But we English, we got it right. All right. So, when you put it together in our language, it literally says the called-out body, the called-out body, that is the church.

The church is the call that body. Now, follow the follow the logic. If the church is the called-out body, that means do we gather here is the church. Yes. Is the church a place called Burnt Hickory? Yes. But listen to me. Church is less about a place and more about a people. It's less about a place. Now, I love the fact that God has given us the space to be called out to be trained to be sent out from this place.

Don't get me wrong, God has blessed that and it's continuing to bless it. But listen, if you continually see this as a spectator sport, an event that you go to when you have time, you will never understand what it's like to live as the called-out body, as the called-out body. You see, we see this all over the New Testament. The Apostle Paul was really good at pointing this out. First Corinthians Chapter one, the Apostle Paul starts his whole book with this watch. He says Paul called to be an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God and our brother Sosthenesm. Watch what he says, verse two to the Church of God in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus and call to be his holy people, together with all of those everywhere who call in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, their Lord and ours, grace and peace to you from God, our father in the Lord Jesus Christ.

What did Paul do, Paul? Describe what it looks like to be the church. He says, hey, you are a locally gathered body. You are sanctified. Look at the verse. Those are sanctified. That's just a fancy word. That means you have been set free from your sins. You are called out; you were set free. You are his. And watch this all the way down in the bottom of the verse, all with those everywhere. What does that mean? We as Burnt Hickory We, as the called out West Cobb, Paulding people are small rocks built on the large rock that are gathered, that are sanctified, set free, piling up on top of the foundation of Jesus with a common confession and common goal. That's the church. That's the church. And I get it because here's the deal. Most of us, we agree with that sentiment. Nobody here is going to be like, that's not what the church is, Matt, and leave.

Right? You're not going to do that. We agree with that sentiment. But when we see the church as that, it brings a whole different level of commitment, and it brings a different level of perspective to us. In fact, this is where it gets a little personal for us, because when you read the Bible and when you understand what church is, it is assumed in the New Testament that all believers belong to and a symbol in a local body of believers. It is an assumption in scripture, in fact, write this principle down. It's really long, so I just gave you like one word you could fill in. All right. Write this down.

There is no such thing in the New Testament hear me, as a believer that exists in some sort of random, independent, free-floating lifestyle that is not fully active in a local church. It's not there.

In fact, I'll challenge you if you find it this week. Send it to me. It's not there. Why? Because all believers in the New Testament, that's our goal, right? All believers in the New Testament were assumed to be a part of a local church. That's why there's no command in the New Testament that says thou shalt be a member of a local church. They didn't have to do that. It was assumed it was like saying this is just what you do to be of the Lord, was to be of the church, to be of the church, was to be of the Lord. It was all together. Think about just the Bible when we make this proof. Right? Revelation Chapter two, Revelation chapter three is just written to the one to the seven churches. Right. Think about the letters that Paul wrote.

All of the letters in the New Testament are written to either churches or leaders of churches to be presented at churches and pass to other churches. You're feeling the logic here. God said it is the church that is my called-out body, and that it gets even stronger than that. And acts chapter 20, verse 28. Look at this says keep watch over yourselves and all the flock, which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. he's talking to pastors, talking to leaders. Watch what he says. Says Be shepherds of the Church of God, which he, that's Jesus bought with his blood. He bought it with his blood. So, are you feeling that it's more than an event at this point? Jesus didn't buy an event with his blood. He bought a called-out body of believers built on the foundation of something that's not going to crack or crumble.

That's what the church is. Jesus purchased the church. Do you know there's no other club, no other organization, no other institution that can make this claim? No other group on this planet can make the claim that Jesus has blood, bought it. But the church. But the church, in fact. Let me give you a couple of things. The Bible teaches about the church. No. One we've ever been talking about. What about this one?

Number one, God speaks to the church. He speaks directly to the church. We read some of these passages are reading at a first Corinthians, out of first Thessalonians out of Revelation two and three, we see all those God speaks directly to the church. But not only that.

Secondly, he speaks through the church. He speaks to the church. In other words, is the church that in a lot of ways is a gathering point for the small rocks to make sure they are building on the right foundation of who Christ is. The Bible says that there are people who are called to present the word, to divide the word, to lead, a.k.a. pastors. Bible study leaders. Small group leaders. And when we discuss those things together as the church walk, as the church have worship moments, as the church together and walk through the word together, we are living out the fact that God is speaking through the church. Well, but I can feel the tension. But, man, when he wrote this, there weren't podcasts. True? Point taken. There weren't blogs. There weren't study Bibles. Everybody didn't have a copy of scripture.

We've moved beyond that. The church is just antiquated. I don't need that. No, no, no, no. Let me tell you why. You're going to see in a few minutes even more clearly but let me promise you something. Listen, I am a 100 percent fan of all those things that I just mentioned. I love listening podcast. I love listening to other people's messages that, quite frankly, are so much better than anything you're going to get here, I promise you. All right. I love reading stuff. I love commentary. But listen, if you are not actively leaning into a local consistent body of Christ, you will never find the full council of God. And here's why. You will always avoid the areas of your life that need it the most. You'll do it, I promise you, you'll do it. You'll scroll it, you'll see it, not today. Don't want to go there. Nope, not going there. But when you plug in to the local body, there is something about you sitting, you hearing something being presented where you. I can't tell you how many times this happened. Pastor Matt, that was for me today.

God speaks through the church. I promise you. And in the church is not just about hearing the word, which I want you to see this number three. The church is the hope of the world. It's the hope of the world. Why? Because look at this, when God speaks to the church and then God speaks through the church. The natural response of that is you cannot hear the word of God in your heart, rightly, and not cause you to act, not cause you to move.

You say in response to hearing the word of God, the body of Christ is active. It moves. You've got to belong and not just attend to be active in your faith. You see, culture says like this, right? I just go to church. Just go to church. Come see the show. Come get the message. Come feel good about yourself. Check the box off. In fact, there are incredibly large churches across this world that their only goal for you is to be on their campus sitting in a seat for 45 to 50 minutes a week.

Then there are twenty-five-minute sermonette. And all it's doing is producing Christian art. That is all it is, right? That's it. Because all they want to do is to be able to check a little box somewhere and say that you've been there. That's not what Christ says. It is to belong, to be active, to be known, and to be a part of a body. That's the church which, by the way, just as you don't see an independent, free floating New Testament believer in the Bible. You also don't see a New Testament Believer in the Bible that it's autonomous that no one knows them in their church. Do you feel where that's going a little bit? Here's what that means. People didn't simply sneak in and out of churches and not be known. They just didn't sneak inside of churches to say that they had been there. They were known by their church. People knew them in their church. Why? Because it's a called-out body. And the body knows the body. The body knows where the body is.

That's why your brain tells you where your hand is when things happen. That's the picture of the body that it gives us people. How do you know that Matt, well look at Acts 2 verse 41? Peter's preaching at Pentecost and watch what it says. Those who accepted this message, they were baptized. About 3000 of them were added to their number that day. Somebody knew how many people were there. Does that make sense? You ever realize that there was a dude somewhere with a big old list that said, hey, you weren't here, but now you're here? Somebody knew. OK, well, maybe that was not big. Acts 5:14. The disciples were healing people right there ministering to people. It says this in verse 14. Nevertheless, more and more men and women, they believed in the Lord and watch, they were added to their number. They were added to their number. They knew that there were new people there. They knew that there were new people belonging, coming for council, being counted. Why? Because they wanted them to be a part of the body. They wanted them.

In fact, I want you to go down. Go to Hebrews 13 with me. Hebrews 13. If those didn't make sense, what's this one? Hebrews 13 says this. Have confidence in your leaders and submit to their authority, which is really hard to read when you get. All right. That one took a minute to go, right? Because what's this? Because they watch over you as those who must give an account. Do you realize what that does right there? How can pastors, shepherds, church leader give an account for people who just choose to remain anonymous and just casually date the church?

It can't happen. It can't. I just don't see it. All of this says biblical minded people cannot remain anonymous, casual or superficial, so-called independent Christians, and choose to think the power of Christ is going to rule in their hearts. It's just not going to work. Church is part of the body. I don't see it in scripture. If you find it this week, show it to me, please. But I can't find it, but listen to me, this is what culture is trying to sell you.

It's trying to sell you a lie. This says if you'll just straight up attend every now and then you'll be OK. You'll be OK. Just date it just when it's convenient, when nothing else has happened. Don't put anything else in front of church. No way. Just. Just keep your options open. See, this doesn't work. Why? Because you are the church, you're the church. You know, question in my mind this week, and I put it, you know, it's going to get me in trouble. But that's OK. It's cool. We're going to have a tailgate in just a minute. All right. Let me ask you this. Would you want to be a part of a church that was made up mostly of people with your level of belonging?

That was strong right there, isn't if. Or let me ask it like this. Could a church even exist if it was made up of people with your level of belonging? You see, here's the thing some of you like. Yeah, I would, because I'm not perfect, but I feel like I'm doing what I can do and you know, I feel you in that, you know, you are part of a group, you're part of the family. You are a member here. This is a big part of your life. You're being cared for. You're being discipled, you're being walked with, you're honoring God. But for some of you, this is way different talking than just slipping in and out when it's convenient. So, nobody knows you. Do you feel the tension? Do you feel the difference of the cultural church and a biblical church? Listen. God wants more for your family. And for you to just be flippant about the church, and I'm not saying it to be harsh, I'm saying it because I know that God wants more for you and he wants to bring you more, and Jesus wants you to belong, and he wants you to be active in his called-out body of Christ. He wants you to be.

So, that being said, that's the intro. All right. Just kidding. Just kidding. I know we're going to eat. All right. Let me give you really fast. And I mean it. Not like preacher fast, like really fast. Let me give you five foundational truths about the church, just so you can have them in a linear list, because here's what's going to happen this week. Something is going to challenge this message in your soul. Something's going to I promise you; it'll happen to you. And I want you to have this to go back to as you're thinking through your relationship with the called-out body.

These can help you; number one remember this Jesus started the church. Jesus started the church. Listen, it was not some old dude sitting in a backroom somewhere that said, hey, how can we get him out of bed early on Sunday and ruin their day? No, that's not what it is. Jesus started the church. Man didn't dream this thing up. This is a horrible hobby, if you think about it. I mean, it is. We asked for your money and your commitment every week, right? It's a horrible hobby. Just kidding. But watch this, Matthew. Chapter 16 verse 18, Jesus said this. I will build my church. That's his, he started it and the gates of hell will not prevail. Really? Jesus only started one organization. But for some reason, it's the organization that we put beyond and behind many other organizations. But I can tell you, this it's the only organization that's going to exist in eternity. This guy's not and I love him, I screwed my face off last night, I'm going to do it again, but I'm doing it all morning too.

Number two. Got to keep going, I'll say it real fast, I promise. Number two, Jesus loves the church. Jesus started the church, but Jesus loves the church. So, Matt, how do we know? Glad you asked. Ephesians five, twenty-five. Paul says this Husbands love your wives as the most like elbowed verse in whole Bible. Husbands love your wives just as Christ watch this, loved the church and gave himself up for her. What did Christ do. Jesus loved the church so much. He died for the church. Listen to me. Jesus did not die for your sports team, no matter how much you prayed last night that it happened in the night. He did not die for your sports team. He didn't die for your band. He didn't die for your PTA He didn't die for your company. He didn't die for your club. He didn't die for your sporting activities. Now, look, he died for all the people in those things. But he did not die for that. Jesus died for his bride. And his bride is the church. It's the church. And listen, here's the thing. You can say whatever you want too about me. Right. People do it all the time. It's kind of a hobby for some people, I might add. But listen, you don't talk about that little lady over there, my bride. That's when we're going to have words.

But why are we that flippant when it comes to the church? Because the church is the bride of Christ. Do you see this right? Do you see how the language matters? We can't be flippant about the church that Jesus loves. I know it's cool and rebellious right now to go. Look, I'm just spiritual. I'm just kind of doing my own thing. I'm just kind of on my own journey. I mean, I love God and I'm just keeping my options open, but I just don't love the church. You cannot say that. You can't claim to love a God that you don't see and love the people that he says that he loves. Which leads me to number three. This one's even more controversial because we're already on that train. Here we go.

Number three. Not actively belonging to a church is proof that something is wrong with you spiritually. Here's the deal I can't I'm not going to give you a whole bunch of verses that. That prove that the church is more than some parenthetical organization, but it is. I feel like we've already done that. But listen, to get rid of the church, is to get rid of Jesus. To get rid of Jesus is to get rid of the church. And listen, you can't have one without the other.

And I know there are circumstances where people can't be involved. I know they're health things. There are things going on. But listen, if you're an able-bodied person, you need to be part of a local body of Christ and not just visit it, not just casually dating it.

Listen, the Bible says this and first, John, two. It says, these people left our churches. I'm not talking about, hey, they went down the one down the road. No, they're gone. They ain't going to church no more. But watch what John says. But they never really belonged with us. Otherwise, they would have stayed with us when they left. Man, this gets strong. It proved they didn't belong to us. You're feeling it, aren't you? It's the bride, it's the bride, it shows what's happened in our lives.

We're built to do this. So let me say this. All right. Let me say this. For those of you that are visiting today or maybe your second time, just give us a minute. All right. If you go here, if this is your spot, this needs to be your church. This needs to be your church. Listen, I just I don't know when it happened, but at some point. We got into this groove of feeling like we're church connoisseurs, that we want to worship at this one, but the Bible at this one, in the group, at this one, and maybe on this day, I want the children's ministry at this one. In the kid's ministry at this one. Listen. That is not biblical. It's not. Why? Because church is not something you attend. Somewhere you belong. So, for those of you that are doing the first Sunday over there, in the second Sunday over there and the third Sunday at grandmas in the fourth Sunday, were so tired from traveling everywhere. We ain't going anywhere. It doesn't matter because nobody knows us. You're not living your part of the body.

You're not. And listen, I know I speak for the rest of the pastors in this community because I'm friends with them. Pick a church. Just pick one. I don't care if it's this one. Just pick. I mean, I do. But you get the point, right? You feel where that is. Pick one. You will not grow. How God wants you to grow by church hopping, Piccadilly style churching.

And it's not going to work. Which leads me to number four, it’s a review. Church is not just a place to attend. It's a place to participate and belong. It's a place to belong. It's a place where you are part of a family, you're finding accountability, you're discipled, you're getting the constant theology and doctrine of a place that you don't get when you're just a spectator at a bunch. You don't have a place that you're planted. You just don't. And I get it. But churches are dysfunctional. Yeah, we are. We are one big ol dysfunctional family. But it's what we got.

And we're covered by grace and our identities is in Jesus. And we're going to read the Bible and talk about it. And we're going to pray together. We're going to take care of people. But if that's not you, it's OK. Find somewhere it is.

So that leads me to number five. Not only is the church important for you, but it holds the power to impact the world and the generations to come. You feel that right? Church is important, we've been in all day. But it's also the hope of the world. It's also the thing that's going to give eternal rewards generation after generation after generation, which, by the way, parents, the level of commitment that you have to the local body of Christ is what your kids are watching. It's what they're watching. So, here's the question that we walk out on. What's my response in all of this? What's my response to all of this that we've talked about? Let me give you one sentence. Here's my prayer for you as you redefine your relationship.

My response is to plant myself in the local church and belong. To plant. And belong. That's it. God's highest calling on your life is not for you to go to church. Yes, we made it. No. It's for you to plant and belong, plant and belong.

In fact, a verse hit me this week. Psalm 92. I'm closing with this. I know I've said that like three times, but really, I am. Psalm 92 verse 12 says this. Says the righteous will flourish like a palm tree. They will grow like the cedar of Lebanon. Now we don't talk like this a whole lot. When was the last time you used the word flourish? We don't use that word right. But here's what it means. The word flourish is just a symbol of growth and vitality and health. Think of like kudzu in midsummer, right. But then he gives us this example of a palm and a cedar to these people that it was written to, they knew exactly what this is. A palm it meant it was stands the storm. It's evergreen. It never goes wrong. And no matter what happens to it, it's still standing there when everything around is gone. The cedar, It's strong. And it just is a symbol of being pleasant and being useful. Both are evergreens, but catch this, let me keep reading.

He's going to flourish; the righteous will flourish like a palm tree. They will grow like a cedar of Lebanon. Catch this verse 13 planted in the House of the Lord, you got that right? They will flourish in the courts of our God. Yes, better watch this. They will still bear fruit in their old age, amen. They will stay fresh and green proclaiming the Lord is upright. Watch this. He is my rock. Where do we start this whole morning at Matthew chapter 16, and upon this rock, I will build my church.

Who is going to flourish? He tells us. Right, those that are planted in the house of the Lord. Planting, let me ask you something, because here's what I know. Most of us, when we see our lives, we don't think of ourselves as flourishing. We think more isolated, lonely, struggling. What's the offer here? The offer is those that plant in the House of the Lord. will flourish. Does that mean that nothing ever goes wrong in your life? No, but it does mean this. When it does go wrong, there is somebody right beside you to pick you up, to replant you, to water you, to put a little fertilizer on you and to make sure you're in a spot that you can grow.

That's the church, that's the church. Here's my question. Will you plant? Will you plant? Now, a couple of questions. So, I know we got a lot of people, where are you in this? Have you made a decision? Number one, to follow Jesus. That's number one, right? Let's get the order correct. Has there been a time in your life where you have invited Christ into your life, where you've submitted your heart to him and he has forgiven you of your sins, set you free and made you part of his universal church? Has that happened in your life? Are you just playing the game? I would recommend. Today, be your day. And give your life to Christ, the question I love to ask is what's holding you back from submitting your heart to Jesus right now? What is it?

Number two, group of people. Do you need to join this church? Do you need to join this church? Now, what does that mean? That is your first step of actively belonging and choosing to flourish as a part of this body. Have you as a believer in Jesus? Said, hey, Burnt Hickory, I'm here. I want to be known and I want to be part of the family, that's what joining the church looks like. But that's so old school, so antiquated, na. You sign the line for everything else important in your life. Why not the bride? Do you need to join the church? How do I do that? Well, in just a minute, we're going to sing a song right here.

I'll be over here to the side. I'll have other counselors over here to the side. Or you can fire the app up that we talk about literally every Sunday. And you can hit the next steps button and say, hey, I want to be a member of this church somebody will reach back out to you within 24 hours to walk you through what that looks like.

Number three. Maybe today. You are a member here, but you just need to repent for a few minutes to say, Lord, I'm sorry that I've insulted your bride with the lack of involvement, the lack of commitment and the lack of care that I've had, because I'm going to tell you this. When you do that, it's over. It's done. He sets you on a path for newness of life.

Lord Jesus, walk with us in these next couple of minutes. And God, I know that there's a whole lot about to happen. But God, I'm just asking you in this moment, God to guide people's hearts to come alongside the bride and to plant and flourish. Thank you, Lord Jesus. It's in your name, let's stand and sing.

Follow Along with the Message

We Are the Called-Out Church

October 17, 2021

PRINCIPLE: God’s heart is not for you to just attend church; it’s for you to to and the church.

Matthew 16:13–18
13 When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?” 14 They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” 15 “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?” 16 Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” 17 Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven. 18 And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.
1 Corinthians 1:1–3
1 Paul, called to be an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and our brother Sosthenes, 2 To the church of God in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus and called to be his holy people, together with all those everywhere who call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ—their Lord and ours: 3 Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
1 Thessalonians 1:1
Paul, Silas and Timothy, To the church of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ:

PRINCIPLE: There is no such thing in the New Testament as a believer that exists in some sort of random, independent, and free-floating lifestyle that is not fully in a local church.

Acts 20:28
Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. Be shepherds of the church of God, which he bought with his own blood.

The Bible Teaches Us

1. God to the Church.

2. God speaks the Church.

3. The Church is the of the world.

Acts 2:41
Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day.
Acts 5:14
Nevertheless, more and more men and women believed in the Lord and were added to their number.
Acts 11:24
He was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and faith, and a great number of people were added to the Lord.
Hebrews 13:17
Have confidence in your leaders and submit to their authority, because they keep watch over you as those who must give an account.

QUESTION: Would I want to be a part of a church if it was made up mostly of people with my level of ?

5 Foundational Truths

1. Jesus the Church.

Matthew 16:18
…I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.

2. Jesus the Church.

Ephesians 5:25
Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.

3. Not actively belonging to a church is that something is wrong with you spiritually.

1 John 2:19 (NLT)
These people left our churches, but they never really belonged with us; otherwise they would have stayed with us. When they left, it proved that they did not belong with us.

4. Church is not just a place to ; it’s a place to participate and belong.

5. Not only is church important for you, it holds the power to impact the world and to come.

What is my response to all of this?

myself in the local church and .

Psalm 92:12–15
12 The righteous will flourish like a palm tree, they will grow like a cedar of Lebanon; 13 planted in the house of the Lord, they will flourish in the courts of our God. 14 They will still bear fruit in old age, they will stay fresh and green, 15 proclaiming, “The Lord is upright; he is my Rock, and there is no wickedness in him.

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