On Monday, Michael Kelley and David Platt both preached and taught powerfully from God’s Word. Both were complementary of each other. The point is an old one, but they presented it with biblical authority and conviction: go to and get involved in the church! Christians who disparage the church are also maligning the very bride of Christ.
Michael’s message centered on Romans 12.1. He demonstrated convincingly after a summary of each chapter of the Romans that the “therefore” in Romans 12.1 is a reflection of all that Paul has written so far.
“Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.”
Now here’s where it got interesting. He pointed out that in some translations (the NIV included), the word “sacrifice” is plural. However, in the Greek it is singular. That’s a powerful distinction. Essentially, what Paul is geting at is that all believers (plural) should present our bodies (plural) as one, singular sacrifice to God. That infers the corporate nature of the church.
Especially as you continue reading the next several verses in Romans, you see Paul describing how God gave gifts to believers to function as His body, the church. Kelley preached that God did not give us an individual assignment but a “group project,” and that group project is the church. You can see this taught in 1 Corinthians 12 as well. Christians are not to withdraw from the church for their own selfish, dissatisfied reasons. Nor should we in the church malign it or other Christ-following fellowships.
In the church, God calls and gifts leaders to encourage, direct, rebuke, and exhort the people of God. In the church, you have ugliness AND beauty. No church is perfect, and the fact that anything gets done at all for the kingdom of Christ is simply a testimony to the fact of God’s grace and power over man’s sinfulness. But it is in the church that the very presence and fulness of God rests. It is upon the church that God pours out His Spirit. And it is the church that God calls into the world to preach the Gospel.
Kelley said, “You must be you so she can be her,” in referring to using our gifts for the church and the extension of the kingdom of God.
I felt it was a powerful message for those of us so familiar with the church that we sometimes criticize it. It was also a powerful rebuke for those who would sit on the sidelines embracing uninvolvement and even those who would create un-churches (groups disconnected from the whole body of Christ) out of discontent with the way church is being done.
Kelley said that perhaps the reason so may people disdain the church today – including disconnected Christians – may be because we have radically underestimated the role and scope of the church in redemptive history. Essentially, we must re-mind ourselves that the church is God’s only strategy for redeeming a lost world!
Listen to the message below: