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Prioritizing the Church Builds the Church

Together

“So then you are no longer strangers and aliens (you, Christian, you who are trusting in death and resurrection of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins and for eternal life, you are no longer strangers and aliens, that life alone, removed, apart--it’s over; and here’s what’s now true), but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.” -Ephesians 2:19-22

Every person God saves he adds to his church. He doesn’t save us only to leave us wandering alone as strangers and aliens. He accepts us in as citizens of his Kingdom. And he makes us part of his household. We are his family. He’s our Father and we are all brothers and sisters. Everything that once divided us is torn down by the cross of Christ. Skin color can’t divide us. Culture can’t divide us. Language can’t divide us. Worship style can’t divide us. Social status can’t divide us. The church is one man, one household, one temple. Did you see that? We who were once strangers are joined together by God as his church. And it’s as we’re joined together as his church that we, according to verse 21, grow into a holy temple in the Lord. Together we grow. And as we’re joined together as a holy temple, look what happens in verse 22: “In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.” Together, as the church, we become the very dwelling place of God. Now, it’s true that every Christian is an individual temple where the spirit of Christ resides (1 Corinthians 6:19 teaches this plainly). But ultimately we are all bricks in God’s main dwelling place. And the bricks must come together to form that temple where God resides in a unique and powerful way. In chapter 1 verse 23 of Ephesians, Paul describes the church like this: “. . . his body (the church), [is] the fullness of him who fills all in all.”

Now, I think it’s safe to say that the church, the institution, the organization, that contains the fullness of God is the most important and most significant institution in the universe. Don’t you agree? Who else can say that? Nobody. O the wisdom of the One who takes such difficult and disagreeable creatures as we can sometimes be, O the wisdom of the one who can take us and builds us into a glorious temple of praise where his fullness dwells. Here! In this church! This is where he dwells. And you are a brick in the temple. The God who joined us together as his church indwells us. God is here. He’s in you and you and you and me. And he’s in us together in a remarkable way as we are joined together and built together. The church is not optional for God’s people. The church is who we are--together.

*Adapted from Together: Prioritizing, a sermon orginally preached by Rick Gamache on September 11, 2016*