February 4, 2024

What Is a Healthy Church?

Speaker: David Jordan Topic: Church Life Scripture: Ephesians 4:11–16

If you would, open your Bibles to Ephesians chapter 4. We will be in Ephesians 4:11-16. The question we want to try and answer today is: What is a Healthy Church? What is a healthy church?

And I want to tell you a little secret as we get started here. I first preached the answer to this question, as my first message here, 11 years ago. And the secret is, is that it hasn't changed, since then. And that's a good sign of a healthy church because we're not propagators of something new. We're simply waiters delivering what the chef has already made. The Word of God is what has been made and firmed up and delivered once for all, handed down to the saints, according to the Word of God.

So, what is a healthy church? Well, to understand what a healthy church is, we must know what the purpose of the church is. Its leaders, its members. Even the children need to know what the purpose of the church is. Or we won't know the plan or even our place in church. What are we coming to church for? Why are we even here? Is it in line with Scripture? If it's not, you'll probably go away from church empty most of the time. A doctor needs to know what a healthy person looks like in order to help get a sick person into a healthy state. We all know what a healthy person looks like. Better yet, we all know what a sick person looks like. We can spot them a mile away, with the sniffles and the cough. And all of those things right? We can spot the sickness. Can we spot in the church what is unhealthy, though, as well as we can spot an unhealthy person?

So, what is the purpose of the church? Is the purpose of the church to evangelize the world? Feed the hungry, give money to the poor? Or just support missionaries who do? Maybe the mission of the church is to craft inside the church everything that is what we want it to be? Have just the right groups for us, just the right categories to bond with others who are like us. Have excellent music, which we do, and excellent children’s ministries, which we do. Are those things the full purpose of the church? If we don't know what it is, how are we on board with it?

Does growth measure a healthy church? Be careful with your answer here, on both sides of the coin. Healthy things grow, cancer grows. We don't want that. Right? So, we have to be sure that our measurement of what is healthy is biblical, not merely worldly. Most of the world, of course, measures the success of a church by its growth. But most of the churches today that we would call “mega-churches,” I'm talking about over 10,000 people, are all heretical. Not all of them. But you can't simply look at the size of a church to determine its health. You have to look at the biblical criteria of a church. Just because a church is small doesn't mean it's healthy, either. A church can't be healthy if it doesn't know what it's supposed to be doing.

And when a pastor leaves, we all get these ideas of what the church is supposed to be doing. Why? Because we want the church to be healthy. That's good. That's right. That's what God wants. It's pleasing to the Lord for us to want the church to be healthy. People can be fearful that it might go downhill, or many people will leave. Well, you need to have people who are here for the right reasons. And naturally you want the next guy to know what a healthy church is as well. But that's the next sermon is on: what is a healthy pastor? Today, we're going to focus on you all. Me, maybe next week, we'll see. Just kidding, next week is a healthy pastor.

To figure out what we must be doing though in this season of the life of our church, we need to be saturated with God's Word on the subject. And there may be no better book in all of the Bible than to describe what a healthy church looks like than Ephesians. As you know, Paul wrote Ephesians, to those who were “in Ephesus” around AD 60/62, somewhere in there. And his goal was to let them know the abundance of their calling, and to show them the direction for their conduct. And you can divide the book that way: the first three chapters are The Call of the Church and chapters four, five and six are The Conduct of the Church. Chapter One, he covers our incredible spiritual blessings, which we went over some this morning, during prayer time. Chapter Two, he covers our incredible salvation in Christ. And just the abundance of grace that is showered on those who believe. In that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. And that God, out of the great love with which he loved us, has made us alive together with Christ, that's chapter two.

In chapter three, he reveals the manifold wisdom of God that is made known through the church, in the heavenly places. We're not just a light to the world, we're a light to the whole universe. That’s chapter three. He expands our knowledge of the witness of the church beyond Earth, to those in the heavenly places. That as they see the church representing Christ in all her fullness, we are a representation to those who are in the very presence of God. Truly, the church is a grand calling. Chapter four then, he urges us to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which we have been called. In peace, in unity and love, in Christ. That we might demonstrate to the world, to each other, the love of Christ in us and the change that has been wrought in us by Christ.

So, I think you're seeing a pattern here, that it's all about Jesus, and not about us. That must be your focus. When you come to church, to lay your burdens down at the feet of Jesus. To be a worshipper of Christ, to be a lover of God's people, to be a servant of God's people. That must be on the forefront of our minds. Not just, “How long is the sermon going to last today?” Or “I wonder if my favorite donut is there? What is expository preaching anyway? Can’t we just jazz it up a little bit?” And in Ephesians 4:3, Paul says this, that we must be “eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” So, when we walk through those doors, we are eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. Unity, peace, through the power of the Spirit. So notice, you must already be walking with the Holy Spirit to be doing those things. If the church is anything, as the gathered Body of Christ, it should be unified in the Holy Spirit. Peace should characterize all that we do and say.

Ephesians 4:2 says we’re to walk in “all humility and gentleness [and] patience,” and then our favorite, “bearing with one another in love.” If you can't bear with your neighbor in love, then I think our heart is not full of Christ. How can you love Christ, whom you don't see, and not your neighbor whom you can see? That's the admonition of Scripture. And you say, “Well, you don't know my neighbor.” And I would say, “Well, you don't know the full extent of the Savior.” This is just the setup for what the purpose of the church is. It is three chapters of just unloading spiritual blessings, and who God is, and your salvation by grace, and the right attitude, and this humility that comes with someone who loves Christ above all things. Then, you can think about the purpose of the church.

Look in Ephesians 4:4. This unity isn't just a concept, it's a reality.

Ephesians 4:4–6
4 There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call— 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.

Do we see what the center of the church unity is? It's God. One Lord. God, “who is over all and through all and in all.” And if God is not that, in all, than we are not as unified as we should be. So, we then see evangelism as a purpose inside the church. Not just for the young ones, but for the old ones, for those who need Jesus, and we point them to this hope that belongs to the calling of every single Christian, That Jesus is our hope, the unchanging Master of the Universe, the One who created you, the One who sustains your breath, the One who gives life to our being and purpose to our lives. The One to whom we are called, the One to whom our faith is based. That is our hope! That is where most of your energy needs to go. And as you push most of your energy, and your mind, and your thoughts, and your love, and your adoration to Christ – you're going to be loving to others. Bearing with one another becomes easy. Because we recognize just how much he has lavished his grace upon us. Can we not do that to others?

This is just like the setup for the purpose of the church. Now that we understand just how important and grounded our focus on Jesus and the salvation and the grace that we have. Then, we can contemplate the church and her purpose. Quite simply, the purpose of the church is: “To Preach Christ and Make Disciples.” That is the sum total of what we are to do, everything we do can fall under those two things.

Look in Ephesians 4:11-13. As Paul explains the church and how it functions and what we're supposed to do, he says this: “And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of the ministry, for the building up of the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.”

That's all. That’s it! That summarizes what leaders are to do. That summarizes the major function of any church. It is “to equip the saints for the work of [the] ministry.” A healthy church is one that equips them. How do they equip them? They preach Christ and make disciples. The elders, according to Scripture, aren't the CEO leaders. They're “the equippers” of the saints. The saints, y'all, to do the work. Y'all, do the work of the ministry.

Why? To build up the body of Christ. To build up the body, the others, who are part of the church with you. To build up them, and their hearts, and their lives. And God thinks he can do that through you. That is amazing to me. That God could use us, for his glory, in the lives of others? There is no greater purpose on earth than that! For us to be worshipers of God and to teach others to worship God, the Creator. The One that gives them value because they're made in his image. That is a grand design! And that's part of the redemptive, historical nature of what God has purposed in Christ when he sent Jesus Christ to be the Savior of the world. It wasn't just to give us a happy bubble to live in and to keep everyone else out of it. No, it was to be lights in the world, in the dark world. Where there is no more darkness is heaven, then God is the light of the world. But now as Christ shines forth – the light unto the Gentiles from Isaiah – he has changed you so that you and I can be that lighthouse on the hill. And to say, “This way to God!” They should be able to look at our lives and see Jesus in us. That's all. How you doing, church? How you doing?

There are many passages that are specific about this calling. And we observe Paul just proclaiming his purpose to reach the world for Christ. He says in 1 Corinthians 1:23, “but we preach Christ crucified.” If you have a good preacher, he's going to preach Christ crucified, according to Scripture. I was looking at some, I guess you’d call them “preachers” out there of I guess you'd call them “churches.” And I mean, it's like 25 minutes of… I don't know… I don't know what I was watching. But it certainly wasn't a kerygma, it wasn't a proclamation of the Word. It was like sleight of hand, like putting on the goggles. And, literally, he had goggles. And 10 minutes of the sermon was all about these goggles and how we need to keep our eyes on Jesus. And I was like, “Well, I can't put the goggles on to do that. So, what are you talking about? Preach Christ!” The message is Jesus. He is the way, the truth, and the life. He is the transformation in your heart. He, himself!

It goes on in 1 Corinthians 1:23, that preaching Christ is a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles. That's why most of those don't do that anymore. [1 Corinthians 1:24] “but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.” 1 Corinthians 9:16, Paul says, “Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel!” Woe to me! Matthew 28:19, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations.” How? How do we do that? What's our purpose here in life? “Baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” And then what? [Matthew 28:20] “Teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, [even] to the end of the age.” That's it. Just teach them the whole Bible. That's the goal. Teach them everything Jesus has said. And what did he say? He relied on the Old Testament. He is the fulfillment of all that was taught before, which is the example of how we are to live and how we are to relate with this holy God.

Over and over again, we see the preaching of Christ and discipleship coming together. Colossians 1:28, “Him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ.” You heard this morning in the Scripture reading, Acts 21. What was their accusation against Paul? He's teaching everyone, everywhere about this thing. Colossians 1:28, “Him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone,” and that's what he did. Even his accusers were on board with that. They just didn't like it. So, it's not just the proclamation. It's not just the teaching. Right? Preaching would be the proclamation of the Word. And there's teaching involved in that. When you think of the classes and the Bible studies and all those things, that's more the teaching, the Q&A, the one-on-one, the responsive. “I got a question about that.” There's the teaching, there's the informative discipleship happening.

But we warn everyone. Why? To “present everyone mature in Christ.” Elders: to present everyone mature in Christ. Teachers: everyone you teach, the goal is to present them as mature in Christ, mature in Christ. This is what our church does for you and all who show up. “Grace Equip” is what we call our Sunday School classes. We have an adult Sunday School class, every Sunday morning at 9:15. The goal is to teach Christ and the Scriptures to the adults. And there's nursery provided. The Children's Ministry, the goal is to teach Christ to the children. The Men’s and Women's Bible studies, the goal is to teach Christ. Our Small Groups, they help you apply what you've learned about Christ.

Counseling, it helps people get the compass right. Right? Compass breaks, you come in for counseling. It's wise to get wise counsel from the Word. That's what counseling is, it just reorients us back to the solid truth of the Word to get us back on track. Counseling is when one or two or more people have gone off course. And they're not living for Jesus the way they should. And they're at enmity with brothers and sisters in Christ. And so, our counseling is to bring people back to the living, abiding Word of God so that they can abide in his love and learn to love other people in spite of their failings. All of these things are part of discipleship. They're “to equip the saints for the work of [the] ministry” [Ephesians 4:12], to grow into what? Into a “mature manhood,” by God's design.

All of the areas of our church, preach the gospel. Teach the whole counsel of God. A healthy church is a teaching church. I've been asked many times by other people: “Why is everything centered on teaching?” Well, because God said it should be. That's why. And any church you go to should be centered on teaching. The healthy churches are all designed that way to point us to Jesus Christ. Our teaching ministry is designed to equip you. So, we preach Christ and we make disciples. Those little cards that are in the back that say, “Who is Jesus?” – they're designed to help you share the gospel with others. Sometimes we need to look at that card, flip it over, and share it with ourselves. Right? When we're sinful and when we don't look like Christ. When we are all filthy with our sin. We need to look at that little card, and the Scriptures that are on there, and say, “Lord Jesus, please give me a right heart before you. Help me to have your purpose in mind. Not to fashion just the right church, just for me.”

You can see how that's antithetical to everything I've been preaching this morning. We’re about disciples who worship Jesus Christ. So, in Ephesians, Jesus gave resources to the church. Teachers to equip the saints for the work of the ministry. The second thing he also gave: Caution to the Church. Look in Ephesians 4:14, “so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes.” This is probably talking about being wary of false teachers in Ephesians 4:14. But we also need to be wary that we are not the false teachers propagating false sermons to each other, propagating false lessons. Maybe taking people ever so slightly off of the main goal of knowing Christ and preaching Christ and making disciples and making something bigger than it should be. So, he warns us not to be children in these ways, but to grow and to get beyond human cunning.

Maturity brings stability. It's loving. It's kind. No one asks to be tossed all around. But sometimes by the way we live, we invite it. And when we see that happening, we want to be kind and gentle and humble and loving and course correct people back onto the right path to Jesus Christ. They need to see us as a way back to where they should be, not just as someone [who wants] to condemn. Though we rebuke. And if you're in that place, you might need to be rebuked. But you need to trust the rebuke from a friend.

So, Jesus gave resources to the church, Jesus gave a caution to the church. And the third thing: Jesus gave hope. He gave hope. Look in Ephesians 4:15-16. “Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.” Grace Bible Church, if you want a stable, steady church, this is what you need to focus on. We grow in Christ through his Word, we speak the truth in love. Normally, we think that's a, “Well, I just like to go around, you know, convicting everyone of their sin, I'm speaking truth in love.” No, the primary usage of this phrase is not to rebuke someone, it's to build up the body of Christ. How do we grow into Christ? How do we do that? Well, it says, we grow – that is, the whole body grows – when it is equipped, and working properly. The whole body grows when it is equipped and working properly.

So, when we're thinking about the next pastor, and when you're thinking about the elders… or better yet, when you're thinking about your place in the church, you need to ask yourself: Are you equipped and are you working properly? Are you equipped, better than last year or last week? Remember, we're all growing into Christ. I haven't arrived, no one's arrived. Right? We run the race to win. If you're breathing, you're not at the finish line yet. You need to keep putting one foot in front of the other. For some reason, God thinks that's a good idea. That's why you're still here. And he thinks he's capable enough to sustain you to live for him. And he thinks it's a good idea to have you as part of the church, you specifically, but are you willing to live according to God's Word? Are you willing to be equipped? The Bible studies, applying and thinking through the sermon in your small group, are you willing?

Then, are you working properly? I love cars, more of a superficial level of how they work. Most of them still have combustion engines. Most of them, give it five years or so. You may be a fine engine. Handcrafted, put together by fine engineers. But if you don't have a transmission, you're not going anywhere. You got to be connected to the rest of the car. Your door handles are broken. When do you ever think about the door handles? Only when they're broken. But you can't get in the car without them. You know, all you minivan drivers aside, right? Just slide the doors open. If it works. When do you think about the wipers on the car? When it's raining and you haven't replaced them for three years, and they're brittle and you're like, “Terrible wipers!” Like, no, you've neglected the wipers. Blinkers out, you might get in a wreck. No wheels. Obvious. I actually saw a lady driving a car one time without one of the wheels. It was like this wall of sparks coming behind her. I just went by like, “Are you seeing what I'm seeing?” Nope. So, I guess it's possible with three wheels. Three. But if 99% of the car is good. The engine is good, the windows, the wipers, everything. The engine, transmission, everything's good. No wheels. Now you're like, “Oh, yes. I guess my 55,000-mile rated tires aren't working too well at 120. That's why they're falling apart.”

And if the car is all put together and working well, you need a driver. That's your elders. “No, that's Jesus!” Jesus is the GPS. He's the directions. Right? It all has to work together. Take away some of those things. You might be able to plow your way down the street, but it's not going to be working too well. We have to work together. We have to be willing to be equipped, to do our part. To serve the Lord's church together. To not just show up and leave but to be the hands and feet, to be the eyes and ears. Not just to say, “Okay, I'm willing today.” But to set the trajectory of your life to be an equipped Christian. You expect that of your car mechanic! Should we not expect that in the Lord's church? We need to stop putting this off. And we need to work to allow Christ to change us, to mold us into what he wants us to be.

This is his plan for the church. And as disciples you have a gift, to each one is given a manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. Any spiritual gift that you have is for the common good, to build up the body of Christ. You say, “Oh, evangelism is for those outside the church.” And then when they get saved, where do they come? In the body of Christ. Every gift. So how are you using your gift? Remember, the goal is not to have a big church. The goal is not to keep the church small. One of those is not better than the other. The goal is to have a mature church: every single part of the body equipped and working properly.

So, as we preach Christ, we grow as disciples. And the church is held together, practically, when each person is using their gifts. So, you want to hold the church together? What does the Bible say? Use your gifts. That's your directive. That's your goal. So, what is your gift? “What else can I do?” Well, if you don't know what your gift is, talk to one of the elders, we’ll talk to you about it. First Corinthians 12, could be a good start for you to read through. But let me give you a few other things you can do to help sustain the church as you're working to put your gifts into practice. And last week, I asked people to get that little booklet called, “Your Local Church and Why it Matters.” And if you don't have one, make sure you get one on the way out. Okay, there'll be out there in the lobby. Make sure you get one and read it. And let me just bring to your attention a couple of the things that are in that little booklet that help us understand what the local church is all about. First: attendance, you nailed it this Sunday. See, you already got the first one. You're already here. That was an easy one. Hebrews 10:24-25, “And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.”

Now let me just summarize: Singing, fellowship, prayer, all the one another's, love one another. Using your gifts, communion, baptisms. You can't do those things unless you're here. You are neglecting all of those things when you're purposefully not here. You can't be part of building up the body of Christ from your couch. Second: submit to the leadership. I read Galatians 6:6 this morning, you can go read that one and see what that one says. There's some verses that are hard for pastors to say and I just got to say, I feel a weight off of that one. So, I'm going to give it to you straight this morning. Hebrews 13:17, “Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy,” And this is kind of funny, “and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you.” Obey your leaders and submit to them, that's part of a biblical church. You can't have 150 hands on the wheel. Biblical leaders are conduits of God's Word.

They don't have the authority to tell you what job to get, where to live, make all the decisions in your family. Their authority is that they are conduits of God's Word. And in so much as they are transmitting God's Word, then the submission needs to be complete. There's no intrinsic power in any preacher. The power is from God and God alone, in his Word. Biblical leadership is gentle according to 1 Thessalonians 2:7. And yet, according to 2 Timothy 4:2, willing to “rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching.” And I've got to ask you, if you've been in a church for a long time, and your pastor has never once rebuked you, is he obeying Scripture and are you okay with that? I know I just lost all of you but that's okay. Because I want you to come back to God's Word, right? Christ is gentle and lowly. We're just under shepherds. And we love you dearly. And every single pastor who is worth his salt, in any way, knows he will have to give an account for every single person under his care. And that should be terrifying to every true shepherd. Thankfully, this includes all the elders here.

Third…. let me review: [1] attendance and [2] submit to leadership. Third, give generously. Don't be stingy! We're talking about God here. He is the One who gives all good things. Give joyfully and generously. In a transition like this, there's going to be extra costs. And you want your church to be as stable as possible. And you guys are a generous church. So don't be stingy. I don't know what verse that is. God loves a joyful, generous giver.

Fourth, help guard the purity of the church. Don’t be a gossip. “Oh, the elders are doing a good job. But they're missing this, this thing over here.” That person who wants you to come over to their side of the story. And they're just trying to do it out of love, for the sake of the church, somehow? Yeah, avoid gossip. And if people gossip to you, ask yourself, “Why do they feel comfortable gossiping to me?” Whoa! Right? So, let's put that kind of thing off. Ephesians 1:4, your calling is to be “holy and blameless.” So, we help guard the purity of the church.

Fifth, we pray. We want to pray for the next guy and his family. He doesn't know you. And you don't know him yet. But you both know Jesus Christ. And that's the foundation of good progress and success in the church, it’s Jesus Christ. We didn't change the metrics all of a sudden now that we're talking about the next guy, or the next preacher, or the next Elder, or the next deacon, or… right? The substance is Christ. We need to pray for them. Pray for GBC to remain strong for the next 25 years, the next 50 years. Pray God uses you, specifically, to be an incredible blessing for the next guy. You! So, how are you and your family going to bless him? I can tell you what will be the biggest blessing to the next guy: it’s to do what we've already been talking about. Use your gifts to build up the body in love. Be willing to be equipped and be willing to work properly. That is going to bless his socks off. So, be a blessing through prayer. I would love to see more people at prayer time.

Sixth, above all, love one another. And this pretty much breaks every rule of preaching outlines. But I'm going to do it anyway. You need to love one another above all these things. Love permeates all of Ephesians. In a letter about the church, you need to think about love. How am I loving? How are you loving God and others? Can they see the love of God just by watching you? Ephesians 1:4-5, in love, we have been predestined for adoption. That is a loving blessing on the church. Paul starts out with that, talking about the love that brings salvation into your hearts. Why? So that we have the proper disposition, the proper mindset, as we are in fellowship with one another. Ephesians 1:15, the Ephesian church was known as a loving church. They were doing that well, even though he talked about it over and over again. And those with a mature faith, display their maturity in love for others. That's what's on their mind. How can I love this person? That needs to be the pinnacle of your thought, as you come in here, with all the things that we've talked about.

And then he shows us how love is an integrated part of our salvation again in Ephesians 2:4. God made us alive together with Christ, “because of the great love with which he loved us.” It's not just a concept, it's not just sending Jesus. He's made us alive through that love. When you're sharing the gospel with someone, you're sharing the opportunity for them to be loved by God continually in a new way. That's a great message. Ephesians 3:17-19, we grow together when we are rooted and grounded in love. That we may comprehend the love of Christ and be filled with all the fullness of God. But it starts with being rooted and grounded in love. You think somehow love is like the highest achievable thing and characteristic, and it is, but once you achieve it that just puts you at first base. That's how we operate with one another: in love. A mature church can be identified by Ephesians 4:2, that bears with one another in love. This leads to speaking the truth in love. They're all connected. [People] just love to pull that phrase, “speaking the truth in love,” out of context. But it's led by people who are loving, because of a loving salvation and a loving God and they're in fellowship with a loving God. And because they are bearing with one another in love, then they can speak the truth in love. That's how a mature church operates. And that's how it builds itself up in love.

You think, “Alright, love. I’ve got it, Dave.” No, I'm not done. I'm not done yet. Almost, but not quite there. Two more minutes. In this life we're called to be imitators of God, Ephesians 5:1-2, “as beloved children.” Earlier in Ephesians, Jesus is called “the Beloved” in chapter one [Ephesians 1:6]. Now, you and I are called “beloved children.” And we’re to “walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God” [Ephesians 5:2]. That's all, just be loving like Christ. That is an inviting church. That is a vibrant church. That is a mature church. That is a church where non-believers come in, and they see the love that we have for one another, and they say, “I want to know that God.” That's the kind of church that we want to continue to be.

Paul ends his letter, in Ephesians six, with love. Ephesians 6:24, “Grace be with all who love our Lord Jesus Christ with love incorruptible.” You want the grace of God in your life? Love Jesus with incorruptible love. And you will see his grace poured out in your life. You will know the love and peace of God, and the unity and the fellowship of the body, in completely new ways. Ways that you thought were impossible. And if you think all of this sounds great, but way too much to remember (sorry, it's recorded), way too much to remember. And even more so to put in practice. Let me leave you with this verse, we'll close with this verse from Ephesians 3:20-21, “Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all we can ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.”

Let's pray.

Father God, you've given us a glorious picture of what a church that preaches Christ and makes disciples looks like. Lord God, help us to live the way you want us to. Help us to love one another, the way you want us to. To admit our sin, to ask for forgiveness, to enjoy the fellowship and the unity that comes from making Christ first. Lord God, if there are people here who don't know you today. I pray that they would give their lives to you today. That they might just say, “Lord, please forgive me of everything I've ever done or thought. Everything I've ever said. And I need you, Jesus.”

For those of you who are saved, one simple prayer we should pray now. That the Lord God would help us to be equipped and working properly as the body of Christ. Let's just ask God to help us to be equipped and to work properly now. Just take a moment

Father, we love you and we praise your holy name. Amen.