Only God Can Transform People Into a Church
Bible Study: Matthew 16:17-19; 1 Peter 2:4-10
If asked how the church began, some would imagine a group of men in suits gathered around a long oak table. Peter turns the page on a flip chart and says: "I've listed what I think are the keys to an effective organization:
• Dynamic small groups.
• Dynamic programs.
• Dynamic financial resources.
• Dynamic parking and facilities.
"I want us to keep these four in mind as we hear the reports from the committees on procedures and job descriptions."
Our plans for the church can sound like plans for the Kiwanis Club. We ask questions like: "How can we get more people to attend our church instead of other churches?" We're less likely to ask: "How can we be the church God wants us to be?" We start to think the church is our business.
Peter knew better. When Jesus told him "on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it" (Matthew 16:18), Peter could tell Jesus wasn't talking about bylaws and budgets. So when Peter writes to Christians in Asia Minor, he draws a portrait of the church that looks less like an institution and more like God's family.
First, Peter presents us with a series of pictures of who we are and who we are meant to be. The church is made up of living stones: "you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house" (1 Peter 2:5). The key to understanding this strange picture is in verse four: Christ is the living stone, not a musty monument, but the living foundation of the church. As living stones, the church bears a family resemblance to Jesus: we share in his rejection by the world and his acceptance by God. Peter doesn't mention a building committee, but instead writes that God is the architect of the spiritual house.
In verse nine, the writer offers a montage of images of the church:
• "You are a chosen people." The early church was filled with displaced, unwanted people. Imagine the joy they felt when they realized God loved them.
• "A royal priesthood." An argument can be made that a comma should be placed between "royal" and "priesthood." We are a royal palace and a priesthood. The church is a royal palace because God is in residence. The community is a priesthood with access to God.
• "A holy nation." We tend to think of ourselves as individuals rather than as a unified people. Like the ancient Israelites, the church becomes a nation in its exodus story. God's people are joined by the freedom found in God's grace.
• "People belonging to God." The church doesn't belong to her members, but to God. Clarence Jordan's Cotton Patch translation of verse 10 reads: "The former nobodies are now God's somebodies; the outcasts are now included in the family." Religious organizations can operate in the black and fill the building on Sundays, but only God can make us the church.
Brett Younger is associate professor of preaching at Mercer University’s McAfee School of Theology.
- Octavia Carter just moved in. Take time to say hey.
- Debbie Harris published the blogpost May Jesus Christ Be The Ultimate Treasure We Always Seek by Debbie Harris..
- Debbie Harris published the blogpost Father Who Can We Graciously And Humbly Walk Beside Today Just To Love by Debbie Harris.
- Bryce Johnson just moved in. Take time to say hey.
- Bill Reichart published the blogpost 13 Resources For Ministry Leaders Who Struggle with Porn.
- Mike Liebler published the blogpost Expert Reveals Biggest Concern About Youngsters And Social Media.
- Mike Liebler published the blogpost Half (54%) Of US Teens Think Life Would Be Better Without Social Media.
- Jeffrey Totey published the blogpost Roy Lichtenstein's Most Popular Painting is Displayed.
- Mike Liebler published the blogpost After Confronting Campus Bully, HS Football Player Gets Suspended.
- Mike Liebler published the blogpost Conservative Student Is Victim Of ‘Racist Rape Apologist’ Attack Fliers.
- Mike Liebler published the blogpost Yik Yak app Putting Teens Behind Bars, Police Warn.
- Mike Liebler published the blogpost Hearing That Things Can Change Helps Teens Dodge Depression.
- Andrew Shivers just moved in. Take time to say hey.
- Daniel DeHart published the blogpost GIVEAWAY: Win a Framed “The Fault in Our Stars” FULL SIZE Movie Poster [Winner Chosen].
- Jeffrey Totey published the blogpost ‘Boxtrolls:’ Incredible Animation, Charmless Story.
- Jeffrey Totey published the blogpost Video of the Day: Dad Lip-Syncs Daughter's Tantrum.
- Michael Ernest published the blogpost SOTW: ‘Chasing After The Wind’ by Alan Powell (Free Friday Download).
- Matt Perman published the blogpost The Drive Video: If You Want Engagement, Self-Direction is Better.
- LuAnn Braley published the blogpost BOOK REVIEW/INTERVIEW: The Unexpected Earl by Philippa Jane Keyworth.
- Shane Blackshear published the blogpost Seminary Dropout 55: Gary Black Jr. – Co-author of The Divine Conspiracy Continued.
- Lori Fogleman published the blogpost ‘Believe Me': Alum’s thought-provoking film now in theaters.
- Michael Ramsey published the blogpost Stress Kills!!! Here's 3 Ways To Do Something About It.
- Larry Carter published the blogpost How The New Fall TV Season Reminds Me Of The Gospel.
- Brad Hambrick published the blogpost Overcoming Depression-Anxiety: A Suffering Paradigm (Seminar Videos).
- Brad Hambrick published the blogpost Overcoming Depression-Anxiety: A Personal Responsibility Paradigm (Seminar Videos).
- Brad Hambrick published the blogpost 20 Approaches to Battling Depression-Anxiety as Suffering.
- Daniel DeHart published the blogpost Review: ‘Hellion’ is A Wild, Family-Driven Ride Worth Taking.
- Daniel DeHart published the blogpost Review: ‘How to Train Your Dragon 2′ is Cool, Uncommitted.
- Daniel DeHart published the blogpost “Kidnapped for Christ” Review: The Terror of Teens.
- Daniel DeHart published the blogpost Review: ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ Pieces Together a Winning Team.
- Ashley Howland published the blogpost Talking about cancer on WFAA’s ‘Two Chairs’ series.
- Daniel DeHart published the blogpost Get Excited: New ‘Believe Me’ Trailer Validates Everything We Thought.
- solomon david published the blogpost Micromax Canvas Nitro Launched for Rs 12,990 in India.
- solomon david published the blogpost 20 Mobile (iOS, Android) App & Web Prototyping Tools – Part2.
- Walter Bright published the blogpost Bloodlines: John Piper ‘ s Story of Race And Grace.