The Church Everywhere
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ConnectUs Church Audio Podcast
ConnectUs Church Audio Podcast

Episode 96 · 6 months ago

The Church Everywhere

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

The church is a beautiful thing that crosses borders, languages, cultures, etc. Every believer in Jesus is a part of the *universal church*. Message from Tony Holloman on Sunday.

It's good to be here. We serve a big God if you just reflect on the songs we sang and the the understanding of the privileges to be a child of God. And it's amazing is even as we talked about as Kevin, as Pastor Kevin has preached on the Church and the formation of different things and the importance of the church. We don't need a church get saved Jesus. Jesus is the one actually, the church is his idea and he started it all. It kind of where we're going today is along that line, because it's it's easy to get caught in the small side of God and not the big and we serve a big God. We serve a great God. But again, I just want to do a little reflection of somewhat pastor Kevin has taught and other people have shared throughout the last couple weeks. But as we look at before, we look at like the Universal Church, the bigger picture, that broad stroke of what God is doing, not just locally but around the world, we really have to come back to where it started and that's that's in Matthew, Matthew Chapter Sixteen. It's amazing that it was shared right before the service even this morning. In Matthew, Chapter Sixteen, Verse Sixteen, it says and Simon, Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the son of the Living God. and Jesus answered and said, Unto Him, blessed are thou, Simon Barjona, for flesh and Blood Hath not revealed this, Unto Thee, but my father, which is in heaven, and I say also unto Thee, that Thou Art Peter, and upon this rock will I build my church, you know, and that was that's the beginning really of the concept. You start thinking about the church, and it was you know, so often we get caught on what took place there, but the reality is it's amazing that Peter recognized who Jesus was and and...

Jesus took this opportunity to say, Peter, what you're saying, even though you don't fully understand what you just said. I mean, he need didn't. When we see the life of Peter and his ups and downs until after the resurrection of Christ. Okay, the disciples really never totally understood all of what Jesus was on, because Jesus was talking about what he was not only going to do in their presence. And you think about it. He walked with them for three and a half years. He went about and he shared the truth of God's Word and who he was. He did miracles and all that. They were with him, they were side by side with him. And then we have the crucifixion. We just celebrated Easter, but we didn't end with the crucifixion. We had the resurrection, right, and that's what it's all about, and Jesus everything he was teaching them when it came to that point in time. Remember, what did they do when it happened? They thought it. It's all fell apart. Even back here in this verse, Jesus Alludes to the fact that even death in Hell is not going to stop this. Now we think about it today and say that the church will, you know, continue on because what she's did. But what Jesus was saying was that when I go to the Cross and you watch me face the punishment and they put me in the ground, even that cannot hold me back. So he was already prepping them. And again, when you look at it, they really didn't, they really didn't grab the whole but they did afterwards. So that's why I say we have to go back here, because here we see that Jesus is really the originator. And again it wasn't at that time. It wasn't even that. It wasn't a local place he was talking about. Because again, as we go further into Matthew, we would look at versus at the very end of Matthew and Chapter Twenty Eight, right, great passage. Everybody uses it on missions. We talked about missionaries and missions and what God is doing. But again in Chapter Twenty eight we see at the very end verse eighteen, and Jesus came and spake unto them,...

...saying all power is given unto me in heaven and in Earth. Go Ye there for and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the father and of the son and of the Holy Ghost, teaching them to observe all things whatsoever. I have commanded you and Lo, I am with you all way, even until the end of the world. I mean, Jesus was just putting a stamp on what was going to take place and that was the beginning. That was the beginning. So when you look at the Universal Church, or let me say this, when you look at the body of Christ, put this over here so I don't drop it. When you look at the the the church itself, we refer to the Church today as as a group of professing believers. Right, they profess and they they come under the obedience of Christ, they're baptized in Christ, they recognize their sin, their need of a savior and they put their faith in trust in Jesus Christ. They've been baptized and then they create this this body, this organization, which right now, the blessing, is again the hand of God. As I mean, Peggy, we're talking just about earlier, that you God is taking what right here before your eyes. It takes a lot of work, but God is sometimes we get into church and we forget how it'll start it and how God create it. And you know what, and right now you're in the process of watching God, not only hopefully you don't miss the fact that God is doing something great right before your eyes. God is doing a miracle. You think about it, everyone in this this room and who's watching our line. We come from different walks of life, different cultures, different backgrounds, different groups of people. What brings us together? Is it our group? Is it the community? No, it's Christ. Christ is creating a new community. Pity, okay, it's a it's a spiritual community. And...

...we were just talking again. You can talk about, you know, even having groups and and community groups and small groups and all that, but but the danger sometimes is not the small group, it's what the small group is built around, because we could build groups within the world that our community and small groups, but not touch the spiritual side of things. So we're just meeting physical needs on this one dimension, but God sees so much more. So what you're doing in accomplishing right here in the task before you, and that's why it's so important to have a local church and the understanding of what God is doing. Even without the church, it's through Jesus Christ I will build my church, not we the people, will build a church, Jesus Christ, and that's done through prayer. That's done through the surrender of each one of us under the headship of Jesus Christ to say God, not your will, not my will, but your will be done, and God through prayer and the working together and the unifying of the body, each individual bringing their talents and abilities to God and then using it, unleashing it into the world to impact the world. That doesn't know Jesus. Really, that's what it's all about. That's what the disciples were doing, because again, when we go back to the beginning, we forget that there was no church. We come to the book of acts and what happens in the book of acts and we don't have time to read all of the scripture. But again with Jesus, tells them to wait right and they will send the spirit upon them. But at that point in time, even then, Jesus would go into a location, he would go into the synagogue and into the area, he would speak, he would teach and if you if you follow even with the disciples did, the pattern was they would go in, do that and and then they would draw people out to off to a side, because there was something different about him and people wanted to know more. That's why the disciples,...

...even like Jesus, people want to get rid of them. They want to get rid of them because they were pulling people away from religion, the structure, the organizational structure of religion. That really they were they were controlling and it wasn't God controlling it. We see even in the Old Testament at times the Jewish people, when Christ came, we saw that they didn't like the way Christ delivered messages because it was contrary to some of their teaching. It wasn't the way they wanted it done and he was exposing things, but he was exposing it because of truth. He was bringing things to the front because, again, he was going to make a great change, and we see that. So we have we have the the local church, which is his body of believers. Okay, following and doing the will of God in a location, but with Jesus was talking about was bigger. It was. It was the body universal. So again, the goal of God is not just to reach one nationality, one location and that's where it stays. Jesus said that he came to die for the sins of the world. The Jews didn't understand that. They were looking for their Messiah who is going to take care of the nation of Israel, and Jesus came to actually forgive the sins of the world, not just the nation, and Jesus was going to do something bigger than what they understood. So when we look at the body of Christ, it really is a spiritual organism. It's not an organization of which Christ is the head and is composed of all regenerate or people that came to trust Christ as their savior, those that embrace Christ as savior. From the day of Pentecost to the rapture. It's a period of time the universal church is being built and we see it. That's the body, or in other words that Christ used. Often are we see through the the the epistles are...

...the bride of Christ. The church is the bride of Christ, okay, and it gives different pictures of what the church is supposed to look like and how it's supposed to function in this world. And we see that because in here, in Matthew, we see again this is the existence, this is why it exists. It's not just for a location or a one time period, but it's for a long period of time. It's for all generations, all people groups, not just one particular group. You. So you see when we move through that we start seeing the existence and the building a real quickly jump to Matt we jump to the book of acts, and in the book of acts we see the start of the church, we see the calling out and again we're not going to take time to look at all the verses there, but we see an acts chapter one right in the beginning. It says in Verse Five, for John Truly baptized with water, but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many day. Hence you come down further, it says of verse seven, and he said, unto them, it is not for you to know the Times or the seasons which the Father Hath put in his own power. But he shall, but ye shall receive power after the Holy Ghost is come upon you, and Ye shall be witnesses, unto me, in Jerusalem. Didn't stop there, though. In Judea, it's Sumeria, into the uttermoth parts of the earth. Again, the bigger picture the church that's going to move out from this point on, and we can follow that if we would turn to chapter eleven in the book of acts, and we won't go there, but again we see the church and how in acts we see it go from pretty much in the beginning. We know there's a lot of Jews that were coming to Christ, okay, but we...

...see it start transitioning and now we start seeing the gentile nations coming to salvation acts, chapter eleven we see that and it's exciting because again it's not something that in today. There are a lot of people out there even within church or in our world today, that want to say, well, this was just as Paul's idea. This really, this isn't God. Because again, when we want to when we want to disregard the Bible, they usually target something and the target is now Paul. You know, we'll all pauline's officials, pistoles. That's was his mindset. Is Thinking what? But know, when we understand that the Bible was was inspired by God, written by Holy Men that were led by the spirit of God to write it, it wasn't Paul's idea, it was God's idea. And God doesn't just give us an idea and let us do it on our own. Okay, God will give us what we stand in need of. God supplies our needs. The spirit of God resides within us, the Bible says, and we can be unified, okay, and he will guide in direct and and it's not left for man. And in today's world we try to and I don't mean this in a negative sense, but but through church and organizations, we try to almost try to sell God, we try to market God in a sense that that it's very fine, because we're not we're not selling anything, we're not marketing God. God doesn't need us to market him, he needs us to live for him, make an impact on the world that the world looks at the believer and says there's something different about it. Why are they together? Why do they love each other like they do? Why can they get along even though they come from different backgrounds? WHAT UNIFIES THEM? Supposed to be the spirit of God, because the same spirit that lives in me lives in you.

It's the unity. You See, God produces a unity that no organization in every organization, even businesses in our world today, they try to they try to model after really what God design. If you really look at it, it's all they they take in God's design and try to model business and everything after and actually, if you would, it would be successful. Treat people right. Where did that come from? Love one another respect. I mean we can go right through the Bible and of a man. If you would follow these this this model, you could create a healthy business, you could create a healthy country, you could create a healthy church. It's when man gets in the way and starts wanting to manipulate it. And that's why Jesus always said and always encourage the disciples, even in his teaching that they needed to what? Deny a self, die a self, deny yourself, seek the best in others. Not For me. It's not for personal gain, it's for the gain of God. It's for the gain of of his glory and even the Church. Over time, we see, and that's why people struggle today, is is the fact that sometimes churches lose their way in the sense of this is my church, our church, this is and yet it's no, it's his church. He's the head. We're here to submit to you, God, to full fulfill your direction for us. So what does that look like? Pastor Kevin's responsibility is to is to dig and dive into the word of God and challenge challenge all of us to dig into God's word, to read it so we know and understand not what he wants, but what God wants, and it's the same. That's why churches can't unify with each other and do things together, because it's about we want to do it our way and you know, we'll get the glory or you'll get the praise or you'll get that. We know that. I mean those that have...

...been around church long enough. You you see that. But it's not about that. It's about him, it's about his glory. I love the fact that, and as I've gotten older, I continually try to evaluate myself from this stampoint and and John the Baptist said it the best. He must increase and I must decrease. If every believer would live with that as a driving for orse, we wouldn't have the problems we have in churches even because you should see little of me and a whole lot more of Jesus Christ. And if I'm doing that and you're doing that, and you're doing that and you're doing that and we're putting on the mind of Christ, not my mind, the mind of what the word of God teaches, we could accomplish great things. That's when all the aught. When you look at history of the Church and the outreaching in the in America alone, Billy Graham, the great evangelists, it was all about preaching the word of God, reaching the lost and discipling for Christ. And it had a drive, but it was about the spirit of God moving. Today we try to we try to manipulate the spirit of God. God, you got to be done in like ten minutes because we have lunch. God, I got a ball game to go to. So I got to be done, and so we begin becoming very western eyes in the way we operate church. Even so, if God were to speak, are we willing to stay and listen? Are Willing to move when God says move? It's so important that we do because ultimately, the universal church, that's what the gods call in direction for us to make happen is those things must happen. You See, the evidence is real. It's there. Whether you and I are part of it is is our decision. Okay, it's God's. It's God's idea, it's God's plan, it's God's purpose. It's just are we going to get on board with it in pastor? Kevin...

...has mentioned that before. Are you going to step into it? And how do we do that? Well, it's harder to do it universally on your own. That's why we have local churches, because US two together is a brighter light than me alone. We can reach more people together because we have different personalities and gifts then we can alone, and that's the wonderful thing. If you do missions, if you have opportunities to go overseas, which I've loved and it's kind of got me thinking different about church even is because when you do go overseas, you go, oh, they do church different than we do, but it's awesome. You go to a small church and they do it different than a big church and God's there and God's working. You know, sometimes we just see it one way. We don't really see the spirit of God and how he's working and in different parts of the world and and it's so important that we see that because the evidences are all around us. There is the Universal Church. But as we look at that and we look at a couple verses, as we move forward here. I left my phone over there. As we look forward here, we see this, and I'm going to move a little quicker because we know it's not man's idea. We know that pentecost was the beginning of it all and we see that. We see an acts after eleven, how that plays out. We See and First Corinthians, chapter twelve, verse thirteen. It says this, and this is again when we move forward, when the bigger concept of what the church is and what it should look like. It says in First Corinthians Chapter Twelve, verse thirteen, for by one spirit we are all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, and have all been made to drink into one spirit. It's amazing when you go through the Gospels...

...and then you move into the the epistles as they're written, especially the letters to the churches again, all these churches. It's amazing how Paul always emphasizes and tries to bring them back, even in Corinth the Corinthians. Here we see the emphasis is on you're all in one body, one spirit, one mind. Okay, all for the glory of God. There's a oneness and we could go to actually, you could take the whole chapter twelve. Take the time this afternoon go through the whole all of chapter twelve and look at how he lists, you know, the differing gifts and the members of the body and the purpose. That's not just in a local church. But then that's the uniqueness about church. There are some gifts in this church that maybe the church down the road doesn't have. So let's not worry about having their gifts. You know, it's the same problem that the church and Corn Tad. Well, I want his gifts or I you know, we became jealous about each other's gifts and we don't function properly. Well, the same is true we have local churches. Sometimes they have gifts that we don't have and we have gifts that they don't have, and we should praise God for the gifts that they have. And let's not we would desire to have them here, but if we don't have them at the time, well, let's work with the gifts we got. We may not all have the same gifts, but let's not let's not look at the negative, let's look at the positive. What gifts do we have? And let's put them to use, because that's all God that's all God asks of us. God doesn't ask you to be more than what you're supposed to be. He's asking you just to bring yourself to the table and say here I am God, do it. Do it me with what you would want to do, whatever gifts you've bestowed upon me, let me use them for your glory. where I am, where...

I am, and God takes that and does great things. He always does, he always will. You see, because when you look at this and the foundation of it all again, you can never get around what Christ said. But when you come to Ephesians, we can look at the foundation of it all Ephesians chapter two, Verse Eighteen through twenty two, for through him we both have access by one spirit to the father. Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens, with the saints and members of the House of God having been built on the foundation of the Apostles and the Prophets, Jesus, Christ himself being the chief corner stone. Again, it's not their teaching. Jesus is the cornerstone of it all. Okay, it says in whom the whole building being fit together grows in a Holy Temple, into the Lord, in whom you also are being built together for dwelling place of God in the spirit. So again it's great. God is taking each one of us. Christ is the cornerstone and he builds his church by giving US gifts and abilities. And when we start linking them together like you would put a building together, you have this great opportunity. In one location, in another location, in another location, and again it doesn't happen in one place. God's desires that it happens multiple times, and the Bible uses the word we're supposed to be reproducing, and that's where the church is unique, because discipleship is not just teaching education, information to information, head to head. It it's supposed to be hard to heart. It's supposed...

...to be spirit to spirit. And where do we get that spirit? We get the spirit through, first of all, being saved and then the teaching, because the the role of the Holy Spirit is to teach us all things, and we get our teaching through the word of God and in that creates a unity and we the Bible. It's amazing. It says we fit jointly, we connect well when we're operating the right way. Okay, so churches that operate well, they're fitting well together. Sometimes, you know, we try to even as pastors, and times we try to just take a person and stick them you know, I used to say, well, let's, you know, let's take a round stick and stick it in a square whole. Let's see how that works. Sometimes we do that with people. We have a hole in ministry, let's just get a body that will fit that need. Yeah, but does that person really gifted to work in that area? Is the same emissions? Well, just because we're all supposed to be missionaries, are supposed to go share the gospel everywhere we go. Is Everybody called to be missionary. Now you find people that are gift at that want to go and do that. You know the God says lay hands on them, send them. Okay, put your blessing on them, support them. Send them, support them, do it because you remember they're a part of you. When you send someone, it's like taking one of your own people, one of your own staff members, and saying, you know what, we want to go to another part of the world to be an extension of us. And that's the way it's supposed to operate really. But again, when you get into organization, we just think we sent them, will just pray for him'll just give him money, and we don't. There's no accountability or there's no care. And again, the church is a body. So Bible says, when one hurts, we all hurt. We're supposed to function together. It's got a big purpose to reach the world and we can't do that alone. Another Verses First Peter, Chapter Two, verse four through eight. It says this come to him as to a living stone, rejected indeed...

...by men, but chosen by God and precious. You also, and I love this verse, you also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. Therefore, it is also contained in the scriptures. Behold, I lay in Zion a chief corner stone, elect precious, and he who believes on him will by no means be put to shame. Therefore, to you who believe, he is precious, but to those who are disobedient, the stone which the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone, a stumbling Bock and a rock of offense. They stumble, being disobedient to the word to which they also were appointed. In other words, they have, they had, they have the word of God. They had the information, and it's the same for us today. We could have the information walk away from it, not follow it. We need to follow it, we need to move in the right direction. You see, the Universal Church again is bigger than us, and I'm going to kind of wrap things up with this. It's bigger than us from the the standpoint that we can become so local. Mind it that we just see here, but again, if we understand discipleship, that the role of and path. Brother Denny's going to deal with this next week. When you look at the you know, moving out and the great commission and those kind of things, but the purpose of the Church and the plan of God really is, I look at it this way, it's to seeking to save disciple and pray, worship and praise, go and reach real simple. I mean God didn't make it complicated. We make it complicated.

We as people, we make it more complicated than it is. You see, because there comes a point when, if we're doing that, we're reproducing, which means people are going to move away. And for me the joy of Being Youth Pastor for over twenty five years, twenty six years, I lost track, it's been so long. We've been in Ministry for Twenty eight years total and it's been a it's been a blessing in the the role and I and I love it. From the standpoint of this is because we went to a wedding the other day and I've watched and I it's just again it's a blessing not to see kids from our youth group from years past, but then to turn around. Who would ever thought your pastor, Pastor Kevin, would and even him have been thought he'd been doing his sister's wedding ten fifteen years ago you would have thought that. Look at how good God is. Okay, God sees so far down the road at you, and I never understand because he's got big picture in mind, the Universal Church. It didn't start and stop and it never will till Jesus comes. Our job, our responsibility, is to be part of it. Who are you touching that, ten years from now, is going to be doing something great for God? I don't even how. You don't have any pastors. Who are you touching in your world today that you're going to see five, six years from now, that they're serving in their local church there being a witness to their world? You see, that's what it's all about. It's not about making all pastors or missionaries that, because that's certain people have those gifts, other people don't. But we're all commanded to go into all the world, as you're going, make disciples wherever you go. I mean, that's really the Great Commission. When you really look at it. It's not certain people, it's all of us are commanded to do this. All of us are commanded to stand up here preach, but we're all commanded to go to make disciples,...

...and that starts in our own families. Our own children. For me it was other people's Children's and for like I said, we're just watching and I can sit back and go thank you God that when I was eighteen years old, I said God, whatever you want me to do, I'll do I don't understand it, and here I am a lot of years later and I'm still saying the same thing at my age or I don't know where you want to send me. I don't know what you want me to do totally. I just want to serve you. I want to challenge other people to serve you. I want people that are older to realize that like, like Pastor Kevin said, is you have. You are needed to teach the younger generations how to love God, but not just how to love God, but how to serve God. And we need to the Bible says, to provoke one another unto love and good works. Are we pervert? Are we provoking each other to serve God at a greater capacity? Not Perfect? Are we settling in and allow of churches are settling in and if we realize the raptures coming in, the Lord's coming soon and we need to be busy about God's work till he takes us home, and that's what I want to challenge people to do, young and old alike. Love Jesus, live for Jesus, share Jesus if you're not perfect. But the reality is God wants to use us. Thank you, God. We don't deserve it, but he chooses to. Let's close in prayer. Father God, we thank you for the day, thank you for the truth of your word. Thank you that where we could talk so much about what you're doing around the world, because you...

...again, Lord, have a bigger pick. Sure if things that we do we have such a small mind. Our problem a lot of times is we think we're so smarter, we have all the answers, and we realize our mind is so tiny compared to what you're doing. God, help us never to forget that and help us to realize that again, it's your plan that we're to follow in your direction. Lord. We love you. I thank you for each one here today. Pray, God, that you will help them to live for you. Love you and again, make an impact on this world for Jesus Christ, because that's what you've called us to do, not to build bigger buildings, not to put names on buildings, not that it's to make an impact for the glory of God, that your name is praised and all that we do, and we pray that through connect US church, God, that these people here will see your hand moving, changing lives and bringing glory to God and will thank you, God, thank you for all that you do. In Jesus name. We pray Amen.

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