by Jeff Strite

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We Are the Church (3 of 4)
Series: I Am the Church
Jeff Strite
Romans 16:1-16

I opened the sermon by asking the congregation to join with me in singing:

''I'm So Glad I'm A Part Of The Family of God
I've been washed in the fountain, cleansed by His blood
Joint heirs with Jesus as we travel this sod
For I'm part of the family, the family of God.''

If you're a Christian here to day - you are a part of the family of God. You are part of the Church.

At one point in His ministry, Jesus told His disciples that one of His purposes for coming was to ''build my church'' Matthew 16:18. And Ephesians tells us this church was so important to Jesus that ''(He) loved the church and gave himself up for her'' Ephesians 5:25b

The Church is the ''Bride of Christ''.
And that Scriptural term ''Bride of Christ'' is meant to help us understand Christ's love for His church in the same way a husband and wife would describe their love for each other during a marriage ceremony. Ephesians sums that love up by telling us that Jesus ''gave himself up for her''.

Now we need to be clear on our definitions here because - over the centuries - many Biblical words have had their meanings altered and changed.

For example, the Bible uses the word ''Church.''
What is the church?
That's right - YOU ARE.
Over the years, the word ''Church'' has come to mean the building we meet in.
Someone will say (for example) ''I'm going to church'' meaning their building.

But as one poet put it:
''The church is never a place but always a people
Never a fold, but always a flock
Never a sacred building, but always a believing assembly
The church is you who pray, not where you pray.''

A structure of brick or marble can no more be what a Church is than the clothing you wear would be who you are.

In short... Jesus didn't die for a building.
He died for YOU. And He died for ME.
He died for people.
And the people who accept His forgiveness on His terms make up... the church. ...

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