Sermon:  Who We Are

Summary:  The Church of Christ is to be a Christ centered family, learning, sharing, 
and caring.  This means that we are to be focused on Christ in all of our worship, 
that we are to live in the word and integrate it into our lives so that it 
transforms us into the image of Christ, that we are to serve others from our means 
and share the good news of Christ, and we are to be connected to each other in 
Christian fellowship, caring for and encouraging one another.

Text:  Various

Scripture Reading:  Heb 10:24-25

1.  Recognize any of these movie titles? - What do these have in common?
	a.  Total recall, Borne Identity, The Majestic, Finding Nemo, Gothika, The 
	      Long Kiss Goodnight, Overboard, 50 First dates, The Notebook
	b.  What do they all have in common?  Amnesia part of the plot
	c.  Imagine if you can't remember who you are, where you came from
2.  We live in a world that suffers from amnesia
	a.  So much of mankind not know who they are, where they come from
	b.  The cure for this kind of amnesia is so simple, comes from scripture
	c.  Scripture tells us and reminds us who we are 
3.  Who are we
	a.  We are God's finest creation
	b.  We grow and learn and become what God intends
	c.  Most common word in New Testament, not Christian, but "Disciple"
		- Not name on a membership roll
		- Not merely a verbal claim
		- Not passive recipients in the pew
		- But imitator of Christ, we follow him as a model, serve him as Lord
4.  Took a good look at this a few years ago, summed it up in this way
	a.  We are a "Christ Centered Family, Learning, Sharing, and Caring"
	b.  Take at look at this again this morning as a reminder of who we are

I.  We are a Christ Centered Family
	A.  We are Christ-centered in all that we do
	B.  Why are we Christ Centered in all we do?
		1.  He is the Son of God, he is God
			a.  Jesus existed before you and I
			b.  Jesus existed before Abraham
			c.  Jn 1 says the universe was created by him
			d.  Jesus is not just a man, he is Lord
		2.  He has revealed the nature of God to us in the flesh
			a.  No one has ever seen God except Jesus
			b.  Jn 1:18 says he has "explained" God
			c.  Jesus said if you seen me, you have seen the Father
		3.  He died, was buried and raised again, and will return
			a.  Went willingly and resolutely to the cross for our sin
			b.  Was raised by the power of God
			c.  Will return and take us to home he preparing for us
		4.  In Revelation, all of creation worshipping the lamb (Rev 5:6-14)
			a.  Conquering lamb, looks slain, but standing alive
				- Eyes = Seeing/insight/wisdom
				- Horns = Power
			b.  All of creation worships the lamb
				- 24 elders - Represents all God's people
				- Harp = Worship with music
				- Incense = the prayers of the saints
				- Angels, living creatures, elders, myriads worship
				- Every created thing worships God
			c.  As we worship the lamb we join in the chorus of creation
	C.  This worship is special coming from us
		1.  We are part of creation, yet different
			a.  We in image of God
			b.  Jesus redeem us, not animals, angels, etc.
			c.  So we sing a new song, a song of redemption
		2.  We are children of God, he is our Father
		3.  God not give help to angels, but to us
	D.  As family of God, we have ministry to emphasize this - Worship
		1.  To express our Christ centeredness, we worship
		2.  Not as individuals, but together as family
			a.  We are a Christ centered "family"
			b.  So we sing to each other in our worship
				- Eph 5:19 - Speaking to one another in song
				- Making melody in your heart to the Lord
				- We often forget about the first part - to one another
			c.  1 Cor 14 emphasizes how we are to edify each other
				- We come together to build each other up
				- Our worship, teaching, singing to build up
			d.  We not just a bunch of individuals
		3.  We are a Christ centered family
		4.  Means all we do is to be Christ centered

II.  Christ Centered Learning
	A.  We are a learning family
	B.  How and what do we learn?  Several levels (Col 1:9-12)
		1.  Filled with knowledge of his will - Information
			a.  Source of "information" is scripture
			b.  Learning begins with mastering scripture
			c.  Learn Bible facts, learn do's and don'ts
			d.  2 Tim 3:16 - All scripture is God-breathed
				- profitable for teaching, reproof
				- for correction, for training in righteousness
		2.  Spiritual wisdom and understanding - Transformation
			a.  Has to move beyond mere information, Rom 12:2
				- Do not be conformed to this world,
				- But transformed by the renewing of your mind
			b.  Heb 4:12 - Word of God is "living and active"
				- Sharper than any two edged sword
				- Cuts deep into our thoughts, intentions
				- It lays bare our very soul so can examine it
			c.  God's word is sword of the Spirit to transform us
			d.  Our thinking, view of life, philosophy, etc. transform
		3.  To walk in a worthy manner, bear fruit - Applied Learning
			a.  This is where the rubber meets the road
			b.  Mt 7:21 - Not everyone says Lord Lord enter kingdom
				- But he who "does" the will of my Father
				- Not just what you know, but what you do with it
		4.  Increasing in the knowledge of God - Knowing God
	C.  ILL:  Kind of like being in school - move through different levels
		1.  Start out drill on information, math facts, grammar, etc.
		2.  Move to different level, learn critical thinking skills
		3.  Eventually, might even have lab classes, hand on
		4.  A church in Oklahoma does "lab" on Wednesday evenings
			a.  Purpose is to create hands on learning experiences
				- Been studying the "theory" of Christian life
				- Ratchet up the education to "doing" Christian life
			b.  It usually happens away from the building
			c.  It is "applied Christianity"
	D.  We have ministries to emphasize this - Bible School
		1.  We have Bible Classes
			a.  Can gain a certain amount of information
			b.  Teach bible facts, doctrines, theology
			c.  Give tools to connect Bible truths with life
			d.  Help to understand world through biblical perspective
		2.  But you need more
		3.  If complain about class/sermon, "I spiritual not being fed"
			a.  You may feel like you starving, not getting enough
			b.  My question is - When do you get fed?
				- If only on Sunday, then no wonder you starving
				- Even if preachers/teachers dynamic, not enough
				- How many times a week do you eat a meal?
				- Needs to be the same with spiritual food
			c.  Do not RELY on classes and sermon for learning
				- Sermons and Bible Classes by themselves not keep 
				   you well fed 
				- You need to live in the word daily
			d.  As you mature, you learn to feed self more and more
		4.  This is how you move past information 
			a.  Personal daily reading and reflection
			b.  Partner with one or two others even better
			c.  Read lots of scripture, come together to share, pray, 
			     confess, and commit

III.  Christ-Centered Sharing
	A.  Jesus came to earth with a clear mission from God
	B.  He has passed that mission on to us, his body
		1.  We are his hands to serve as he served
			a.  Jesus served those who were in need
				- If someone was sick, he ministered to them with 
				   what he had
				- If people were hungry, he ministered to them with 
				  what he had
				- He was a friend to the friendless, he was 
				   compassionate, kind, humble
				- Jesus washed feet as a lesson for us to serve
			b.  But service is not an end in itself
			c.  There are deeper needs
			d.  Life is more than food and the body more than clothing
		2.  We are his mouth to share the Gospel
			a.  Often, after feeding the body, Jesus fed the soul
			b.  Man not live on bread alone, but by God's word
		3.  (Mt 5:14-16) - Bible expresses this through this image
			a.  Salt of the earth, Shining city on a hill, Light of the world
			b.  Explicit - It involves good works
				- Involves feeding and clothing the body
				- Leads to feeding and clothing the soul
			c.  Jesus is the example 
				- We are to serve and share as Jesus did
				- Can't do so miraculously, miracles purpose was to 
				 demonstrate authenticity of messengers as from God
				- Can do as early Christians - Care for poor, share  
		4.  We supported benevolence, missions, other sharing ministries
	C.  ILL:  Recent forum at a workshop, said center of Christianity moving
		1.  Used to be centered in the West - Europe, England, USA
		2.  Moving to the global south
			a. Africa and South America
			b. The "dark" continent not so dark anymore
		3.  USA becoming increasingly secular, even pagan
			a.  The Christian worldview is fading from our culture
			b.  Means we are going to become exiles here
		4.  Need to start thinking like missionaries here at home
			a.  How to reach people with the Gospel
			b.  Planting new congregations
			c.  Things we supported and did abroad, need to do here
	D.  We have ministries of evangelism and benevolence for this
		1.  Some have suggested more organized benevolent ministry
			a.  We have done some of this in the past
				- Care packages for our troops
				- The backpacks for those who need them
				- Once in awhile help someone in need
			b.  Some have suggested school supplies for needy families
			c.  There are other ideas that are good ideas
			d.  These are good ways to serve and share as Christ did
				- Christ demonstrated a serve/share model
				- As he was serving, he shared the good news
		2.  Some have suggested various evangelistic efforts
			a.  Some of you have done this in the past
				- Those that have been overseas on mission trips
				- Those that have gone on campaigns
				- Those that have used we care method here
			b.  Some share Gospel with friends 
			c.  Sunday evening series designed to help give some tools
		3.  Serving and sharing is a lifestyle
			a.  Don't wait for a formal ministry or program
			b.  Get some people together and go do it

IV.  Christ-Centered Caring
	A.  1 Cor 12 calls us body of Christ
		1.  We are interconnected
		2.  Can't say we do not need the body
	B.  For Christians, fellowship is not an option
		1.  It is just as integral to who we are as learning and worship
		2.  The Bible emphasizes this in many ways
			a.  (Eph 2:13-16) - Been brought near by blood of Christ
				- Jesus made us into one body
				- Jesus did so through the cross, paid high price
				- It was important to Christ, important to us
			b.  (1 Cor 12:13) - All immersed into one body
				- Not just name on a roll, but immersed
				- Goes on to talk of members being indispensable 
				- Cannot say I have no need of you
				- We suffer together, rejoice together, honor together
			c.  (Heb 10:24-25) - This passage is about fellowship
				- Consider how to stimulate to love and good deeds
				- How?  Get together!  Not just talking about Sunday
				- Encourage each other
		3.  You see, fellowship is not an option
			a.  We are one body in Christ
			b.  We cannot say we do not need each other
			c.  We need to stimulate and encourage one another
	C.  ILL:  I know a Lady named Sally
		1.  Grew up in a very formal liturgical church
		2.  Got married to someone from a Bible based church
			a.  Got involved in a small bible study group
			b.  Her whole world was changed - began to blossom
			c.  Through bible study and encouraging friendships
		3.  Worship, Bible Study, and Christian life not meant for isolation
		4.  Christian fellowship is part of our fellowship with God
	D.  We have a ministry for this - Life Groups
		1.  Getting ready to start new groups again
		2.  For those of you not familiar, it is very simple
			a.  Life group is simply an intentional, informal gathering of 6 
			     to 15 people weekly with the common purpose of growing 
			     in Christ, mutual encouragement, and reaching out to 
			b.  Some eat, some don't
			c.  Most discuss practical application of the sermon
			d.  Groups also will serve needs in various ways
				- Will go and visit a shut in
				- Collect food or something else a person needs
				- Send cards to people sick, or birthdays
				- Whatever the group decides to do 

1.  Have you noticed we have meeting times devoted to nearly all of these?
	a.  Really don't have one devoted to benevolent service/evangelism yet
	b.  Meeting time devoted to worship
	c.  Meeting time devoted to learning
	d.  Meeting time devoted to fellowship
2.  Devoting meeting time to each reflects importance our leaders and our congregation has placed on each of these
3.  We are a Christ centered family, learning, sharing, and caring
	a.  Sometimes we need to be reminded so not have amnesia
	b.  Are you part of the family of God?
	c.  If you are in Christ, then you are.  If not in Christ, not part of family (inv)
	d.  If you are part of family of God, encourage you to sign up for a group