The Church is not a building it's a body
Sermon Summary
This is the second message in the series “Stop Going to Church, Start Being the Church!” The goal of this message is that two main truths will be understood. The first, is to understand the sacrifice Jesus made so we could be a part of the Body of Christ. And the second, is to understand the importance of being the Body of Christ. Six main passages of Scripture were used to teach these truths, Hebrews 10:1-25, 1 Corinthians 6:19-20, Acts 17:24, 2 Corinthians 5:17-21, Ephesians 2:11-14, and 1 Corinthians 12:12-17. Jesus left heaven and came to earth taking on a human body. The life He lived in that body was perfect. As a result, He was able to be the perfect sacrifice for our sins. Therefore, Jesus sacrificed His body on the Cross. After He died, was buried, rose again, and ascended back to heaven. However, He did not leave us alone. He sent His Holy Spirit to live within each of us (our bodies are the temple of The Holy Spirit), and together each of us constitute the Body of Christ in this world. In other words, Jesus sacrificed His physical body so we could become the body of Christ. It’s a beautiful mystery, but we are now the hands and feet of Jesus in this world, as well as His mouthpiece. We are the ones who carry the good news of Jesus to the world as we live our lives for Him. The church is not a building, it is a body. The building is only were the church gathers to meet, worship, fellowship, and learn. When we leave the building we take Jesus with us!

Community Group Discussion Guide

1. If you spent much time in church as a young person or as an adult, you’ve no doubt heard it said, “You are the Body of Christ!” Have you ever really thought about what it means to be the body of Christ? Explain what you think it means to be the body of Christ.

2. Jesus sacrificed His physical body in this world for our sins. He surrendered His body to the cross in order to make a way for you and me to become a part of the Body of Christ, the family of God. What are some ways we could show our gratitude for such a sacrifice?
1 Corinthians 6:19 Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own;
20 you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.

Col 2:6  So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him,
Col 2:7  rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.

3. Now that we have become the Body of Christ in this world, we have been given the great privilege and the great responsibility of being ambassadors for Christ. What are some of the things that would be found in a written job description of an ambassador for Christ?
2 Cor 5:17  Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!
2 Cor 5:18  All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation:
2 Cor 5:19  that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men's sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation.
2 Cor 5:20  We are therefore Christ's ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ's behalf: Be reconciled to God.
2 Cor 5:21  God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

4. We all have a role to play in the Body of Christ! We don’t all have the same gifts or the same responsibilities. However, no matter what job we’ve been given, and no matter how insignificant it may seem in human eyes, it is a calling in God’s eyes and has great importance in God’s kingdom work. Two Questions: A. What happens if someone stops doing their job because they don’t think it’s important, or they don’t feel it’s appreciated?  B. What should be our motivation to fulfill our job in the body of Christ?
1 Cor 12:18  But in fact God has arranged the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be.
1 Cor 12:19  If they were all one part, where would the body be?
1 Cor 12:20  As it is, there are many parts, but one body.
1 Cor 12:21  The eye cannot say to the hand, "I don't need you!" And the head cannot say to the feet, "I don't need you!"
1 Cor 12:22  On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable,
1 Cor 12:23  and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty,
1 Cor 12:24  while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has combined the members of the body and has given greater honor to the parts that lacked it,
1 Cor 12:25  so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other.
1 Cor 12:26  If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.
1 Cor 12:27  Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.



The Church is not a building it's a body
Full Sermon Notes
"In all my weakness You are my confidence! Oh I need Your grace more than words can say!!" Beautiful lyrics!
This morning we're going to discover that the church is not a building, it's a body! It is the Body of Christ.
And when you become a part of His Body, His family, His church, you'll begin to experience His grace and that in turn will allow you to have a confidence the world doesn't have and doesn't understand!

Let's pray and ask God to teach us what it means to stop going to church and to start being the church!
Lord, we need so desperately to know what it means to be the church. Teach us. It's a mystery we need to understand. We have a sign that reads "Northshore Church" on the front of our building, but Northshore Church is not a building! It's a body of believers. This building is a place where Your church meets, but it's not about the place. It's about the person we come here to worship! You oh Lord! And it's about the people we desire to be when we leave this place and walk out into the world. Northshore Church is wherever You are Lord and wherever we are as we live our lives for You! We are a part of Your Body. Help us realize how important every part of The Body of Christ is because Your body is made up of people who have received Your invitation to be joined together in unity under Your headship and leadership! Teach us now by Your Spirit and we'll thank You for speaking to our hearts! In Jesus name...

Today I want us to understand two truths.
First, I want us to understand the sacrifice Jesus made so we could be a part of the Body of Christ. And second, I want us to understand the importance of being the Body of Christ. I will do this mostly by reading Scripture.

I'm about to tell you something amazing. Something you may never have thought of! Let me ask you a question. Have you ever wondered why God would call us the body of Christ? Why does Christ need us to be His body? Jesus left heaven and came to this earth and took on a human body! He lived a perfect life while in that body. He served others while He was in that body, and He brought glory to The Father while in that body! But at the end of His ministry here on earth He did something with that body. What did He do with that body? Before we get to our text for today we must see this…Hebrews 10:1-25

The Sacrifice Jesus made so we could be His Church, His body in this world!

Hebrews 10:1 The law is only a shadow of the good things that are coming—not the realities themselves. For this reason it can never, by the same sacrifices repeated endlessly year after year, make perfect those who draw near to worship.

The writer of Hebrews is talking about the old sacrificial forms of worship where a person had to bring an animal sacrifice to atone for their sins. But those sacrifices could not change the heart of the person or take away the guilt of sin.
He continues…

Hebrews 10:2 If it could, would they not have stopped being offered? For the worshipers would have been cleansed once for all, and would no longer have felt guilty for their sins.
3 But those sacrifices are an annual reminder of sins,
4 because it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.
5 Therefore, when Christ came into the world, he said: “Sacrifice and offering you did not desire, but a body you prepared for me;
6 with burnt offerings and sin offerings you were not pleased.
7 Then I said, ‘Here I am—it is written about me in the scroll —I have come to do your will, O God.’ ”

Remember what Jesus prayed just before He was arrested in the garden?


Luke 22:42 “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.”

 What commitment? Jesus knew what was coming, yet He was willing to do it because of His love for The Father and His love for each one of us!! He wanted to make a way for us to be made right with God! He wanted to make a way for us have eternal fellowship with Him. The writer continues...

Hebrews 10:8 First he said, “Sacrifices and offerings, burnt offerings and sin offerings you did not desire, nor were you pleased with them” (although the law required them to be made).
9 Then he said, “Here I am, I have come to do your will.” He sets aside the first to establish the second.

In other words, Jesus set aside the old covenant to establish the new covenant! This was a part of God's plan, His will…
verse 10...

Hebrews 10:10 And by that will, we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.

11 Day after day every priest stands and performs his religious duties; again and again he offers the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins.
12 But when this priest had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God.
13 Since that time he waits for his enemies to be made his footstool,
14 because by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy.

Those being made holy. You see, when we accept Jesus, we are forgiven of our sins, we are washed clean by the precious blood of Jesus, but we aren't perfect. We begin the process of being made holy. We begin the process of learning to allow Jesus to take Lordship of our lives on a daily basis...

Hebrews 10:15 The Holy Spirit also testifies to us about this. First he says:
16 “This is the covenant I will make with them after that time, says the Lord. I will put my laws in their hearts, and I will write them on their minds.”

You see, it's no longer about tablets of stone, or temples, or cathedrals. The new covenant is not about a place, or a building, it's about the heart and the fact God's presence is no longer confined to the Holy of Holy's behind a curtain, but is carried by each believer in his or her heart… verse 17

Hebrews 10:17 Then he adds: “Their sins and lawless acts I will remember no more.”
18 And where these have been forgiven, there is no longer any sacrifice for sin.

You and I can not add anything to the sacrifice Jesus made on the cross in order to earn our salvation. We can't earn it, we can only accept it or reject it! Listen...

Hebrews 10:19 Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus,
20 by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body,
21 and since we have a great priest over the house of God,
22 let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water.
23 Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.
24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.
25 Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another —and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

We'll unpack those last three verses next week when we discover church is not an event, it's a lifestyle! But we have to first understand Jesus sacrificed His physical body even though He had lived a perfect life. He did this so we could be forgiven of our imperfect life by being cleansed by His broken body and spilled blood. He did this so we could be baptized, immersed by His Spirit and become a part of the Body of Christ. Water baptism symbolizes the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus and it symbolizes our death to the old way of life and our resurrection into a new way of life. We must never forget the sacrifice Jesus made in order to grant us the privilege of membership into His church, His body! We must never forget the Sacrifice Jesus made so we could be His Church, His body in this world! Jesus ascended back to heaven and is no longer in this world in a physical body, but He sent us His Holy Spirit to dwell within us so we could be His Body, His representatives, His ambassadors, in this world. This is true in an individual sense, and in a corporate sense!

The importance of being the Body of Christ!

Individual...

1 Corinthians 6:19 Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own;
20 you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.

Acts 17:24 “The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by hands.

And part of the answer to our question of why God wants us to be the body of Christ now that He has ascended back to heaven is found in the following words...

2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!
18 All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation:
19 that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation.
20 We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.
21 God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

So as an individual follower of Jesus Christ, then you are an ambassador. The question we need to ask ourselves is this…
"What kind of ambassador am I?"

But we are not in this alone! We are not lone ranger Christians.

There is a cooperate component to being a part of the body of Christ! We are not in this alone. Paul pointed this out in several places. First let's look at Ephesians 2:11ff...

Ephesians 2:11 Therefore, remember that formerly you who are Gentiles by birth and called “uncircumcised” by those who call themselves “the circumcision” (that done in the body by the hands of men) —
12 remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world.
13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near through the blood of Christ.
14 For he himself is our peace, who has made the two one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, Making the two one, he's talking about Jews and Gentiles…
15 by abolishing in his flesh the law with its commandments and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new man out of the two, thus making peace,
16 and in this one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility.
17 He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near.

Notice, the gentiles were far away and the Jews were near, but neither had arrived. The Jews had the law and the prophets, but had missed the message, and now through the Messiah, both Jew and Gentile had the opportunity to believe and gain access to God...

18 For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit.
19 Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God’s people and members of God’s household,
20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone.
21 In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord.
22 And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.

Now I'll wrap up today's message with the words of Paul as he described the importance of each member of the Body of Christ. No matter what role you have been called of God to accomplish it's important. It may not be easy! Let me ask you a question. Is following Jesus about my comfort? Is following Jesus all about what He can do for me or is it realizing when I decide to follow Christ I have the opportunity to become a part of something so much larger than me, myself and I. I have the opportunity to be a representative of The Creator of the universe. I have the privilege to join with other members of the Body of Christ who have also experienced the forgiveness, the cleansing, the love, the joy, the excitement, the calling and the responsibility of new life in Christ! Together we can change the world! Paul put it this way...

1 Corinthians 12:12 The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body. So it is with Christ.
13 For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free —and we were all given the one Spirit to drink.
14 Now the body is not made up of one part but of many.
15 If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body.
16 And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body.

17 If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be?

This passage of Scripture reminds me of an Oak Ridge Boy's song that was popular when I was a teenager. It said, "Nobody wants to play rhythm guitar behind Jesus, no everybody wants to be the lead singer in the band!"
Paul continues…

18 But in fact God has arranged the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be.
19 If they were all one part, where would the body be?
20 As it is, there are many parts, but one body.
21 The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” And the head cannot say to the feet, “I don’t need you!”
22 On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable,
23 and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty,
24 while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has combined the members of the body and has given greater honor to the parts that lacked it,
25 so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other.
26 If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.

I just want to take a minute to point something out to you. There are parts of the body of Christ working this morning and you don't see them. Sometimes I think they are the hardest workers and yet they receive the least amount of recognition. Just beyond those metal doors is our children's ministry. Two very important things are over there. One, the servant hearted people who attend not one, but two services at Northshore. They come to both so they can serve in one service and worship in the other, or vice-versa. Have you ever realized that if they didn't do what they do over there, we couldn't do what we do in here? Some of those workers are in worshiping with us now. Let's show them our appreciation… Now I told you there are two very important things over there. What is the second thing? The future of our church! Our children and grandchildren. The future ambassadors for Christ. We're not just baby sitting on Sunday mornings, we are teaching the next generation that God loves them and has a beautiful plan for their lives. I don't know if you've ever thought of it this way or not, but you may not be the lead singer in the band, or on the stage playing an instrument. You may not be in the lime light, but someday you may receive the biggest reward in heaven.

And it may be for something that never happened! Okay, have I got you completely confused? A reward for something that never happened! Yes! God may say to you, there was a school shooting that never happened, because you spent time with a young child who was hurting and troubled! You showed them the love of Jesus. They looked forward to coming to church every Sunday, because they knew you would make them feel important and would encourage them with words of love and hope! It changed their life and saved the lives of others. You are an unsung hero!

Paul then says...

27 Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.

Let's pray!