The Church THEN and NOW

Series: Such a Time as This

Link to sermon video: The Church THEN and NOW - L Siegle

Such a Time as This…

(Matthew 16:13-20)


Thesis:  The Importance of our spiritual identity for ‘Such a time as this.’



1.    The title of this series is Such a Time as This. is, The Church THEN and NOW

2.    Recently I was in the shoe department of a storing, looking at the various style of shoes that we in stock at the time.

        a.    It was then that I lifted the shoe and turned it over and printed on the bottom it said, “Genuine Plastic”

        b.    Apparently as a “brand name” the company “Genuine Plastics” has existed for more than 50 years.

               1)    The concept of having “genuine” plastic seems more like an oxymoron (alone-together, jumbo-shrimp, short-

                       sermon)--“two words that  are a logical contradiction, opposite in meaning, but joined together”

               2)    The notion of “genuine” and “plastic” seems contradictory in terms of quality and value.

3.    When people think about the church, it is often seen in comparison with other religious groups and organizations.

        a.    Although we hear all about the so-called “mega-churches” (any church that has at least 2,000 members who

               attend on a regular basis).

               1)    Often, the central focus of the “mega-church” is on:

                       a)    Atmosphere…

                       b)    The “worship experience” --having a big production.

                       c)     A variety of “social” activities

                       e)    Preaching a “prosperity” oriented “gospel” that appeals to the flesh.

               2)    In the past decade, however, the younger people have grown tired of “gimmicks” and instead are in search of


               3)    “Genuine Plastic” is losing it appeal in favor of the discovery of finding a meaningful experience in coming


                       a)    The “church” is not about a fancy building.

                       b)    The “church” is not about all of the superficial things that are of little value.

                       c)     “Genuine Christianity” and the “church” is about the people who are authentic in our attitude and in our

                              actions--reaching out and making ourselves available in becoming a vital part of the community.

4.    We often talk about being the “New Testament Church” and offer various ‘characteristics’ of what that means.

        a.    We take a ‘snapshot’ of what is found within the book of Acts and try to duplicate what we see--to emulate what

               was believed, taught, and practiced in the first century.

        b.    Is it possible to replicate the characteristics of the “church” described in the NT?

5.    What was the “earth” like at the moment of creation? (Gen. 1:1, 2).

        a.    The “heavens and the earth” were spoken into existence (Psalm 33:6-9)

        b.    The “church” came into being through the work of the Holy Spirit and the preaching of the gospel (Acts 2:1-47).

               1)    The Lord “added” (increased) the numbers each day (Acts 2:47).

        c.     The “heavens and earth” (Gen. 1:1, 2) were created but not fully developed “in the beginning” --a process was

               necessary that took place over time.

               1)    “without form”-- just a clump--“chaos”

               2)    “void” (empty)

               3)    a place where “darkness” had not yet given way to the light.

        d.    The “church” on the Day of Pentecost was no different!

               1)    It came into being,  but was “incomplete” because a process of growth and development would be necessary.

               2)    The next 40 years was a period of time that some scholars refer to as “the already” but “not yet” (in face

                       some say this has continued for 2,000 years)--I call it, the “almost” but “not quite”

               3)    The New Covenant had taken effect, but not every aspect of it had been revealed on the Day of Pentecost.

                       a)    The “gospel” was preached--3,000 responded (Acts 2:37, 38)

                       b)    The “gospel” is the “power of God” (Rom. 1:16, 17).

               4)    The Old Covenant “world” had not yet ended (Heb. 8:13; II. Cor 3:11).

                       a)    The first century believers were “being transformed” (II Cor. 3:18)

                       b)    God’s “purpose of the ages” (Eph. 3:11) was in progress--God was offering the gospel to Israel prior to

                              the time of national judgment, and had began the process of “regathering” the “nations” that had been

                              scattered in Genesis 10-11--it was the work of redemption, reconciliation, and restoration happening

                              right before their very eyes.

6.    To be the “church” today means far more than just making a “list” of the external characteristics of what, when, and

        how we do things.

        a.    The Old Covenant was a list of 613 commands, elements of practice, rituals and practices--and Paul referred to it

               as the “ministry of death” (II Cor. 3:7), and the “ministry of “condemnation” (II Cor. 3:8)

        b.    The “law” could not provide the basis of “justification” (being declared righteous before God) (Rom. 3:20, 28; Gal.


        c.     The “works” as it pertained to the Old Covenant were called “dead works” (Heb. 6:1; 9:14)--nobody could do

               enough to somehow earn favor with God.

7.    The “church” then and now is being called to “continue” (Acts 2:42-47).

8.    The “church” is not simply identified by the sign outside, or what we happen to call ourselves--it is by our attitude and

        our actions each day in our daily lives.

9.    People today are no longer impressed by superficial things--but rather authenticity and genuineness in all that we say

        and do.


1.    There was once a time where people could be convinced by a simple presentation of the facts of what the gospel of

        Christ means, how it works, how it is received, and the benefits that are abundant for those who become believers.

2.    People today are not so easily convinced but in addition to the facts, also want evidence that we are who we say we

        are, and that our lives are a reflection of the person and nature of God.

        a.    “Do as I say, not as I do” is a recipe for disaster.

        b.    There must be consistency in what we do with what we say.


1.    The Biblical essence of fulfillment is “we have it all” in Jesus (Col. 1:12-20).

2.    We are “complete in Him” (Col. 2:8-10)

3.    The wicked powers in the “heavenly places” Christ has gained the victory (Col. 2:15).

4.    God continues bringing “many sons to glory” (Heb. 2:10, 11).

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