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Believing and belonging

Jerry Varnado, pastor
Gateway Church, Athens GA

February 5, 2006

  • Main Scripture text: Acts 2:42-47

  • Today I want to talk about what it means to be the church.

  • The New Testament, which was originally written in Greek, uses three terms that describe the three basic elements of being the church:







  • The word kerygma includes both "the act of preaching" and "the content of preaching." The kerygma centers on Jesus, who He is, what He did and what God accomplished through His life, death and resurrection.

  • This is what our text is talking about when it refers to the fact that the believers were devoted to "the apostles' teaching."

  • They were committed to the living out the implications of the kerygma -- the essential teaching -- of the gospel.

  • They not only believed, they also belonged. Believing without belonging is not New Testament Christianity.

  • The kerygma not only calls us to a relationship with God through Jesus Christ, it also calls us into relationship with one another.

  • The word translated "fellowship" in our text is koinonia, when means "community, association, joint participation."

  • Our koinonia grows naturally out of our common salvation through Jesus Christ. We share life together -- prayer, worship, small-group gatherings, sharing meals. We help carry each other's burdens. The Bible says we are to love one another "deeply, from the heart."

  • In addition to the kerygma (the teaching) and koinonia (the fellowship), the last basic element of being the church is diakonia, which can be defined as "service" or "ministry."

  • In modern times the church has had a tendency to restrict the term "ministry" to those involved in "full-time" Christian service. But in our text, we see that ministry is really the task of the whole church. They were ministering to one other, through acts of love and compassion.

  • According to researcher George Barna, in the average church about 90 percent of the ministry -- the diakonia -- is done by about 10 percent of the people. A slightly higher percentage actively participates in the fellowship -- the koinonia.

  • This is not as God intended it to be.

  • If you are not believing and belonging it hurts the church, because you're not fulfilling the purpose for which God sent you here. It also hurts you, because it hinders your spiritual growth and development.

  • Believing and belonging. It's what it means to be the church of Jesus Christ.

Supporting texts: 1 Corinthians 10:16-17 | 1 John 1:3-7 | Galatians 6:2 | John 13:35 | 1 Peter 1:22

A mp3 audio file of this sermon is here (25 min.).
(Download to a PC by right clicking on the link and choosing "Save Target As." Mac users: click, hold, and choose "Download Link to Disk." Depending on your connection speed, the file may take several minutes to download.)

An audio tape of the sermon summarized above is available free of charge (U.S. requests only).

Request a tape by
calling or writing the Gateway Church office.
Please specify tape number 060205a: Believing and Belonging.

© 2006 Gerald R. Varnado

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