The Gathering

Chris Gardner

March 17, 2019

We talked last week about what is a church. And here's the funny thing. I want to see our church. I want to see are gathering of people every week. I want to see it changed because I want us to be like, um, oh. that
we're going to have to change a lot of stuff when it comes to how to pray.
Prayer, you know, we don't really.
This is a restructuring as y'all know, you've probably never been to a church that sits around in a circle. Guy with a member making fun of what size pants do you wear in the other one saying what size pants do you wear back? Like we've never been a part of a church Gathering like this. None of us have to do it spinal.
He's explaining spinal whatever and you know, none of us have been in a church like this. So restructuring doesn't really cool things because it makes us rethink how we do stuff because I'm not the authority of the church Seth isn't the authority of the church the authority of the churches of the scripture.
And the job of the elders is to be men of the scriptures and so as we go through it, I want you to I want us to think about or so most places. I know of you're not allowed to text the pastor and change the message next week. But I'm offering that to you like hey, so what do you think about the church when it comes to this verse?
Okay. So let's start today is very easy to think of a church as a meeting place for the people whose hobby is God. Is it doesn't make sense? It's like, you know, we tennis players, you know, where they go, they go to the tennis courts, you know why they go to the tennis courts because their hobby is tennis, you know where people that love God go not even love God.
It's more of a this is your hobby your hobbies got and since your hobbies God you go to church to yeah. Yeah his hobby. No his Hobbies not the Mexican restaurant. His hobby is Taco Bell in case you're wondering Seth hobby is Taco Bell because on the surface church is just like a lot of other ha.
It's like a lot of other hobbies and Jake. Could you give me my I have all that? Because you're doing that Hannah fun. It's either on the butler's pantry.
For that a Bible. I do have all the verses typed out here on the surface churches like a lot of other Hobbies but under.
I always use and it amazing in the middle of talking and Hannah's like please don't make me go outside. Could you use this one? But under the surface is a lot more than a hobby. So first thing we find in the Bible and I'm probably only going to go over point one today. But here's what the Bible says about a church the church is a gathering.
Church is a gathering. So that's what a church is a church is a gathering which means we come together. Okay, what's funny is people have made Church anything but not that one the other one three strikes you're out that was straight to thank you Hannah. It's a gathering. It's a gathering of people and so the definition were want to see today goes much further than people think that it does people like talking about church using this verse.
Say here because I think you'll be surprised at what I believe about the curse, but I believe it's very easy to back up in scripture people like talking about church and this is the well, I don't need to go to church because where two or three are gathered together. There I am in the midst of you.
And and you know what? I say to that. I believe that's true. He's in the midst of us. But you never called it a church. He never caught a church. So let's go to Matthew 18 verse 20 because God's not referring to it there. He's just for where two or three are gathered together in my name there. Am I in the midst of them, by the way, the idea of gathering is not a new idea to not gather.
You know, the Bible says in Hebrews chapter 10, it talks about people that don't like gathering together and he's like, well don't be like those people this right here. People are like well, Since we are both Domino's Pizza picking up pizza at the same time and we're both Christians. That's the church.
Okay, so I don't know. I looked in Hebrew and I couldn't find church in this verse but this was written in Greek originally. So that's probably the reason but I looked in Greek and I couldn't find anywhere in Greek either where it's the church. This is not the church. All God says to us is this let me just tell you something when y'all are together.
I'm with you. So, you know, that means that when you're Domino's Pizza he's with. That doesn't mean that that's a church. It just means he's with you. And so he people like saying that's an amazing verse with awesome thoughts and implications but we got to realize that he's not speaking about a church at all.
When he says that we find the same concept and Hebrews 13:5, but the concept we find here it teaches you that here's the thing the Bible says in Matthew that whenever David and Chris get together in his name. He's with us. Guess what Hebrews teaches us. The David when he's not with Chris he's with him.
So God promises his presence, but God does not call that a church and I'm going to show you what the Bible says about the church is let your conversation be go to the next verse. Please should not conversation be without covetousness and be content with such things as you have for he hath said.
Jesus said I'm going to never leave you nor forsake you by the way. This is not speaking of a bunch of people. This is not speaking about a gathering what he's saying is you don't have to worry. I'm always with you. We immediately want to jump to the conclusion that he's speaking of more than his presence in Matthew because people are gathered.
It's a promise of his presence with us, but it's not the promise of being a church but bumping into a Christian friend at Marco's Pizza while ordering a pepperoni pizza doesn't mean it's a church at all. We need to go to scripture to see what it may is that makes a church. And what makes it a church be so different in the way that we meet.
So God in the Bible sheds light on this because he shows us. The very first prototype of a church anybody have any guess as to the first prototype of the church, it's funny. My family got up early this morning and Jacobs right there, yawning the whole time and I'm just going no, I'm just scratching my face.
They said everybody's tired this morning, but this afternoon, but does anybody know where the first prototype of the does anybody want to guess? Okay. Well Jesus, he said he want to start the church, but before him we even have. A prototype of the church anybody want to guess not before him. Who would that be?
Look at this? This is crazy that you find it. Look at Acts chapter 7 and verse 38 Jacob put that up there. This is he that was in the church in the wilderness. See, how long is that verse been up there where you allowing them to cheat anyone? Okay, and there was a church that was in the wilderness with the angel expecting him in the Mount Sinai.
And with our fathers who received the Lively oracle's to given to us. He's talking about Moses and the Book of Exodus and he says if you want to know what a prototype of a church looks like here's a here it is. He says in this verse that what we see in excess of Moses was the Prototype of this beautiful thing that was going to come and if you notice he called it that was in the what.
Church in the wilderness just in the church and the Wilderness not that didn't mean it was a church like nowadays because we come together to celebrate Jesus. They weren't celebrating Jesus. Will you agree with that? Because if you look at their Jesus comes in the flesh right about this part of the Bible we're talking right now about this part of the Bible like the he's not there yet.
But he says if you want to know the Prototype of a church here, it is. God rescued his people from slavery in Egypt. By the way, the Bible says that if you are saved he rescued you from the slavery of sin. You're not a slave more. He brought them to the foot of Mount Sinai. They kept in the wilderness while Moses went to the mountain to meet with God and in the book of Exodus.
What we find is this he speaks about people that he's identified them and people these commissioned them to do his work because he here's the deal God's given.
She's supposed to love their Community. The church is supposed to reach their Community with the gospel. The church is supposed to reach the world with the gospel. The church is supposed to teach people The Searchers was to teach people how to love God the way they should God gave them the slaw that they would live by as his rescued people God's word would be what that would do.
We would Define them. These people were going to be defined by his word. He's going to teach them how to live out the truth that belong to him. By the way. Guess what we do. We should be defined by his word still today. We're defined by his word. This is the way more than this is what he more than drinking a latte And discussing the weekends or game.
Because if you notice that's what church has kind of become. That's the reason that's reason it matters to me when you put the slides up that you can text people to let them know you're praying for them. You know why because church is about more than drinking good coffee, although unfortunately brings good coffee every week and and brings David along to carry the pots and all that kind of stuff.
I'm these guys who weren't over there yet. My wife made some pretty incredible cupcakes that you can have over there and there's some pineapple what's it called? And I'm upside down. And people brought some stuff and then that's really cool. But that's not what church is because the church is about Terrence about you.
And it's about how you reach Martha and it's on Martha how you reach Andre and Andrea and how she reaches every one of us. It's about how we interact together based upon the principles of the Bible. Race of all, the principles of the Bible this Gathering was marked by being in the by being in the presence.
Of God everybody knew one thing about them. They're in the presence of God by receiving his words of promise and by simply deciding this whatever he says to do. We've just decided we're going to do it. If God says to do it, we're just going to do it. Are we going to do it because we like the idea of doing.
We're going to do it because he told us to do it as parents you.
If you do then they're sticking their fingers and electrical outlets. Like like or even work like Jacobson story that I've told before of Jacob would not listen to us about touching the stove Jake. It's been known for his brains for a long time when it comes to this kind of stuff. Jacob has Jacob had I said had right Jake had.
Not has Jacob had the hardest head you've ever seen we're sitting then he trying to grab the stuff. We grabbed his hand and smack him. No sir, and he wouldn't listen so Andre and I we talked about it were like, how are we ever going to teach him? We sat there and we said here's what we're going to do.
My wife went upstairs. Got some orange and stuck it in her hand and the stove on let it get hot turned it down. We didn't get it near as hot as it normally was but we let him move in as soon as we did were like man. We're so sorry. Put Neosporin on his hand helped him out. We can't let kids do what they want to do.
If we let kids do it they want to do they would stop existing. They would stop existing and then can you understand that? That's the same way God views us. Okay, because it's not natural to forgive. But he says to forgive. It's not natural to give. Like who in the world wants to sit there and go.
Hey, I'm dying to just give away part of my money. Like nobody feels that way if you do you can bring it up to me afterwards and just make sure it's made out to me personally and I'll be more than happy to take any money off your hands because you're just dying to give money or did one of the first words that kids learn if you ever work and what is it?
Mine and yeah, he's you go to Nursery in church and what you're going to find this bill Bryant none of us teach our kids how to. I think that bill Bryant has ever sent down with Brendan and been like Brendan. Just let me tell you how to be a spiteful mean human being and say stuff that you shouldn't say.
He's probably have you ever done that if he has we got some serious problems, not yet. Not yet. He still expecting that. That's not the birds and the bees conversation. That's a whole nother. He what he's saying is this he's sitting there none of us have to teach each other. None of us have to teach each other how to sin.
It's. But we're going to be identified because we simply obey the scriptures we give because he says to give we forgive because he says to forgive we love because he says to love we get along we minister with others we care about others not because it's natural. But because he says to do that and because of that we live that way there are marked my more than anything else by the fact that they were his people.
A weekly Gathering of Believers that we find in the New Testament should be a reenactment of that thought. One of the things that I love about this church that we're going to right now we went last week and we went again. There's a very there's a substantial amount of African Americans in the congregation.
And I love that because you know what most churches are made up of people that look just like each. You can either go to a African-American church, or you can go to a white church. You can go to a Latin church, or you can go to a white church. You can go to that's not the Bible principle at all.
The Bible principle is we love each other in ways that is only explained because of the Gospel we care about others we care about people that were not even touching that we don't even know we care about Alabama who just had all that destruction go through Alabama we care about them. And we care not because we're good people we care because we have a good savior.
That is the reason that we care a body of Believers gathered together to hear from God's word again in a fresh way. And then we exit knowing that we're to represent his truth and the world that surrounds us but like like I would really like to ask you David this week to think about. Three instances in which you lived in a way that you would not have lived if Christ wasn't your savior like I'd really like you to think say what have I done this week that it's not the normal way of living.
What's the Norman and that's not just David to knowledge you need to do the same thing and Seth and Chris and Hannah. We all need to sit there and say how are we living in a way that's different than the world. How can we live out the truth? Of the gospel because he Mount Sinai was just a foretaste of this amazing thing that God calls God calls it a church and the church is the coolest thing ever because here's.
that happened to us in Peru. Peru can be one of the most racist countries that you've ever been to their Latin Americans and it can be very very racist. They. Actually make fun. Don't make fun. They actually have this statement that they say all the time when somebody marries somebody wider than them.
They say it's not mejor en De La Raza, which means he's bettering the race. Because he married somebody wider than him because the wider you are the better off that you are now when I was about to marry, Andrea. It was hilarious because my dad from the from the pulpit up in the front about a thousand people.
He said hey tonight wanted to introduce you to miss Andrea plant and if you can talk about funny. My last names Gardner, she was a plant. Anyway. Yeah, her name is Andrea plant. They said on your plant. If you could stand up please and they stood up and they said this is the young lady that Chris has asked to marry him and then my dad goes evidently he's bettering the race because Andre is so much wider than I am.
One of the most beautiful things that happened in that country was this. We went to a church and you had a man. That was one of the most ruined the richest men in the city and he was sitting next to a lady that was dressed in quechua outfit, which is a is an Indian outfit that they they live up in the mountains.
They don't have any money at all. And one of the coolest things that happened was this this guy drove up in his car this lady walks in she lives in the mountains. They don't have running water. They don't bathe often because they can't afford to bathe. It's freezing cold. And so even if you can beige you don't want to bathe.
You're going to freeze yourself when you're bathing. She comes to church she sits down and we watched this rich man, sit down next to her and open his Bible and go through the verses with her that were being stated. See that's what a church is a church is a rich man and a poor man and the exact same Pew and they care about each other.
It's a it's a it's a wealthy man with means and it's that other person who has absolutely nothing. That's who the church is. So the church the first thing you found about the church and the Bible is this. The church is a gathering. You cannot have a church without a gathering. That's what we're doing today.
You cannot have a church without a gathering because we gather together to say the idea of gathering together is I don't know about you guys, but Terry you missed last week I missed you like I missed. You know, why because when we gather together does something hopefully it does something for you.
But man it does something for me having you sitting there and we're able to talk and Martha and by the way Martha Gardener here, she's my long-lost cousin that I didn't know existed. But but but but it's awesome We Get Together We Gather and and were able to love and were able to serve together and and we're able to encourage each other.
So we'll ask questions like David. What are you going to do this week that states? I am a believer in the word of God, you know, why people hate Christianity? Because everybody goes to church but nobody lives what they say that they believe. Oh, I believe in Jesus really? Well, why do you act like a jerk?
I believe in Jesus. Well, why in the world are you like the world's worst? I believe in Jesus. Well, why in the world do you cheat on everything that you do now, I believe in Jesus. Why will you not keep your word? That's the reason people hate Christianity. It's not really even their fault. Reason I hate Christianity is because people are we are poor image bearers?
Jesus. we report image bearers of Jesus and if you want to know how you can see how poor of an image-bearer you are. I can tell you how to know this is sad because I'm preaching at myself right now getting Atlanta traffic for about 15 minutes and see how mad you get. That person tries to pull out in front of you.
You know what? I do. You know what I speed up. Like I'm like, you ain't getting in here. You know, you don't know who you messing with. You don't ever think that it's we're buddies are on that. Yeah, you can see Terry scoring fun and Andrea Andrea Andrea is that Andrea is the epitome of a person that shows Jesus when she drives like I'm just like.
But they have their blinker on I'm like, but it's 5:30 in the afternoon. We're not going to get home until midnight tomorrow if you don't keep going but isn't it easy to come to church? But it's hard to put shoe leather To What We Believe? It's hard to put shoe loader or so. So we're Gathering and we're Gathering that encourages each other.
We encourage each other to love we encourage each other to go. We encourage each other to give we encourage each other and together seek. God gave the church some duties that nobody else can do. He said I want you to reach the word of the gospel and guess what Terry you're not big enough to reach the world with the gospel and you don't have enough money.
Nor does David we don't have enough influence. We don't have any way. It's amazing how we come together because you were talking with set today and set this like well, I think I can change that electrical breaker. What kind of an idiot says that I'm I could change it to I could change it to but I would I would get a lot darker.
Yeah, I was at the I would if I were to do it, I don't know what would happen David's it's that's her walking like South that's what happens. If you get shot too many times know what I mean. That's where the body is and we'll talk about that next week, but you don't expect your toad. You remember when I think Joshua can still do it?
But he's our only kid that still can do you remember? You'd put you watch these little kids and they'll put their toes in their mouth. Thank you, Andrew, and you can still do it to there he is. Yeah. You do it to G all heard that she Hannah just said she does that too.
You you you you you grow out of stuff. What I'm saying is we don't expect our legs to do with our arms do. Jacob has had a bad thing that happened three weeks ago when he his hand encountered something that broke it. And you know what you find out, you know, what you find out when you break your hand you find out you didn't you go man.
That's all my hand at all that I can't do this anymore. I can't do this anymore. I can't do this anymore. I can't. And that's the reason a gathering matters because we're parts of the body that come together and we come together and there's something that each one of you bring that nobody else can bring but that's what God calls us.
He causes a gathering now. Can I just say this? That means that he expects us to prioritize a gathering. I need to be a priority in your life. It's amazing to me as a disciple people. There will be like no. I haven't had time to read my Bible. And I'll Always Love asking my like oh, so have you been able to eat since the last time you read your Bible or did you not have any problem have having time to eat?
Yeah, don't you hate those questions, but that question what it states is we all have time time is never any of our problems. Prioritization is our problems. We don't prioritize the right thing. We sit. There we go. I don't have time. But if I were to look at how much you watch Netflix in the week that you didn't have time.
It might be scary. If I were to look at how much text messaging you did that was not even important during the time that you didn't have time. It might be shocking. So what I'm saying is this as We Gather the church the first thing God calls the church as a gathering. Thank you today for gathering this make it a priority because we love each other and we're going to reflect.
Jesus and all that we do now, let me just say this don't allow somebody to bring a verse like Matthew where he says, oh if two or three are gathered together them with you. Aren't you glad I believe that's a truth that is undeniable. But it's also true that Me by myself. He's with me. Because God says this I want the body of Believers coming together and doing together what they could never do by themselves.
How many of y'all remember back when I was a teenager the long time ago? It's yeah back when I was a teenager. You used to have two guys and they hold their hands in a certain way and it was amazing how heavy of a person you could carry if both of y'all work together to carry them.
Because together we can do so much more than we can by ourselves. I was reading the other day about ants and how strong ants are. And they said that an ant could lift and yet to be careful saying anything like this around Joseph because Joseph is like Joseph how many how many times its body weight?
Do you know off the top of your head?
I've had a said nine out. Here's the problem with Joseph. I got to drop him back home and the whole way home here be like. Nope. It's not it's well, actually, those are his favorite word's. Well, actually. I want to know this kid. This kid knows this kid. He's an AP and everything. It's just smart.
He's just like crazy smart and has a great memory. Yeah. So AP are the classes they never allowed you in? Yeah and Brandon I think are your in all AP classes to right Brendan, but you don't know as many facts as he does. What in the world are here, you might but here's here's what I was what I was reading was funny was this if you get three.
Together they can carry a hundred times their weight. It's amazing the strengths that we have when we combine strengths. That's the whole idea is that we're together we can do so much more than one person can do by themselves because all of us are gifted in different ways. All of us are gifted in different ways.
Jacob does really good at playing instruments. He's doing really good at that Hannah's got a great voice. If you ever try and swap them around Hannah would do. Okay and Hannah will do. Okay. Jacob won't like that. But here's the deal which one's more valuable that's like asking you which one is more important the right leg over the left leg.
You know both of them the right. Well was that. Everyone's headed this equation. It's so here's the deal. We've got to come together and go we're Gathering and but because of that Gathering is going to matter we're going to come together to do what we could never do by ourselves. I don't know if anybody else has helped me more with small problems in my life then bill.
You literally you said a bill. I wonder if here's the trick with Bill if you say I wonder if technology can do this. And don't worry brace for impact because within an hour you're getting text messages and web pages and ways to make it happen. All you got to do is ask him how to do it that stuff drives me crazy.
And so all I do is I say I said that it to him this morning I asked. Oh I was like man. Do you have any idea? My exposure thing on my camera is going in and out and it's trying to change between folk and I didn't even ask him to fix it because I knew exactly what was going to happen. He's my friend.
I know how to manipulate him. You know, the problem is he knows he's being manipulated it. So I said, do you have any idea how to do that and all of a sudden I turn around and look back guess who's at the camera and I can almost guarantee you it's fixed and if it's not he's read three web pages about how to do it while we've been talking here about how to fix it because he can do stuff that I can never do.
And I honestly God's giving me gifts that he doesn't have. But when we never come together, we never get to be a part of the magic that happens when we are truly the body of Christ. So let's make it a priority to truly be the body of Christ. We're going to pray and you question anybody got any questions.
We'll talk about them, but you can hang out here as long as you want. I want. See about the possibility of riding a Harley and when we're done, so let's pray Lord. Thank you for this food that you've given us today. Thank you for these people. Thank you for this Gathering Lord. I ask you that you would help us to prioritize those things that really really matter help us to do what you've called us to do help us to represent.
Well, what a church is supposed to be Lord help us to reach out to others help us, too. Let others know that we care about them that were praying for them. They are a part of our body ask you to know that you would help us to be true friends because that's really what it comes down to as we are friends with one another in ways that normal people could just can't truly understand.
I asked you you would just be honored and glorified and everything that's done in this Gathering that we bring you glory and all that you do in Jesus name. I pray amen.

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