ANCHOR SCRIPTURE:Ephesians 4:11-13 (Amplified Bible)
11 And [His gifts to the church were varied and] He Himself appointed some as apostles [special messengers, representatives], some as prophets [who speak a new message from God to the people], some as evangelists [who spread the good news of salvation], and some as pastors and teachers [to shepherd and guide and instruct], 12 [and He did this] to fully equip and perfect the saints (God’s people) for works of service, to build up the body of Christ [the church]; 13 until we all reach oneness in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God, [growing spiritually] to become a mature believer, reaching to the measure of the fullness of Christ [manifesting His spiritual completeness and exercising our spiritual gifts in unity].
WHAT IS CHURCH?
When asked “What is the church?”, where does your mind go?
- To a physical location?
- To a memory? Good or Bad!
- To Jesus?
- To a group of Christ-followers?
- To the Universal Body of Christ?
Why Important to Understand Church?
NOTE: What the church IS and ISN’T.
NOTE: Church is Bigger than a building!
- Unmet expectations - #1 cause of divorce in marriage and in church.
NOTE: Church is modeled after God’s trinitarian relationship.
TRIUNE Character of God’s Church –
Universal Church (Father) - all God’s people in all times and places. Only Christians are members.
And God put all things in subjection under His feet and made Him head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.
Ephesians 1:22-23 (NASB)
Local Church (Son) - Gatherings of the Universal Church in various locations. Not all are Christians – Some looking for Jesus.
Personal Church (Holy Spirit) –Most intimate level, you are a part of the Body of Christ NOT because of who you are but who lives inside of you – the Holy Spirit.
Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is within you, whom you have [received as a gift] from God, and that you are not your own [property]? You were bought with a price [you were actually purchased with the precious blood of Jesus and made His own]. So then, honor and glorify God with your body.
1 Corinthians 6:19-20 (Amplified Bible)
*** NOTE: God gave this specific message that used the weeks of Resurrection leading up to the Day of Pentecost and birth of HIS Church to INCLUDE a word about the Tower of Babel.
Birth Announcement Included Tongues:
- Acts 2:3 used the visible, external manifestation of the internal Holy Spirit - looked like flickering tongues of fire to remind disciples of the Holy Spirit
- Acts 2:4 used Linguistic Manifestation of the Holy Spirit to speak with other tongues, so listeners of all nationalities heard and believed of the mighty deeds of God in their own languages.
NOTE: Tongues remains from that day of Pentecost. The violent wind and flickering tongues were external illustrations of the Holy Spirit.
**** NOTE: Blessing of tongues unifies the Body and Reverses the Curse of Babel.
How Does Babel Relate to Church?
-Back to beginning – Genesis
- God created us for relationship – First with Him and then with each other
- Unplugged We Sin!
- We are the Body, and the Body cannot function unless connected.
12 For just as the body is one and yet has many parts, and all the parts of the body, though they are many, are one body, so also is Christ. 13 For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, and we were all made to drink of one Spirit.
27 Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.
1 Corinthians 12:12-14 & 27 (NASB)
- Every time people assemble without God as their center, sin fills the void.
- Less than 400 years after flood, sin nature revealed Prideful building of tower in Babel
- We need God in our midst – People gathered with God is Church. Without IS SIN
- Instead of humanity sinning with man-made tower up to heaven, God redeemed humanity by bringing Spirit-led heaven down to earth.
WALK OUT BABEL LESSON:
Genesis 11:1-9 (Amplified Bible)
11 Now the whole earth spoke one language and used the same words (vocabulary).
NOTE: Unity in language and vocabulary - same cultural mindset (slang) – Good or Bad
2 And as people journeyed eastward, they found a plain in the land of Shinar and they settled there.
NOTE: We're fulfilling God’s command to be fruitful and multiply by exercising dominion over territory of lands.
And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”
NOTE: But they “Found A Plain” – NOT God gave them a land AND
“They Settled There” – Have You Settled?
3 They said one to another, “Come, let us make bricks and fire them thoroughly.” So, they used brick for stone and they used tar for mortar.
NOTE: “Said to one another” is self-reliant – NOT Outward God dependent.
NOTE: They are counterfeiting materials and building process. Brick not Stones & Tar not Mortar to reach heaven? Code Enforcement would shut them down!!!
NOTE: When we act without God, we are using counterfeit materials to build our lives.
4 They said, “Come, let us build a city for ourselves, and a tower whose top will reach into the heavens, and let us make a [famous] name for ourselves, so that we will not be scattered [into separate groups] and be dispersed over the surface of the entire earth [as the Lord instructed].”
NOTE: Open rebellion – They got famous alright!
NOTE: Scattering is NOT punishment – It’s PROVISION – In sin, you see good as bad:
Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!
Isaiah 5:20 (KJV)
5 Now the Lord came down to see the city and the tower which the sons of men had built.
NOTE: God showed patience with His people. The “sons of men” term may have meant they did not believe in God as opposed to usually “sons of God” – STILL, God loved them.
NOTE: Recall this when doing life on your own or without prayer and instruction. God watching and shaking His head – AGAIN!
6 And the Lord said, “Behold, they are one [unified] people, and they all have the same language. This is only the beginning of what they will do [in rebellion against Me], and now no evil thing they imagine they can do will be impossible for them.
NOTE: Although God recognizes their ability through unity, He knows without Him, they become evil. It wasn’t that long ago, He had to judge all humanity with the flood. Wasn’t long before flood that He had to exile Adam and Eve.
SIN Never NURTURES God’s Glory.
NOTE: Language was cultural unifier. Must Speak God’s Word.
7 Come, let Us (Father, Son, Holy Spirit) go down and there confuse and mix up their language, so that they will not understand one another’s speech.”
NOTE: Trinity – let Us
NOTE: Not punishing. Mixing up language. LIKE FACEBOOK SHUTTING DOWN
The day of Pentecost reversed that confusion with clarity and unity.
NOTE: Spoken words have the power. God created all with a word.
Death and life are in the power of the tongue, And those who love it and indulge it will eat its fruit and bear the consequences of their words.
Proverbs 18:21 (Amplified Bible)
8 So the Lord scattered them abroad from there over the surface of the entire earth; and they stopped building the city. 9 Therefore the name of the city was Babel—because there the Lord confused the language of the entire earth; and from that place the Lord scattered and dispersed them over the surface of all the earth.
NOTE: Humanity scattered - Divided to protect humanity from eternal condemnation. – Protection – Not Punished – a means of Redemption
- Go and fulfill God’s command to “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth” (Gen. 1:28).
- No UNITY Without God
- God Birthed Church to bring UNITY
****LESSONS FROM BABEL
- Too many of today’s churches are nothing more than Towers of Babel.
- Too many Christians are living Towers of Babel. Do Not Disconnect
And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.
- We are called to be different – Called to be God’s Local Church following God’s Universal Church for equipping God’s Personal Church.
- Do NOT build towers. Lay foundations of faith so Holy Spirit can build God’s Church upon it.