A Church without Christ

When is a church no longer a church? When we think of church, there are many things that come to mind. Some of those things are essential. Some things are less essential. Then there are the non-essentials. In life . . . and theology . . . and in the church we sometimes have a tendency to cling unto death (or at least to conflict and division) to the lesser things while neglecting the essential things. 

 It was exactly this disproportionate emphasis that led to Jesus' words recorded in Matthew 23:23 "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cummin, and have neglected the weightier provisions of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness; . . . Do we obsess about unimportant things and neglect the weighty things? So, if we started to strip away from “church” the non-essentials, at what point would what we call the church no longer be a true church?

Yet, there is one element of the Christian church that without which the church certainly ceases to exist – Jesus.

“Well of course! That is just obvious!”

But is it possible for a church (for us), to have all the outward trimmings of a church, all the programs of a church, a moving worship presentation in song and frequent preaching from a pulpit and not be a church because it does not have Jesus?

And, is it possible to claim to have Jesus, to say the name of Jesus and even purport to worship Jesus but to be worshiping something other than the true Jesus?

                                    Sermon Handout 

List all the things you can think of related to and associated with church.

Now mark out the things on the above list that can be left out and still have a church.

*Is it possible to leave Jesus out of the church and still have a church?

Identify 3 Influences Jesus has on the church and explain each:




Evaluate the extent to which Jesus influences your life;

What will you do now? 

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