The local church is a local expression of the universal church, all believers in the world. In 1 Peter 2, Peter helps us identify what should be true of every local church. TA walks through six questions you should ask when determining a healthy local church.
- Is it all about Jesus? (1 Peter 2:4)
- Peter uses building imagery from the Old Testament, where God is referred to as the cornerstone (Isaiah 28:16).
- A healthy church is all about Jesus – every sermon, every worship song, every ministry.
- It is solely through faith in Christ that we are able to be made right with our Maker.
- Are the people all in? (1 Peter 2:5)
- You can’t have a church without people committed to being the church.
- Jesus informs who we are individually (living stones) and collectively (a spiritual house). If you know Jesus, you are a stone that exists for a specific building.
- It is God’s Will for His people to assemble together.
- Is the Spirit moving? (1 Peter 2:5)
- The Spirit lives in each of us and gives life to our mortal bodies (Romans 8:11).
- It is the Spirit that makes us stones individually, and it is the Spirit who makes us a spiritual house with Christ as the foundation (1 Corinthians 3:16).
- Ask: Is the presence of God valued? Are the sacrifices spiritual? Are lives being changed?
- Are the people full of hope? (1 Peter 2:6-7)
- Because we believe in Jesus as the cornerstone, we will be saved from the judgment and wrath of God but will also receive honor.
- Unbelievers’ response to Jesus: They reject, are offended by, and stumble over Jesus. They refuse to obey or believe the gospel.
- God’s people are marked by a hope in eternal life with Christ.
- Is it on mission? (1 Peter 2:9)
- In the Old Testament, God formed Israel to worship Him and live in such a way that the surrounding nations would know there is no God like Him.
- The church today exists to be a witness to an unbelieving world about the excellencies of God.
- Are the people authentic? (1 Peter 2:10-12)
- Peter’s audience was mainly Gentiles who had been living in darkness, but now they are God’s people because of God’s mercy.
- Peter urges us to avoid hypocrisy by fighting sin. Let your beliefs and behavior match. The result will be unbelievers seeing Jesus in us and turning to Him.
Discussing and Applying the Sermon
- Understand that we all have room to grow – where can you specifically pray to change?
- Pray for the churches in Dallas and our nation to be healthy, Christ-centered churches.
- A healthy church is made of healthy people. Ask these questions with your community group:
- Are you all about Jesus?
- Are you all in?
- Is the Spirit moving in your life?
- Are you full of hope?
- Are you living on mission each day?
- Are you being authentic?
Other Mentioned or Recommended Resources
Additional Scripture: Romans 8:11, 1 Corinthians 3:16, 1 Peter 2:5