A GREAT WAY TO END THE SERIES ON HOPE
We ended the series on hope yesterday by celebrating two people coming to the Lord and being baptized in Jesus Christ! What a great way to go out!
I also want to comment on that moment when my eyes started watering yesterday when I told you about the message God gave me to tell you. We can do it! I hope you understood that message was from God. It wasn’t from me. God basically told me he has this incredible amount of blessing he wants to give his family at Celebration, but we need to come together as the body of Christ. He said if we put away our disappointments, our distractions, our fears, and focus on coming together in his name he will bless us. He told me to tell you that we can do this!
THE BODY OF CHRIST
Part of the vision God has given for our church is that we need to come together as the body of Christ. This is different from coming together as a sports team or completing an assignment at work. The biggest difference is God himself who brings us together to accomplish his will.
Paul gave a little teaching to the Christians in Ephesus on how the body of Christ is to come together. I believe this verse of scripture is crucial for us in the near future. Paul wrote:
“I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to one hope when you were called— one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it.”
“It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ. From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.”
Ephesians 4:1-7, 11-16 (NIV)
PUTTING WAY OUR PREFERENCES
How do you like church?
Your answer was probably based on your preference.
Does it have to have great worship? What kind of preaching do you like? What about the children’s ministry? What do you prefer there?
I recently read a book called Everyday Church (based on the Gospel of 1 Peter) in which the authors invoke that in today’s culture that we no longer live in what they termed “Christendom.” We now live in a culture that no longer has a base reference to Christianity. Many times people say they are Christian because that’s what they were told they were, not because they have a relationship with Jesus. Our faith is in the margin of society.
This new reality means that people who live in “Christendom” – church people- must take on the mindset of missionaries. When missionaries go to a foreign land they put their preferences behind them. Lifestyle, food, music, politics re left behind for the sake of spreading the Gospel.
If we are to come together as a body of Christ and attract de-churched and unchurched people unto Him we must take on the same attitude. We must set aside our preferences for the sake of Jesus Christ.
Consider these three questions when concerning the direction and impact of the church in your family and community:
- What style of worship/music will best help this group worship in spirit and truth?
- What evangelism methods should I use here to reach the most people without compromising the gospel?
- How can this church be God’s missionary to this community?
Christ’s heart is to leave the fold and bring in another. May our hearts be the same as His