Jul10TueJuly 10, 2018
What happens when you wake up in the morning?
For some of us, it’s a rude awakening right? The alarm clock goes off and you are jolted out of your sleep. You jump out of bed, hit the shower and crank the heat, clean up and then grab a cup of hot coffee and you are good to go!
Now, for others, it’s more gradual, it’s a slow process of semi-consciousness where you are maybe half- asleep and half awake and at some point without any shock, you are just happy to know another day has begun and you embrace it.
In many ways this is a picture that mirrors how we become part of the Church, God’s family.
For some it is a complete shock to the system and you have a Damascus Road experience where you were blinded by the light like Saul was or John Newton who cried out to God as a violent storm battered his vessel off the coast of Ireland.
For others, it isn’t a story that hit the headlines, but God drew you by His love into His family through a process, a conversation with a friend, a life well lived for Jesus, something undeniable that you saw.
BUT you WOKE UP!
Paul writes in Ephesians 5:14, Wake up, sleeper, rise from the dead and Christ will shine on you.
What does it mean to wake up to God’s new world?
It means we recognize that we are part of something that is greater than ourselves.
It means we have believed the Good News of what God has accomplished through His Son, Jesus, that God has raised Him from the dead and in a moment launched the greatest, most powerful, most transformative community in the world, the Church ‘capital C’!
God has called me with His voice to an invitation of love and as well as summons to obedience! We become part of God’s family, an equal footing with every other believer as we learn what it means to wake up and find ourselves in God’s new world.
The Church exists for three primary purposes.
- 1. We are called to worship God
The Church is first and foremost a community, a collection of people who have been called out, set apart, to be a people who worship God with all of our heart, soul, strength and mind.
- 2. We are called to be together.
Pastor Jim, Sharon and my personal pastor, had a canvas and on it said. Family, we may not have it all together, but together we have it all!
- 3. We are being sent on mission.
We are called to be those who carry His presence, His love, His beauty, His grace to the world around us
Let’s flesh these points out.
- 1. We are called to worship God
1 Peter 2:9 But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.
The Bible uses imagery to describe the Church
A River- John in Revelation sees a huge throng of people from every nation, tribe and tongue coming together in a great chorus of praise. Like a river they all started in very different places but they have now been brought into a single powerful, beautiful flow. The church brings people together from the widest and most varied backgrounds together. There is beautiful diversity in unity.
Revelation 7:9 After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands,
Revelation 22: 1 Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb 2 through the middle of the street of the city; also, on either side of the river, the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit each month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. 3 No longer will there be anything accursed, but the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants will worship him.
A Tree- The single seed Jesus was sown into the ground and produced the most amazing tree with branches in every direction
John 15 I am the vine, you are the branches.
- 2. We are called to be together
Hebrews 10:25 not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.
We are called to encourage one another, to build one another up in the faith, to pray with and for each other, to learn from one another, to teach one another.
It’s called ‘koinonia’ and we see it happening from the very inception of the Church in Acts 2:42-47 fellowship, everything in common, a deep sense of sharing with one another.
The story of God’s people has always been through the water to freedom! It started with a little boy being rescued from the edge of the Nile River and then the nation going through the Red Sea to be delivered from Egypt, to the nation once again crossing the Jordan River to the Promised Land. It then would be Jesus, baptized in the Jordan River, to launch His public ministry and the unfolding of God’s perfect plan for His life and our’s!
Jesus’ own baptism and carefully planned Last Supper both point back to the original Exodus, the coming through the water moment all pointed to the death and resurrection of Jesus to begin the new covenant, new creation
From early on, the mark or recognition as being part of the family of God was baptism. It was associated with the idea of being ‘born again’. It involves being plunged into the water in the name of God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
The point is that the story which baptism tells is God’s own story, from creation and covenant to new covenant and new creation, with Jesus, in the middle of it and the the Spirit brooding over it. In baptism you are brought into that story, to be an actor in the play which God is writing and producing.
N.T. Wright in Simply Christian
3. We are being sent on mission.
I will build My Church. Jesus
Now I say to you that you are Peter (which means ‘rock’), and upon this rock I will build my church, and all the powers of hell will not conquer it. Matthew 16:18
The truth of this statement was that Peter rightly understood and identified that Jesus was the Son of God. Jesus is the foundation and the rock of stability for us, His church, we are His chosen possession, we are His bride, we are being made beautiful for Him.
The Church was never to have a defensive mentality, a bunker down, this world is going to hell in a handbasket type of mindset. The church was always meant to lead the charge, to go forward, to take new ground.
We are built to break the darkness!
John 17:15 My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. 16 They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. 17 Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. 18 As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world. NASB I will never forget Purlacio, the first graduate from Bracelet of Hope’s foster homes as she shouted out, “I was born to fight the darkness!”
We are called to be missional.
The Word became flesh and blood and moved into the neighborhood. John 1:14 The Message
Jesus became flesh and blood to all those around Him. He was real and went to where the people were. He lived among them, He cried with them, He prayed for them, He brought healing to their lives.
We are called to the same thing.
We are called to be real with all those around us, to cry, to laugh, to pray for them and with them as the Spirit leads. We are called to bring healing to the lives around us .
We are called to be agents of God’s healing love and at the same time allow our lives to be transformed by the same healing love.
An action plan for this summer! Pray for three friends or people that are part of your everyday, normal path.
• Open your homes and backyards and be hospitable - It can be really simple.
The power of invitation is an amazing thing. Go to your street party and if there isn’t one, make one up! We were part of a street party at our last neighbourhood for 7 years! It was a rich delicacy of foods from every continent from samosas to noodles to vegetarian, deep fried from Africa! We brought pulled pork!
• Open your hearts and make new friends (name some new ones by end of summer)
It is because of opportunities like this that I not only know their names, but I now know a number of the names of their children as well. It’s after midnight and Sharon is still out there having great conversations!
• Open your hands and do good to people around you
• Open your mouth (if an opportunity arises) and speak of your faith in Christ
A lady from my previous ministry shared with us how she spoke to the man renovating a meeting area doing renovations at her home. She said I could just let them do their job or choose to reach out. So she does and over a meal or a coffee and God is giving her great opportunities to share her faith.
Live your life in such a way that it demands an explanation.
11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
And for most people, the memorizing of this passage ends here. However, there is something very important and not to be missed….
12 Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you,” declares the Lord.
We really need to be asking God what are your plans for me today? Why? Because He already has laid the blueprint out for your day.
Check it out in Ephesians 2:10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.