The second statement of the Way of Jesus is this: I am being sent by Jesus to bless others, and to invite them to follow Him. This is our purpose as Christians, this is our task. To bless others, both through physical acts of service and through verbal affirmations of encouragement. And to invite them on this beautiful journey of grace that we are on: following Jesus. (John 20:19-21, 1 Peter 3:9, 2 Corinthians 5:16-21)
We are starting a new series: "The way of Jesus". This comes to us from the EMCC, and is a set of 7 sayings that help us to live our lives as faithful followers of Jesus. Jesus himself said that He was "the way, the truth, and the life". The first statement is this: "I have begun following Jesus, and am depending on the Spirit of Jesus in my journey."
We have the pleasure of hearing the very first sermon preached by Matt Trussell. Matt considered James chapter 2, and led us in a reflection on faith, justification, and works. Sometimes the Apostle Paul and James are expressed as opposed to each other, but in reality they are speaking about two different things: We are saved by faith alone, but we are saved to a faith that works!
We continue the beginning of our ministry year with the updates from the remaining 3 spokes of our vision: Missions, Sports, and Outreach. Also, there was a short sermonette on Vision... Visibility = Passion. What we are passionate about "shows". In order for anything to be visible, we need light to see. Jesus tells us that WE are the light of the world. We are supposed to let our light shine in front of people, so that other see us doing good (fulfilling the vision that God has given us as a church), and their response is worshiping God. Visibility is about doing good. But not doing good out of obligation, but out of passionate desire to do the work that God prepared beforehand for us to do. And we can have three responses to this truth: joy, anger, or apathy. (Matthew 5:14-16)
We start off our ministry year with a "kick off" Sunday were we talk about our Vision as a church, and we listen to updates from 3 of our spoke teams: Sunday, Youth and Kids, and Family Life. We also heard a little sermonette on Vision... Vision = Change. And sometimes change is difficult to accept. But change is how we follow the leading of the Holy Spirit. We need to "forget what is behind and strain towards what is ahead". And what is ahead of us is not actually our Vision, but knowing Jesus more intimately. It is the "striving" that shows our eagerness, effort, and vision. (Ecclesiastes 7:10, Philippians 3:13-14)
Pastor Greg Good preaching on the narrative of the Rich Young Ruler and his interaction with Jesus. Jesus is the desire of our hearts, and to follow Jesus fulfills that desire. However, there are other loves (of money, of stuff, of vocation, etc.) that distract us from that desire. We are want Jesus, and we want eternal life, but are we willing to give up that one thing that we lack?
The final sermon in our summer series on Gospel Perspectives, on the topic of baptism. And the shift in our thinking on it is this: Baptism is the first step that "YOU take with the disciple that YOU are making", not merely the first step that "I take in my personal journey as a disciple of Jesus". Baptism needs to be understood in the context of disciple making. If you understand the Great Commission, baptism is the responsibility of the disciple maker, not merely a step of faith of the disciple. And if the person who you are discipling does not want to get baptized, that means the following: 1) You haven't finished the first step in the disciple making process. 2) they haven't fully made a pledge to identify with the death and resurrection of Jesus. And if you have never been baptized of your own volition, how are you supposed to tell your disciple to be baptized, if you are not willing to do so yourself? (Acts 10:48, Acts 2:36-38, Colossians 2:12-14, 1 Peter 3:18-21, Romans 6:3-4)
This may not be my best sermon, but I would say that this is one of the most important messages that Christians need to hear. The most basic instruction for all Christians is this: Make Disciples. All authority in heaven and all authority on earth is given to Jesus, and because of this reality (therefore), we are commanded to make disciples. However, we should not be confused between "making disciples" and "discipleship". They are not the same thing. We are not commanded to "do discipleship" but we are commanded to make disciples. (Matt 28:18-20, 2 Tim 2:2, Matt 13:18-23, James 2:14-17)
We continue our study of "Reputation" from a Gospel perspective, particularly with it's application to friendship within a local church family. In order to gain an understanding on this, we first need to reflect on hermeneutics (the study of "how to study" the bible), as we apply this to Galatians 3:28. We need to try to discern why Paul uses this verse in his teaching to the Galatian church. And the bottom line is: Unity in the local church. Don't divide or separate over stupid reasons. Though the christians didn't believe that God showed favouritism, they acted like God showed favouritism. This is not in line with the Gospel. To form cliques, to separate, and to hang out with only our friends or those who we are comfortable with (who follow our traditions), then Christ has died for nothing! We are all ONE in Christ. (Galatians chapters 1 through 3, 1 Corinthians 11:17-34)