“What is the point of getting through school? You say, “To get a good job!” What is the point of getting a good job? “To make enough money to support a family and do the things we want to do.” So, assume that your marriage stays together and you raise a family. The kids grow up and leave the nest. You retire from your job, enjoy your grandkids, play some golf, catch some fish, drive around the country in your motor home and take videos of all the national parks, get sick and die. What did your life count for?” (Steven J. Cole)
Was that it – is that all that dash on the tombstones accomplished, is that enough? Or is there a purpose to life?
Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth? – Luke 18:8b
Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. – Colossians 3:12–14
These words are impossible to live out apart from gathering as His Church. God has called us together, has placed us here for the very purpose of growing us to maturity in Christ and to be a place of—and for—love and forgiveness. Not legalism and finger pointing! How can we live out the one anothers apart from the Church—which is the family of God?
The Church is the assembly of believers who belong to God, all striving for the same thing, like-minded, and are all headed in the same direction: towards Christ likeness and ultimately to be with the Father as the bride of Christ.
So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. – Philippians 2:1-2
Jesus prayed for our unity in John 17. Some people may be farther along that path than others. Everybody who walks, moves forward, and is committed to taking their next step in Christ likeness and unity is a member of the body of Christ. Jesus does not expect His church to be perfect but He does expect us to be committed! To Him, one another, and to our purpose.
It is those who are of God’s true Church that live out the life and teachings of Jesus together. Jesus Christ is with His Church as they align themselves with God’s mission and will. We were brought together for a purpose! We cannot do as God’s people did in the Old Testament and keep drifting further and further from what God intended, and intends, for His Church here in our area.
In the book of Revelation, Jesus said that He is against those who have abandoned the love they had at first, that He knows the congregations whose work in not complete, and that He would spit out the lukewarm.
There are some here that truly believe they are saved and heaven bound, but let me quote God’s Son, “On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.”
Do you know why Jesus will say this? Because in order to be a part of God’s Kingdom there—you have to be a part of His Kingdom here! Are you? What is first in your life? God? Is there enough evidence to support that? Judgment day is coming. Jesus plainly says that the Word He spoke will judge us (John 12:48). Jesus said, “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 7:21). Over and over we are told to be doers of the Word.
God intends for us to be His church, to love and worship Him with all our being while loving one another and our neighbor. It is easy to lose sight of Jesus, to have Him on the outside of what we have going on in our lives. In order for us to be the Church God wants us to be, it will take effort, forgiveness, growth, and more than anything else, it will take love and love is spelled T-I-M-E.
We have got to understand that the Church, you and I together, have a purpose with and for each other; we are called to provoke one another to love and good deeds as we gather together and to encourage one another as the day of God’s judgment is coming. Good deeds include helping the poor, the widow, the single mother, and helping and serving one another.
The Church is people. How can we be the Church if we are not together? You cannot be a part of the local Church if you do not take part with and in the local church. If you were given an instrument and had the ability to play it, yet only showed up to take in the music, would you be a part of the band? In chapter 2 of Acts—that I trust you will read—we see what the first church did, that they were devoted to 4 things: the apostles teaching, the fellowship, the breaking of bread, and prayer. They did those things as the church, together!
We are called to be salt and light. Salt preserves but it also flavors what it is added to. Jesus said, “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men” (Matthew 5:13). Imagine if you will the many church buildings as salt shakers…are we flavoring the world? God’s purpose for His Church is that we influence, or flavor, all those we come in contact with… are you? As the Church we are to preserve the Word. 2 Timothy 1:14 says that we are to guard the good deposit entrusted to us.
You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.
The Church is to be equipping one another for works of service both in and out of the church building. That first church in Acts was learning together as the Church, they were devoted to each other, had meals together in one another’s homes, as Acts 2:46 tells us, and they prayed together… (they were equipped). God did not design His church to be a country club, or some kind of charitable organization that meets weekly, He put us together to learn and grow and teach and pray together so that we would be equipped to spread the Gospel!
We, those of God’s Church, are called to be a witness, by our being together in unity and Love for one another – so that the world may know, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:34-35) (before crucifixion).
After resurrection, “I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me” (John 17:20-23).
We are to be obedient to the commands, the words of Christ, to go out into the local communities and beyond, to spread the Gospel of the Kingdom, the good news of forgiveness in Christ. WE are sent as Jesus was sent! Jesus Himself told His disciples (not just the 11), “Peace be with you; as the Father has sent me so I send you.” We have a purpose to love God and others and we do that by being obedient to Jesus’s Word! So that the world would see the Church as His People, so that we would be a witness by our love and unity of what it is to be the sanctified People of God!
We were created for a purpose and we find fulfillment when we are committed and focused on that purpose. We cannot forget that Hell awaits the unbelieving, unrepentant sinner, and that we the Church, this congregation, has the ability and the knowledge to reach those that we were called and entrusted to reach: your neighbors, at work, home, and in our communities. If we are not, then are we truly His Church?
Our congregation has done more to reach out into the communities than most congregations 3 times our size, but we must also work on being the Church here while continuing to reach out, while also reaching up to God. We need to do His will here and be thankful for all the grace mercy and love we have received. It is the love of God that motivates us in all of this, “faith working through love” (Galatians 5:6).
The love of God
Love for God
Love for one another
Love for others.
God is calling His people to reclaim the church from the world, He is looking to restore His church to what it was meant to be. We can either rise to the challenge and devote ourselves to Christ and His Church or we can become another statistic…
There will be some who will say that they do not have the time or the energy to commit to what is clearly called for in God’s Word, who believe that we are going off the deep end, who will turn away from what we are supposed to be doing. There will be some who will not participate or be a part of what we are called to do—but continue to show up for a service now and again. And there are some who have, or will, drift away, drawn by worldly pursuits. Many want the benefits of being a part of a local church but are unwilling to take part with the local church.
How can we do that, how can we sacrifice our wants and likes for Christ? Look at the cross and ask “how can we?” – again… We will learn and talk about the how next week.
- Are you a part of God’s Church?
- Are you a part of fulfilling God’s purpose for our congregation?
Further Reading: Luke 14:25-35, Colossians 3:5-17, John 13:34-35, John 17:21, 23, Ephesians 2:8-10, Ephesians 4:1-21, Matthew 5:16, 2 Timothy 2:1-2, 1 Peter 2:12, Acts 1:8, Matthew 28:18-20, Mark 16:15-16, Luke 24:46-49, John 20:21