Fresh life in the church – grace made visible
George Methodist Church
Sunday 9th February 2020
8 am and 10 am
With Peter Veysie
I think we all understand that the church is not the building but rather an ecclesia – a people called out to be the people of God.
We have somehow lost the real call over decades to fulfill this great commission from Jesus to GO and need to find ways to do this more. We also have found that the church has become so much like an institution that it has lost it’s real call to be GRACE MADE VISIBLE.
I want to share this morning with you the theme Fresh life in the church and how we can make grace more visible by bearing with each other and those that are struggling in the world we live in.
We are the hands and feet of Jesus and the church being his body, and He being the head ,enables us to be directed and guided by Jesus as opposed to ourselves. Churches sadly have become more institutionalised and more like businesses over the the years. We like to compete with each other and struggle to work together. (Our fraternal on Thursday and Hope’s fun run hopefully helps with this,)
We need to explore Ephesians 4:1-16 today to discover what the church actually is. If you are following the Multiply recourses you will see that we are on the same page. When reading the Word we need to always make sure that there is observation, interpretation, contextualization, and application.
When God calls you to Himself through Jesus Christ, He simultaneously calls you into Christian ministry and into the body of Christ.
All Christians are called into ministry. There’s not some Christians who are called into ministry and other Christians who are called to just sort of be along for the ride. If you are a Christian, you are a minister. There is good work to be done, and it involves you.
Ephesians 4:1-16, we see three things: 1) what we should be like as Christian ministers and 2) what we should be doing and 3) Why we are called a church?
1. What should we as the Church be Like?
“I [Paul] therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called …”
– v. 1
We have all been called, and we are to walk in a manner worthy of this calling. Who you are is foundational to what you do. So we don’t just want to roll up our sleeves and get busy in Christian ministry and neglect who we are.
In the next two verses, we find four character traits which describe what we should be like:
Patient /Bearing with one another
What do people remember about you as an individual? As a church? Let them remember how humble, gentle, patient and united you are with other Christians.
2. What should we as the church be Doing?
Verses 7-10 might be confusing, but this is the gist of it: Jesus is the one who died for our sins; He’s the one who ascended into heaven; He’s the one who gives gifts by which we can be ministers. But we’ll focus on verses 11-12:
“And He gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ …”
We don’t go to church to receive something. We go to church to contribute something. You’ll know you’re confused about the concept of church when you use these phrases: “I didn’t get anything out of it” and “There’s nothing there for me.”
EQUIP – WORK – BUILD.
This passage uses words like “equip,” “work” and “build” to describe our participation in church. But what are we supposed to be building? What are we working for?
3. Why Are We CALLED TO BE THE CHURCH?
“… until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature humanity, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by ever wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes.”
– vv. 13-14
What we’re building toward is deepening faith in and relationship with Jesus Christ. The unity of a shared faith in Jesus is what we’re working for over time. How do we do this? By “speaking the truth in love” (v. 15). This is not a call to gossip but rather a commission by the Lord to make grace more visible in our sharing of the Word of God – speaking the truth of the Word of God in a loving and accessible way which does not water down the truth.
When we remember that we’re all called into doing this, then the church grows naturally. We “grow up in ever way … into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, … makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love” (vv. 15-16).
So ask yourself: “Have I received the humble, patient love of Jesus Christ? Am I growing more humble, patient, gentle and united over time?
How can I build up the body of Christ?”
All Christians are called to be grace made visible and so let’s find ways to bear with one another in love and so fulfill the love of Christ.