The Local Church George Methodist family church
John 17:6 -26 16th February 2020
With Peter Veysie
I have always felt that the local church is the hope of the world, but I was thinking about it this week and I read a quote from Andy Stanley that Jesus is the hope of the world and the local church is the vehicle of expressing that hope to the world.
It is exciting to begin to realise that in spite of all our different ways of doing church, we are called into the vineyard of GMC for such a time as this to do and be the hands and feet of Jesus.
We are chosen to be part of a team and our desire is to serve you in such a way that we are being the best team that we can possible be. We still have a long way to go but I believe that we are heading in the right direction.
The multiply series has given us some incredible insight and wisdom and I trust that as you are following this series you would have learned so far:
What a disciple is?
The important command to make disciples. Matt 28:19,20
How to have a real heart as a disciple maker.
What it means to be the church and how we live the life in the church and more importantly as the church – the church has left the building.
Today we explore what it means to function as a local church. We are called to make disciples, but we can’t do it just on our own. When the church functions as God intended we begin to see that it becomes a place of healing and genuine spiritual growth.
All of us have experienced both good and bad models of church. We have been part of planting a church as well as working with churches that have been well established for many years and I can tell you that church planting is not an easy mission – Ridgeway Family church and its story.
Our call as the local church is to look around us and to find ways to be the vehicle expressing that Jesus is the hope of the world. Our model is not a business model but more of a family model and so sometimes it can be messy but that is what families are like but there are some important ingredients to this messy family, and this is what I want to share today.
Let’s read John 17:6 -26 There are many prayers in the bible, but this one really comes deep from the heart of Jesus for his bride (church)
Michael Cassidy Ten marks of the church Jesus prayed for. His book of the same title was written in 2012 and I had the privilege of being on his editing team.
Jesus is at the end of his ministry and you can imagine that the words he would share with his disciples were critical and as he prays he :
He prays for himself vs 1-5, he prays for his disciple’s vs 6-19 and he prays for the church that will subsequently come into existence vs 20 – 26. As Michael says there is a mass of overlapping ideas but there are ten marks that should characterise the church that he prayed for :
Michael says in his book that there are ten marks Jesus prays for in His church embedded like an assortment of jewels, who’s sparkles go up and down and roundabout, in a three-tiered crown of the three-part prayer. It starts by Jesus lifting up his eyes to heaven and saying Father (Abba -Daddy). Glory occurs 8 times example vs 10. Giving occurs 17 times and speaks of the grace and love of God for his people. Unity and truth bears the fruit of knowing not only for us but also vs 23 so that the world may know that you have sent me.
Truth occurs 5 times explicitly and another four or five times implicitly. Vers 7,8c,14a,25c – sanctify them in the truth. Vs 17a. The word world occurs 18 times referring to the planet human family and human behaviour (some behaviour needs to be deeply challenged in our country EFF).
There are five instances of the notion of protection verse 11 Holy Father protect them. Protection of truth is critical in our world today – a truth that sets people free and does not put them back into bondage. Galatians 5:1. Holiness and joy power and glory all comes from the name of the Lord and we see this in verse 1,4,6b,10.
And then unity is key – I in them and you in me, that they may become completely one. Verse 23.
Two poles truth and holiness and unity and love. The strong balance between the two is the cross.
- Truth – sanctified and consecrated in the truth John 17:17.19 Sanctify them in the truth. Your Word is truth.
- Holiness – Make them holy with the truth. Your word is consecrating(making holy) truth. John 17:17
- Joy – the joy of the Lord is my strength. John 16:16 my joy in you and your joy complete.
That they may have my joy fulfilled in themselves vs 13. The joy of the Lord is my strength. Nehemiah 8:10 . There is a need for joy in our day. Yes, the work of the church is a serious business, but we also need to have some joy in the day!!!
Part two –
- Protection – of the church and also of the Words of the church. The name of the Lord is a strong tower, the righteous go into it and they are safe. Proverbs 18:10
John 17:15 Keep them from the evil one.
- Mission – a real desire to see the world changed
- Prayer – the prayer life of the individuals and the prayer life of the church is critical.
- Unity – as seen modelled by Father Son and Holy Spirit we need to strive for this.
- Love – the most important command of all to the church encapsulating all the other commands.
- Power – released in us by the son and through the power of the Holy Spirit
- Glory – reflecting the radiant character of God in our church.
- You are the light of the world
- Known by our love. John 13:34-35
- A compelling community. John 17: 20 -23
- A kingdom of priests. 1 Peter 2:9
- Our church matters to God and to George. If we had to disappear would anyone notice?????