Monthly Archives: October 2011

Will the Real Church Please Stand Up – Membership?

October 23, 2011

1 Corinthians 12:12-14, 22-27  For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body–Jews or Greeks, slaves or free–and all were made to drink of one Spirit. For the body does not consist of one member but of many. On the contrary, the parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and on those parts of the body that we think less honorable we bestow the greater honor, and our unpresentable parts are treated with greater modesty,  which our more presentable parts do not require. But God has so composed the body, giving greater honor to the part that lacked it, that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together. Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it.

The first truth to be understood in this passage is that the local church is a visible, tangible, real-world expression of the body of Christ. “One thing a local congregation does best is to show your non-Christian neighbors that the new life made available through Jesus’ death on the cross is also the foundation for a new society. By living the gospel as a distinct community, the church down the street accomplishes the important mission of displaying the transforming effects of the gospel for the world to see. Others won’t see be able to see this larger picture if we remain detached from each other and go our separate ways.” (Joshua Harris in Stop Dating the Church: Fall in Love with the Family of God).

In God’s wisdom, He decided that the best way that His glory would be revealed would be through the church and through those lives that make up the church.

The second truth is that there is one body with many members. God has created the body of Christ and the church in such a way that we are dependent on each other for its success. This relates both to the local expression of the church as well as the corporate expression throughout the community and the world. We are not independent but interdependent on one another.

In other words, while we are one church that worships here on Cypress Road in Selbyville there are many other churches in this area that are focuses on God and are members of the Body of Christ. A couple of weeks ago I attended a Pastor’s Appreciation Lunch at Eagle’s Nest and I can tell you that there were many representatives of Christ’s body. The fact is if every person inSussexCountycame to know Christ there would not be enough room the church’s that God has called.

The second part of this is that we are all believers in Christ but we need to realize that we must be dependent on each other. There are no lone rangers in the work of the ministry.

God has placed unique gifts in the body and into each individual so that they will be used to accomplish the work of the ministry. Even those who seem to be a weaker part of the body are in reality an indispensible part of the body. Every person called to the body of Christ has been given a gift that they are to use to further the ministry of the church.

Service – There are those who have been called to PCC who serve this body in incredible ways:

    1. Don & Denise’s coffee and fireside crew.
    2. Paul Brewington, Mike Hancock and others who volunteer to do odd construction jobs around the church.
    3. Jim Koons and his weed killing crew.
    4. Jeanne Fallon and her cleaning crew.

Administration & leadership

    1. Leadership Team – Clayton & John
    2. Trustees – Jim, Don, George, Dana, John

Giving

    1. We have been given many who gift above and beyond to support this body.

Teaching

    1. Debbie and Trina who lead and have led Life Kid’s

Worship and Praise

    1. The Praise Team
    2. Sound team

Artistic ability

    1. Barbara Burns
    2. Joy Koons and the bulletin

I could go on and on about this but I think you are hearing what I am saying.

To be effective every member of the body must know their place and purpose in the body. What has God called you to do? What gifts has He given you? One thing God will do is

We must learn to rejoice with those who are rejoice and with those who suffer. When we are functioning correctly we will know how to rejoice and how to suffer with one another.

The question has been asked “why do some churches make it and others do not” I believe is partially answered in the past part of this verse:

  1. We fail to honor all that attend the church regardless of their social position and stand within the community.
  2. That we allow division and competition to steer and guide what we do.
  3. We fail to learn to rejoice together and we learn to suffer together. You see it is sometimes easy to suffer together but is often hard to rejoice when someone else makes it.


Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Will the Real Church Please Stand Up – Empowerment

Peninsula Community Church

Will the Real Church Please Stand Up?

The Empowerment of the Church

October 16, 2011

Matthew 28:16-20 Now, the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. And, when they saw him they worshiped him, but some doubted. And, Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

Acts 1:7-8 He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”

When Jesus finished his earthly ministry, he made some final statements that behoove the church to take note.

Famous death bed sayings:

  • Are you guys ready? Let’s roll – Todd Beamer on flight 93 over Pennsylvania.
  • Oh, yes; it is the glorious Fourth of July. It is a great day. It is a good day. God bless it. God bless you all. He then lapsed into unconsciousness; he awakened later, and mumbled, Thomas Jefferson…
  • This is the last of Earth! I am content! – John Quincy Adams, US President, February 21, 1848.
  • Let me die in the old uniform in which I fought my battles for freedom, May God forgive me for putting on another. – Benedict Arnold; he wanted to wear his old Continental Army uniform.
  • How were the receipts today at Madison Square Garden? – P. T. Barnum, circus entrepreneur
  • Tell mother; tell mother, I died for my country. . . . (looks at his hands) useless . . . useless . . . – John Wilkes Booth
  • That was a great game of golf, fellers. – Bing Crosby. He was playing the whole 18 holes of golf (even when his doctor said to only do nine). 20 minutes after the game, he suffered a fatal heart attack.
  • One last drink, please. – Jack Daniel
  • I am not the least afraid to die. Charles Darwin

Much has been made about one’s last words as they are some of the most telling and insightful about one’s life.

Jesus was no exception. In the passages, we read today, we see that Jesus’ focus was not on Himself but was on the future of the church. In Matthew, He calls the church into ministry and in Acts, He promises to empower them to accomplish what He has called them to do.

Christ never calls us to do anything that He does not empower us to accomplish. He is not like some government agencies that require local governments to do certain things but they do not give them the tools or the ability to do so. Jesus does both.

Christ has equipped and empowered the church to accomplish all that it has been called to do. It has been said that God does not always call the equipped but He equips the called. He does this for churches and He does it for people as individuals. The key is to understand what we have been called to do and what He has purposed for us.

 

  1. It is God’s plan to reach the world with the gospel message. Jesus’ proclamation in Acts 1:8 and Matthew 28 is not the first time this idea of reaching the world was proposed. In Isaiah 49:6 and 42:6 Isaiah prophesied that Christ came as a light for the nations in order to bring light to the nations. Luke confirms this in Luke 2:32. All that God has done both in the New Testament and the Old has been to reach the world with the message of hope.
    1. Matthew 28:16-20 – Now, the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. And, when they saw him they worshiped him, but some doubted. And, Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
    2. Mark 16:15-20 – And he said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. And these signs will accompany those who believe: in my name they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up serpents with their hands; and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them; they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will recover.” So then the Lord Jesus, after he had spoken to them, was taken up into heaven and sat down at the right hand of God. And they went out and preached everywhere, while the Lord worked with them and confirmed the message by accompanying signs.]]
    3. Luke 24:45-53 – then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, and said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. And behold, I am sending the promise of my Father upon you. But stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.” Then he led them out as far as Bethany, and lifting up his hands he blessed them. While he blessed them, he parted from them and was carried up into heaven. And they worshiped him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy, and were continually in the temple blessing God.
    4. John 16:7-16 – Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you. And when he comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment: concerning sin, because they do not believe in me; concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father, and you will see me no longer; concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged. I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you. All that the Father has is mine; therefore I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you.
    5. Acts 1:8 – He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
  2. God has designed his plan in such a way that his disciples would be the agents that would accomplish this calling.
  3. God not only calls his disciples to be a part of this process but He also empowers and equips them to make it happen.

 

In John 16 and Acts 1:8 Jesus shines a light into how He does this through the Holy Spirit.

John 16:7-15 Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you. And when he comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment: concerning sin, because they do not believe in me; concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father, and you will see me no longer; concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged. I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you. All that the Father has is mine; therefore I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you.

 

  • He will be our helper. – The Holy Spirit will come as a paraclete which is one who comes along side to help and direct.
  • He will convict the world of sin, righteousness and judgment. His job is to convict people. It is not ours.
  • He will guide you into all truth. The purpose of the Holy Spirit is to guide those who love Him into the truth – God’s words, false world views.
  • He will glorify the son. – His primary role is to glorify the Son.
  • He will declare what the Son has spoken and what the Father has declared.
  • And in Acts 1:8 we see that the Holy Spirit will empower us to be witnesses. Therefore the power to witness is not in our power but it is in His.

 

  1. God’s desire is that we would have His passion. When we have His passion we will gladly accomplish His will. When we have His passion we will have a passion for those we have been called to. Where our passion is there our heart will be and that is where we will focus and be excited.
    1. The first word of empowerment is that Jesus has promised to be with us always. By this we can have a boldness to share and to proclaim the living word of God.
    2. The second is the promise of the Holy Spirit which will empower us for service.


Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Will the Real Church Stand Up? – Equipping the Body

Peninsula Community Church

Will the Real Church Please Stand Up?

The Equipping of the Church

October 9, 2011

 

Ephesians 4:11-14 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, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, 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 every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes.

When Christ initiated the idea of the church, He also set in motion the means by which the church would be equipped and trained for the work of the ministry. His desire is to equip the church for ministry and has given the church leadership to make this happen. This by no means takes away from the work of the Holy Spirit and the Word of God but in fact it is the work of these through man that makes this a possibility.

 

One of the myths that have been propagated throughout the history of the church is that the pastor of the church is to do everything in the church. For many churches, there is a belief that the pastor is hired to do everything. They are to be the teachers, the preachers, the evangelists and clean the church and so on and so forth. But the problem in this regard is that the pastor is only one person and cannot do it all. That is why he will be more effective if he trains and leads others to accomplish the tasks of the ministry. He must fulfill his role as an equipper in order to see the church grow.

 

The pastor and the leadership team must take on the role of equippers so that everyone in the body can find their place to serve so they function according to what God has called them to be. You see God desires that each person within the body will find their place and their role so that the ministry of the church will be effective and accomplish what God has called the church to be. If every person were to do their part in the ministry, as God has called them, PCC be a huge success. This success will not be solely measured by numbers and activities but the fact that each person has found their niche and are serving according to what God has called them to do and be within the church. Someone has said that when God initiates a church he places within the church all they need to accomplish the work of the ministry.

 

One way to look at the church is look at what makes a football team effective. First of all, effective football teams are good at the fundamentals. They know why they are there to play football and they work hard on the keys to success. They work on blocking and tackling more than they do almost anything else. Secondly, every player on the team knows their role and does all that they can do to accomplish the purpose for which they have been placed on the team. In fact, there are some folks on the team that do not get any recognition unless they commit a foul. This is the offensive frontline. They block and keep the defense at bay play after play. The quarterback knows his job. He is to direct the team on the field. The running back is there to block for his teammates, run the ball or be in the position to catch the ball. Even those who sit on the bench have a role to play because during the week they are scrimmaging and helping the starters get better. Not only do you have players on the field but you have a coaching staff that is specific to various positions on the team.

 

When those within the church develop themselves and they begin to recognize their place within the body the following results occur:

  1. First, those within the body will be equipped or as the KJV says they will be perfected. The root word here for equip means to mend. The idea here is two-fold. For one, it carries with it the idea of mending the nets of a fisherman so that no fish escape. Secondly, it carries the idea of setting a bone when it has been broken. The idea is that one is equipped or mended so that they become useful in the kingdom of God.
  2. Secondly, the body of Christ is built up. When everyone is working effectively within the body, the church will be built up and those within the body will be encouraged. The word here for built up is the word “to edify.”
  3. There is a unity of both faith and the knowledge of God. When the body is running smoothly there will be a full recognition that God is the center of all that is accomplished. The unity of the body will not be around the ministry of the church but rather it will be around the person of Christ and an understanding of who God is. The ministry will in essence become second nature to what Christ is doing.
  4. The church grows into maturity. The desire of God is that we grow into people of maturity. We must live like adults and not like children. We need to have child like faith but a mental growth that we treat each others like we would want to be treated.
  5. God will be able to work fully within the body. While God is able to do anything and He does work in spite of us but how great it is when the body is in unity as it paves the way for Him to fully work.
    1. Psalm 133:1-3 Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! It is like the precious oil upon the head, that ran down upon the beard, Even Aaron’s beard; That came down upon the skirt of his garments; Like the dew of Hermon, That cometh down upon the mountains of Zion: For there Jehovah commanded the blessing, Even life for evermore.
    2. Ephesians 2:19-22 – So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.
  6. When these things are accomplished appropriately, the body will not be easily deceived by:
    1. False doctrine – throughout the history of the church there have been false doctrine that has permeated by within the church. The scripture tells us that in the last days that this will be a greater test for the church but when the church is functioning properly it will be protected from false doctrines that can so easily be spread through the church. Some are very content to remain babes in Christ but they can be susceptible to false teachings and charlatans that want to take advantage of those who are weak.
    2. Human cunning – we cannot depend on the strength of human thinking that is apart from the work of the Holy Spirit. When man’s ways are enlisting, they will attempt to do things by way of one’s mindset. The original Greek word here carries the idea of being tricked.
    3. Deceitful schemes – When the body is unified they will less likely succumb to schemes that seek to divide the body and the church.

 

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Will the Real Church Please Stand Up -The Church’s Challenge

Peninsula Community Church

Will the Real Church Please Stand Up?

The Church’s Challenge

October 2, 2011

 Ephesians 3:7-8-10 – Of this gospel I was made a minister according to the gift of God’s grace, which was given me by the working of his power. To me, though I am the very least of all the saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, and to bring to light for everyone what is the plan of the mystery hidden for ages in God who created all things, so that through the church the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places.

As we closed out the message from last week we spoke of some concerns in the contemporary church. If those things are true then we must look at “how do we can counteract these issues?”

Let me take a moment and rehearse some of the societal and cultural issues that impact the church today:

  1. Pluralistic society – First of all we are living in a pluralistic society. The catch word of the day is tolerance. A persistent thread in society today is greater diversity and the pluralism of religion. What has occurred is that during the last century more people are immigrating to the US and by doing so they are bringing their religious, moral and cultural belief. What is occurring here is rather than being folded into our society they are maintaining their beliefs and their ideologies. And, with the liberal move toward acceptance and tolerance we are being asked to accept these beliefs and moral ideologies without any measure of discernment. Another problem that exists is that many churches are being drawn in the religious tolerance and pluralistic mode as well as they adding a little Hinduism, a little new age and a little pop psychology to their message. The problem is that they create confused people.
  2. We are faced with self-centeredness and individual freedom – The key word here is individualism. In this environment we look out for number without ever engaging within the community of believers. In the church we think of what is in our best interest rather than what is best for the community of believers where we fellowship.
  3. We are living in a technological age where we interact through media and not face-to face. In this world of technological improvements and inventions we are losing more and more of the face to face connections that we need. We are losing the value of community for it is in community that we grow and learn about God. That is not to say that we cannot grow outside of community but it becomes more difficult for the average person. With the influx of twitter, face book, email, webpages and texting we do not have to meet face to face but rather could in fact go through life with no personal interaction. Please note that I am not opposed to these developments as they can help us spread the Gospel but we still need times where we are face-to-face with others.
  4. People have become consumers (even of church) – The key phrase here is meet my need. This symbolized by a transient/consumerist environment. A world of consumerism has brought us obsolescence, the rapid passing of fashions and styles, the disappearance of stability, constant innovation, constant revisions and repackaging, the newer product with the future always looming over the present. We shop for the church that will meet our needs rather than finding a church where we can connect and be involved. When there are problems in the church people leave rather than staying and working through their problems and difficulties. Or when that church stops meeting my need I move on.
  5. The theology of the day is relative truth – The key phrase is you believe what you believe and I will believe what I believe. We have moved from having a set standard for understanding truth to now believing that every person can have a bit of the truth. “There no longer seems to be access to principles which can act as criteria of value for anything else.

It is important for us to recognize these changes and be prepared to bring the gospel to those who find themselves in any one or all of these categories. In so doing we can contextualize the Gospel into the culture but we must always be careful that we do not compromise the Gospel in the process of addressing these changes. We can adapt to the changing environment but we must never compromise the Gospel in the process. When we do this we can begin to lose our impact in the community. As we spoke last week we have seen too many churches comprise the Gospel in order to get more people.

A study of the church would not be complete if we did not take a look at why the church was created by God.

  • The church must be God in flesh to the community. The church is God’s creation and He created us to be God in flesh. This does not mean that we become God but rather we become His ambassadors into the world so that we represent Him to others. We are to reach people where they are and in the culture they are in without falling into the sin of those within that culture.
  •  The goal of the church must be to minister the reign of Christ into the church. We are missing the mark if we do not show forth the reign of Christ in the lives of those who we are reaching.
  • The goal of the church must be to minister the reign of Christ into the community in which they have been called to reach.
  • The church should be the one who is setting the moral compass for our country.

Paul said it best. His goal of ministering the Gospel was 1) to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, and 2) to bring to light for everyone what is the plan of the mystery hidden for ages in God who created all things, 3) so that through the church the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places.

God’s desire is that we be messengers of hope and that we genuinely impact the community for the cause of Christ. It begins with us as individuals living a life of integrity and God centeredness so that all we do will glorify God.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized