The Purpose of our Church Family
26 May 2001, Pr George Porter
(George is Thornleigh's Church Pastor)
THEME: SUPPORTING OUR CHURCH FAMILIES
SCRIPTURE READING: EPHESIANS 4:1-13
1. As I listen to the members of our church family I hear that we are all concerned for the spiritual well being of our children, youth, and oldies. We are very sad for those who have lost there fellowship with God or are confused about truth. It is also evident that all of us want to improve our abilities concerning inreach and outreach.
2. However, at Nominating Committe time when we ought to make decisions to accept office and roles in the governance of our family we discover that it is a time of indecision and stand-off for many.
3. Sam Goldwyn 1882- 1974, the famous American film producer, whenever he was asked for a decision to produce a film would invariably say, " I'll give you a definite maybe!" We often display the same attitude when asked to fill a role in the activities of our church family. However, we all are emphatic that we must have an active and friendly Pastor. An efficient and effective church Board. A warm vigorous and vibrant church family with youth and children who are actively involved in the business of the church.
Now how do we see the purpose of our church.?
What principles of management and leadership should we follow?
How can we improve on our performance?
Did you know that God used Pastor Paul in Ephesians 4 to outline for us about six action principles that can improve and change our Church Family? The chapter outlines the direction for success with God in partnership.
(At this point I rang a bell to get 100% attention)
An American lecturer in psychology who travelled to several Universities to lecture was sure that the attention given to his presentations was minimal. He often rang a bell at random to win attention. To confirm his suspicions he surveyed many groups over the years and these are the results to his question: What are you thinking about during the lecture?
20% thinking erotic thoughts of the opposite sex in their sights.
20% thinking about family and workplace problems and the stresses involved.
12% had their total attention and mind on the lecture!
48% had thoughts that were cruising and drifting through a hodge-podge of unrelated matters.
Now folks are you with me? Do I have your attention? Take our Bibles and survey Ephesian 4.
A. Verse 1. The Purpose of the Church Family - is to "walk worthy. We ought to walk the kind of life that proves that God has called us and that we are His family.
B. Verse 2. HOW TO DO IT With lowliness, meekness,longsuffering, forebearance in love and respect for each other. In other words we are to be humble, gentle and patient. Lovingly accepting each other as family.
C. Verses 3-6. CONTINUALLY ATTEMPTING to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. We must be sincere in our actions to maintain unity through the Spirit. Unity which He gives - it is to be in us. One calling, one faith, one baptism, one God, one Lord, one Father in us all. We agree, He does it all in us and for us. Now that is a great deal.
D. Verse 7. ACTING WITH GOD It is done by the gift of grace. The gift of Christ for us. His grace matches our individual gifts furnishing us with all we need to follow His instructions for the Church family.
Verses 8-10 Jesus Christ our Saviour, the source of power for the purpose of our Church is the only authentic, qualified and genuine giver of power and gifts we must have.
E. Verse 11. HIS ALLOCATION OF GRACE/GIFTS Christ supplies the equipment to fulfill His purposes in and for us and our Church family. Some apostles, some prophets, some evangelists some pastors and teachers.
F. Verse 12. GOD'S EQUIPMENT POLICY All that He gives is for the "equipping of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying (building up) of the the body of Christ. It is all for the Church family. The issue is soul maintenance, soul strength and growth. For the work , ministry and service of the Church for God. Wow! That is what we all want, need and are talking about.
HOW? There are pitfalls that we must be aware of as we choose to follow Christ's puposes for us.
THE THREE "P's" of PITFALLS
1. Professionalism Beware of being bound by tasks, routine, dutiful mechanical activities. The cool formalism that lacks passion and consideration for God, others and our pupose for which He has called us.
2. Petrification God forbid that we become like petrified fossils in a museum. Nice displays but cold, hard and lifeless. Stagnant and stagnate - lacking interaction and working with each other and acquaintances on the Soul Level.
3. Pessimism Never must we be pessimistic or critical and negative about our leaders, each other or the ideas and plans we have for our Family and its Mission.
WE MUST CHANGE
Verses 22-23 We cannot continue as we are living. We must, "put of the former life style which is corrupt according to deceitful lusts."
The first thing to change is our minds. You (and I) can only do that if you, "be made new in the spirit of your mind;"
THE THREE "P's with CURE are obtained with a changed mind and are evident in
Prayer - Personal collective and public.
Purposeful - Purposeful Passion in response to His call.
Productivity - in our individual and corporate Church Family lives.
Verse 30 Pastor Paul offers more good advice. Keep the Holy Spirit happy. It is He who has sealed us for the final day of redemption." ( paraphrased).
"Verses 31-2 Our interpersonal relationships and our Christian fellowship must match our calling. Inside and outside the church and in the world we ought to exemplify kindness to each other, tenderheartedness, and forgiveness. All because this is what Christ has done for us. This is what out God is like. We must act like we are His kids, His family. That is His purpose for us His people, His Church family.
Ephesians 5:1-2 We are to imitate God our Father! Wow and He provides the means and the power. What a deal. What salvation. "Be ye followers (imitators greek) of God, as dear children; and walk in love, as Christ has also loved us ..."
As God through Christ and by His Spirit supports us, let us determine to support each other in the purposes for which we have been called.
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