Thursday, 23 September 2010

Our Church And Our Hope

The Church has been around for a while. It is unique in that while any organisation shares similarities with other organisations, only the Church has the distinction of being an 'organism' as well as an organisation.It is not merely a collection of people - it is the Body of Christ on earth! It doesn't just meet, it assembles. When it kneels it arises! Its core activity is not merely social or educational, it is spiritual. Its leader is not merely a man, its the Man - God in the flesh! Its mission is not just a noble cause, it is an eternal imperative!
To be a Christian is to be a part of the church, and more particularly, a part of a church. The word "Church" means called out ones. We are called out of the world. In Romans 12, it instructs the believer not to be conformed to this world. It goes on to instruct that rather, we should be transformed in our thinking. Thus, the world wants us to think in a certain way, but God calls us out of this worldly thinking and to have minds renewed by His Word. In Ephesians 4:18 Paul describes the way the world thinks and links it to the way the world behaves in verse 19-
Eph. 4:18 They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart.
Eph. 4:19 They have become callous and have given themselves up to sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity.
Being honoured after 15 years of
Pastoring at Legana
Paul then declares how the believer has been transformed by God and placed into a community of called out ones: the church.
Eph. 4:20 But that is not the way you learned Christ!—
Eph. 4:21 assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus,
Eph. 4:22 to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires,
Eph. 4:23 and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, Eph. 4:24 and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.
At the top of this chapter in Ephesians (which is all about the Church) he reminds his readers that being a part of the Church is a matter of being called-
Eph. 4:4 There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call—
Believers are called out of the world and called to Christ and therefore His Body, and this is our - "one hope". The local church is a place of hope. We have been given "hope" - not in the sense of wishful thinking, but in the Biblical sense of "a sure guarantee" (Hebrews 6:19).
So passionately affectionate is Christ toward the Church that when He confronts Saul of Tarsus on the Road to Damascus (who has been persecuting the "church") Christ asks him- "Saul, Saul, why have you been persecuting Me?" (Acts 9:4) Do you see that? Christ considers His Body (the Church) as a part of Him! Shortly after this encounter Saul becomesPaul - a vigourous lover of the Church, one of the greatest Church-Planters of all time, and the greatest theological exponent of the doctrine of the Church. Paul discovered that Christ is on a mission to establish His Church throughout the earth throughout all ages. Jesus not only wants people saved, He wants them planted (or "baptised") into His Church-
First Cor. 12:13 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 us, as a local church, it is my hope that we can win and train many more people to Christ and into His Church. In the next few years I hope we can develop our facilities with a 400 seat auditorium, a recording studio for multi-media production of Gospel resources, a premier children’s facility, a wedding chapel, a care-taker’s cottage, landscaped gardens, and a sealed car-park. It is my desire that we grow a generation of God-loving, Biblically-literate, Christ-exalting, Church-committed, God-fearing, holy, spiritually courageous, Holy Spirit filled, prayerful, servant-hearted, grace soaked, evangelizing, gifted, believers who can be a part of the congregation, leadership team and support base of Legana Christian Church who will reproduce themselves in the generation to come. I long to see our church become a church of hundreds worshiping together. This is one of the reasons why our ministry to children through our Kids Church and our Kids Club is so important.
We are committed to being a Spirit-filled, Sovereign Graced, Reforming, passionately worship, enthusiastically evangelizing, loving and caring community of believers living as a church for all the family reaching our community and beyond.
Lord Jesus, we thank You for calling us out of the world to a living hope and placing each of us into a community of hope. Help us now to reach out to those around us who do not have the hope we have. Give us an increased love for Christ and a grander vision of Him and His magnificence. Enable us to each live more fully for Him and to live the kind of lives which minimise any reproach for Him and His glory. May we be strengthened as we sow our strength into Christ and His Church. Keep our hearts sweet and free from anger and bitterness. When another brother or sister within our church causes us pain or offense give us the maturity to forgive and forebear. Lord, help us to glorify you increasingly through the hope you have given the world through Christ.
Eph. 3:21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.

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