Archives For Church

ephesians-identity

As we delve back into the Ephesians series, I want to remind each of us that in order for us to follow Jesus as a true disciple, we must be able to see Him for who He really is. Once we have a clear picture of Jesus, then we can truly understand who we are.

One of the truths that Tony Merida has already brought out in this study of Ephesians is that Jesus died in order to reconcile us to God. But Tony also points out, that another facet of Jesus’ death was to reconcile us to others.

Tony says,

As important as it is for us to live at peace with God (our vertical relationship), it’s vital for us to live at peace with others (our horizontal relationships). If that challenges you already, then good!


New Life In Community

When I think of rivalries, I begin to think sports. Yankees vs. Redsox. Auburn vs. Alabama. North Carolina Tarheels vs. the Duke Blue Devils. Rivalries! These are groups of people who don’t like each other. I’ll just say it out loud – they sometimes HATE each other.

When I think of rivalries, I don’t think of the church, but as some of you can attest, rivalries do happen inside the church and this weakens the church to do its purpose.

Anytime you bring people together there will be conflict, even in the church. Paul was explaining this to the church at Ephesus because there was conflict between two groups: The Jews & the Gentiles. (Gentiles are non-Jews).

Yet, because of what Christ did for them, these two groups of people had become friends. We see this in Ephesians 2:13-14:

But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility…

What we have to understand is that it is the gospel that brings different groups of people together. Especially inside the church!

Tony points out that if we are in Christ, we not only have a new identity but we also have a new community – made up of new brothers and sisters in Christ. And we all make up the household of God.

That reminds me of the song by Bill Gather entitled “The Family Of God”. The chorus says:

I’m so glad I’m a part of the family of God.

I’ve been washed in the fountain, cleansed by His blood!

Joint heirs with Jesus as we travel this sod,

For I’m part of the family, the family of God.

Because of what Jesus did for us on the cross of Calvary, we get to be part of God’s family!

Tony goes on to say:

Being reconciled with God doesn’t mean that working in unity with people is easy. But even though it’s not easy to live in unity with other believers, Jesus died to bring us together. So it must be important!

Jesus died for the church. That’s all of us – you, me, people who are different from us, and even people who are legitimately hard to get along with.

The church is made up of all different kinds of people with all different kinds of interest and will all different kinds of likes and dislikes. But it is the gospel that unites us and makes us One in Christ!

Galatians 3:28 says, “There is no Jew or Greek, slave or free, male or female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.

Colossians 3:11 states, “In Christ there is not Greek or Jew, circumcision and uncircumcision, barbarian, Scythian, slave and free; but Christ is all and in all.

Diversity in the church is a glorious demonstration of the work of Christ. it is to be celebrated as it pictures heaven. – Tony Merida

So we come to the application part. Is there a conflict in your life with another Christian? Here are some practical steps to take:

  1. Pray for that person
  2. Ask God to soften your heart toward them
  3. Call, write, email or text them
  4. Talk with them face-to-face

Remember that no matter the circumstance or how different they are from you – if both parties are Christians, it is the gospel that brings us all together. 

 

 

 

david-platt-banner

David Platt was elected International Missions Board president in August 2014. He previously served as pastor of The Church at Brook Hills in Birmingham, Alabama. David earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Georgia, followed by master’s degrees of divinity and theology and a doctorate of philosophy from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. He is the author of Radical, Radical Together, Follow Me, and Counter Culture. David also is the founder of Radical, a ministry devoted to disseminating disciple-making resources so the gospel can be made known to the ends of the earth. *

The following are some of my favorite quotes by David Platt:

“Radical obedience to Christ is not easy… It’s not comfort, not health, not wealth, and not prosperity in this world. Radical obedience to Christ risks losing all these things. But in the end, such risk finds its reward in Christ. And he is more than enough for us.”
Radical: Taking Back Your Faith from the American Dream

“Somewhere along the way we have subtly and tragically taken the costly command of Christ to go, baptize, and teach all nations and mutated it into a comfortable call for Christians to come, be baptized, and listen in one location.”

“A materialistic world will not be won to Christ by a materialistic church.”

“We are settling for a Christianity that revolves around catering to ourselves when the central message of Christianity is actually about abandoning ourselves.”                        ― Radical: Taking Back Your Faith from the American Dream

“Every saved person this side of heaven owes the gospel to every lost person this side of hell.”

“Instead of imagining all the things we can accomplish, we ask God to do what only he can accomplish. Yes, we work, we plan, we organize, and we create, but we do it all while we fast, while we pray, and while we constantly confess our need for the provision of God.”

“Ultimately, tragedy on earth can only be understood rightly from the perspective of heaven.”

“When we realize we have the responsibility to teach the word, it changes everything about how we hear the Word.”

“You and I can choose to continue with business as usual in the Christian life and in the church as a whole, enjoying success based on the standards defined by the culture around us. Or we can take an honest look at the Jesus of the Bible and dare to ask what the consequences might be if we really believed him and really obeyed him.”

“The question therefore is not, “Can we find God’s will?” the question is, “Will we obey God’s will?”

“The sovereignty of God is the only foundation for worship in the midst of tragedy.”


I would love to hear your favorite quote by David Platt, so just leave it in the comment section below!

 

* David Platt’s bio was taking from the IMB website

I came across this old hymn today by Samuel J. Stone entitled “The Church’s One Foundation”. Here are the words to the first verse:

The church’s one foundation is Jesus Christ Her Lord

She is His new creation by water and the Word.

From heaven He came & sought her to be His holy bride;

With His own blood He bought her and for her life He died.

Colossians 1:18 says, “And HE is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything He might have preeminent.”

The authors of the book “Christ-Centered Exposition: 1 & 2 Timothy & Titus” make the following statement:

The church belongs to Jesus Christ. He founded it by His life, death, and resurrection, and since Pentecost He has continued to build it by His Spirit (Acts 2). Therefore, what matters most in the life of the church is not the church’s website or the latest statistics on what visitors are looking for in a worship experience. What matters most is what the Lord of the church has said.

Christ, and Christ alone, is our ONE FOUNDATION!

Points To Ponder

If someone were to pole 10 people on defining the term discipleship you will be hard-pressed to get the same definition. In fact, you might leave more confused. I have noticed, over the years, the same thing with the term faith. A word often spoken about in Christian circles everywhere. Faith, however, is a word that can be one of the most difficult to define for many Believers. Greg Gilbert affirms this when he says, “Faith is one of those words that’s been misused for so long that most people have no idea what it really means. Ask someone on the street to describe faith, and while you might get some respectful-sounding words, the heart of the matter will most likely be that faith is belief in the ridiculous against all evidence.” To be fair to those who are outside of the faith they shouldn’t have to provide an exact definition of faith (much less a Biblical one). We as Believers know far too well that our faith isn’t belief in the ridiculous, yet why do we struggle so much to define what is such a cornerstone to our faith?

So, for the record, “What is Faith?” And/or, “How would we/you define it?”

If you consider yourself a Bible-believing Christian, a follower of Jesus whose chief aim is to glorify God and enjoy him forever, there are important questions I hope you will consider before picking up your flag and cheering on the sexual revolution. These questions aren’t meant to be snarky or merely rhetorical. They are sincere, if pointed, questions that I hope will cause my brothers and sisters with the new rainbow themed avatars to slow down and think about the flag you’re flying.

Your church is broken because it’s made up of broken people, including yourself. Abandoning the local church is only acceptable under a few extreme circumstances. Other than in certain circumstances, the people of God have the responsibility to sacrificially love their local churches as Jesus has.

If anyone has the right to abandon the adulterous, idolatrous bride called “Church,” it’s God, and he hasn’t, so we need to be careful how quick we are to bail when the going gets tough.

Here are three bad reasons to leave the local church:

Writing to Timothy, his son in the ministry, Paul balanced warning and instruction. Paul reminded his protégé to continue engaging God’s Word like he had done since childhood. Paul emphasized that the Bible was inspired by God to equip Christ’s followers for their work.