Summary: We can find some common purposes that the church as a whole was to seek to carry out. I want to highlight these today so that we will be sure and remember what we’re to be about! These things are the business of our Father in heaven!
About Our Father’s Business…
NKJ Luke 2:49 And He said to them, "Why did you seek Me? Did you not know that I must be about My Father's business?"
NKJ John 9:4 "I must work the works of Him who sent Me while it is day; the night is coming when no one can work.
18 The Spirit of the Lord the Eternal One is on Me. Why? Because the Eternal designated Me to be His representative to the poor, to preach good news to them.
He sent Me to tell those who are held captive that they can now be set free, and to tell the blind that they can now see. He sent Me to liberate those held down by oppression.
19 In short, the Spirit is upon Me to proclaim that now is the time; this is the jubilee season of the Eternal One’s grace. (Luke 4:18-19 The Voice)
Intro: Jesus clearly had a mission from God. There were purposes the Father wanted Him to accomplish while here on this earth. Yes, Jesus came to save the world from sin and provide a way for us to get to God. But the most fundamental purpose Jesus had was to do what His Father wanted, to be surrendered to His will.
-And that is our starting point as well – surrendering to Him. God has called us to do nothing more and nothing less than His will. And He has revealed what His will is in the Bible. But His will isn’t something we just decide we’re doing to do one day. His will eludes us! We are not capable of doing His will without His help! So how do we get His help? Ask for it! Call on the Lord and He will answer. That involves trusting Him enough to give up our own way in order to receive Him as the rightful leader and Savior of our lives.
-So, this whole faith thing, this whole Christian thing begins and ends with trust and surrender. All that’s left in between is a relatively short span of time, during which we get to know Him, and learn to obey what He asks of us.
-Now, we believe that God calls different people to do different specific tasks for Him. And with all the different churches and ministries there are, God gives each one a unique job to do for Him. Yet, we can still find some common purposes that the church as a whole was to seek to carry out. I want to highlight these today so that we will be sure and remember what we’re to be about! These things are the business of our Father in heaven! And with His help, we at CLC will seek the fulfillment of each on an ongoing basis.
God’s Purposes for CLC
Connecting with one another in friendship (Fellowship)
Interacting with God through prayer & praise (Worship)
Growing in Biblical knowledge and practice (Discipleship)
Helping others by using our God-given gifts (Ministry)
Sharing God’s life through words & actions (Evangelism)
-What are the basic components of friendship?
(Love, care, trust / Mutual understanding / Initiative / friends enjoy one another's' company, help one another, and possess a common commitment to the good / Commitment, Encouragement, Appreciation / mutual caring (or love), intimacy, and shared activity (the intimacy of friendship in terms of mutual self-disclosure, creates bond of trust); (shared interests, the sharing of values and a sense of what's important)
A friend is thought to be one who (1) wishes and does good things for the friend's sake, (2) wishes the friend to exist and live, for his own sake, (3) spends time with his friend, (4) makes the same choices as his friend and (5) finds the same things pleasant and painful as his friend. (These last 2 are certainly debatable, but at the very least there must be some sense of congruence.)
-There is something that relational experts call mirroring that takes place in friendships. The Bible calls this iron sharpening iron. It seems to involve the alignment of values and choices. In other words, when 2 people become friends, they both begin to change, becoming more like the other person. This is both dangerous and helpful, depending on the character of each friend. Mirroring also happens in our relationship with God, but it is one-sided, because God does not change. He has no room for improvement since He is already complete, perfect, whole. The more we exercise goodwill toward him and spend time with Him (which we might call worship), the more we will become like Him! But, I’m getting ahead of myself.
-So, if 1 of our primary purposes at CLC is to enter into and promote genuine friendships with one another, what does that look like? Well, first of all, one size doesn’t fit all, but what does Christian fellowship / friendship look like? The biblical word fellowship carries the idea of being partners or sharers with someone. So, let’s get real. Is there another believer who you share your life with? Yes, your spouse counts, but guys, do you have other Christian guys you rub shoulders with? Is there a high level of trust in your friendship that would allow mutual self-disclosure? You wouldn’t admit it, but I’m probably scaring some of you right now. We men aren’t too sure of this sharing thing. Sounds awful pink to me! Oh well.