Summary: Living in the 21st Century requires relationship building if the church is to advance forward.
The church of the 21st Century has a mandate to nurture relationships with one another. With all the discouragement in the world, there is a growing need for affirmation in our lives. How many of you have had someone to believe in your dreams, to believe in your hopes and aspirations? Growing are the numbers of people who have achieved success in an area of their life, yet lack anyone to point out their potential.
I find it amazing how easy it is for us to see potential in other people and find it hard to compliment them on their abilities. We also seem to have the ability to see other peoples potential, yet have difficulty unlocking the hidden potential within ourselves.
We need to invest time in nurturing to stimulate the potential we possess for without nurturing, our inner strengths may remain dormant. We need to become a church that is filled with great affirmation to each other, investing our lives in the lives of others, affirming their personhood.
One thing that I have noticed is that just about everyone will invest in a success, but church, aren’t we glad when someone supports us when we are somewhat of a risk? God has made that kind of investment in our lives, and He is continually working to nurture us to the potential that He has entrusted in us. That is the refining process we go through in this life.
God refines us, bringing out our potential through fire. Fire will not destroy gold, but it does purify it. You are God’s gold in this generation, and when God gets ready to polish His gold, He uses fiery trials for nothing will bring luster to your character and commitment to your heart than opposition. The finished product is a result of the fiery process. When we see someone shining with the kind of brilliance that enables God to look and see His image in that person, rest assured, you are looking at someone who has been through the furnace of affliction.
God places His prized possession in the fire, and the vessels that He draws the most brilliant glory from often are exposed to the melting pot of distress. I have a good news bad news thing for you. Let me give you the bad news first. Even those who live godly lives will suffer persecution. Now for the good news. You might be in the fire but God controls the thermostat! He knows how hot it needs to be to accomplish His purpose in your life.
Every test we go through has degrees. There are people who have experienced similar distress, but they have done so with varying degrees. God knows the temperature that will burn away the impurities for His purpose.
Turn in your Bibles this morning to Matthew 3:11-12 (READ)
God’s hand fans the flames that are needed to teach patience, prayer and other valuable lessons. We need His correction even though we might not enjoy it. His Fatherly correction conforms us as legitimate sons and daughters. Hebrews 12:8 states, But if you are without discipline of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate children and not sons.
Church, God has made a major investment in our lives. First through the price of redemption paid for on the Cross at Calvary when Christ died for all of our sins.
Let’s consider this investment. Do you know anyone who makes an investment that does so without wanting to make a return for that investment? People who invest in stocks, bonds, businesses, marriage, family, all have an expectation of return on the investment of their time, talents, and finances. This being the case, what then would cause a perfect God to invest in an imperfect mankind?
The Apostle Paul wrote, "But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God and not of us." According to this Scripture, we all possess treasure, but its excellence is not of us, but it is of God, which implies the treasure originates from God. It is accumulated in us and we present it back to Him.
No farmer plants a field because he wants more ground. His expectation is in the seed that he plants. The ground is just the environment for the planted seed. The seed is the farmers investment, the harvest his return, or more accurately his inheritance as the outer encasement of the seed dies in the ground. You see, the harvest cost the seed its life.
In John 12:24, Jesus said, Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains by itself alone; but if it dies it bears much fruit.
Church, we are that fertile ground, broken by troubles, enriched by failure, watered by tears. We are a deposit valuable enough to be on satan’s hit list.