Summary: Discover how Christ’s purpose for the church leads to building a healthy church
This morning, we celebrate God’s goodness and faithfulness to and through the Marin Community Christian Church for the last 22 years. Biblical Christianity recognizes that church is not a building or an organization. The church is made up of learners and followers of Jesus Christ.
So this morning, to the best of my ability, I’m going to tell you what Jesus said is important to His followers. Jesus summed up the first and second most important commandments for His followers in Matthew 22:36-40. And before Jesus ascended into Heaven, Jesus gave us His commission, and we find this in Matthew 28:18-20.
The purpose of the Christian Church remains unchanged for 2000 years. The purpose comes from Jesus’ first and second commandments and His commission. We can summarize all three in one sentence: To develop people who love God, love each other and love self, and to teach the world to do the same.
When we apply this purpose of the church to our specific community, we come up with our local church mission statement: "To bring English-speaking Asians in our community into a right and healthy relationship with God and with one another through Jesus Christ and to multiply our effort by supporting missionaries, church planters and church plants who minister beyond our focus and community."
Someone tells about a child who found his Father reading a magazine in the den. He asked his Dad to play with him. But the Father wanted to read quietly for another 30 minutes. So he found a page in his magazine with the map of the world. He cut the page into little pieces and gave the pieces to his son as a puzzle.
The Father said, "Son, here’s a roll of tape and some puzzle pieces. When you get done with this puzzle, I’ll play with you."
To the Father’s surprise, the son came back within five minutes with the puzzle of the world completed. The Father asked, "Son, how did you know which piece of the world went with which piece of the world?"
The son replied, "Dad, that was easy. On the back of the world picture was a picture of a man. I knew that if I got the man right, I would get the world right."
This morning, Jesus wants us to know: "If we get the Christian right, we will get the church right. And if we get the church right, we will get the world right."
So let’s begin with us who are here this morning. What kind of person does Jesus want us to become?
First, Jesus wants us to love God, totally. Matthew 22:37-38
From the book of Genesis to the book of Revelation, the supreme command is to love God. Find your satisfaction in God. Love God above all else. The person who loves God totally is the person who is living as God intended.
Yet, the Bible is clear that no one, besides Jesus, has lived as God intended. All have tried finding satisfaction in lesser things than God. Adam tried to find satisfaction from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. You and I try to find satisfaction in temporary pleasures, material possessions, popularity or prestige.
The television evangelists who were caught in adultery and embezzlement were not taking advantage of God’s goodness. They didn’t believe God was good enough to satisfy. Unfortunately, when they found that adultery and money didn’t satisfy, their lives were already ruined by adultery and embezzlement.
C.S. Lewis wrote, "If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world." Nothing in this world can satisfy us, because we are made for life and love with God.
Whenever we love something more than we love God, we are trying to find satisfaction in lesser things. We are easily satisfied with a pretty girl, a large screen TV, a yearly vacation or a new house. We are satisfied with things too small without seeking the greatest satisfaction found only in God.
But what if your early experience with the church taught you that God was like the security camera in a Seven-Eleven store, that He doesn’t care about you unless you do something wrong? Then He would punish you for your wrongdoing. Or maybe you grew up in an environment where you were taught there is no God, that God didn’t exist?
How then, can you love God? The answer is: Let God love you first. 1 John 4:19 tells us, "We love because [God] first loved us."
We can only love if we have been loved, and we can only love to the degree we have been loved. When I fell in love with my wife, Susan, I felt good around her. I felt loved by her, and I felt loved by God. Therefore, I had enough love to give to Susan.