Sermons

Summary: We are called to more than just being ’the holy catholic church’- we are aclled to communion with one another. But we are also part of the great commuion of saints with those who have gone before us. They are watching and willing us on.

I believe in… the communion of saints WBC 25/11/01am

Jn 15:9-17, Heb 11:32-12:3, 12:18-24

INTRO

= a progression from “the Holy Catholic Church”

- cf last Sun pm

- God only sees one church. Has one church

- = holy. Set apart. Called out to be sent back in

- = catholic: diverse, broad, varied

- acknowledged that those who love Jesus are

- our brothers and sisters

- fellow workers for the KOG

- doing it in different ways

so- why is it necessary for the creed to repeat this by saying “the communion of saints?”

Well- an acknowledgement of the Holy C Ch IS important

- but can be an acknowledgement with reservations, limitations… incomplete picture or commitment

- eg “I acknowledge they are… we are Christians…and we worship together-….. but that’s as far as it goes!”

in this statement of belief there is no escaping that being a Christian goes much further…

- demands more of us wrt relationships with one another

- it necessitates COMMUNION

COMMUNION WITH ONE ANOTHER

This word is in the Bible. It’s koinonia, and it means ‘fellowship’

- lives in intimate overlap (rather than minimal involvement)

- it’s the kind of thing you see in Acts 2:42, where the believers dedicated themselves to

- each other

- fellowship

- THE fellowship.

- It’s the kind of love and commitment that is encouraged (commanded?) in Jn 15

- It’s the kind of word that is used of fellowship in marriage and partnerships in business, education, society

It’s the kind of relationship we are called to with each other

- the fellowship of the saints. Fellowship with people made HOLY by God

- not made PERFECT! You’ll have plenty of opportunities to

- learn that… forgive that!

But it is the kind of relationship we are called to…crying out for

- and maybe too busy, unaware or distracted to know it!

Folks can easily be

- isolated and crying out for it OR

- so overwhelmed with superficial diary driven events, responsibilities and meetings where we don’t really ‘meet’

Need to realise that it is a strategy of Satan to keep you from real, refreshing relationships… friendship… koinonia

What can I say? Is asked the Lord about this- “What can I say, Lord, to a busy and diverse people?”

“Invest in relationships. Make room for meetings where you can MEET. In your hearts/spirits. Be more relational (rather than organisational). Be more fluid… fun… fellowshippy…

… and make room to meet in your hearts with people

- love one another deeply from the heart (1 Pet 1:22

- practice hospitality. Hang out with one another”

Others will see this and want to join you

Today: take one step forwards towards the “communion of saints”

- let’s build a community

- come into this community! You will be v welcome, here

- a community, here… united by Jesus

But there’s another aspect to this “communion of saints” in the creed. A v important aspect. An oft neglected aspect- but a v clear Biblical aspect.

- we are united with one another because of Jesus… and that communion is not severed by death

COMMUNION WITH THOSE WHO HAVE GONE BEFORE

Hence the Heb 11 reading

- the ‘Holy Catholic Church’ refers to the church MILITANT, here

- but the comm. Of saints also refers to the church TRIUMPAHNT… in glory…. That we are still united with

Folks shy away from this for fear of

- going beyond scripture

- into: necromancy, contacting the dead… even thinking about those dead

but the bible makes it clear to me that death is only a thin veil between us and the saints who have gone before

Angels and archangels - look on & minister to the saints (us!)

- throw a party when one follows Jesus

But the saints of old look on, too. And cheer us on in the race of faith, life

“Therefore with Angels and archangels and with all the company of heaven we laud and magnify thy holy name”

- Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Peter, my gran and granddad. My Dad. All those in the hall of faith of Heb 11… a great cloud of witnesses

- “come on! We did it! You can do it, too! Keep the faith! Fight the fight! Run the race! Go for it. Oh, help them , Jesus”

- “hang on, that’s going to far”

- Rev 6:9 you see the saints active, observant, conscious, asking Q’s, receiving answers… maybe even praying(?)

REV 6:9 When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God and the testimony they had maintained. 10 They called out in a loud voice, "How long, Sovereign Lord, holy and true, until you judge the inhabitants of the earth and avenge our blood?" 11 Then each of them was given a white robe, and they were told to wait a little longer, until the number of their fellow servants and brothers who were to be killed as they had been was completed.

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