Summary: In ordaining two elders, we are making a powerful statement about the organized Christian church.
The Church Moves Forward
November 30, 2002
Today, we’re making a powerful statement about the church, and a very positive statement, at that, in performing these ordinations.Jesus founded the church. The church came from the heart of God, through Jesus, and the activity of the Holy Spirit.
Matt. 16. 18- the church is a Christ thing. The church is something of God that we’re involved in. When you look over the entire history of humanity, the only organization founded by Jesus Christ is the church- organized Christianity!
The great apostle, Paul, instructed in some of this organization of Christianity and the church:
Tit. 1.5- it’s organizing the Christians in an area or a body when you instruct about establishing leaders, who are to bring a positive benefit to the church.
There is no question that the church has had a mottled history. We know this, and most of us can outline examples of this. Yet, even as the church was beginning, do you know that this was understood?
1 Pet. 5.1-3- Peter’s words had, inherent in them, the understanding of what CAN happen. It’s not what was wanted, but wherever you have people involved, things can go wrong.
Acts 20. 28-38- this happened, and it continues to today.
Yet, Jesus chose such a body to carry His Word, the gospel, and it has gone forward despite all that has been mottled over the years.
If you’re visiting us from another church, I can tell you that your church is not perfect and has had mistakes in its past. I can tell you that this church, right here, has hurts in the past that have been created by leaders and other people. I know this church is imperfect right now, because I’m here, and that’s enough imperfection and mottling.
How is it possible, though, for the church to go forward? How is it possible for us to express our confidence in what God will do, going forward, today? It’s possible because of one incredible reality.
Col. 1. 15-22, esp. v. 20- all is reconciled to God through Jesus. ALL is redeemed through the sacrifice of Jesus, our Saviour. The power of Jesus’ sacrifice is so very great and, as Christians, we have faith in the greatness of that sacrifice. That sacrifice allows us to go forward in hope and confidence for the future, and to know that the past won’t shackle us. We don’t have to be held back by the past.
There’s a lot to be redeemed and reconciled to God. When I was in Brandon in August, and visiting there with my Dad and sister, en route to a doctor’s appointment in Winnipeg, we got talking about our school trips to Brandon, which included visiting the Indian Residential School. We treated those children like they were museum pieces or in a zoo, and both my sister and I expressed our mutual embarrassment in being involved in that. Well, we’ve apologized to God. All that went on there and then has to be redeemed through Jesus, and will be. What about the treatment of the various indigenous peoples in many nations of the world, when they were conquered by various exploring people? That will be redeemed in Jesus- it will be made right and correct. That’s what ‘redeem’ means- to buy back and to make as good as new. What about the stories of priest and boys, or priest/ministers and girls? All that might be sordid will be redeemed in Jesus. You name it; it gets redeemed by the sacrifice of the King- Jesus.