Ikthus Villa Angela Sermon (March 2014)

FORGIVENESS AND THE CHURCH (Colossians 3:12-15)

INTRODUCTION:

Forgiveness is our theme this month. Today we touch on forgiveness and the church. You’ve probably heard of Tina Turner’s song, “What’s love got to do, got to do, with it?” In the same vein, someone might ask, “What’s the church got to do, got to do, with it?” I wouldn’t be surprised by such a question because we live in an individualistic age. Many people come to church with the mind-set of a moviegoer: we come to watch and then we go. We never really get involved. And if there’s a better movie somewhere, well, we can always go there next time around. But this “dating the church” mentality means you’ll never really understand and learn what forgiveness is all about because it is only by being deeply involved in the life of the church that one can truly understand and learn what forgiveness is all about. This is because the church is the one community above all others which has experienced the forgiveness of God and is therefore in a unique position to be the channel of God’s forgiveness to a world that desperately needs forgiveness, provided of course that the church lives up to its calling. Paul’s letter to the Ephesians is primarily about the church, and in chapter 1 verse 7 he points out that in Jesus Christ the beloved we (i.e. the church) have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace. Others, however, do not share in this blessedness. In chapter 2 of Ephesians Paul says that those who are not in Christ Jesus are dead in trespasses and sins, are sons of disobedience and are by nature children of wrath. Those however who are in Christ Jesus have been reconciled to God by the blood of Christ. And in chapter 4 verse 32 he draws out the implications of this truth: “Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” To repeat: it is in the church, i.e. among the forgiven people of God, the community which has received forgiveness and is therefore mandated to practice forgiveness, that we ought to seek a true understanding of forgiveness and it is in committed participation in the life of the church, especially the local church where God has called us to serve, where we can be trained to practice Christian forgiveness.

Continue reading “Ikthus Villa Angela Sermon (March 2014)”

The Model Church


TEXT: Acts 2:41-47

(Outline based largely on W. Barclay’s Commentary on Acts)

1. IT WAS A LEARNING CHURCH

A) This is the way to become noble Christians (Acts 17:11)
B) We were born again by God’s Word (James 1:18; 2 Tim. 3:15)
C) We grow by God’s Word (1 Pet. 2:2)
D) We are equipped for ministry by God’s Word (2 Tim. 3:16)

2. IT WAS A FELLOWSHIPPING CHURCH

A) Fellowship brings encouragement to Christians (Hebrews 10:24, 25). Could it be that we are declining spiritually because we neglect having fellowship with our fellow Christians?

3. IT WAS A PRAYING CHURCH

A) Christ is present in the church that prays (Matt. 18:20)
B) And when the church prays God answers (Matt. 18:19; James 4:2c) Continue reading “The Model Church”

How To Be A Thankful Church

“Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience,  bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.  And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.  And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful.  Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”

(Col. 3:12-17)

INTRODUCTION:

We are called to be a thankful church, but this doesn’t happen automatically. Certain things have first got to be true of us. Certain conditions must be met in order for gratitude to arise in our hearts. The Holy Spirit, through Paul, is teaching us in this passage that at least three areas of our corporate life as a church should be set right in order for sincere gratitude and true thankfulness to arise. These areas are: 1) our relationships, 2) our worship, and 3) our conduct. So, in order for gratitude to arise in our church –

1. THE LOVE OF CHRIST SHOULD CONTROL OUR RELATIONSHIPS

We are God’s children – God’s chosen, holy and beloved ones. We should reflect the loving character of our Father and love one another as befits members of one family. We should therefore put on compassion (mercy and pity towards those who are weak, are suffering, are miserable), kindness (readiness to do good even when it is undeserved), humility (thinking of others as better than ourselves and being willing and ready to serve them) meekness (gentleness; the willingness to suffer injury rather than inflict), and patience (longsuffering); bearing (enduring!) one another, forgiving one another (even as the Lord forgave us). These are all characteristics of our loving Lord in his relation to us. And all these are also aspects, manifestations or characteristics of love. “Love is patient and kind,” (see I Cor. 13:4ff.). They are also the fruit (not fruits) of the Holy Spirit, love being the first mentioned in that list, as if to say that the rest follow if there is love.

The greatest is love; therefore, above all, we must put on love. It is love that unites us and moves us towards spiritual maturity. The implication is where love is lacking the church cannot move on to perfection or maturity.

But if love is present it follows that peace must be too. The peace of Christ should serve as the standard by which we measure our actions, especially towards one another. In our dealings with our brethren we must ask ourselves, Is this in line with the peace of Christ which should prevail among us? The peace of Christ should rule (i.e., serve as an umpire) in our hearts. An umpire settles disputes. If a dispute, if disharmony, is about to break out in our midst, we must let the peace of Christ settle the matter. This is what is expected of us. This is what we are called to, for the fact is we are already one body in God’s mind and plan. Our relationships should therefore reflect and correspond to this spiritual reality.

And be thankful. For what? The answer, based on the context, is Be thankful that you are one body. So here then is the connection. Gratitude arises when the body is united as a result of the love of Christ controlling and constraining us.

(To be continued)

Cultivating a Culture of Missions in a Small Church

Cultivating a Culture of Missions in a Small Church – 9Marks.

Tom Ascol:

Pastor, have you ever thought to yourself, “My church is so small, we cannot do much for missions, especially overseas missions”?

If so, I have news for you. Small churches are not exempt from the work of missions, nor should they want to be.