Over the years, as I read and studied the Bible certain verses of Scriptures have had a great impact on my life:
“Enoch walked with God.” (Genesis 5:24)
This verse put a great desire in my heart to want to please God in all my ways.
“Wealth and honor come from you; you are the ruler of all things, in your hands are strength and power to exalt and to give strength to all.” (1 Chronicles 29:12)
I need to rest in the greatness of my God and trust Him in and for everything in my life.
“For the eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to Him.” (2 Chronicles 16:9)
God wants to use me and He will give me His strength to face every challenge in life.
“No one from the east or the west or from the desert can exalt a man, but it is God who judges: He brings one down, he exalts another.” (Psalm 75:6-7)
All promotions come from God as we learn to depend upon Him.
“You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you.” (Isaiah 26:3)
Our mind can experience perfect peace because our thoughts are godly and based on His promises.
“… he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of His mercy.” (Titus 3:5)
We do not earn salvation. It is a gift by virtue of what Christ did on the cross.
“Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” (Ephesians 4:32)
Once a Christian, relationships are very important in the Body of Christ.
“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths…” (Ephesians 4:29)
I grew and worked with profane worldly people. But this helped me keep my mouth clean at all times for God sake.
“Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you… you are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20)
This taught me to take care of my body in every way!
To rest it.
Stay away from impurities and immorality.
Matthew 18:15 teaches how to fix relationships within the Church.
“If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over.” (Matthew 18:15)
Malachi 3:10 says something about my money:
“Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house.” (Malachi 3:10)
We ought to bring 1/10th of all our earnings to God’s work in the local church.
But, I thought my money was mine!
But then I learned that if I honour God with my first 10th of my income God will bless and honor me.
“Test me in this, says the Lord Almighty, and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it.”
Ephesians 5:25 changes my attitude toward my wife, as I grew up in a male dominated society.
“Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the Church and gave himself up for her to make her holy.” (Ephesians 5:25)
Ephesians 5:21 taught me that there are no dominant personalities in the body of Christ.
“Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.” (Ephesians 5:21)
1 Corinthians 10:13 changed my outlook to temptation.
“No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.” (1 Corinthians 10:13)
We have the power to overcome it. We can escape it if we want to. This verse takes all our excuses away.
And I could go on with this list of Scriptures that challenged and changed my life and my attitudes and my values and my outlook to life itself and to things pertaining to the Kingdom of God.
But there are two Scriptures about the Church that have been challenging and energizing me for the last 25 years of my life.
These verses have put such a strong conviction, dream, vision within my life, that has been driving me passionately.
“… and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.” (Matthew 16:18)
“42 They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. 43 Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. 44 All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45 They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. 46 Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, 47 praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.” (Acts 2:42-47)
This is the life of the first church.
But this is the kind of church that Jesus is expecting in every generation and even today.
What is Jesus’ number ONE priority between the time He ascended into Heaven and when He will return?
Building communities with a Biblical World view: HIS MIGHTY CHURCH!
A true church is a community of passionate followers of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Our mission statement at New Life could go something like this:
“To be a community of passionate believers whose desire is to impact and change our generation with the reality of Jesus Christ through relationships, example and declaration.”
At New Life Christian Church we desire to be passionate, enthusiastic believers!
What is a community?
- A unified body of individuals.
- People with common interests.
- People with common characteristics.
Jesus today is in the business of giving birth to communities of people completely submitted to Him and impeccably loving toward each other.
These are communities that are supernatural, where lives will be changed, hearts will melt, love will reign supreme, and all kinds of needs will be met. The rejected and lonely will be welcomed and find friendship.
This is an amazing dream!
The Church is a Biblically functioning community:
- Where teaching and preaching will be transformational.
- Fellowship will be deep and not superficial.
- People will be authentic and wear no masks.
We will have no fear of opening up and become vulnerable and share from the heart:
- This is what’s going on in my life.
- Here is what I am scared about.
- Here is what God is asking me to do, and I don’t have the guts to do it.
- This is the image I am projecting, but in reality I am struggling with this or that!
- Here is where I am failing.
In a Biblically-functioning Community fellowship will be vulnerable and real, it will be heart and soul to soul, deep, searching, loving, grace giving and life giving with each other.
In a Biblically functioning community the Lord’s ordinances will be spiritually building activities.
In a Biblically functioning community the rich will take care of the poor.
In a Biblically functioning community there is enormous unity.
In a Biblically functioning community you will become a player and not a spectator. (From the least, minimal job , to the Senior Pastor position we are all equally important and needed)
In a Biblically functioning community there are large gathering, but there is a migration toward little gatherings, home fellowship.
In a Biblically functioning community there is a maximum integrity with the community.
There is balance of lifestyle.
Are we at New Life Christian Church committed to fulfill the mandate given us by the Lord Jesus Christ?
What is the mandate?
To create a Biblically functioning community?
When you look at the big structures and organizations in our society:
- Education system
Not a single one of these has the power to change the human heart, or to change the human destiny.
But when you establish and develop and participate in and grow a Biblically functioning community – this is the God ordained organism in society that can and does transform human hearts and redirect human hearts and secure their eternities.
To which dream would you rather give your life?
Building Universities, Education system, Government or building with Christ His mighty Church?
Are we being a Biblically functioning community?
Are we increasing our prayer life?
Do we feel bad when we miss Holy Supper?
Are we being generous with our finances?
Are we loving and caring for one another?
“When consumers in a church are becoming contributors that is a very healthy sign.”
When people get out of the spectator stands and come on the playing field, is a good sign.
The text we read in Acts 2:42-47 is such a powerful statement in the Bible.
Let us not miss the challenge to build with Jesus Christ a Biblically functioning community.
It is God’s high priority to establish and develop and build Biblically functioning community all over the world.
“I’m basically going to do one thing between my ascension and my return and that is – “I’m going to build my church and the gates of hell will not prevail against it.”
Jesus’ last words:
‘You will receive power when the Holy Spirit will come upon you and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and to the end of the earth.’
Why do I need the power of the Holy Spirit?
In order to build with Christ BIBLICAL FUNCTIONING COMMUNITIES!
The Bible says:
‘And the disciples went everywhere and preached, and the Lord worked through them, confirming what they said by many miraculous signs.’ (Mark 16:20)
God is working through us at New Life!
God is confirming His word at New Life, with many miraculous signs!
Now, if Biblically functioning communities are truly the hope of the world because government, and education, and business can’t change hearts, neither for now or eternities, then I want to ask you this question:
“Are you actively involved in the building and the support of a Biblically functioning community?
In other words, what is your stand with New Life?
I believe after all I said this morning it is fair to say that in the eyes of God and in the scheme of eternity it is a far more and worthy investment to give my life primarily to the establishment and development of Biblically functioning community, than to give my life solely for earthily purposes.
We all have an occupation, to earn money in order to live.
But we all have a vocation: and that is to order our life around a Biblically functioning community.
Are you giving your life to a lesser dream than that of establishing a Biblically functioning community?
I would like to encourage you to see what God sees!
Re-order the affection of your heart around that which:
- Matters most to God.
- Will outlast the grave.
- Has the potential of changing the world.
- Is truly a worthy investment.
- Fulfills you to the core of your being.
There is no greater DREAM worthy of your time, money, resources than that of building with CHRIST BIBLICAL FUNCTIONING COMMUNITIES – THE CHURCH OF THE LORD JESUS CHRIST!
Remember: make Jesus Christ your number one priority today!