Monday, April 4, 2011

The Kind of Believer we want to produce IV.

This weekend, Alan asked me to continue the "Love Re-imagined" study through the book of 1 Corinthians. With specific emphasis on 1 Corinthians 12, I chose the title of "The Anatomy of Love" as the text is all about the 'body'. However I wanted to come in from a fresh angle. This chapter has 31 verses of which only 5 deal with the gifts. The other 26 deal with the more than the 'charismata'.

Here is a portion of my notes from Sunday. It fits into the "Kind of believer..." series as every Jesus follower does need to be part of a 'local body',

  • Where they are part of this 'local church' unit,
  • Where they belong,
  • Where they are needed,
  • Where the weak are vital,
  • The least honorable are pivotal,
  • The most unpresentable are essential,
  • Where division is prevented with all passion.

Also, Paul is so intentional in his use of metaphors, as he wants the Corinthian church to rediscover Christ's origin design of "true Church" and not grow comfortable with anything less than this picture.... here are my notes:

Neil Cole: “church 3.0” writes: Chapter 1 – ‘what about the world we live in – from the village church to a global village’[1]

“My mentor Thom Wolf often points that the 21st Century is quickly becoming the sister century to the first century:

  • A single and dominant superpower,
  • A single, global trade language,
  • Technological advances create a global community,
  • Relativistic philosophy,
  • Pagan and occult activity,
  • Sexual promiscuity, perversion and chemical addictions,

But was not the church born for such a time as this? Aslan is on the move!

There are many key texts that shape this moment in church history… but I want to take us to 2:

“ I will build my church and the gates of Hades will not overcome it” Matt 16:18.

  • I - Jesus is the centerpiece of this whole conversation. From the fall and the garden, the whole earth has been groaning in anticipation of his redemptive arrival
  • Will build – he is the architect and builder of this building – like the flood – to face the force of the tsunami when the wells from beneath and the heavens from above collide… the new ark,
  • My – He is both savior and Lord, redeemer and king, apostle and prophet.
  • Church – It is imperative that we know what he had in mind! There has been so much confusion as to who, what and why the church exists:
    • The Websters Dictionary reflects the modern mind when it translates the word ‘church’: 1: a building; esp for Christian public worship; 2. The whole body of Christians; 3. DENOMINATION; 4. CONGREGATION; 5: public divine worship.
    • Megachurch- ‘Large gathering of folks’ - church is seen as the largeness of gatherings, the number of programs;
    • Emergent church – ‘Loose gathering of folks’ – any and every gathering of 2 or more believers is a church but is it biblically?
    • Traditional church – ‘Long established gathering of folks’
    • NT – Greek – ekklesia – ‘calling out; assembly or gathering’;
    • English word church comes from the Gk word kyriakon – ‘the Lord’s’.

The second text that plays a pivotal role to our conversation is:

“I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these because I am going to the Father… I will ask the Father and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever – the Spirit of Truth… the Holy Spirit whom the Father will send in my name” John 14:9 – 27.

How did Jesus do these ‘things’? From Luke’s gospel:

· The Holy Spirit descended on him, 3:22

· Jesus full of the Holy Spirit, 4:1

· Led by the Holy Spirit into the desert… where he was tempted, 4:1

· Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, 4:14

But what did he do? He began his work of redemption…

  • Teaching,
  • Preaching,
  • Healing, [that is why these three are under such attack!]
  • Delivering the oppressed,
  • Liberating the women,
  • Discipling the followers,
  • Loving, Caring, Feeding, Correcting,
  • Empowering through a big redemptive story,
  • Resisting religion… until they killed him for itpenal substitutionary atonement!
    • Incarnational – living Christianity at “street light level” [S. Timmis]
    • Missional – Missionaries on mission,
    • Atonement – Redemption agents,
    • Community – Never alone, always together,
    • Resurrection – Spirit empowered lives

So, what did his early church look like?

  • A Jesus centered, gospel preaching gathering,
  • A regenerated community with deep affection for God, each other and a dying world,
  • They gathered together around mission [Jerusalem to the uttermost],
  • Led by biblically qualified leaders,
  • Sat together consistently around the teaching of the scriptures / sacred texts,
  • Participated in the spiritual disciplines [prayer, worship, fasting, meditation.]
  • Engaged in the sacraments [ baptism, communion]
  • Reflected Holiness [personal and togetherness / set apart, distinct and God like purity]
  • Dwell in a culture of Generosity [toward themselves as well as the outside world]
  • An activated priesthood [not a class of believer but where everyone is vital, essential and active]
  • A supernatural collaboration with the Holy Spirit- where God encounters are the norm.

Every Jesus follower should have the opportunity to be involved in a community like this.

[1] Neil Cole; church 3.0; pg 16 – 22.

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