For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you. We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives… Colossians 1:9
Proverbs 3:5; Matthew 28:16-20; John 20:19-31; Acts 28:17-31; Colossians 1
What will you do with this incredible opportunity of expanding the Gospel so others can know and grow in Christ?
Key point: Many church leaders tend to ask the wrong questions, seeking the latest trends and pleasing inspiring personalities and missing what a church is for. It is all about worshiping Christ the Lord and then the spiritual formation of the leaders, pastors, then the training and discipleship of the congregation, over any management model or church growth idea. To lead a church is to point to Christ and trust and obey His precepts and teach them, model them with the power of the Holy Spirit, the conviction of the Truth, the clarity of the Bible and it is about, being poured out in Christ as LORD. We can move the Church on, by others seeing Him at work, seeking how much prayer, how are the leaders' devotions, what are the small groups teaching, where is the Bible, how is the pulpit teaching. The organization becomes organic and more effective for Christ's glory.
To see how God can use a church, look to Acts. Acts is about God using His people for the spread of the Kingdom of God on earth. Furthermore, Acts is about the challenges, threats, opportunities, and wonders of being a child of God on His mission as well as a template for what we may face and can do. God is still at work in the Church that is happening now--the Church at work today with our collective call and empowerment to expand His people, in and through us.
We are placed into the continuing the work of expanding and doing Church.
We are the next chapter of the story that is still being told, and we Christians are the continuation of the drama of Christ's redemption.
John 14 starts what is called Jesus' "Farewell Discourse" where He gives His most passionate and important instructions to His Disciples and us. Here, Jesus is not consumed with His own coming agony, but rather turns His attention to His Disciples and their needs. He not only reveals to us the Father; He takes us to the Father. In this way, Jesus comforts, encourages, admonishes, and coaches while He gives testimony to His role and the events of His upcoming Passion and their mission in building the Kingdom. He is the way, the role of the Holy Spirit, the importance of our connectivity to Him to produce faith and fruit, and that even in persecution, we will always be comforted as we remain in Him (John 14:1-16:33).
John 20:19-31, Jesus sends us! Jesus is referring to all of His Disciples and followers, then and now, to not be afraid. "Do not fear," do not fret, but have a transcending peace and contentment, even when the situation does not offer or give it. This is a depiction of the supreme comfort that we get from our Lord in a world filled with sin--bad choices surrounded by treachery, deceit, failures, and sacrifice.
This the "Great Commission," the marching orders for our faith and practice! Jesus gives the Holy Spirit to be His successor in the presence, power, inspiration, and empowerment to His ambassadors and representatives here on earth. Even in Christ' presence, we are powerless until the Spirit came (Daniel 7:13-14; Matt. 4:17; 28:16-20; Luke 24:44-53; John 17:18; Eph. 1:3-14; 2:8-9; 1 Cor. 1:18-2:16; 15:1-8)!
Christianity is not just about the mechanics of our spiritual formation, rather it is a journey of our faith development and deployment as we encounter more of Christ through our learning and discoveries from His Word. We learn from our discipleship in Him and from other encounters with our Lord. We grow in our knowledge and faith but we are not always ready for the deeper truths until we understand the basics and foundations. There are many truths and precepts in God's Word to be discovered and applied into our lives and churches.
To keep going, we are to keep our eyes centered upon the Lord, and please Him as our chief ambition in life, and not be distracted from His purpose (Gal. 5:1; Col. 3:1-4).
We are called to the pursuit of our personal and collective Christian life. When we are seeking Christ first and His work in us, then we are pursuing righteousness and all that is good as a way to glorify Christ as Lord. What we all need to be doing is applying His precepts into our lives and relationships and our mission for His glory. This is the real, authentic application of our faith development that is essential--not only in our personal Christian lives, but also in how we are to prepare ourselves to build relationships that build churches to model and make Him known.
Our Lord and Savior paid the ultimate price for our sins.
We should have been put in His place; yet, He took our place in life, in suffering, and then in death to give us new life. Do you realize the magnitude of what our Lord did for you? He, who was without sin, covered you with His righteousness. Consider the cost! How much is it worth to have a life freed from the punishment of sin and receive eternal salvation? Money? Power? Works? What would you pay? Consider it was a payment of life, like giving up a precious relative so you can have a new car, yet many fold more. With sin, all we will have is quarreling, jealousy, anger, selfishness, envy, pride, and such, as these so-called Jewish leaders modeled. The results of these will cause chaos and strife to any situation, and hinder God's work in us (Gen. 3:18; Isa. 50:6; 52:14-53-6; Matt.27; Mark 15)!
Bringing your church back to the path!
This means surrendered prayer, searching the Scriptures and be willing to repent, and that means a complete change of course from the wrong direction to His direction.
If you are lost? The great, principle comfort in our distress is that Jesus shows up; He is with us and for us because of His love. The principle of love, which is the essence of the Gospel, must be our mark so it is our impact. Because we are influenced by His love, we will contemplate (think deeply) upon it and become empowered and stimulated by it. Only then will our faith stand, even when we are not thinking about it or when we are as Peter was when the rooster crowed--stressed, hurt, or confused.
We have to ask the questions, and we must present a real, genuine answer to our Lord and to others around us. As leaders, is our faith in Christ authentic; is it making a difference? Or, are we the fakers, the pretenders, the people who cause strife and dysfunction in His Church instead of glorifying Him?
It is all about the Blood of Christ!
Keep your eyes on the path and that means looking to Christ as Lord! Not focusing on the Cross will cause us to focus on pride. Thus, division will be wedged into any church or relationship focusing our will and desires over His, preventing our receiving of any good or pleasing work, as well as any blessings. It will prevent God from using us to the fullest extent possible, especially in helping others. We will not be real, functioning Christians when we have pride or focus on pleasing others and not pleasing Christ. We have to be willing to counteract these rotten works by committing to the good fruit, keeping our goals, and focusing upon Christ and His Word, so we can develop them (Prov. 6:32-35; Rom. 8:29).
To lead and manage Christ's Church correctly, must get "Truth" and the reality and relevance of God for us now. Christ came to fulfill the Law and bring us God's grace. This is a key principle of our Christian faith and purpose of a church, that means we are holy in Christ; He sets us apart for a reason and a purpose. Our lives have meaning and value; therefore, Jesus wants that meaning for our lives to be infused by Him so that the purpose becomes to glorify Him, enjoy grace and fellowship in Him, and share it with others. This is also what the Westminster Catechism states, "What is the chief purpose of man? Man's (all of humanity who proclaims Christ as Lord) chief end (objective) is to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever" (Gen. 24:27; Ex. 34:6; Psalm 25:10; 26:3; 73:24-28; Prov. 16:6; John 17:21-23; Rom. 1:6-7; 11:36; 1 Cor. 10:11; Eph. 1:5-8; 2:7; 1 Thess. 3:11).
So, let's be better at being His Church!
© 2016 R.J. Krejcir, Ph.D., Francis A. Schaeffer Institute of Church Leadership Development www.churchleadership.org/