I'm sure many of us made New Year's Resolutions this year? If so, how many have you broken since January? One of the best ways to keep a resolution is to set some low standards. Do you know that one of the most popular resolutions year after year is to lose weight (or gain weight just like me) and exercise?
I want to suggest this morning, that while it is important to be in our best physical shape, it’s even more crucial for our church to get involved in some "body building" exercises. We want to make sure that GBC is healthy and so we’re going to "work out" by studying some of the "one another" statements in the New Testament.
I believe that that the most important thing we can do, our most revered resolution, if you will, is to personally surrender our lives to God. Once we surrender to the Savior, we must then flesh out our faith in fellowship with others. The life of worship is a life lived in the context of relationships. God saves us individually through personal faith but He doesn’t leave us to live the Christian life alone. We see that in Romans 12:4-5: "Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others."
In Romans, 1 Corinthians, Ephesians, and Colossians, Paul makes over 30 references to the church by using the analogy of a human body. Just as our bodies need care and attention, so too, the church can only be healthy and experience growth when everything is brought into balance and properly exercised.
Vigorous church growth is always multi-dimensional. We must strive to keep our five purposes/mission statement (GRACE) as a church in equilibrium with each other in order for the GBC body to remain healthy. In other words, our message must remain biblical and our mission must reflect balance.
Have you ever noticed how easy it is to get out of balance in your life? The same is true for the church. We must guard against overemphasizing one aspect of ministry at the exclusion of the others. Some unbalanced churches end up stressing only one or two purposes and can easily become unhealthy.
We use this GRACE statement to guide our preaching diet and leadership decisions so that we don’t ignore any of the biblical mandates. While we must continually focus on all FIVE purposes, it’s also helpful on occasion to isolate one characteristic so that we can understand it in greater depth and experience the advantages of a church-wide emphasis on this one particular aspect. For the next two months, we’re going to give our attention to the "C" of GRACE: Caring for one another.
I’m reading a very challenging book right now called, Courageous Leadership by Bill Hybels. The picture that he paints of the church is gripping: "There is nothing like the local church when it’s working right. Its beauty is indescribable. Its power is breathtaking. Its potential is unlimited. It comforts the grieving and heals the broken in the context of community. It builds bridges to seekers and offers truth to the confused. It provides resources for those in need and opens its arms to the forgotten, the downtrodden, and the disillusioned... Whatever the capacity for human suffering, the church has a greater capacity for healing and wholeness…the radical message of transforming love has been given to the church" (Pages 21-23).
Are you ready for a good work out? Let’s pump some biblical iron so that we can experience this radical message of transforming love.
PTR. LITO SESE