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Rev. Dr. Don E. Peavy, Sr.
Jesus replied, "Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven. And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven." Matt. 16:17-19
´Lord Prepare Meµ West Angeles COGIC
1. Explore what it means to be and to do church. 2. Explore men's roles in church. 3. Understand what it means to stand strong for God.
Once again Jesus went out beside the lake. A large crowd came to him, and he began to teach them. As he walked along, he saw Levi son of Alphaeus sitting at the tax collector's booth. "Follow me," Jesus told him, and Levi got up and followed him. Mark 2: 12-14 (NIV)
How is Jesus¶ call handed on to us today? How can we apply Levi¶s call to our own lives? Did not Jesus adapt his words to suit different men and different occasions? Does it follow that Jesus loved those he allowed to remain with their families any less than he loved the apostles who left all and everything behind? Who are we to come forward and volunteer for such an extraordinary and unusual life?
Who is there to tell me and others, for that matter, that we are not acting on our own initiative and following our own wild fancies? ³Every time we ask [these questions] we are retreating from the presence of the living Christ and forgetting that Jesus Christ is not dead, but alive and speaking to us in bodily form and in the world.´ 225
We receive Christ¶s call in the Church, through the ministry of Word and Sacrament. ³The preaching of the Church and the administration of the sacraments is the place where Jesus Christ is present.´ (226) We hear Jesus just as the Apostles did ± we have only to obey for His word is the same today as it was then.
³To know Christ means to know him by his word as the Lord and Savior of my life. But that knowledge includes a recognition of his plain word directed to me.´ (227) Actually, we have an advantage over the Apostles because we have the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. (227) All we have to do is hear and obey. (228)
QUESTIONS 3 & 4
Jesus did not adapt his message to different people and different occasions. Jesus¶ message was the same to all. Consequently, Jesus does not love anyone more than another. John 3:16 says that God loves the ³world´ ± the cosmos, and that ³whosoever´ believes shall be saved. Parable of the vineyard workers.
QUESTIONS 5 & 6
The call of Jesus goes out to all. ³Whosoever will, let him come.´ Thus, the question is not who are we to respond, the question is why haven¶t we responded already! Our actions are measured by the Word and Sacraments. We have the Bible to remind us that the work we do is the work of God in Jesus Christ.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer, ³The Cost of Discipleship´
Marks of the Church
Preaching the Word of God Hearing the Word of God Sacrament of baptism Sacrament of the Lord's Supper Office of the keys of ministry Proper public worship The bearing of the cross Martin Luther, ³On the Councils and the Church.´
What about teaching? What about social justice? What about caring for the ³least of these´? What about evangelism? Perhaps these are more properly part of the keys of ministry. Wherever we situate them, no church is complete unless these issues are addressed.
The body of Christ is the church which is a body made up of many members. There is no separate member, such as a hand or eye or foot, that can transcend its own individuality. It is the Holy Spirit that gathers the various members together to constitute the Body of Christ. Christ lives through us.
What are the seven marks of a church? You do not need to list them in the order we discussed them.
Role of Men in the Church
But speak thou the things which become sound doctrine: That the aged men be sober, grave, temperate, sound in faith, in charity, in patience. Young men likewise exhort to be sober minded. In all things showing thyself a pattern of good works: in doctrine showing uncorruptness, gravity, sincerity. Titus 2:2, 6-7
What is the Role of Men in the Church?
It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God's people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up Ephesians 4:11-12 (NIV)
What is an Apostle?
³Therefore it is necessary to choose one of the men who have been with us the whole time the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, beginning from John's baptism to the time when Jesus was taken up from us. For one of these must become a witness with us of his resurrection." Acts 1: 21-22 (NIV)
Elders, deacons, overseers, shepherds. Elders: Acts 14:23 & Titus 1:5 Overseers and deacons: Phil 1:1; Acts 20:17,28; Titus 1:5-7; 1 Peter 5:1-2 Overseers are male only: 1 Timothy 3:2 Deacons are males and females: Timothy 3:1-7 and 8-12 ³Obey your leaders and submit to their authority.´ Hebrews 13:17
Elder´ refers to a stage of life, possession of life experience, and commensurate status in the church. ³Overseer´ refers to the function of giving oversight to the entire church. ³Shepherd´ (³pastor´) is a metaphor for personal care given to members of the church (Eph 4:11±12). http://www.biblicalfoundations.org/thechurch/elders-deacons
Standing for God
You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. Ephesians 4:22-24 (NIV)
Living in Community
Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to his neighbor, for we are all members of one body. "In your anger do not sin": Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold. He who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with his own hands, that he may have something to share with those in need. Ephesians 4: 25-28 (NIV)
Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. Ephesians 4:29-32 (NIV)
Duty of Believers
1 Thessalonians 5:12 likewise commands believers ³to respect those who work hard among you, who are over you in the Lord and who admonish you.´ The biblical pattern is therefore for a body of male elders jointly to give oversight to the entire church, including one or several pastors who are devoted primarily to teaching and pastoral care (see esp. 1 Tim 4:14: ³body of elders,´ Gr. presbyterion; 1 Tim 5:17: ³elders who direct the affairs of the church . . ., especially those whose work is preaching and teaching).
Exhortation to Stand Fast
Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage²with great patience and careful instruction. 2 Timothy 4:2 (NIV)
It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery. Galatians 5:1 (NIV)
Freedom to Love
You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love. The entire law is summed up in a single command: "Love your neighbor as yourself." If you keep on biting and devouring each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other. Galatians 5: 13-15
Flesh versus Spirit
So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under law. Galatians 5: 16-18 (NIV)
The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God. Galatians 5:19-21 (NIV)
The Look of Standing for God
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other. Galatians 5:22-26 (NIV)
´Who Stands Fast?µ
³Who stands fast? Only the man whose final standard is not his reason, his principles, his conscience, his freedom, or his virtue, but who is ready to sacrifice all this when he is called to obedient and responsible action in faith and in exclusive allegiance to God ± the responsible man, who tries to make his whole life an answer to the question and call of God.´ Bonhoeffer
1. We have explored what it means to be church and how we ought to conduct ourselves in community. 2. This is a critical undertaking because the church is the Body of Christ. 3. We have explored what it means to stand for God. 4. Any questions? 5. Then go forth and Stand for God!
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