Keeping the unity of the Spirit
Thank you to all who participated with Linda and I on our 10th anniversary of ministry here in Papanui. Appreciated the acknowledgment but I was more intrigued with the words given for our future as a church and also the sermon by Murray Robertson.
If God is doing a new thing; then there will be some defining moments to look back on. One of those defining moments will be the day of prayer and fasting, and Murray’s sermon about the vision Paul had for the church to be a place where people would honour and respect each other: Ephesians 4 2 Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. 3 Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. Murray has worked with churches and various denominations and he found the same thread that cause churches to stumble; people in the church just struggle to get on with each other. Murray referred to it as the “elephant in the room”.
Our culture promotes self-centred living and our needs seems more important than serving the needs of others. I take this as a healthy warning for the future of our church.
Our church ought to function at 2 levels:
1) We are a worshiping community 2) We are a missional community
It is not a matter of choosing one above the other but these two need to dovetail. If all is worship, we lose the mission of God (Mt 28), and if all is mission, we are just good works. Israel lost their relationship with God whenever they lost their worship. This seems to be a pattern still at work. But the reason we discontinue to dovetail in worship and mission is more than often due to the “elephant in the room” People get hurt and our offense becomes a stumbling block. Murray pointed out that most of this stems from our own insecurities.
The good news is that we can live out the Ephesians 4 by inviting Jesus to help us live this amazing truth; being patient, bearing with one another in love. There is a cost to have the unity of the Spirit, but the payoff is being God’s church.