Zis-N-Zat From Pastor Asher

God is my conscience, Jesus lives in my heart… this blog is about what I see, what I think, what I do and how I serve God

Approximate Notes for Sunday Message; 15 March 2015; Eph 1:22-23, 2:10, 12-22

Scriptures for this Sunday: Eph 1:22-23, 2:10, 2:12-22

You can read these Scriptures here:  NIV  /  ESV

Hymns for Sunday:

UMH 152 – I Sing the Almighty Power Of God

UMH 733 – We’re Marching to Zion

This is a first sermon in a series

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Today I want to start a conversation about church, how church relates to the community in which it lives and how the church community relates to the larger culture around it.

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To start this conversation, I would like to look at the way Jesus built the first church and how it all started. Scriptures found in Matthew 4:18-22, Mark 2:13-17, Luke 5: 1-11 and John 1:35-51 tell us various accounts of Jesus calling his first Disciples and the way I understand what Jesus was doing was building his first church. Notice that these Scriptures say nothing about brick and mortar. Jesus did not call buildings, Jesus called people.

There are thousands of sermons, reflections, books and blog posts about Jesus calling the Disciples. Today’s message is not about that call; today’s message is about the Church. While the church was established at Pentecost (after Jesus’ ministry, crucifixion, death, and resurrection), the basis of the process that lead to establishing the Christian Church is rooted in the people that we know as the First Disciples.

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We know that every Disciple was unique and had different strengths and weaknesses. Peter was impressionable and excitable. When he saw an opportunity, he would take it without considering the consequences. That is why Peter is the only human being who walked on water. That is also why Peter was told by Jesus, “Get behind me Satan” (Matthew 16:23, Mark 8:31); Peter’s emotional reaction to Jesus’ teaching that he came to die on the Cross was undermining God’s vision and Jesus’ mission.

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We know that James and John (the sons of Zebedee) were career men. They wanted to advance personally, they wanted to enjoy the benefits of their labors and they probably did not take risks they did not have to take. We know that they wanted to be in a position of authority and privilege when the Kingdom of God becomes a reality (Matthew 20:20-28).Today their 401K would be maximized, they would have the right insurance products for every occasion, they would wear sensible clothes and their children would attend sensible schools majoring in accounting, or engineering, not some fluffy subject like theology.

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We know that Simon Zealot was the revolutionary in the bunch. He was opinionated and was willing to fight for his beliefs. Thomas was a sceptic, Philip and Andrew liked to travel (According to tradition, Philip spread the Gospel to Africa and Andrew went as far north as Armenia, Georgia and Kiev.)

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The point that I am trying to make is that every disciple whom Jesus called was different and unique. Somewhere along the way they went to “seminary” and developed a relationship with Jesus and with each other. They were the first with whom Jesus shared God’s vision for the world and they were excited about that VISION and made it their MISSION to work towards making it a reality. “I’ve come so that you have an abundant life” (John 10:10); that is what the “abundant life” looks and feels like.

After Jesus was taken up to Heaven (Acts 1:6-11) we learn that all the Disciples were “of one accord.”

ESV Acts 1: 12 Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a Sabbath day’s journey away. 13 And when they had entered, they went up to the upper room, where they were staying, Peter and John and James and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus and Simon the Zealot and Judas the son of James. 14 All these with one accord (“They all joined together constantly” – NIV2010 / “These all continued with one accord” – KJV) were devoting themselves to prayer, together with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and his brothers.

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“They were all of one accord….” When we say that, we have a mental image of all the disciples agreeing to every minute detail, finishing each other’s sentences, singing cloyingly sentimental hymns and giving each other hugs all day long…. Or something like that… That could not be further from the truth.

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{Accord Illustration from the personal practice of ministry}

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Ideally, that is what the Church Universal (big C) and a church community (small c) is: sisters and brothers in Christ, each with their unique personal story and history, their unique preferences, likes and dislikes all excited about God’s Presence and putting their energies in one accord with each other towards a common mission.

I want to finish today’s message by re-reading a portion of today’s Scripture:

Ephesians 2: 13 in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ. … His purpose was to create in himself one new humanity out of the two, thus making peace, 16 and in one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility.

19 you arefellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household, 20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone.

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5 responses to “Approximate Notes for Sunday Message; 15 March 2015; Eph 1:22-23, 2:10, 12-22

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