A Vision for our Church
Mat 5:2-12 And he opened his mouth and taught them, saying: (3) “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. (4) “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. (5) “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. (6) “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. (7) “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy. (8) “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. (9) “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. (10) “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. (11) “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. (12) Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
We come to a point today in our church where I want to share a vision for the church. Jesus in this sermon, is preparing the groundwork for the church incarnate. Based on what He did in His earthly ministry, I want us to continue to do as He did.
To begin with, I see it this way, we need a foundation, (the spirit of who we are), we need an application (What we do), Then a goal of where we are going
Three simple things to keep as our targets
- The word of God
- The Mercy we can bestow
- Sharing the gospel
In this, is my prayer for the church
Col 1:9-12 And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, (10) so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God. (11) May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy, (12) giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light.
The word of God is the very foundation for all we do.
Jesus preached as part of the sermon on the mount ……
Mat 5:17-20 “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. (18) For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished. (19) Therefore whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. (20) For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.
Mercy is our application. (Love)
So many people do not find mercy because they do not expect mercy.. The lost see the church as harsh, legalistic.
Church members bear unnecessary burdens because they fear chastisement, ridicule, shame. But let me introduce you to the God of mercy.
We are entrusted as a church to change the world. Let us begin in our community to love people unconditionally. To show mercy (Pay it forward) To purposefully do our works of love for the Kingdom of God.
Mat 5:13-16 “You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet. (14) “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. (15) Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. (16) In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.
God is a merciful God,
- Exo 25:17 “You shall make a mercy seat of pure gold. Two cubits and a half shall be its length, and a cubit and a half its breadth. The earthly throne of God was known s the Mercy Seat. This was the focal point of the Holy of Holies. He was more about mercy than judgement. (The Hebrew word is kappuret, related to the word for atonement, which is kippur.
Forgiveness if a gift of mercy to those who repent. Share how God is willing to for give because of Christ.
- Noah’s ark- God had every right to kill all, but saved a remnant
- Sodom and Gomorrah- God had every right to kill all, but saved a remnant
- Father forgive them for they do not know what they do. Jesus words on the cross as those around blasphemed, tortured, and executed Him over 9 hours or so.
- Rom 5:8-10 but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (9) Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. (10) For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life.
Let us be a merciful people.
- Do not ignore sin, but proclaim against it. Do not participate in it. (Be different)
- Show grace and mercy to people by being kind. Go the extra mile at work, in school, and social life.
- Give the world, the community around us, a right understanding of God.
The greatest form of showing mercy is found in being evangelistic, Only Christ can save.
Sharing mercy by sharing the gospel message (to have a future, to have a lasting impact and a heritage to God’s glory, we must be a people who share the gospel)
Form follows function.
People have asked about buildings here at Ekron. Once we have a functional need and support for a building, we by all means will construct one. Before we get to that point, we need to be fulfilling the Great Commission.
65 % of churches plateaued or declining.
Few are growing. But there is one distinctive between the two. Plateaued and declining are not sharing the gospel. Growing churches do share the gospel
We MUST work on fulfilling the Great Commission.
What this Vision looks like.
Not my dreams, but rather, our working together as a body of believers to fulfill what God has already asked us to do.
- It begins with the talents God has given you. This vision incorporates your ideas, your passions, your heartfelt ambition. As a church we fail and succeed together. I am looking for your involvement. (Sherwood Pictures example)
- Missions, Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, ends of the earth. We need to ask and answer questions about how and what we are doing. (Maine was great) Next week Mike Whittemore and the Belleville, IL opportunity
- Adapting to opportunities. I am forming an evangelism team for such needs.
- Looking at benevolence and soul care9% poverty. For the glory of God I want to change that. Connect with people and empower them with dignity to grow. Hurting people, PTSD, drugs, broken homes.
- Become a Soul port. Educate, Empower, Equip people with the gospel (As we do these things, we may very well need to engage in the building of more church space. Building possibilities)
So here is the vision
1 We are to grow in a knowledge of the word.
2 We are to be a different kind of church. Unexpected love with mercy.
3 To glorify God, to obey God, we must share the gospel.
Our vision and horizon is to be a Biblical New testament church, fulfilling the Great commission, making disciples, baptizing (showing the mercy of the cross) and sharing the gospel
Love God, Love people, Show mercy by sharing the gospel.