Wednesday, October 14, 2009
Current Study: 1 Peter
Today’s Topic: Get Serious About Getting Connected
Scripture Reading: 1 Peter 4:17 For it is time for judgment to begin with the family of God;
On Sunday – this coming Sunday – there is a very important meeting of the people who attend Calvary. It is going to be a significant moment in the history of our church. It will be a time when we decide as individuals whether or not we are going to be wholeheartedly committed to the mission of Jesus Christ to connect people to God.
Following that meeting, which we call our worship service, there will be another meeting to ask God to provide the resources we need to fulfill His mission according to the vision He has been formulating in our midst for over eight years. Two meetings. One completely dependent upon the other. Your view of which one is dependent on the other is a good indicator of your connection to Christ’s commission.
Some people believe that the measuring stick of success for a church is attendance. Others believe it is finances. Still others believe it’s facility. All are wrong, because all are based on man’s perspective. If we are to determine the right answer we must look at the church from Christ’s perspective. After all, He is the Head of it.
But I would not dare to attempt to state confidently that there is only one criterion for church health. My answers would be tainted by my own personal filters and giftedness. If it were up to me, a successful church would be measured by the preaching of truth. But that would not be accurate because it eliminates so many other aspects of body life. Not everyone is an eye. Not everyone is a nose, although far too many are nosey.
However, after considering all of the characteristics of a healthy church like faithfulness, humility, servant-hearted people with sacrificial spirits, great teaching, cheerful generosity, effective programs, inspiring worship, Godly leadership, and countless others, I must confess that there are two that stick out above all the rest. The reason is that they were the commands of Jesus for every individual in His church. I’m talking about His Great Commandment and His Great Commission.
One day Jesus was in a conversation with some teachers of the law. In an attempt to trap Him, one them asked, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?” Jesus responded by saying this – “The most important one is this: ‘Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” Let me repeat – there is no commandment greater than these.
Then, as Jesus prepared to leave this earth and go back to the right hand of His Father from where He now reigns supreme, He gave His followers another command. This command does not supplant the last one – it is actually the living expression of the first. He said, “Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.”
My dear friends – especially those of you who attend Calvary – the meeting we are having on Sunday after the worship service to review the status of our building program and set goals for the future of our church as a body will be of absolutely NO SIGNIFICANCE if we have not as individuals completely surrendered our lives to fulfilling the Great Commandment and Great Commission. There has never been nor will there ever be any other measuring stick for the health of a church.
It is my prayer that for the rest of this week, as a prelude to the rest of your life, that you will fall on your knees before Jesus Christ, the Lord of your life, and renew your commitment to His commands and commission. If we cannot come together on Sunday in the first meeting and agree that we are first and foremost a people who live to connect others to God by loving them, serving them, and growing them, then the second meeting is irrelevant.