Sermon: Help Wanted: A Fellowship of Believers

[Mike Phelps] Many years back, I was 26 years
old and was wanting to move… Okay, who just laughed?
[audience laughs] That’s the first time I got a laugh from that
part of this message. Not that long ago, I was 26 years old [audience
laughs] interviewing for a new job here in Cincinnati. I was wanting to move back because my wife,
Laura—well, we weren’t married yet—my future wife, Laura, had already moved down
here, found a job and it was now my turn to find employment here in Cincinnati. And so I applied for a job. It was a small healthcare company. It’s the one I had up until recently when
I resigned to take the job with the church. And so that was a little bit of foreshadowing. You now know I got the job, but I was interviewing
and I came in. It was so small that I was actually the 7th
person hired, and so in the interview, there was the president, the vice president, and
our clinical director, and I think there’s one other person. I think he was kind of a consultant that did
some IT work for them that I was gonna be, actually, taking on the load of what he did
for the company. And so, here I was, 26, sitting across from
these executives of their own company being interviewed for a future job and it went through,
back and forth, the president had to step out once for a phone call and he came back. And I felt like the interview was going well
and it got to a point in the question where the president sits there and asks me a question,
he goes, “It’s 5:00 in the evening, you’ve got Reds tickets, but my executive assistant
comes up to you and says she has a problem that you need to now stay and help with. What do you do?” I answered with the first words that popped
in my head, “How good are the tickets?” [audience laughs] And I said it with a smile
too because I wanted him to know it’s a joke and quickly… and so the rest of the room
laughs except for the president. He goes, “They’re really good tickets.” And I said, “I was just joking.” So, I went on and answered the question the
right way. And saying that I would prioritize things,
I understand sometimes things get in the way of things we’d like to do outside of work. And so he was satisfied with that answer. I don’t think that answer alone was the one
that got me the job where I ended up. But a few months later, we were talking in
the office and the vice president made the joke, he goes, “You know what? That answer did stand out because we were
interviewing a lot of IT guys and when we’d ask that question, we were wondering if they
even knew what baseball was.” [audience laughs] So, he said, “That was a
good answer.” So, I don’t know, maybe it did get me the
job, who knows. But the thing that was interesting there,
and then I later found out, is that they were looking to grow the company. They were looking for a good fit for their
company. We were all part of the ecclesia, the spiritual
body of believers called by God the Father. While we would never say we are a business
or a corporation, we are a group of people with a mission and specific work to do. Let’s turn to Matthew 28 as we start looking
at what our mission is as part of the ecclesia, part of His family, His special called-out
ones. This is in Matthew 28. We’ll start reading in verse 18. Matthew 28:18, “And Jesus came and spoke to
them saying, ‘All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go, therefore, and make disciples of all the
nations, baptizing them into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,
teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you, and lo, I am with you
always, even to the end of the age.'” The United Church of God has adopted a similar
mission statement that reads, “Our mission is to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ and
the Kingdom of God in all the world, to make disciples in all nations and to care for those
disciples.” We are, in a way, an employee of God. So, you might ask, “What is my individual
role that I serve as part of the spiritual body of God?” We are ambassadors for His way of life and
to be an example to this world. I’d like to look at a passage from Acts 2
this afternoon because we have a short description of the early church here in Acts 2. The early church of believers, that believed
in a way with passion and zeal, and in some of the words that’s captured here in Acts
2, we have in part a job description if you will allow me to go there, to help us create
a “Help Wanted” ad, a “Help Wanted” posting today. The early church in Acts was on fire. They were passionate, there was zeal, it was
growing rapidly. And they were passionate and had zeal for
everything that they were doing, everything that God was blessing them to do. They were pulling together, they were supporting
each other, and they were spreading the gospel message. And in Acts 2:42, we read about this. We read this about their behavior in Acts
2 verse 42. “And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’
doctrine, and fellowship, and the breaking of bread, and in prayer.” The early members of the Church were creating
an environment for growth within the Church. This reminds me so much of how you could describe
us sitting here today, and this is an absolutely wonderful thing that we are doing. It’s this type of willingness to love each
other, to support each other while all within the framework, all within the boundaries of
God’s teaching, that we can be a family that is on fire for God’s way of life and for each
other. So, today, I’d like to look at each of the
aspects that we just read through here that describe the early Church and imagine for
a moment that we are using these aspects to create a “Help Wanted” posting. This passage in Acts, it’s part of our job
requirements. While putting this together and just kind
of googling around for some information, I found a funny “Help Wanted” posting that I
thought I could share and that kind of represents who we are if we were to just try to find
this job right now, “‘Help Wanted! Full-time rewarding job with flexible hours. Excellent opportunity to meet new friends,
be part of a great team, and to have a giggle. No experience required.” No experience required. That sure does sum it up, doesn’t it? Every analogy does break down at some point
and this one breaks down in the aspect that unlike most people who go looking for a job,
God the Father is the one that has called each and every one of us to this body. We know that from John 6:44 in scripture that
He Himself is the one that calls us to this body, He is the one that adds to the Church. People don’t add themselves to the Church. But with this in mind, let’s go through the
job requirements, let’s look through what our job requirements are if we were to create
a “Help Wanted” posting. The first part of the job description, “Needed:
People who love God, love what we do, and will continue in it with a focus.” People who love God, love what we do, and
will continue in it with a purpose. This connects us to the part of Scripture
that reads, “They continued steadfastly in doctrine.” The aspect of being solid in doctrine is number
one in our lives. It has to be. Without it, there is nothing else that works,
nothing else that works. And looking at the Greek of the word “steadfastly”—because
it’s not a word that we use a lot, we don’t usually use “steadfastly” in our sentences. But in the Greek, it can also mean, “to be
earnest towards, to persevere, to be constantly diligent, to continue in or to wait on continually.” To persevere, to be constantly diligent, that
is what steadfastly could also mean in the Greek. And the word “doctrine” is just simply
instruction. Instruction. So, to be earnest towards instruction, to
persevere in instruction, to be constantly diligent in instruction. Let’s turn to 2 Timothy 3 verse 16, because
where do we get these doctrine from? 2 Timothy 3:16. Is this from us, from our wisdom, from our
logic that we have this doctrine, these instructions? 2 Timothy 3:16, “All Scripture is given by
inspiration of God and it’s profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for
instruction in righteousness.” All Scripture is given by inspiration of God. Doctrine is what we believe to be true instructions
from God on how we should live our lives and how we should teach this to each other and
to others that we come in contact with. This is what the apostles were doing at this
time in Acts. They were teaching to others the instructions
they had received at the same time from Jesus Christ Himself. These new believers were holding fast to the
teachings and responsibilities of their calling. They were holding fast to their faith. They were active in service to and one another
and were a light to all of those who were around them. Let’s look at Matthew 5 verse 14. Matthew 5:14-16. Because in the way that they served each other
and the way that they had zeal for God’s way of life, in the way that they shared everything
that they had together, they were a light, not only to themselves but to everyone they
came in contact with. Matthew 5:14, “You are the light of the world,
a city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under
a basket, but on a lampstand; and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men that they
may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.” I look out among a group of believers that
have for a long, long time held fast to solid doctrine and to instruction from God. This is important because this is what has
made us who we are, what’s given us fuel to continue on daily, and that is the people
that I see before me. I grew up here in Cincinnati. Many of you knew me as a little kid that laid
on a blanket. Mr. Smith reminds me of that almost every
week. [audience laughs] A little kid on a blanket
that started… that’s where I got my start and through my parents’ teaching, and then
through all the ministers and all those who interacted with me through those years, I
learned this doctrine and I saw it to be true. And that’s who we are. We have held fast. We have continued steadfastly in doctrine
many years, and that’s nothing to ever take lightly or to think is not powerful. But we haven’t held fast to something that
was created by us. I didn’t come up with this, but God did. Doctrine. This is what is from above, not from our own
understanding. Jesus Christ Himself said, “I am the way,
the truth, and the life.” That is in John 14:6. When we understand these aspects and we live
this way of life, it naturally creates a wonderful environment for growth both for us, within
the body, and for those that come in contact with us. We didn’t just wake up one day and walk in
here and say, “I want this new way of life.” We were called to it. Sure, we had to respond. We had to physically get up and walk in here
and respond to that calling. But it took time for our calling to grow. It took time for our faith to grow, and we
needed a fertile place to land, we needed fertile soil to grow in. People, today, are drawn to this way of life
when God begins working with them because this life does not have hope. This life does not provide a solid foundation
for people to live, to grow, to have families. So, when people find this truth, when God
opens their hearts to this truth, they are drawn to it. They want it like there’s nothing else in
their life. And that’s amazing, and that’s powerful. So, “Needed: people who love God love what
we do and will continue in it with a focus.” The second part of the job description: Needed,
people who value relationships and have concern for others. People who value relationships and have concern
for others. This connects us to the part of Acts 2:42
which reads, “They continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship.” And fellowship. God has given us the opportunity to interact
with each other on a human level as a family. We’re not off on some island. We don’t all have our own little Caribbean
island that we get to—that would be nice in some ways—we don’t have our own little
island where it’s just us alone by ourselves. He’s given us each other as a family. He’s given us each other as support, and that
is awesome, and that is what we need in order to learn how to live together and how to love
one another. We are sharing in all of our beliefs, all
of our hope, all of our conviction that this way of life is the only way to live. Not just being together, but really learning
to love each other. Being engaged in each other’s lives. I don’t know if you’ve ever had this experience
but I lived with some roommates in college before. And at times, at different points in my living
with these roommates or at different times with living with another, sometimes I just
didn’t get to know them very well. I didn’t know what was going on in their lives. It was more you just passed ways at times,
said your hellos, but I never really had an opportunity to really get down and to know
them. That’s not what we’re talking about here because
what we have here is something so much greater. We are learning to understand how God is working
in each one of our lives. We are learning about trials and difficulties
that each of us are going through. We’re learning what it is that makes you who
you are, what makes me who I am. Let’s look at John 13 verse 34. Because we get down to the root of what is
it that we are to be doing? What is it that makes us want to follow this
way, to be active, to be involved in each other’s lives, to have this fellowship? What is it? John 13:34 and 35, “A new commandment I give
you that you love one another. As I have loved you, that you also love one
another. By this, all will know that you are My disciples
if you have love for one another.” This is that solid bedrock that we must achieve,
is that loving aspect of knowing each other, of loving each other, of understanding each
other, and we are working towards that. But we never can lose sight that that is what
has to be in the middle of our relationships. This, again, creates a wonderful environment
for growth. We’ve all had jobs where we’ve gone to or
where you’re just, kind of, you’re clocking in and you’re clocking out, and the majority
of people that you work with are clocking in, they’re clocking out. There’s no real zeal for what they’re doing. There’s no real zeal for them to really understand
who you are as a person. They’re not really excited for what the company
is doing. They’re just putting in their time to get
their paycheck at the end of the week. But this is not what you or I are doing. This is not what we’re striving for. This is not where we’re just clocking in here
at services and we clock out at the end of the day, and we go on with our lives. Let’s look at Hebrews 10 verse 24. Hebrews 10 verse 24. Because we’ve also had those jobs that have
been a joy to go to, where we get to know people and they get to know us, and we’re
excited to go spend a large portion of our day there, and that’s what we have here. Hebrews 10:24, and I’m reading from the New
King James Version today, but I’m going to interject some from the New Living Translation
because there’s a few words the New Living uses that I think helps this to come to life. Hebrews 10:24, and this is from the New King
James, “And let us consider one another.” New Living says, “Think of ways to motivate
each other.” And to continue on, “In order to stir up love
and good works.” Verse 25, “Not forsaking the assembly of ourselves
together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another.” The New Living says, “Encourage one another
and so much the more as you see the day approaching.” Think of ways to motivate each other, think
of ways to encourage one another. What is it that makes our assembling together
this way? What is it that makes us have this love for
one another? What is it that makes us have this joy to
be here? It’s the Holy Spirit. It’s that power that unites us, and bonds
us, and pulls us, and joins us together. This power is living and it’s strong, and
as it motivates you and I to do things, and as it encourages you and I to do things, we
are able to overcome the fears and the doubts that life brings. It plants in us a joy and a hope for God and
His Kingdom. A healthy loving church is contagious to one
another. It’s that illness we do want each other
to catch, isn’t it? It’s that one time that we can avoid the
rules of quarantine because we want people to be contagious in this church. It’s contagious for new people who come in
contact, when they sense that we love each other and that we’re pulling for each other,
and we want everyone to catch this. Developing the fruit of the Spirit provides
us the ability to fellowship in the perfect way that God desires for us to do. Let’s go ahead and turn to Galatians 5 because
these are also some of our job requirements. If we were to expand this out beyond four
today, this would also provide more of our job requirements in Galatians 5. And as I read through this, this is one of
those passages we go to quite a bit, and at times, we could kind of gloss over what these
words are, but if you think about them as being part of our fellowship, part of our
job requirements, they take on a different type of meaning. Galatians 5:22, “But the fruit of the Spirit
is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. And those who are in Christ have crucified
the flesh with its passions and the desires. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk
in the Spirit.” Who wants to have a job with people who were
following the fruit of the Spirit and were exhibiting these type of attributes daily? That’s an exciting place to work. That’s an exciting place to live. So, continuing steadfastly in doctrine and
fellowship also leads to an environment where disconnected relationships can again be restored. Some of us have been in the church long enough
to see changes happen to the church or to see people who no longer are here with us
today. They leave at different times for reasons
only they really know. But sometimes, people reconnect with us, sometimes
they reach out on a phone call or they show up at services. And this is an awesome opportunity for us
to show and let our light shine, let the fruit of the Spirit show as we reunite and as we
rebuild relationships. A strong, vibrant, healthy church is a place
where disconnected relationships can again be restored and that’s where they should be,
and that’s how God wants, and this builds a fellowship where those of like mind can
help and encourage others. So, “needed,” for the second section,
again, “Needed: People who value relationships and have concern for others.” The third part of the job description, “Needed:
People who can cook, and/or people who like to eat.” People who can cook, and/or people who like
to eat. This connects us to the part of Acts 2:42
which reads, “In the breaking of bread.” This is an aspect that we have gotten pretty
good at. There’s usually not too many people that go
hungry when they come to services or when we put on a potluck. Not too often do the crock-pots run out or… Well, the dessert table does run out quite
often here. But that’s a good thing, we have gotten really
good at this aspect. But there’s always room to grow. Sometimes, I think, we can take this aspect
a little for granted because we do it so often and we’ve gotten good at it. But there is real joy in sharing a meal with
someone. That’s why many business deals, if you work
in the business world, many business deals are done over dinner, over a meal, because
it’s a time for people who are normally caught up in email, phone calls, day-to-day work,
to step away and to put that down for a bit. To give eye-to-eye contact with somebody who’s
wanting your business or you’re wanting to do business with. It’s an opportunity to listen. It’s opportunity to enjoy some good food. And normally, while you’re waiting for that
meal to come out, you’re not rushing out the door, you’re not running over here taking
a phone call, and things. It’s a great opportunity. That’s why the world can see that. That’s why it’s so good for a lot of businesses
to do these types of planning, to make these deals over food. And for us, it does the same thing, it gives
us time to take away from the busyness of our lives. A time to touch base, a time to listen, to
realize all the things that you and I have in common. This time allows for conversations that just
normally don’t happen when you’re just passing by quick, “Hello, how was your week?” No, when you sit down across from someone
or you’re invited into someone’s home, discussions happen that just can’t happen any place else,
it’s really difficult. And this is normally an act of service to
someone. If you invite someone into your house, you’re
putting on a meal for them and it takes work, it takes planning. Or if multiple people get together, like I’d
say a potluck we’re doing, then multiple people are cooking, multiple people are serving. Or if you go out to a restaurant, then you’re
still serving because you’re giving up your time, time you could be doing something else
but you’re giving of your time with this person. So, it is an awesome time of service. While looking through some notes and some
other things on the internet, I came across an article. It’s titled, “The Importance of Eating Together.” I’d like to read just a couple sections from
it. It’s from and this is an article
from July 18th, 2014. “After my mother passed away and my brother
went to study in New Zealand, the first thing that really felt different was the dinner
table. My father and I began eating separately. We went out to dinners with our friends. We ate sandwiches in front of our computers,
delivery pizzas while watching movies. Some days, we rarely saw each other at all. Then a few weeks before I was set to leave
for university, my father walked downstairs, ‘You know, I think we should start eating
together, even if it’s just you and me,’ he said. ‘Your mother would have wanted that.’ It wasn’t ideal, of course; the meals we
made weren’t particularly amazing, and we missed the presence of mom and my brother. But there was something special about setting
aside time to be with my father. It was therapeutic, an excuse to talk, to
reflect on the day and on recent events. Our chats about the banal, of baseball and
television, often led to discussions of the serious, of politics and death, of memories
and loss. Eating together was a small act and it required
very little of us, 45 minutes away from our usual and yet it was invariably one of the
happiest parts of my day.” Later on in the article, he has this also
to say, “Eating alone can be alienating. The dinner table can act as a unifier, a place
of community. Sharing a meal is an excuse to catch up and
talk, one of the few times where people are happy, to put aside their work and take time
out of their day.” Really enjoyed that article. He sums up feelings that he was experiencing
and I like the part when his dad said, “Your mother would have wanted this.” I think his dad wanted this, and something
that we must also desire in our life. This is a great time of the year that we can
pull together and enjoy this opportunity of fellowship with food. During the winter, many of us are stuck more
at home, we don’t have our activities outside or our gardens to tend to. We don’t have our sports to go watch. It’s a time where we can enjoy more time in
the home around the dinner table. We can try to fit in time right now, to share
a meal with someone. With Friday night sunsets happening so much
earlier, it’s a great time to get together and enjoy a meal. So, the third part of the job description
again, “Needed: People who can cook, or people who like to eat.” The fourth part of the job description. “Needed: People who pray.” People who pray. This connects us to the part of Acts 2:42
which reads, “And in prayers.” Prayer is so vital to the growth of a church. How can we grow closer together if we ourselves
are not growing closer to God? It’s a relationship that we are building with
God every single time we go to our knees and pray. Maybe you’ve been out in the world and you’ve
gone shopping and you’ve ran into somebody from high school that you knew or somebody
from college or maybe a past job, and all of a sudden, you’re excited. You recognize each other and you start talking
about things. But you quickly run out of things to say because
after you get through, “How are you doing, where are you working at now, how many kids
do you have…?” You quickly start to run out of things to
continue to talk to that person about because there’s been too much time between when you
last saw them. Your relationship isn’t what it used to be. It takes effort and it takes time and it takes
conversation to have a relationship, and that’s why prayer is so important. It’s no different with our relationship with
God. When our prayer life is strong with God, then
our connection to each other is strong. A church that prays is a church that stays. Kind of thought about that as I was just,
something that just popped in my head. Sure, there are similar quotes maybe out on
the internet or something, but a church that prays is a church that stays. Our faith and our trust in God is a common
bond that we each have with one another, and this bond cannot be broken. It’s knit together and it’s bonded together
through the Holy Spirit living and working powerfully in each one of us. When we are close to God, then we’re that
much more easily able to overlook issues or to work through problems when they arise between
one another. There is a peace that is felt among believers
with close relationships to God because the fruit of the Spirit is being developed. That relationship is being built upon. It’s not some kind of strained relationship. It’s not kind of lost relationship. Prayer unites us. Prayer joins us to God the Father and, in
fact, then, in turn, it unites us to each other. We must also spend some of our prayer time
praying for others. This morning and this afternoon, we went through
a list, a lengthy list, of people who need our prayers, people who are going through
some very, very difficult trials. And I don’t say that lightly, trials that
test our faith, trials that test our hope. But our hope is never lost, our joy is never
lost because it is a promise from God. We can go to Him on behalf of others, asking
for His help, asking for His strength for them, asking for His encouragement to be around
them, His compassion to be upon them, and we must never take that lightly, the power
of prayer and the opportunity we have to go before our Father on the behalf of others. Another aspect of powerful prayer for others
is for those who are not sick. Think about this for a moment. How many times have we prayed for those that
aren’t sick, they’re doing well because God has blessed them with gifts and talents that
we appreciate, and that we can go before our Father and say, “Thank you for that gift that
you’ve given someone. Thank you for that talent, thank you for the
way they’ve encouraged me at different points in my life.” We can go to God praying for others just because
God is working so powerful in their life. It’s a neat opportunity that God has given
us to pray for those who are going through difficulties, yet we can also pray for those
who have made strong impacts in our lives. This opportunity to pray for others is an
act of service. When we do pray, we’re giving of our time,
we’re giving of our personal prayer time with God. There is a parable in Luke 18 that I’d like
to focus on next. Luke 18. Luke 18 and we’ll start in verse 1. This is the parable of the persistent widow. There’s a lot of depth in this passage, and
I’m not going to be able to do it justice in today’s message. But I’d like you to think about the aspect
of persistent prayer as we read through this passage, to remember that when we go to God,
we have an opportunity to talk to Him personally, to make our requests known, and that we can
continue asking for His guidance and His wisdom, and showing us where we need our help in prayer
to Him. We must never forget the power of our prayer
before our Father, and we will see this in the parable of the persistent widow in Luke
18. Luke 18:1, “Then He spoke a parable to them
that men ought to pray and not lose heart saying, ‘There was a certain city and the
judge who did not fear God nor regard man. Now there was a widow in that city and she
came to him saying, “Get justice for me from my adversary,” and he would not for
a while. But afterward he said within himself, “Though
I do not fear God nor regard man, yet because this widow troubles me, I will avenge her,
lest by her continual coming she weary me.”’ Then the Lord said, ‘Hear what the unjust
judge said. And shall God not avenge His own elect, who
cry out day and night to Him, though He bears long with them? And I tell you that he will avenge them speedily.’” He will avenge them speedily. If a godless judge will respond to the continued
request of a fellow person, how much more will a great and loving God respond to us? We must believe that He is hearing our prayers
and that, through His love, He will and He is answering us. We have to remember it’s not always the answer
that we think. It’s not always in the time that we think
we need or we want, but He will show us His answer. We must continually talk with Him about it. So, the fourth part of the job description,
“Needed: People who pray.” So, why is all this important? Why is all of this important today? All of these attributes lead to a strong,
healthy congregation. For us today, and also for others who will
join our congregation in the future, having these aspects among us today creates fertile
soil for growth. Many of you know I like to garden. It’s a hobby, I often joke, though, I put
more money—well, it’s not a joke, it’s the truth—I put more money into this garden
than I get out of it. I do often joke my tomatoes are about 18.99
a pound. But it’s fun to know where they come from,
it’s fun to get your hands dirty and to see something start from a little seed and grow
into something that produces fruit, produces food. But over time, I’ve learned the importance
of nutrients in that soil because I like to start from seed, and at times, I’ve bought
just standard seed medium. It’s potting soil that doesn’t have much nutrients
in it, and you put that seed in there and it sprouts up and it gets really tall, but
then what happens after a while if you don’t put more nutrients? It kind of falls over because it needs nutrients
to grow. You can water it all you want, but once those
nutrients are used up from that soil, that plant can’t grow anymore. Having these aspects among us creates fertile
soil for growth. This is growth for me personally, for you
personally, it’s for our children, it’s for our mature members that this growth happens. It’s for everyone we interact with even outside
of our walls, at the store, at school, in college, at work. Wherever it is that we interact with people,
they see that something is unique about us, something is special. And this is why a company looks to hire good
employees to grow the business. Once again, God does the growing, but He allows
us to be involved in the process. In a physical sense, a company desires someone
who has the skills to do the job. They are looking for that good fit. They want an environment—the environment
that they have already fostered—to continue to be in place and to continue to grow. They want teamwork. They want it to stay in place. God doesn’t need us to grow the Church, but
God has chosen to work with mankind in a physical and spiritual sense. He has allowed us to interact with each other,
to rub each other, to touch each other, to pat each other on the back. He’s allowed us to cry with each other. He gives us this unity, this bond, that we
are family. And He allows us to be a framework that others
can come in contact with us, and through our love and through His fruit of the Spirit being
developed in our lives, we can affect them in a positive and powerful way. This is the God that we serve, and this is
how He has allowed us to work and to live together. Let’s look at Ephesians 4 verse 11. Ephesians 4:11. We will read through verse 16. Ephesians 4:11, “And He Himself gave some
to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping
of the saints, for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, ‘till
we all come to the unity of the faith and the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect
man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ. That we should no longer be children tossed
to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men and the
cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting. But speaking the truth in love, may grow up
in all things unto Him who is the head, Christ, from whom the whole body joined and knit together
by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part
does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.” It’s a powerful passage. It’s a powerful passage. And there is a cherry on top of all this. I’d like us to look at, let’s flip back to
Acts 2 verse 47. Acts 2, we started there, we are going to
go back there. Acts 2. Actually, let’s start in verse 46. Acts 2:46, “So, continuing daily with one
accord in the temple and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness
and simplicity of heart. Praising God and having favor with all the
people.” And here’s the cherry, “And the Lord added
to the church daily those who were being saved.” And the Lord added to the church. When all the aspects of the job description
are being fulfilled, this leads to a strong, healthy congregation. This is the fertile soil needed for God to
add to His Church. There is physical joy when we work for a vibrant
company that is growing today in a physical way. When we see the work that we’re doing and
that our company is doing, we’re excited for it. When we hear about new jobs being posted because
the company is growing—we’ve got more work than we know what to do with, so we need to
hire some people—that’s an exciting place to work. There’s the same but even greater excitement
within the Church because we each know the importance of our calling and that the way
that we are living our life is leading to something great, something powerful. And because we believe it with our whole heart,
we want to see others come to this life as well. We’re excited when a new person starts attending. We’re excited when we hear that someone is
counseling for baptism. We are excited when our spiritual family grows. This is why it’s such a blessing to be part
of a spiritual body of believers that are called by God. May we each continue living the job description
that we went over today, and may we continue doing our part assisting in the work that
God is doing today.

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About the Author: Oren Garnes

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