Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Belonging - Part 2

This message was preached at 
Word of Grace church  by Colin D Cruz on the 25th of March2012. You can listen to the Audio recording of the message by clicking here .

As a church we have been going through the PurposeDriven Life by Rick Warren. We have been looking at the purpose for which God created us. The first is to worship Him. The second is Fellowship: fellowship with Him and His body. We have been looking at what it means to belong. Last Sunday I covered the first two aspects of belonging which is Membership and Fellowship.

God has created us for a reason and we have to find out what that reason is.
Today let’s look at the other two levels of fellowship which is Partnership and Kinship.

3. Partnership
It’s not enough to share your heart but to do your part. J.F Kennedy said “Ask not what your country can do for you but what you can do for your country” I want to modify that and say “ask not what your church can do for you but what you can do for the church”.  I have a purpose in this church . Find out what you can do.

1 Cor. 12:12-27   The church, is like a human body with different members. Here in the church we are from different backgrounds – educational, linguistic, social, national, cultural etc.  Each one has a own unique role to play. The key to partnership is to find out your roll and then to do that function. We need to then do it faithfully.

Sometimes we fight the way God has shaped us. We try to become something else. My role in the church is not to assign you a role but to help discover it and help you fulfil it. Each one has a unique shape.
S- spiritual gifts
H- heart – for something  eg) the orphans, HIV patients,  work amongst slum dwellers, prison ministry etc.
A- abilities, music, administration etc
P – personality – introvert, extrovert, choleric, sanguine, melancholic, phlegmatic etc.
E – Experience through life. Every experience leaves a mark on you. Eg) A failure, a success, death of a parent at an early age, etc.

Sometimes people grumble about needs not being met. We need to stand up and see whose need “I” can met. That’s how needs get met.

Here is the obituary of “ Someone  else”
Our church was saddened to learn this week of the death of one of our most valued members, Someone Else. Someone's passing creates a vacancy that will be difficult to fill. Else has been with us for many years and for every one of those years, Someone did far more than a normal person's share of the work.
Whenever there was a job to do, a class to teach, or a meeting to attend, one name was on everyone's list, "Let Someone Else do it." Whenever leadership was mentioned, this wonderful person was looked to for inspiration as well as results; "Someone Else can work with that group." It was common knowledge that Someone Else was among the most liberal givers in our church. Whenever there was a financial need, everyone just assumed Someone Else would make up the difference.
Someone Else was a wonderful person; sometimes appearing superhuman. Were the truth known, everybody expected too much of Someone Else. Now Someone Else is gone! We wonder what we are going to do. ( Author unknown)

Someone Else left a wonderful example to follow, but who is going to follow it? Who is going to do the things Someone Else did? When you are asked to help this year, remember - we can't depend on Someone Else anymore.

So what do we expect here at Word of Grace? We have different TEAMS – play your part in this. This is partnership. Its supporting what the church does. EG) How many are actually going through “The purpose driven life”?, how many make the effort to be present at the monthly prayer. On the 8th of April we have our guest morning. Let’s make the effort to invite our friends along to this.

4) Kinship
Loving other believers like family. This is a high standard. Throughout the New Testament we see people being referred to as ‘brothers’ – this is a term of endearment. 

Rom12:1 Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.

Heb2:11-Both the one who makes people holy and those who are made holy are of the same family. So Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers and sisters.

Gal6:10 Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.

Eph 3:14-15. For this reason I kneel before the Father, 15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name.

The apostle Paul was called ‘Paul our brother” by Peter.

What can we do?

1. 1Jn4:10 – be willing to sacrifice for each other.
Jn15:13 Laying down our lives for our brothers.

2. Speak freely and honestly. Col 3:16 “Teach, admonish one another” We can do this only if we have a relationship with the person and we do it in love.
Gal6:1 We need to restore our brothers i.e those we have a relationship with, gently.

3. Needs – do something to practically help them out. It’s  called  a living faith. If you can do something do something. James talks about.

I’d like to end with a story.

 This took place in the Japanese prisoner of war camp.The prisoners had returned from a long and heavy day's hard labour on the railway, and were lined up in the camp by a prison guard. He began to shout and shriek and scream at them, because when the tools were counted at the end of the day, a shovel was missing. The guard cocked his rifle and aimed it at the prisoners. He demanded to know who had stolen the shovel. The prisoners, half fainting from lack of food and the day's long hours in the blazing sun, stood silent.
The guard continued to rant and rave. Then he levelled his rifle, and threatened to execute all of them unless the guilty man owned up.

At that, one of the men calmly stepped forward and faced the guard. "I took the shovel," he said. "I hid it, hoping to use it later to aid my escape." The guard poured a torrent of abuse over the man, then began to beat him round the head with the rifle butt. When the man fell to the ground, the guard to proceeded to kick him viciously. When the man was a bloody pulp and barely conscious, the guard shot him through the head. Then the rest of the men were allowed back to their quarters.
Later that night, when the tools were counted again, nothing was missing. The full complement of tools, including all the shovels, was there.

Jesus died for us in our place and has left us an example to follow When we love one another like those prisoners the world will know we are Jesus' disciples because of our love one for another. Amen.

Colin D Cruz
March 2012

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