This is part of a series of messages that were preached at the Regions Beyond India Leaders meeting at Igatpuri . This message was preached by Stephen Van Rhyn. You can listen to the audio by clicking here.
We get a wonderful description of what a church looks like. The church is made up of saints together with elders and deacons in apostolic relationship for gospel advance. Some churches are just made up of saints and don’t have elders or deacons. Some have elders and deacons but have no apostolic relationships or are in apostolic relationship but the apostolic ministry is not about gospel advance.
In Philippians I see the best practice modeled.
The common understanding of a saint is that that person has lived an extra ordinary or exceptional life and after the person is dead that person’s bones an heal people.
This is not the biblical understanding. What makes up or constitutes a Christian? – The gospel of Jesus Christ and the grace of our Lord. Paul could calls them saints because they were made righteous in Christ Jesus. WE are ALL saints. This is not a small thing but a massive thing. The main that we come across in Luke is that I have not come for the healthy but for the sick.
Luke 4 Jesus makes a jubilee announcement when he reads from Is 61 and the religious people want to kill him.
Luke 5 The paralytic is brought through the roof. The religious leaders question his ability to forgive sin.
Luke 7 Simon the Pharisee a God fearing man who is open to Jesus has him in his home and then this women bursts upon the scene and does something outrageous. In those days women did not let down their hair in public except in private for their husband. She wipes Jesus feet with her tears and Simon thinks ill in his heart. Then Jesus tells a story. Jesus initially tells a story of 2 bankrupt people. Only the grace of God can get us right with God. Only the way ward woman becomes a worshiper. The Pharisee trusts in religion.
The story of the Prodigal son is about two sons. The first one does something outrageous - he only loved his father’s possessions rather than the relationship. The father gives him his inheritance and he goes and lives a wild life and squanders it all away. He finally comes to his senses when he is forced to eat the food given to the pigs. He wants to serve his father as a hired hand. When he comes home, the father embraces him and clothes him with the finest of clothes and puts a ring on his finger and kills the fatted calf. The father is not interested in his restitution speech.
The older son who obeyed all the rules has the same heart as the younger son. He too is interested in the stuff and wants to control the father by keeping the rules. He felt that this party for his brother was coming out of his inheritance. He loved the things of the father and not the father himself.
The squandering son is restored to the father and the son who kept all the rules is left out in the cold. (Luke 15). To all these stories the audiences were the religious people. Your rule keeping will not reconcile you to the father but GRACE alone.
Luke 18 . Two people go to pray - a Pharisee and a tax collector. The Christian message is not obey then you will be accepted. The Christian message is you are accepted if you will admit that you are bankrupt - ask for mercy and you will be fully and radically accepted. Then you will be called a saint and adopted into the family. We are not workers that can be fired. We are children of God forever.
So remember the people we serve are saints. The message is the good news. The gospel message is so radical and religious people do not like it. A church is made up of people who have been rescued by grace and he brings them together into a family.
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