Archive for April, 2012

#1 Christianity is not so much about me and Jesus as it is about Christ and His Church

April 26, 2012 2 comments

The Enduring Community

I’m starting a series about 5 truths I’ve learned from doing ministry at VSU. I wish I had known them sooner, but I’m glad for the experiences that taught me these.

1. Christianity is not so much about me and Jesus as it is about Christ and his Church.

2. Worship is more about devotion than it is about emotion.

3. People do what they see, not what you say.

4. Focus on faithfulness, not on results.

5. The more holy you become, the less holy you’ll feel.

Something that I began to see a couple of years ago, but didn’t really live by until this past year is that Christ reconciled His Church – not just me and God! Yes, there is a uniqueness about our salvation, but far too often we lean way to much on the unity between us and God, and not enough on us and others. I’ve been partnering with other Christians in ministry for a few years and so I’ve been learning this through experiences. But also, this past semester my discipleship group has been studying Ephesians and reading the “The Enduring Community” together. Reading these has really developed my idea of the Church.

Why do we focus so much about us and God and so little on others?

There are a number of reasons for this. Probably some common responses to why we do this would be: relationships are messy, it requires lots of effort, they will see my sin, and it’s just easier not to pursue people. I think all of these reason narrow down to the problem of having a small vision and value for God’s people. If we really saw individuals as significant and valuable we would not only be involved in their lives, but we would be anxious for unity with our fellow brothers and sisters.

What exactly did Christ reconcile on the cross?

Hebrews 7: 25 tells us, “Consequently, he is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them.” The first thing we think of when someone asks what happened on the cross is that we have been reconciled to God. This is absolutely true. Yet, God is not the only one we were reconciled with. I used to think that Ephesians 2:13 which states, “But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.” was only referring to our connection with God. However, after studying the context I found that the entire second half of the chapter is about our unity with fellow believers. This verse provides the transition from the hostility between the Gentiles and God being reconciled, and also the hostility between people being reconciled.  We have been brought near to each other and are no longer “Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all, and in all. (Col. 3:11)”

How can we turn from division and become unified?

 In order to avoid division we must actively seek unity with other believers and be proactive in the upbuilding of the Body of Christ. Here are a few ways that if had been practiced more by both myself and others, lots of harmony would have been gained. All of them really boil down to one’s character.

1. Verbalize your thoughts in an understanding way: I cannot count the times that division has snuck into a fellowship simply because no one shared how they felt (at least to the person that they have concerns with). When I say “in an understanding way” I mean two things. First, to clearly articulate concerns. Second, to do so with gentleness and humility. I really believe most problems within the Church could be overcome through good communication.

2. Be quick to reconcile your relationships: Matthew 5 :23-24 states, “…if you are offering your gift to the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother , and then come and offer your gift.” The verse tells me that even if I am not the one harboring bitterness, it is my duty to reconcile my relationships. Another verse puts the responsibility on me and not someone else is Romans 12:18 which says, “If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.”

3. Live sympathetically: Take on the feelings of another – relate with them. If many really have become ONE body then you are affected by the wellness of your brothers and sisters. Therefore, we must “mourn with those who mourn and rejoice with those who rejoice” we must serve one another and care tenderly for each other.

4. Value individuals: Appreciate people for who they are, not for how comfortable they make you feel. Every relationship is significant. John Piper once said that every person is made in the image of God, therefore everyone is interesting! Appreiciate people for their unique design and contribution to the whole Body.

I’ve had to face all of this while at VSU. Soon, I’ll be moving and I’m nervous because I will need to learn to practice this truth with people that I am not as used to and close with. However, Christ has reconciled the biggest gap of all: me and Him, therefore I know that He can unite me to others too.