Saturday, October 22, 2011

Correcting back to the vision and mission of the Church

Correcting back to the vision and mission of the Church
S-  Act 15:1-11 (NASB)
1 (A)Some men came down from Judea and began teaching (B)the brethren, “Unless you are (C)circumcised according to (D)the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved.” 2 And when Paul and Barnabas had [a]great dissension and (E)debate with them, (F)the brethren determined that Paul and Barnabas and some others of them should go up to Jerusalem to the (G)apostles and elders concerning this issue. 3 Therefore, being (H)sent on their way by the church, they were passing through both (I)Phoenicia and Samaria, (J)describing in detail the conversion of the Gentiles, and were bringing great joy to all (K)the brethren. 4 When they arrived at Jerusalem, they were received by the church and (L)the apostles and the elders, and they (M)reported all that God had done with them. 5 But some of (N)the sect of the (O)Pharisees who had believed stood up, saying, “It is necessary to (P)circumcise them and to direct them to observe the Law of Moses.”  6 (Q)The apostles and the elders came together to [b]look into this [c]matter. 7 After there had been much (R)debate, Peter stood up and said to them, “Brethren, you know that [d]in the early days (S)God made a choice among you, that by my mouth the Gentiles would hear the word of (T)the gospel and believe. 8 And God, (U)who knows the heart, testified to them (V)giving them the Holy Spirit, just as He also did to us; 9 and (W)He made no distinction between us and them, (X)cleansing their hearts by faith. 10 Now therefore why do you (Y)put God to the test by placing upon the neck of the disciples a yoke which (Z)neither our fathers nor we have been able to bear? 11 But we believe that we are saved through (AA)the grace of the Lord Jesus, in the same way as they also are.”

O -   The early church faced many challenges for the first time, that we face today.  That is what is so powerful about the book of Acts, in that we can learn from the early church how they handled the problems (not neccessarily how to avoid them).   What is clear to learn from here is that Jesus had spent three years with the disciples and gave them a clear vision of how His ministry was to be run, and what the vision and mission was, yet in the early church there were still forces from within the church that had a tendency to drive them away from the original truth.   What we see here is that some of the Jewish converts, who likely actually received the Gospel and understood it, began adding to it.   They began combining the culture they knew (old testament) and the new testament and thus began choking out the effectiveness of the vision and mission Jesus had set them on.  Thankfully the Apostles took the time to meet and discuss such issues, and the in this case Peter helped correct the church back onto the true path that Christ had set them out on.

A -  The application for me is that in leading the local church, we must make sure we are first and foremost connected to the Gospel in all things, and understand the mission Christ has for His church.  If the church mission is even slightly misaligned with the mission of God,  it will struggle to be all that God has created it to be.    The second application is to understand that with many differing people and preferences in a church, it will be neccessary to have a group of individuals who know the original intent of the mission and vision for the church.  These people need to have the insight into what is going on within the church,  the wisdom and discernment to guide the church,  and the strength and determination to be true to Christ and His mission for the local church.

P -  Dear heavenly Father thank you for today's lesson, may it be sealed to my heart.   I pray Lord that you would continue to speak truth into my life regarding your local church.   I pray this weekend your spirit would guide the New Hope Aiea leadership team in seeking out and connecting with you on our vision, mission and objectives over the next year.   Lord grant us wisdom, humbleness, and strength to be obedient to what you need us to do.  In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

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