Across the world we are seeing that God is on the move. Millions of people are becoming followers of Jesus, many of them at the risk of losing their lives.
For information on what is happening in the middle east read this article: https://www.opendoorsusa.org/christian-persecution/stories/muslims-turn-to-christ-in-unprecedented-numbers-pt-1/
In Asia, Africa and South America we are seeing millions coming to know Jesus Christ as Lord and savior.
So you may say, what does all this have to do with our local church here in South Kansas City?
It is important to realize that we as a small church on the hill here in Kansas City, are a part of something glorious, something far bigger and more powerful than we can ever imagine.
Paul writing the churches in the region of Ephesus wrote to people that he had not met personally but he had heard about their faith and their love for the Lord. Reading Ephesians 1:15-23, Paul lets them know that he is praying for them to have the eyes of their hearts enlightened (v 18). He wants them to know that they are not simply a small insignificant group of believers in Asia minor, he wants them to understand that they are a holy people called by God, and that they are precious to God. Sometimes we need that reminder too, do you know how precious the church is to God? Do you know how precious Grace Point is to God?
But not only that, Paul reminds them of the power of God that is for them. He continues in verse 19 and 20 by encouraging them that no matter what forces are opposing them, the power of God is greater and He is able to sustain His church. Paul continues to elaborate that Jesus is far more powerful than any authority, power and dominion; not only in this age, but also in the age to come.
This same Jesus who is God himself, the all-powerful creator God, has been appointed as the head of the church. God placed all things under Jesus’ feet as we see in verse 22.
Finally, in verse 23 Paul says that the church is the body of Christ. We often say that as the church, we are the body of Christ, but do we really understand that? I doubt we can even begin to fathom what that means for us.
Jesus so identifies with his church, he is so committed to his church, that he calls us to be his ambassadors, his holy representatives in the world, having the fulness of Christ in us (see Colossians 1:24-27).
We as Grace Point Baptist church are part of something so much bigger and so much more powerful than we can ever imagine. And the best part of it is that if we simply remain faithful to what God has called us to do, he is responsible for the results as Jesus said in Matthew 16:18, the he will build his church. We need to simply ask him for the plan and do what he says.
There was a conversation that was common at Grace Point a few years ago, it was the conversation of when we are going to have to close the doors, sell the building and find another church.
I am so glad that we don’t have those conversations anymore, not because of any plan or strategy that we have implemented, but because of what Jesus is doing in his church. Jesus, our head is changing the conversation, he is bringing about new life.
The truth is that any talk about closing or running out of money is not grounded in an understanding of our true identity. Our identity as the body of Christ, this is his church and if we grasp, as Paul prayed for the church in Ephesus that we would have the eyes of our hearts enlightened, in order to see who we are in Christ. Knowing our true identity, we will quickly see that he alone is responsible for the results, our responsibility is to be fervent in prayer and quick to obey what he tells us to do.
I recently read a book by Andrew Davis and in it he writes that every church exists for one purpose alone, to bring Glory to God by making progress on two spiritual journeys.
The first is the internal journey of discipleship and growth towards maturity in Christ. Peter commands this in his second letter, “But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen.” 2 Peter 3:18. That is the journey that we are on as individuals, we will never complete this journey of spiritual maturity until Jesus comes again.
The second journey is the external journey of evangelism and missions.
The Great Commission that Jesus left the church in Matthew 28:19-20 still applies to us today.
A healthy church, as Davis writes has both journeys in balance; being committed to discipleship while at the same time being committed to missions and evangelism.
As we ask the question, what is the time on God’s calendar for Grace Point? This church that has over 106 years of fruitful ministry, what is the season we are in right now? What does the Lord have for us to be and to do in our ever-changing society?
In our culture, our traditional programs, simply don’t reach the community the way they once did. But a healthy church, functioning as the body of Christ will reach our community.
Programs are not the sign of a healthy church. Rather, relationships, community and being centered on the Gospel message are signs of a healthy church.
I loved the message that Bob Michaels shared three years ago, as he spoke about the transformational church he said; “the transformational church innovates to advance the Gospel.”
This is definitely an exciting time for us as a church as we see what God is doing in our midst and what He is doing all over the earth.