24 January 2019
The summer holidays are almost done. It’s time to start thinking about the new year in earnest.
Maybe most of our New Year’s resolutions are already broken, and we’re ready to face reality. School starts this week. Most of our regular ministries at church will start in the next week or two.
So, what’s your vision?
What’s your vision for the year? What’s your vision for church?
Is it that you’ll be encouraged, uplifted and fulfilled? Is it that you’ll be surrounded with like-minded people and well loved? Is it that you’ll learn more about what God’s word says?
God’s vision for the church
In the book of Ephesians we see something of God’s vision for the church. Paul says (chapter 3) that in the church the manifold wisdom of God is made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places. He says that the great mystery of the ages is that in the church, God’s people are united together in Christ and with Christ. He uses three images for the church that reflect its unity with Christ. The church is Christ’s body, Christ’s bride, and Christ’s building.
As the body of Christ, the church is to be built up (chapter 4). Christ’s body grows and is built up (think of physical training) by speaking the truth in love, and by living and working God’s way together.
As Christ’s building (chapter 2) we are the dwelling place of God’s Spirit. We are to be a holy temple – a building that reflects the holiness of Jesus, and of which he is the cornerstone. We are to be like him.
As Christ’s bride (chapter 5) we are to be loyal to him and one with him, as he makes us clean and holy and radiant (and who doesn’t want that!).
The church is to be united with Jesus and like Jesus.
At St Michael’s, our vision is to see more and more disciples of Jesus shining as lights in the city of Wollongong. We long to see people come to know Jesus and be united with him, with us. We want to see others become part of his body and his building and his bride. Our theme for today is ‘Lost people matter to God’.
This is our vision because it’s God’s vision first. This is why Jesus came.
God’s plan since the beginning of creation has been to draw people to himself through his Spirit and by the death of his Son Jesus. This is the mystery that has been made known to us in Jesus. Those whom God calls are united in him and with him. God the Father looks for the lost and he finds them and unites them with his Son Jesus. Church is not for religious people. It’s for lost people.
And church is not our idea. It is God’s idea. It is God’s truth, lived, taught and spoken. If you’re a part of our church at St Michael’s, our prayer is that you will be encouraged and uplifted and made whole by being united with Christ. It is that you’ll be surrounded with Christ like people who will love each other well. It is that you’ll grow in the knowledge and love of the Lord Jesus.
And it is that lost people will matter to us because they matter to Jesus. It is that lost people will come to know him and be united with him and with us. It’s that we’ll be united with Christ and like Christ.
On Wednesday we have an opportunity to express this unity as we meet to pray together (Prayer Summit). We’d love you to join us.