Who's In Charge?
(from 4/22/18 sermon - Spencer Teal)
See if there is anyone who wants to share a short testimony, or if there are there specific praise updates to begin CG.
Hebrews 10:23-25 - 23 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. 24 And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, 25 not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.
Q - Sermon takeaways from those who were in attendance?
This past Sunday was a big Sunday for RSC as we moved one step closer to appointing our very first deacons. The role of the deacon is to be a servant (literal meaning of the word) to the church in areas that are essential for ministry. Along those lines, we continued Sunday in our series, Who’s in Charge by taking a look at the community gathering that takes place on Sundays (and sometimes on Saturdays) throughout the world that we refer to in the south as “going to church.” Spencer introduced us to the term Ekklesia, which simply means assembly, gathered ones, or congregation. So, who are these people who gather each and every week and why is important that we continue to do so? Spencer said by gathering we are: 1) making a formal commitment to one another, 2) making an interpersonal commitment to one another, and 3) making a commitment to be/live in close proximity with one another.
My Story - The church (Ekklesia) is literally the people of God that Christ has purchased for Himself. We were reminded Sunday that good, great, amazing, and even supernatural things can happen when we, His church show up together each week. Q - Growing up, what were your personal experiences with “going to church?” Do you have good memories? Did you understand the purpose for this gathering? Q2 - Do you ever have Sundays when, like our pastor, you simply don’t feel like going to church? Share experiences of how you have worked through that and/or how the Lord has shown you why it is important that you don’t “neglect” to attend. It’s important that we see in this passage that it’s easy to develop a “habit” of not attending church. Think about a) how habits have been formed in your life (good and bad ones) and b) how you were able to break those bad habits.
In this passage with see togetherness being presented with the use of such terms as “us,” “one another,”, and “together.” Spencer went on to remind us that there are actually 59 one-anothers mentioned in Scripture. In John 17 Jesus prays earnestly before he goes to the cross that we would “be one” (v. 11, 21 & 22 even as He and the Father are one). He states in this same passage that it’s this unity...this oneness that shows the world the He has come and that we are different from the world.
Going Deeper - This Hebrews passage tells that we are to “hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering.” When we commit to one another in such a way that we choose to show up on a regular basis, it may look a little strange to the world. Why? Because when we come together there is an order to things, if you will. For example, we greet one another, we sing together, we listen to the reading of the Word together, we respond by eating a small cracker and drinking juice out of a small cup, and then we sing some more. There is a liturgy to our gathering that only makes sense if we understand our calling and our “confession.” Q - Think about the order to our Sunday services. In what way(s) do you see that each of these things we do together are done in order help us to “hold fast” to our “confession?” Ultimately, the confession we must hold fast to is the Gospel itself, so in other words, how do each of these point to the Gospel? Q2 - Why do you think it’s important that we have and refer to creeds such as the Apostle’s Creed or the Nicene Creed, or even our Statement of Faith/Beliefs...especially in light of the illustration Spencer gave in which he compared the church to a cover crop to protect us from weeds and evil?
Below are two of our most famous creeds, both having been used for centuries throughout the church. Groups are encouraged to read one or both out loud together.
Nicene Creed - We believe in one God, the Father almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all things visible and invisible. And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, begotten from the Father before all ages, God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made; of the same essence as the Father. Through him all things were made. For us and for our salvation he came down from heaven; he became incarnate by the Holy Spirit and the virgin Mary, and was made human. He was crucified for us under Pontius Pilate; he suffered and was buried. The third day he rose again, according to the Scriptures. He ascended to heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again with glory to judge the living and the dead. His kingdom will never end. And we believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life. He proceeds from the Father and the Son, and with the Father and the Son is worshiped and glorified. He spoke through the prophets. We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic church. We affirm one baptism for the forgiveness of sins. We look forward to the resurrection of the dead, and to life in the world to come. Amen.
Apostle’s Creed - I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth. I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary. He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried; he descended to hell. The third day he rose again from the dead. He ascended to heaven and is seated at the right hand of God the Father almighty. From there he will come to judge the living and the dead. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic (universal) church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.
Taking it Home - In his book called Community, Brad House shows how that the Sunday morning gathering and the community group gathering go together for the overall purpose of discipleship. On Sunday mornings, he states, we receive the Word and it brings conviction and/or hope to our hearts. And as the Lord continues to work these things out in our hearts we then step into our community group where things like confession, repentance, and even stirring one another can take place...with the ultimate goal of ongoing discipleship. This passage states that we are to “stir up one another to love and good works.” Spencer used the coffee maker illustration using the frother. Q - So, practically speaking how exactly can our gatherings be used to stir/froth one another toward love and good works? Q2 - Even more so, how can we do some frothing this evening?
V. FURTHER APPLICATION -
Everyone is encouraged to memorize Psalm 122:1 (and to make attending Sunday morning a priority) - “I was glad when they said to me, "Let us go to the house of the Lord!"
VI. CLOSE - Final thoughts?
VII. BE ON-MISSION -
Who do you know who needs “frothing” this week? When and how will you do so?