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Tag: glory

True Worth-Ship

About three years ago, I taught you all a new word. I’m not sure how many of you remember it – but it was an old english word that isn’t really in use anymore. Most people have never seen it written anywhere or heard it used in any conversation – in fact, I still don’t know how to pronounce it properly, but here’s the word: “Weorthscipe”

My best guess for it’s pronunciation is “We-earth-skype”or “Way-orth-skippy”.

But this word basically means to declare the worth of something. If you break it into two parts, you can start to see our modern english words hidden within the old….

The first part “Weorth” – means value or simply worth. You can see that pretty easily – just drop the ‘e’ and there is the modern word “worth”. So that’s pretty straight forward….

The second part is “scipe” which means “the condition of” or “the quality of”. We see the modern version of this quite often today, although now we spell it now SHIP.  You see it on the end of many words like “friendship” – the condition of being friends – or “leadership” – the condition of being a leader.

So with these two parts – ‘weorth’ meaning value or worth and with ‘scipe’ meaning “the condition of” –  together, we get the idea that “Weorthscipe” is the condition of having worth. Does that make sense to everybody? Are you tracking with me?

This word is important to us today because even though we don’t use the word “woerthscipe” anymore, we certainly use its modern equivalent very often especially in the church – and that modern word of course is  “worship” or “worth-ship”. 

Worship is when we declare or affirm the worth or the worthy-ness of something or Someone.

And I’m guessing that by now you know where I’m going with this, but if not, let me back up just a bit and explain why we’re talking about worship this morning.

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The Purpose of the Church

Last week we began a conversation about the purpose of the church. With COVID-19 forcing us to make so many changes to how we do church and ministry over these last months, I think it’s important for us to remind ourselves why it is that the church exists. 

We live in a rapidly changing world and it’s important that we be able to change and adapt how we do ministry to make sure that what we do is useful and effective – but at the same time, it’s even more important that we never lose sight of why we do that ministry in the first place.

In other words, our methods can change, but our mission must remain the same.

The purpose of the church never changes. The purpose of the church in Paul’s time is the same purpose of the church in our time. Of course, the activities of the those churches probably look very different – but their end goals are always exactly the same.

And so that’s what I want to look at for the next few weeks: What are the end goals of the church?  Why do we exist? What is our purpose?

Because only when we understand our purpose can we effectively determine what activities will help us accomplish that purpose!

And so we started two weeks ago, first of all, by defining the church. Sometimes there is confusion even about that! What exactly is the church?

Well, we looked at three ways the Bible describes the church. First of all, it describes the church as a family – the family of God. The Bible teaches that from the moment we accept Christ as our Saviour, every believer is then adopted into God’s family. We read in Ephesians 1 that God loved us and chose to adopt us even before time began – and this gave him great pleasure! I always find it incredible to think that it filled God with joy to adopt me into his family. But that’s what the Bible says. We are adopted into His family and we are all now brothers and sisters in Christ.

So that’s one way that the Bible describes the church – as a family.

The second way that the Bible describes the church is as the body of Christ. Just like the human body has many different parts that all work together as one body – so it is with the body of Christ. We are all completely different from one another – we have different backgrounds, different ways of seeing the world, we have different interests and passions – different skills and abilities. And God has put us all together – united in Christ Jesus – to function together as one body. We are all necessary parts of God’s church.

So that’s the second way the Bible describes the church – as the body of Christ.

And then the third way the Bible describes the church is as an ekklesia. The New Testament was originally written in Greek – and in the Greek language, the word ‘ekklesia’ simply means “an assembly or gathering of people”. You could use that word to describe an angry mob or the crowd at a rock concert or any kind of gathering. But it’s that word “ekklesia” that gets translated in the Bible as ‘church’. So anytime you’re reading in the New Testament and you see the word ‘church’ – the original greek word that was written there is “ekklesia” – an assembly or gathering of people.

And of course, when he Bible talks about God’s ekklesia, it has a specific kind of gathering in mind – a gathering of God’s family – an assembly of the Body of Christ.

We read in Matthew 16:18 when Jesus said:

“On this rock I will build my church.”

Matthew 16:18

Christ is building his ekklesia. He is assembling his family. He is putting together the body of Christ.

And so that’s kinda the idea that we’ve latched onto for this series.

Ekklesia – the assembly of God’s family. The church is not a building. It’s is not a charitable organization. Church not an event that we attend each Sunday morning. The church is the gathering of God’s family – it is the assembly of the body of Christ. And Christ is building His church – he’s adding more and more people to the family – adding more and more parts to the body.

But the big question still remains: Why? What is the purpose of this assembly? Why is God building His church? If God has put us together as one united body of Christ – what exactly does He want this body to do?

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The Doctrine of Vocation

We are rapidly coming to the end of our Visual Theology message series. We’ve spent the last eight weeks talking about how we grow close to Christ, how we understand the work of Christ, how we become like Christ – and now today we are starting into our final section – how to live for Christ.

So to start us off today, I want to begin by asking you a question. And since we’re in a different setting here this morning anyway, I want you to take just a couple minutes to turn around in your seats and discuss this question with the people sitting around you. Its not a right or wrong answer kind of thing – I just want you to briefly talk about it and throw out some thoughts.

But here is the question: How do you think we will spend our time in eternity? What are we going to do for thousands upon thousands of years? What do you think life will look like for us?

Is it an endless choir singing to God? Are we all strumming harps on those fluffy white clouds? Are we playing road hockey on those streets of gold? What do you think life is going to look like for us all?

The Bible doesn’t give us too many specifics about our future activities in heaven, but this week, as I considered our topic today of living for Christ, and as I saw what the Bible has to say about how we live for Christ – I came to the conclusion that what God intends for us to do in heaven for eternity is probably very similar to what God intends for us to do here and now on the earth.

It seems to me that God’s purpose and plan for our lives won’t really change once we enter life after death. The things He wants us to do now are probably the same kind of things He’ll want us to do forever in heaven. Of course, the specifics will likely be different, but I think the end goal stays the same.

And as we work our way through today’s message, I think you’ll see what I mean, but my point for today is not to speculate about what we’ll one day do in heaven, but rather to determine what God wants us to do today. How does God want us to use our time – what does God want us to do with our lives here and now? It’s fun to speculate about what God will have us do for eternity in heaven – but it’s critical that we understand what God wants us to do in this life right here and now.

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Begin with Prayer

Listen to this Sermon!Last week we started off the new year by counting our blessings. And I dare say that each one of us was humbled by just how greatly God has blessed us. We talked about our physical blessings – 1/3 of the world is starving and we can’t even eat all of the food we have. 1/2 of the world lives on less than $2.33 per day – our minimum wage here in Alberta is $9.75 an hour! We truly are some of the wealthiest people in the world.

But that’s only our physical blessings. We are also relationally blessed – we have friends and family who love us dearly – that’s not the case for everyone in the world. We are blessed historically – To live in Alberta, Canada in 2013 is a blessing that billions of people do not enjoy! And of course, as Christians, we are also blessed spiritually. To know Christ – to have salvation, forgiveness, peace, joy, eternal life – Billions of people die never knowing any of that.

We are truly the most blessed people in the history of the world! And that begs the question “WHY?” Why has God blessed us so much?

That’s the question we looked at last week, and one of the key Scriptures that we found was Romans chapter 11 – verse 36.

“For everything comes from him and exists by his power and is intended for his glory. All glory to him forever! Amen.”
Romans 11:36

We came to the conclusion that God has blessed us in order to bring Himself glory. Remember our Spider-man line? “With great power comes great responsibility”

With such great blessings, we have a great responsibility to bring God great glory!

So how are we going to do that? How do we bring God great glory through all these great blessings that He has poured out on us? The answer is that we have been blessed so that we can be a blessing. God intends us to use our blessing to bless others for his glory. In other words, we have not been blessed just to be blessed – we have been blessed so that we can be a blessing to others.

And over the next five weeks we are going to be looking at exactly how to do that – not just with our physical blessings – but with our relational, historical, and spiritual blessings as well. How can we bring God glory by being a blessing to the people around us?

And again for you studious folk who like homework, I’m going to be using a lot material in these next five weeks from a couple of books. You might want to read them for yourself. One book is called “Discover Your Mission Now” – it’s a free ebook and you can find a link to it on our website – www.mirroralliancechurch.com. The other book is by Bruce Wilkinson called “You were born for this”. If you’re interested in reading this, I can certainly get you a copy.

To help us remember the lessons over these next few weeks, we’re using the acronym B.L.E.S.S.

Begin with prayer, Listen, Eat, Serve, and Story. And so today, we’re looking at lesson #1. B – Begin with prayer.

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God’s Blessing Strategy

 

Listen to this Sermon!Who here feels like you are extremely blessed? Do we even realize how incredibly blessed we are?

Why has God blessed us so much?

Think about this: The World Health Organization estimates that one-third of the world is well-fed, one-third is under-fed, and one-third is starving. Why has God blessed us so much? All of us had some sort of Christmas dinner, I’m sure. And I’m sure that most of us had left-overs. We can’t even eat all the food we have. Yet, millions starve to death every year. Why has God blessed us so much?

50% – thats half! – of the world population survives on less than $850 per year. That’s just $2.33 a day. Yet, if we accidentally dropped 2.33 worth of change into some deep snow, we might not even bother to try to dig it out. Its just a couple bucks.

Why has God blessed us with such an incredible amount of wealth? I found an interesting website called “globalrichlist.com” and if you go to that website, you can put in the amount of your annual income and it will tell you how you rank in wealth compared to the rest of the world. I don’t know how much all of you make in a year, but if you make just $20,000 per year, you’re in the top 12% of the world’s wealthiest people. (By the way, the poverty line in Alberta right now is $23,000) You could be considered to be “living in poverty in Alberta” and still be in the top 12% of the world’s wealthiest people. Why has God blessed us so much!?

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Lessons On God’s Work

Well, this is our final week of looking at Nehemiah. We’ve seen how God led Nehemiah to return to Judah from exile to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem. We’ve also seen how Nehemiah faced great opposition, but persevered in spite of it. Now today we are going to look at just two verses to wrap it all up. But I should mention that this isn’t the end of the story of Nehemiah. In fact, we’re not even half-way through. There is lots more to the story and many more things that can be learned, so I would encourage you to read through the rest of Nehemiah.

But for today, we are going to look at two verse in chapter 6, verse 15 & 16:
So on October 2nd the wall was finished—just fifty-two days after we had begun. When our enemies and the surrounding nations heard about it, they were frightened and humiliated. They realized this work had been done with the help of our God.

From these two verses we can draw four principles that we can learn about God’s work.

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