We’ve been reading our archives from 2008 (going over everything in order to properly tag them), and wondering why we don’t have delightful little things like that to share anymore (like little bug poems)… or maybe enough has been written, and we should just keep reading (or re-posting) the things from before! Ah well, everything has its own time and place (or year). One must resist the temptation to try and keep repeating specific joys that were not necessarily meant for always.
Dave’s excellent sermon was on Excellence, the next Value in our series (since we’re on the letter ‘E’ in the word SHEPHERD). He started by saying that although we try to do everything excellently in our church–the praise, the sermons, the other ministires, etc.–there is a danger in that we could be tempted to tailor things to what the general public wants, in order to get more people to come out, in order to have more money to do things more excellently. (People don’t really know what they want after all, but WILL be attracted to the simple message & example of God’s love.) Dave reminded us that "the Church is not something we DO, but it is something we ARE".
The scripture reference was from Col. 3, where we get to that equation again (which we gleaned from an archive-note on another sermon): salvation = works, NOT works = salvation. Dave pointed out the error of saying that we Christians are "just a group of sinners". Yes indeed, we definitely do sin, but according to these verses in Colossians, we are NOT "just a group of sinners", but rather "God’s holy, elect", etc. (Col. 3:12), the "temple of God"… We are called to excellence. This passage goes on to list several virtues, which are actually a reflection of God’s own character, as displayed in Christ. So how is it possible that we could actually be like that? Because Christ/God can be IN us! (This is the role of the Holy Spirit.) This is the only way that we can be bound together by love, and face each challenge as an opportunity.
In fact, the passage talks about 2 things "dwelling" in us: the Peace of Christ, and the Word of Christ. These are the things that communicate God to the world, and remember that this is the whole purpose of us being God’s elect. Because He wants the rest of the world to also become His elect.
Now to bring the message full circle: on Sunday mornings, we do not DO worship, but we enter IN to worship. This is not only the praise time, but the whole service–the scripture passage talks about teaching as well as correction ("admonish"). We need this because we’ve been "out in the world" all week; we need to be "refilled" as it were, in order to make our whole life (not just Sundays) "worship":
"And whatever you do, whether in mind or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him." (Col. 3:17)
Refilled in order to pour it out again, to the world.