way Jesus describes God in prayer and thus relationship is as
'Father'. It seems simple enough and particularly in the west we then
position ourselves rightly as sons or daughters of God. Unusually
though, many then proceed in their faith in a place of isolation
forgetting that Jesus starts the Lord's prayer with 'Our'.
God wants you individually, the scarier element for most is that
God's primary affection, God's direction, and yes even God's
'election' (I swear that was not supposed to sound alliterated) is not upon the individual it is upon his chosen
the Old Covenant, Israel was 'chosen' (or elected) by God because
for the sake of the fathers.” (Rom 11:28). Deuteronomy 4:37 tells
us that "Because
He loved your fathers, therefore He
chose their descendants after them".
9:11 – 12 tells us that... "though
the twins were not yet born, and had not done anything good or bad,
in order that God's purpose according to His choice might stand, not
because of works, but because of Him, who calls, it was said to her,
'The older will serve the younger'".
misunderstand this verse (and passage in general) because we are
obsessively individually focused, however it is not individual
election God is primarily talking of in Romans 9 but the election of
a nation for his purposes. Genesis, giving a fuller background tell
us "Two nations are
in your womb; And
two peoples shall
be separated from your body; And one people shall be stronger than
the other; And the older shall serve the younger" (Genesis
chose Israel in the forefathers. Each individual was 'chosen' because
they were born into Israel by birth and participated in the covenant
through faith (yes, even in the in the OT). In the exact same way, we
are told in Ephesians 1:4 tells us “For he chose us in him...”
The Church is chosen as a new covenant community in Christ, through
Christ and for Christ. Repetitively throughout Ephesians 1 and 2 we
are told that our salvation, our identity, our sufficiency is in
what does this matter to us?
Short answer is that the call of God, the direction of God and the
affection of God is unconditionally towards his Church, Christ's
bride. The Church has been unconditionally elected not you as an
individual. This is important because such an understanding readjusts
the way we consider our place in the world.
cannot be walking in the will of God and be practically apart from
the body. It is inconsistent with the community call of God in
Christ. No where in the New Testament do we even get a glimmer of the
idea that one might be a disciple and in a casual relationship with
the Church or indeed practically and relationally not part of it.
Baptism was the initiation and declaration of a repentant person
coming into a new family, a new way, a new identity, a new community.
is NOT about building your dream, God is about building his.
37:4 tells us “Delight yourself in the LORD, and he will give you
the desires of your heart.”
we frequently approach this completely opposite. We say to God (and
to the Church for that matter) 'give me the desires of my heart and I
will delight in you'.
is about building a home defined by him.
Home is WHO
(as defined by our father in heaven)
good, the bad and the ugly. Christ is beautifying his Church and she
is loved even when not perfect.
Cor 3:9 starts “For
we are God's fellow-workers;
you are God's field, God's building.
we are GOD'S...!!!
We seem to continue to forget this little detail, we are his.
is not about God blessing what we do, but about us standing in what
he is blessing.
This is not about us creating a monument to our comfort but a home
that positions for the ultimate fight.
the LORD builds the house, its builders labour in
the LORD watches over the city, the watchmen stand guard in vain.
important then strategy, vision or style is our Identity, an identity
found in Christ, expressed and shaped consistently in, through and
because of the local community we are dedicated to because it is
Home is about our
place of grace
Apostle Paul continues talking of his call and the Church in
the grace God has given me,
I laid a foundation as
an expert builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one
should be careful how he builds. 11 For
no-one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which
is Jesus Christ.” 1 Cor 3:10 – 11
is the grace on your life?
is the Grace on the house?
local expression of the Church is as diverse as the grace of God that
he puts on our lives.
often, individual's, Churches and Ministries get caught in a
comparison trap. We get 'home' envy because the grace of God on
another has built something unique to the call of God on that person
we try to live in a place of comparison rather than grace, we get
key sign of health in Church community is not simply growth or size
(that could easily be obesity or a tumour), it is maturity expressed
in healthy reproductivity.
Home is about our hopes &
remember drawing my dream home as a child, it looked remarkably
similar to family friends of ours. Have you ever had home envy? As
you grow in life and mature you discover another persons home is not
we shape a home we shape it in expectation and anticipation of a
expectant parent prepares the new babies room, the couple creates a
home with quiet dreams of a child filling the empty room. God is not
building us for where we are but where he is taking us
Cor 3:12 continues...
any man builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones,
wood, hay or straw, his
work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to
light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the
quality of each man's work.” 1 Cor 3:12 – 13
expectation, anticipation and hope that what is built lasts in
build not for the life that sits just in front of us but for eternity
that extends this life.
build for the vision of Rev 7:9 – 12, a vision of people from every
nation tribe and tongue standing before the throne of God clothed in
the righteousness of Christ.
the Message Paraphrase of Ephesians 2:16 – 22 it says...
brought us together through his death on the cross. The Cross got us
to embrace, and that was the end of the hostility. Christ came and
preached peace to you outsiders and peace to us insiders. He treated
us as equals, and so made us equals. Through him we both share the
same Spirit and have equal access to the Father. That's plain enough,
isn't it? You're no longer wandering exiles. This kingdom of faith is
now your home country. You're no longer strangers or outsiders. You
belong here, with as much right to the name Christian as anyone. God
is building a home. He's using us all—irrespective of how we got
here—in what he is building. He used the apostles and prophets for
the foundation. Now he's using you, fitting you in brick by brick,
stone by stone, with Christ Jesus as the cornerstone that holds all
the parts together. We see it taking shape day after day—a holy
temple built by God, all of us built into it, a temple in which God
is quite at home.”
direct recipients of this passage were largely Gentile believers,
feeling rejected at times because they were not 'chosen' like Israel.
Paul however stresses in Ephesians that we now have been 'chosen in
Christ' and he is building a home. He is not building a full service
restaurant where we can come and go, where we can demand service and
treat it like a consumer treats a business rather he is building a
often people have become consumers of a spiritual product and seek
more and better service, picking and choosing from different
providers. Going from Church to Church to get their fix.
you a Spiritual Consumer relating to the Church as a provider? Or are
you part of community on mission?
to 'WELCOME HOME' from our sermon Series 'The Code' (note: the recording is initially not great before improving)
BLOG – ARE YOU A SPIRITUAL CONSUMER?