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Church Covenant - Statements three, four, and five Print E-mail
Church Covenants

I.  Introduction:

 As we begin tonight, I would like to say a word about ‘suggestions.’  If you simply want to talk about a certain phrase or word, or if you want to discuss why we included something or left something out, then you are free to bring those up as we talk on Sunday nights.  Yet, if you want to ask the committee to consider actually changing something about the Covenant, we would ask that you put it in writing and either give it to me or someone on the committee.  It does not have to be official or anything, just jot it down and give it to us so that we can discuss it.  You can do this at any point in the process.  Also, if the committee decides not to make the change that you suggest, you can still bring it up from the floor at our September business meeting and we can vote on the change as a Church.  We think that this will be an efficient way to deal with suggestions and will help the committee differentiate between questions/comments and actual suggestions to consider.  With that in mind, let’s look at statements three, four, and five.

II.  Statements three, four, and five:

 A.  Statement three: Because we are members of one another in the body of Christ, we will actively use our spiritual gifts for the common good.  We will not neglect meeting together, but will regularly participate in worship, prayer, study, fellowship, and the ordinances of baptism and communion.

  1.  Thoughts: The idea here is a commitment to participate in the life of the  Church.  The first part of the statement deals with our use of spiritual gifts.  Look at  Romans 12:4-8.  We are all members of the body of Christ and as such we have different  functions or gifts.  As the body of Christ, we are to use our gifts to serve one another.   Again note that the imperative (‘use your gifts’) is built upon the indicative (‘we are one  body with many members in Christ’), which is what our covenant statement reflects.  As  we saw in our study on the Spirit, we have been given these gifts to edify the body for the  common good.  Look at 1 Corinthians 12:7.  The next phrase is taken directly from  Hebrews 10:24-25.  Look at those verses with me.  We want to be committed to faithful attendance.  At the same time, the author of Hebrews speaks of searching diligently for  ways to stir up one another to love and good works and we are to be encouraging one  another as we meet together.  Thus, we included the ideas of ‘worship, prayer, study,  fellowship, and the ordinances of baptism and communion.’  We want to be committed to  participating in these activities so that we might stir one another up and encourage each  other.  We do not want to be legalistic about this so we used the adverb ‘regularly.’  The  goal is regular participation in the Church.

  2.  Questions or comments?

 B.  Statement four: Since Christ, though he was rich, became poor for our sake, we too will give sacrificially and cheerfully to the support of this church, the relief of the poor, and the spread of the gospel to all nations.  We will dedicate ourselves, our money, our time, and our resources to the cause of Christ as faithful stewards, carefully avoiding all forms of greed.

  1.  Thoughts: This statement is obviously about giving.  In order for us to be  faithful givers, we must remember all that Christ has given for us.  Look 2 Corinthians  8:9.  In a context where Paul is encouraging the Corinthians to give financially, he  reminds them of all that Christ has done for them.  He became poor so that we might  become rich.  We need this truth, this indicative, to be ever on our minds as we consider  giving.  In light of what Christ has done, we also want to give ‘sacrificially and  cheerfully.’  Look at 2 Corinthians 9:6-7.  God has not just called us to give, but He has  called us to give cheerfully.  Likewise, look at 2 Corinthians 8:1-7.  Paul is addressing the  idea of giving throughout chapters 8 and 9 of 2 Corinthians.  He begins by pointing to the  example of the Macedonians.  They were afflicted, but they gave with joy.  They were  poor, but they gave willingly.  They begged Paul for the favor of taking part in the relief  of the saints.  Indeed, they are a great, convicting example of faithful, joyful, abundant  giving.  Of course, this statement is not simply about money.  We are committing to give  ‘ourselves, our money, our time, and our resources to the cause of Christ.’  

  In Matthew 25, Jesus tells the parable of the men and their talents.  One is given  five and produces five.  One is given two and produces two.  And one is given one and he  simply buries his and does nothing with it.  When the master returns he rewards the first   two, but judges the third for his sloth and poor stewardship.  In a very sobering way,  Jesus warns us about being poor stewards of all that God has given us.  We want to be  ‘faithful stewards.’  This call implies that we avoid ‘all forms of greed,’ which Jesus  warns us against in Luke 12:15, Take care, and be on guard against all covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.  This is one of the few  places where we speak against a specific sin, but as you can see, it follows upon a  positive exhortation to be faithful stewards.  We can only do this by avoiding greed.

  2.  Questions or comments?

 C.  Statement five: Since Jesus loved the lost, befriended them, and invited them to come to Him, we will follow His example, and obey His command to go and make disciples of all nations.  We will speak the gospel to our family, friends, and acquaintances, praying for them and imploring them to be reconciled to God.

  1.  Thoughts: Statement five deals with our commitment to evangelism.  We are  committed to getting the gospel to any and all because of Jesus’ example and command.   As followers of Christ, we are to do what He did.  And what did He do with the lost?  He  loved them.  Look at Mark 10:21.  Jesus loved the Rich Young Ruler even though he was  in love with his money.  Look at Matthew 23:37.  Jesus weeps over Jerusalem and their  failure to believe.  And John 3:16 tells us that God loves the whole world.  Thus, we are  to love the lost.  Jesus also ‘befriended the lost.’  Look at Luke 5:30-32.  Jesus hung out  with the sinners and the tax collectors because He came not to call the righteous but  sinners to repentance.  Look at 15:1-2.  Again, Jesus spends time with the lost.  Look at  7:36-50.  Jesus spent time with those who knew that they were sinners and who rejoiced  at the forgiveness that He offered.  He befriended the lost.  Finally, He invited the lost to  follow Him.  Look at John 7:37.  His invitation was given to any and all to come and  drink.  Look at Matthew 11:28.  Again, He calls to the weary and offers them rest.  

  Jesus exemplifies how we should treat the lost and He gives us clear commands to  do the same.  Look at Matthew 28:18-20.  The Great Commission calls us to faithfully  take the gospel to all nations.  We must be committed to this task as individuals and as a  Church.  The command to make disciples involves speaking the gospel.  Look at Romans  1:16.  I would like to add Romans 10:14-17, where Paul makes it clear that faith comes  from hearing.  We must speak the gospel to the lost.  Likewise, we are to pray for the  lost.  Look at 1 Timothy 2:1.  We are to be praying for all people, for kings and all who  are in high positions, since God desires all people to be saved and to come to the  knowledge of the truth.  We need to pray for the lost.  Finally, lest we lack compassion  and fervency, we must implore the lost to be reconciled to God.  Look at 2 Corinthians  5:18-21.  God has entrusted to us the ministry of reconciliation.  Thus, we are  ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us.  We implore you on behalf of  Christ, be reconciled to God.  May we be committed to be faithful ambassadors of Christ,  always imploring the lost to repent and believe in His finished work.

  2.  Questions or comments?

III.  Conclusion: 

 Next week will look at the rest of the proposed covenant, Lord willing.  Let’s pray and ask God for grace even now to be faithful followers of Christ.  May we live in light of our glorious redemption and our glorious Redeemer.  Amen.

Last Updated ( Tuesday, 15 September 2009 )

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