If we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin. 1 John 1:7 NKJV
Sermons for the month of June are dedicated to RENEWING OUR VISION. Lord willing, each of the five Sundays of June we will consider the five key words of church vision. This comes from an acrostic of the word R-E-A-L-M. It is a play-on-words from Job 33:28 (LB): “I will go on living in the realm of light!” The word “realm” here means: Relational Community; Educational Center; Actional Congregation; Levitical Choir; Missional Church!
Today our focus is on the relational connection between “light” and “fellowship” to build the Christi’s church on earth. The first church began in the Book of Acts as a community of faith and continues this way unto this present time. We often use the term the “Body of Christ” of which we are members. Jesus is Christ the Head; we are Christ the Body! It is very simple: We are the family of God where brothers and sisters in Christ gather regularly to hear the Word of God, Worship together in praise, fellowship with each other by breaking bread and join in once accord to offer prayers (Acts 2:42).
This becomes even more exciting when you understand that we are a relational community of faith in the living God. A true sense of community is lacking in our world today. People who communicate on a business level with hundreds of people can still be lacking in a true relational experience. God gave the dynamic of fellowship to the saints as a gift to strengthen each other in the core of our existence. There is no closer relational bond than that which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. This bond will build the people of God to stand strong in a world system that is anti-Christ. God is at the center of a relational church because He, Himself is relational!
Relational can be defined as: People who trust in Christ as Savior also commit themselves to caring, praying for, and fellowshipping with one another in the context of the local church. Enjoy and participate in your relational community of faith. Continue what was modeled in the early church!
The entrance of thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple. Psalm 119:130
Presently, our Sunday Morning Pulpit Series is on Renewing our Vision! First and foremost, we are called to be Gospel Lighthouse to reach this community for Christ, then on to the nations of the world. We are an Acts 1:8 local church-based ministry. The greater Hayward area is our “Jerusalem.” The sphere of influence God has given us begins here, touches our nation and reaches to the “uttermost parts of the earth.” Clearly, we are a local church with a global vision!
This new pulpit series is taken from a statement from the oldest Book of the Bible. Job’s declaration, “I will go on living in the realm of light!” naturally formulates an outline to describe our vision (See Job 33:28TLB). Notice the play-on-words in the acrostic REALM. Connecting God’s “revelaional” light with the letters r-e-a-l-m creates: Relational – Educational – Actional – Levitical – Missional church.
Last week we covered: Relational Community of Faith. Today’s emphasis is God’s call to be an Educational Center for the Word. Truly, we are called by God to educate His people in biblical truth. We are compelled by the Holy Spirit to make God’s Word relevant to every area of life. A person must first be instructed in the knowledge of Scripture in order to create a base of understanding truth. This Scriptural base makes it possible to develop a biblical worldview. Then of course, we want to help people to implement principles from God’s Word in our daily lives.
Today, Lord willing, we will focus on the educational aspect of our Church Vision. The Bible is clear on giving this general objective for all Christians and every Church. Jesus said: … Go therefore and teach all the nations … baptizing them [then] …teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you (Matt 28:19-20). We are mandated by the Lord Jesus, not only to reach people for Christ, but also to “teach” (educate) or make disciples of all nations.
We begin with the base curriculum of the teachings of Jesus. Our central text Book is the Bible. Our students are those who have confessed that Jesus Christ is Savior and are willing to follow Him as Lord. Our purpose is to: 1) Teach biblical truth so every member understands it; 2) Help each believer develop a biblical worldview; 3) Challenge God’s people to daily practice biblical principles. Embracing the educational aspect of our vision will equip the saints for the work of ministry (Eph 4:11-12).
Today, we continue our Pulpit Series on Renewing Our Vision which is in essence refreshing our minds on the Vision of the House! God has set us as a lighthouse of gospel ministry to the Hayward and surrounding area. Acts 13:47 says: “I have set you to be a light of the gentiles that you would bring salvation to the ends of the world.” To help us better understand the vision we are using a key word from the statement of Job (33:28) that says: “I will go on living in the realm of light.” God has given us the idea of using an acrostic from the world r-e-a-l-m to further develop this thought. We are: Relational Community; Educational Center; Actional Congregation; Levitical Choir; Missional Church. Truly we are a local church with a global vision!
So far we have covered the Relational and Educational portions of our church vision. Today, Lord willing, our focus will be on that of being an Actional Congregation for Ministry. Again, we are connecting the biblical truth of spiritual light with the expression of our faith as a church that’s actional. Jesus said: “Let your light so shine among men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father who is in Heaven” (Matt 5:16). In order for us to shine as lights, we must first of all know that we are lights. Do you remember that Jesus boldly proclaimed: “You are the light of the world” (Matt 5:14)? In that statement we understand that not only is Jesus the Light of the world, but so are we as His followers! This is especially true for fathers.
What is implied by the term actional congregation? It means that every believer in Jesus Christ is called out of darkness into His marvelous light (1 Peter 2:9). This includes being forgiven of our sins and accepted by God through Christ, but much, much more! We are also endowed by our Creator with gifts, talents and abilities to build up the Body of Christ and help other people by meeting basic needs. God expresses Himself through people utilizing gifts He has given them. Here are some actional one-liners:
-Every member an active member
-Each person is uniquely gifted by God
-Engaging in responsible work glorifies God
-Expressing gifts within bring us fulfillment
-Endowments of Christ are in 1 Peter 4:10-11
Without a Vision People Perish!
Also bring with you your brethren of the tribe of Levi, the tribe of your father, that they may be joined with you and serve you while you and your sons are with you before the tabernacle of witness. They shall attend to your needs and all the needs of the tabernacle; (Num 18:2-3amp)
Today we continue our pulpit series on Renewing our Vision. So far, we have covered: Relational Community; Educational Center; Actional Congregation. We have Levitical Calling and Missional Church remaining. We are using God’s calling for us to be a Lighthouse of Gospel ministry from the words of Job (30:28) which says, “I will go on living in the realm of light.” An acrostic is taken from the word r-e-a-l-m.
Today’s focus is LEVITICAL (ministerial) aspect of our vision. The word Levitical is from the English word “Levi” (a tribe of Israel). On one occasion when Israel sinned (worshipping the golden calf), Moses confronted them. Upon stating his judgment to the children of Israel, Moses asked them, “Who is on the Lord’s side?” Levi (tribe) came forward in repentance (Exodus 32:26). From that point Levi (Levites) became helpers of tabernacle worship of the Aaronic ministry. Numbers 18:1-6 shows that the Levites were to assist Aaron and his sons with oversight and tasks regarding priestly service.
We use the word “Levitical” in this church to articulate our vision in various ministries here at Northern Lights Christian Center. We find that we are a church that serves in: 1) Prayer and praise ministry; 2) Teaching and preaching the Word of God; 3) Oversight of ministries in this local church. Each time the saints of God meet together there is an expression of the Levitical ministry. In others words, the prayer, praise, teaching the Bible and expression of ministries within the Body of Christ are all aspects of the Levitical ministry to which we have been called.
Levitical ministries also include the following: Administration of the Church; Baptizing converts of Christ; Communion and breaking bread; Dedication of infants and children to the Lord; Espousal of Wedding Vows; Free people from bondage; Guide saints in ministry; Impart spiritual blessings. Levitical ministry is fulfilling the sacerdotal services of the church. Remember, we all are priests who minister to the Lord (1 Peter 2:9), yet God has called leaders to exemplify Levitical ministry (1 Pet 5).
Jesus said: I am the light of the world: he that follows me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life. John 8:12
You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden, nor do they light a lamp and hide it under a basket, but on a lampstand and it gives light to all who are in the house. Matt 5:14-15 12
This is our 5th in a series of articles on Renewing Our Vision. We are basing the series from words of Job “I will go on living in the realm of light” (33:28). Keep in mind God has called us to be a Lighthouse in the Northland for gospel ministry until Jesus comes! We’re accentuating the word r-e-a-l-m and using it as an acrostic to feature a theme (Relational-Educational-Actional-Levitical-Missional) for Sunday morning pulpit series.
Today, we consider the word Missional. A Missional Christian means to have a new mindset regarding Christ’s purpose for His people while on their earthly sojourn. In effect, there needs to be a change as to how a people consider themselves, activity of going to church, what they do with Bible knowledge and how they live when not at a church-related event. Note these four points of a Missional Church.
First, people who are Missional consider the words that Jesus said of Himself very seriously, “I am the light of the world.” They follow Him in order to be rescued from the power of darkness; then personally apply his words, “You are the light of the world!” They perceive themselves as His light and their purpose to shine the light by living life by the truth of His Word.
Second, Missional people see “church” not somewhere you go, but someone you are. Attendance to gospel meetings is not about being fed in spirit; No, Missional people apply Ephesians 4:11-12 so as to (not just feed, but) be equipped as saints to do the work of ministry.
Thirdly, Missional people desire milk and meat of the Word. Bible knowledge (1 Peter 2:2; Hebrews 5:12-14) is not just log information, but rather to be built up in spirit and mind to develop a biblical worldview (seeing self, life and others through the lens of Scripture).
Finally, Missional people enjoy church-related events, but not as an end in themselves. Fellowship is transformed to use their influence (to whatever degree God gives) to change their world. Biblical worldview is expressed into a holy lifestyle to reveal Christ to others. If in the workforce, it’s not to merely make a living, but to glorify the Lord. Missional people perceive themselves as a ray of light to shine to those who are in darkness (2 Cor 4:1-7).
Contending for the Faith
Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints. Jude KJV
Jude is one of the best short-read Books of the Bible. From its opening greeting to final exaltation of Christ, the poignant Book of Jude covers the issues that face this generation. Jude says it better than any quick analysis on the state of the church in this new millennium. The essence of the Book is to ignite the hearts of Christians to stand for Christ.
The Book calls us to recognize the battle and battle ground to which we are called to fight. Jude then tells us of a coming judgment upon the ungodly and what we can do to avoid it. He calls us to make a difference for Christ right where we are.
The message of Jude is relevant to the church today. We, as God’s people, need to know that “certain men have crept in unnoticed…who turn the grace of our God into lasciviousness (lawlessness; living it up)” as seen in V.4. This helps us to see the beast system described in Revelation 13 as operating to emasculate the potential of the saints of God. In other words, this present attack upon the American Church is not outward persecution, as in some nations, but by subtle and covert work of demons (1 Tim 4:1). Their plot is to convince the church that the Bible is not really true, that the gathering of the saints is for naught and seek to sabotage the grace of God.
Watch out for the “creepers” who try to get Christians to believe that God is love, just and only love (in terms of accepting people and their sin) and He does not have a judgment side or holy nature. They evade the truth that demands justice for those who willfully leave the state in which they were created. Jude gives three examples:
-Angels that left their first state, i.e. they left being created as angels and followed the great master deceiver and are now demons held in chains of darkness
-Dissenters were the men of Sodom and Gomorrah who also left the way they were created (to love and enjoy women) and became Sodomites (exchanging sexuality with other men)
-Rebels and “filthy dreamers” wanting to destroy righteousness, morality and civil order. They despised authority, spoke evil of dignities and took advantage of others.