Who is Christ for Us Today?

In the wider Christian church, this Sunday is a celebration of Christ as the Lord of all the world. In some places it is called ‘the Feast of Christ the King’. For many people, however, this language does not exactly work. The challenge is to maintain our faith in Christian a way that is both meaningful in the contemporary world and retains the basis of hope that has sustained the church through all the centuries.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, in prison during the last year of the Second World War, wrote about this struggle for modern day Christians: ‘What is bothering me incessantly is the question what Christianity really is, or indeed who Christ really is, for us today.’

Who is Christ for us today? This is the challenge for us, because it not only defines something about him, it also declares something about who we are, what we care about, and what we hope for.

Today, and in the weeks ahead, in the season of Advent, we enter into this wonderful and challenging time of reflection, a time of faith, and hope, and love.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Models of the Church- Multicultural and inter-cultural

No doubt our society becomes more and more multi-cultural every day, month and year. It seems likely that there is no place in our society which is not multicultural. Our workplaces, our schools, our local communities, our sports and hobby clubs, and our homes are multicultural.

Hence, many people find it exciting to live in our multicultural and dynamic society, especially those who come originally from a mono-cultural and mono-ethnic society.


Our church is then called and committed to embracing and demonstrating these multicultural dynamics in our ministry, vision and future direction. Moreover, our church is called to be a model of an intercultural community in which active intercultural engagements and interactions take place among its members and between the English speaking congregation and the Cambodian speaking one. In order to so, we need a multicultural and multi-linguistic leadership team and pastoral team.


“…there was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, robed in white, with palm branches in their hands” (Revelation 7:9).

 

Models of the Church FUZZY LINES

“For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, ‘He has a demon’; the Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Look, a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’ Yet wisdom is vindicated by her deeds.”

Matthew 11:18-19

 

So he came and proclaimed peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near; for through him both of us have access in one Spirit to the Father. So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are citizens with the saints and also members of the household of God, built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the cornerstone.”

Ephesians 2:17-20

 

Models of the Church COMMUNITY

The church as community is the people in community, with God.

The people are the church, together.

In this community, we can grow as persons, we are loved and we receive love; we have gifts to share and to receive. In this community, we are members: we belong, we each have a part and a place and a contribution to make.

But the church as community loses its way unless it knows that it is the community of God.

In short, it is the community of people living in and with God, and God living in and with us.

 

Models of the Church SERVANT

At the beginning of the twentieth century, French theologian Anton Loisy wrote: ‘Jesus announced the kingdom of God and what came was the Church.’

These words, often quoted out of context, serve to ask what is the relation between God’s promised reign and the Church. For many centuries, the Church imagined that God’s kingdom was limited to the Church. In earlier and more recent times, there has been much creative thinking about God’s purposes in the world at large: and how the Church should be part of that. This thinking lies behind the idea of the Church as servant.

What is God doing in the world around us—and how can we participate in that and work with God’s purposes in our lives, in God’s world?

That is the continuing challenge and invitation to us, the Church.

 

Models of the Church INSTITUTION

The Church—What is it about?

This week and for the next 4 Sundays we will be thinking about ‘models of the church’, some of which are well recognised ways of thinking about the nature and mission of the Church.

These sermons will provide us with some stimulus for our collective discernment of the challenges and opportunities facing us as Box Hill Baptist Church.

During this time there will also be some Forum opportunities, for community discussion of some of these challenges.

 

Box Hill Baptist Church Anniversary

This Sunday we give thanks to God as we celebrate the Church Anniversary.

Can you imagine what it was like for those who came to this area 115 years ago, to establish homes, a wider community and a Baptist Church as part of that community ?

The ancient prophet Jeremiah also challenged a group of people who had moved (not of their own choice) into a new community. He encouraged them in God’s name to settle there:

‘Build houses and live in them; plant gardens and eat what they produce.

Seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you in exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare.’

(Jeremiah 29. 5, 7)

 

The Moods of Prayer

“Prayer is the way we work our way out of the comfortable but cramped world of self and into the spacious world of God.”  Eugene Peterson

“Lord grant me the grace to have freedom of spirit; Cleanse my heart and soul so I may live joyously in your love.”  Anselm of Canterbury (1033 – 1109)

Exploring how prayer acts as a way to reflect on life, faith and our relationship with God.

 

The Humility of Christ

In Philippians 2.1-13 the apostle Paul demonstrates Christ as the example of humility and humbleness. He emptied himself and took on human form, although he was the Son of God. Christ Jesus didn’t claim his divinity on earth at all. He lived just like a human being amongst others. Yet he exhibited his absolute submission and total obedience to God up to the point of his death.

Paul encouraged the the Christians in Philippi to adapt and exercise Christ’s humility in their church. Their adaption of Christ’s humility can be demonstrated in the ways that they shouldn’t do anything out of their selfishness, ambition and conceit, but they should love and respect one another and look to the interests of others. And they should do all things without grumbling and arguing. These things would help the Philippian Christians to live in harmony and enhance unity amongst themselves.

Paul points out that it is God who enables and empowers us to will and work for his good purpose. He loves to see his children love one another and live in harmony and unity.

United in support for one another

This week Rev. Dr Oh-Young Kwon draws from Philippians 1:18b-30 to speak on the importance of unity with each other and the Spirit.

Live your life in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that, whether I come and see you or am absent and hear about you, I will know that you are standing firm in one spirit, striving side by side with one mind for the faith of the gospel, and are in no way intimidated by your opponents. Phil. 1:27-28

Now I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you be in agreement and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same purpose. 1Cor. 1:10

That there may be no dissension within the body, but the members may have the same care for one another. 1Cor. 12:25 

I want their hearts to be encouraged and united in love, so that they may have all the riches of assured understanding and have the knowledge of God’s mystery, that is, Christ himself. Col. 2:2

And may the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all, just as we abound in love for you. 1Th. 3:12