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 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)

 

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

Community

This week Eugene Peterson tweeted these words:

It’s so key to remember that following Jesus is a lifestyle “on the move.” We don’t stop to admire what we’ve accomplished.

This is our call to mission—a new community in the presence of the living God.

The Immanuel community, for Matthew and for us, is defined not by where we have been, but by where we are going.

It is defined not so much by our ancestors, may they rest in peace, as by our descendants.
It is defined not so much by what we are against, but by what we are for.
It is defined not so much by our past as by our future.

It is defined by God with us.

This is the vision of a Baptist kind of church: a people discerning together where we see God, and what we see God doing, and becoming part of that.