We all have gifts. King Jesus gave gifts to His Church so that the fullness of God might continue after His ascension. These gifts are for the building up and strenghtening of the church for works of service so that we, as the Body of Christ, might be healthy, grow, and mature! What is your gift?
Apostle - One who is sent (church planter)
Prophet - One who speaks the truth of God into places of power and injustice.
Evangelist - One who naturally tells the story of the Gospel in a compelling way, having people join the cause - the Kingdom of God!
Shepherd - One who cares for a local people, making sure there is health and safety in a specific place. (This is often the role of a local pastor.)
Teacher - One who opens up the Scriptures and explains what they mean. One who connects the heart to the mind so that the Church can know God more fully.
All of these working together creates a healthy Church. All are necessary and not ONE single person can fulfill all of them!
Ephesians 4 is a turning point in this letter to the Church. It switches from prayers and theological statements of who God is to the practical instructions that Churches are called to be and do!
Our next sermon, 4:7-16, goes into even more detail about the gifts and graces each of us has as we grow into a healthy & mature body of Christ!
The Church is a dwelling place of God where differences and distinctions no longer define us through the power of Christ. In Christ there are no strangers or foreigners. This is where we all begin. It's easy to put up walls and defend ourselves, but Jesus saving act on the cross tears down all walls. The Temple curtain itself was torn into signifying the availability for ALL to come to God!
Pastor Vito finished our series in Romans. When we repay evil for evil, we conform to this world, but when we repay evil with genuine love, even for the unlovable and enemies, God's kingdom breaks in. This genuine love truly transforms lives. May we be the kind of people that doesn't seek revenge, but loves and prays for our enemies.
We finished our Nazarene series remembering that we are a sent people! God is calling all of us to go and proclaim and live out the Good News of Jesus inviting others to join us, participating with God in the redemption of all things!
Just as God sent his Son into the world, and just as the Son sent his Spirit; the Father, Son and Holy Spirit sends the Church, you and I to continue to the ministry of Jesus!
All of creation is groaning as in pains of childbirth. We as Christians are called to steward and care for God's good creation. This is a challenging message as creation care often gets tied up in American politics. In the Church we are called to a different politic - the ways of Jesus! We should be the first ones to be environmentalists.