On Sunday, Pastor Ed preached the fourth sermon in a series on I Peter titled "Response? How to relate to the culture around us." This sermon was called "A Word of Encouragement."
We looked at I Peter 2:4-10, which gives Three Great Words of Encouragement.
1) God has a local address. (It's worth it!)
That local address is us!
Background: When God led his people out of Egypt, He showed His presence with a cloud. After they built the tabernacle, the cloud settled there. When they built the temple, His presence settled there.
Now we are the temple.
Now we are God's address.
Every time we call God, it's a local call.
We are building together. Every one of these metaphors in I Peter is a corporate metaphor about the church.
This challenges those of us who treat the church casually.
Church is what we're doing together, and it's the hope of the world!
Some of us are acting like building debris, not a part of the building, even though we're well-formed stones.
As Paul says in Romans, if you have the gift of leadership, lead! If services, serve! Whatever your gift, use it!
God's address should be a priority. Be part of the building!
It's hard -- but it's worth it!
Ephesians 2:19-21 -- The whole building is built together.
We're building a spiritual building for God -- and we're also building a physical facility.
The cornerstone of the spiritual building is Jesus.
In that building, we offer spiritual sacrifices through Jesus -- humility, brokenheartedness, repentance.
Through Jesus, we offer the only thing we have -- ourselves -- in service and love and praise.
2) Jesus is a fork. (So don't be surprised!)
He demands that we choose.
Jesus presents Himself to people, and they must choose.
Don't be surprised when people who've rejected Him make things difficult for you.
The rock causes them to fall.
3) This is huge -- and we're part of it! (So stay in the game!)
This is God's activity.
God is at work in me, and that makes my life significant.
It's true and puts wind in your sails.
We know Who wins!
It's not about living in first class -- that's not the way to heaven. First class will not satisfy. Only Jesus can do that.
We're not here for our own enjoyment.
The work of God is huge! And we get to be part of it!
So stay in the game! Galatians 6:1 -- Don't grow weary of doing good!
After the service, we had a community meeting, welcoming new members and hearing reports on the budget and on progress -- and obstacles -- in the building process.
After the meeting and a break for lunch, a group of us met on the property to pray. It was a beautiful time, and we are still convinced that God is working through our church -- especially through the spiritual building. And we're asking the way to be smoothed for the physical building.