Sunday, September 11, 2011

God's New Society...(Ephesians 2:11-22)

I was privileged to preach today at Agape Korean Church in Rwanda. Here is the summary of the sermon.

When God created the universe, everything was orderly with perfect harmony. Of course without sin. It was Shalom: Absolutely sinless peace of God. God said that it was good.

When the human accepted sin into them, however, all the order, harmony and peace of God were shattered. Along with them, the relationships with God, others, self and all the creation were also broken. There was no longer Shalom. And the cause of the problem was the sin.

God did not give up on the sinful humanity, however, because He loved the humanity too much, whom He created in His image. He had a way to save them. His way was Jesus Christ. Whoever believes in Him, who died for all humanity bearing all sins, to be the way to salvation may be saved.

The cure for the sin was the cross and Christ's shed blood on behalf of the humanity. It was the innocent life of the Savior but it was the gospel: the good news for us.

The collective body of these believers was called the church. John Stott called the church "God's new society" to the humanity and the community that people labeled "Christianos" or "Christians" because the only common ground for these people was Christ whom they love and serve.

This new society was the only group of people who demonstrated that the irreconcilable relationships may still be mended and healed because the holy and sinless God and the sinful humans were reconciled by the peacemaking Jesus. The Ephesians 2:11-22 describes that the Jews and the gentiles were also reconciled because Jesus, who is the peace, tore down the wall and made them one. What seemed impossible was made possible in God and His grace. Through this community, one may taste a glimpse of restored Shalom again. This Shalom will be fully and completed restored when Jesus returns, we believe.

This new community of God should have three characteristics:

1. The community of faith: The community of these people should have the same confession of faith. It should be in line with the great confession of Peter: "You are the Christ, the son of the living God" who died for us. The scripture guarantees that we will receive the Holy Spirit as the gift when we repent our sins and receive forgiveness. (Acts 2:38) So this community becomes that of the Holy Spirit experiencing God's power and that of the worship to God, that of the prayer and that of the scriptures.

2. The community of love: The community of these people should be of love because God is love. (1 John 4:7,8) He gave us this love as the new command because, when we love each other like Jesus loved us, it evidences that we are His disciples. (John 13:34,35) Love is the essence of Christianity and without it whatever we do is meaningless.

3. The community of mission: The community of these people should be of mission because it is the purpose of His salvation for us. The body of Christ, the new community, is not whole at present. He is crippled because not all members of His body have been added to His body. Thus, mission is necessary to help make the body whole. Until it is completed or made whole, we are only work in process. Mission is for all saints, the whole church.

Lausanne Covenant declares that the Whole Church is responsible for taking the Whole Gospel to the Whole World. The Cape Town Commitment, the third Lausanne Congress held in October 2010 in Cape Town, South Africa, declared that the mission should be integral and the integral mission should include not only the proclamation of the gospel but also the demonstration of the gospel. It is every Christian's mandate to be involved in mission, not just of the pastors, the missionaries, the mission department etc.

May God's new society advance and expand not by force or by words but by the Spirit alone so that the world may know that He lives and saves the poor in spirit. - Jeffrey

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