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Church isn’t something we do or a place we go. The Church is WHO we are. It is expressed in our values, our relationships, and our mission. Often we associate “church” with nostalgia, routines, activities, facilities, and even objects. But “Church” at a minimum is about worship, community, and mission. It may include many other things, but without these three it falls short of Jesus’ intention for His church. Worship is about the lordship of Jesus, not necessarily about singing or liturgy. Community is about true relationships between people who live under the same lordship. And mission is about engagement with the poor and lost world. It is seeing our lives as surrendered to the mission and purpose of God in the world. The world is full of evil of every kind, and it is the will and wish of God that we proclaim and demonstrate the message and hope of the kingdom of God.
The Antidote For Our Brokenness
Let’s begin with our brokenness… We are guilty and guilty of breaking others. We have all committed sins and we are all victims to the sins of others.
Worship is the only antidote. Worship is repentance, faith, surrender, and obedience all rolled together. Worship sees the world as it really is, as it will one day obviously be under the Lordship and direction of Jesus Christ. Worship then is bringing all of that brokenness under His Lordship. It does not deny our brokenness, hide it, or hide from it. Worship is authentic. It is real. It cries with joy under the truth, “I am broken. I have broken. I am loved, adored, and even honored.”
The APPLIED Lordship of Jesus.
A New Way. We often ask ourselves, “What would Jesus do?” I don’t see Jesus punching someone in the face. I don’t see Jesus walking away either. I can see Jesus standing toe to toe, absorbing the full assault without wilting or retaliation. It’s almost certain that Jesus would not do what I would do in any given situation. Jesus seems to always present…
Romans 12:1-2 (NLT) And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him. 2 Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.
Offer Your Bodies. Consider the power and potential of a group of people offering ALL of themselves. Setting out to discover what Jesus would do and then attempting to do it Jesus’ way. How would Jesus take a stand, not back down, and endure the consequences? What kind of mindset does that require?
It seems that an extreme mindset that offers one’s entire self – mind, body, and soul – to Jesus. One who lives as a sacrifice. A constant prayer that says, “Jesus I want this, but lay it down. What do you want?”
Luke 9:23 (NLT) Then he said to the crowd, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must give up your own way, take up your cross daily, and follow me.
SACRIFICE has always been the BASIS for …
Romans 10:9-10 (NLT) If you openly declare that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by openly declaring your faith that you are saved.
The basis of the commissioned church, then, is to teach people to obey Jesus as Lord. Worship, then, is not about just admiring God or even praising him. It is about responding to his mercy by offering all that we are to him and walking as nonconformists in this broken world. But we also become agents of his kingdom.
Your Kingdom Come To My Neighborhood. Jesus is Lord – That is not religion. That is TRUTH.
Ephesians 2:2 (NLT) You used to live in sin, just like the rest of the world, obeying the devil—the commander of the powers in the unseen world. He is the spirit at work in the hearts of those who refuse to obey God.
Every person is born under the cruel “lordship” of the Devil and of Darkness. Every person is born “obeying” submitted to a cruel master. A master BENT upon their destruction. Declaring Jesus as Lord is the ultimate insult and the birth of a holy and beautiful rebellion.
Philippians 2:9-11 (NLT) Therefore, God elevated him to the place of highest honor and gave him the name above all other names, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue declare that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Declaring Jesus as Lord is inevitable. However, the timing is critical. Every person who will be saved from the eternal wrath of God must make this LIVING declaration before it is evident. Before his return. Before their death.
Your Kingdom Come. The Lordship of Jesus ends darkness, pain, slavery, and all sins/evil. When we encounter the evils of our world, we are simply touching places that Jesus has not yet been declared LORD! The work of the church is bringing the Lordship of Jesus to every broken dark place.
Church isn’t something we do or a place we go. The Church is WHO we are. It is expressed in our values, our relationships, and our mission. How will you BE the church today? Who will you BE the church with?
Talk About It…
- What does the word “Church” mean to you? What are your favorite things about church?
- Have 3 people in your group read Romans 12:1-5 from different translations. Highlight any words or phrases that you find interesting. Discuss your selections with the group.
- Have 3 people share their own paraphrase of the scripture. Share what you learn from the passage.
- What is our brokenness? What are some broken things about people? How could a person declare Jesus as Lord over their brokenness? Why would someone do that?
- What are some things we need to sacrifice in order to live in the way Jesus taught? How is Jesus’ way different from the many ways we might choose to act?
- What is worship? How is worship more than singing or liturgy? What does the idea of “a life of worship” mean to you?
- What did you discover that you would be excited to share with a friend?