A basketball in my hands is probably worth about $20 but a basketball in Russell Westbrook’s hands is worth $40 million a year. A tennis racket in my hands is probably only good for a self-inflicted wound but in Serena William's hands and it produced $27 million last year. Who owns or controls a product or object greatly affects what value it has and how it is used.
We are all on a journey just trying to find our way and we are much better when we are together. I’d like to invite you on a journey with our church family over these next several weeks to truly understand what it is to be the church in the hands of Jesus.
Matt 16:16-19 (Peter told Jesus), “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” 17 And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you..! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. 18 And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. ESV
The word Jesus used as he spoke of the church is, “Ekklesia” and it was not a new word to those listening. It was a very common word but it wasn’t a familiar word in expressing religious ideas. Jesus could have used the word for Temple explaining how he was going to build a new and improved Temple now that the Messiah had come. He could have used the same idea with the word for the Synagogue.
Jesus completely deviated from religious terminology of his day. He did so to communicate something very strategic about God’s plan for the church by choosing the word, “Ekklesia”.
Those hearing him explain this were very familiar with this word. “Ekklesia” was a word used in his day to describe a group of citizens called out for governmental purposes. This was a legislative assembly of citizens. If Rome conquered a territory, citizens of Rome, (Ekklesia) would take charge of that conquered land as an expression of Roman authority.
When a group of Roman citizens, even as small as 2 or 3 gather, it was an expression of Roman authority as if the emperor himself were there in their midst. It makes sense that a few chapters later we find in Matt 18:20 where Jesus speaks of how when two or three Christians are gathered He would be in their midst.
Jesus probably raised some eyebrows when he chose to use a term for a secular institution to bring understanding to “church.” But this is how Jesus chose to define who he has called us to be. We are citizens of heaven with a purposed assignment of influence in a fallen world that Jesus wants to completely redeem by his love.
In the book of Acts the disciples weren’t being thrown in jail because they were having amazing worship services with really cool effects. Didn’t have smoke machines so shorter disciples hid behind a curtain throwing dirt into the air making dust to cause the candle flames to glow.
Gathering was for the purpose of inspiring, empowering and sending. The power of God was invading every realm of society as God’s people carried God’s presence into everyday life.
Our goal is not to merely get you to attend church. Our goal is inspire and empower you to become everything God created you to be. We want to do all we can to ensure that the church is in the hands of Jesus.
A bar of steel made into a batch of nails would be valued at around $30. If you take that bar of steel and turn it into needles it would be closer to $300. That same bar of steel could be made into a Ginzu knife blade and would then be worth maybe $3,000. But if that steel was fashioned into Swiss watch springs, it could be worth as much as $3,000,000! Who owns or controls a product or object greatly affects how that object is used and what value it holds.
The church in the hands of our Risen King will truly change the world. Bringing the resource of your gifted life into the hands of Jesus will leave your world a better place.
If you are casual about what God is passionate about you will leave a legacy of complacency. Even if it's good if it's not all God wants it to be it's less than what it could've been and nobody wants to leave a legacy of regret.
Purpose to a daily difference in the lives of those within your reach this week.
DISCUSSION GUIDE FOR COMMUNITY GROUP LEADERS
1. On a scale of 1-10 how loving, patient and kind are you?
2. After offering this assessment what do you believe you can do to improve your score by one point?
Matt 16:13-15 Jesus asked his disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?” 14 They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” 15 “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?”
Sunday we heard about the amazing legacy of Jesus and how misrepresented Jesus is. Jesus lived a life that was completely sacrificial in consideration of others even to the point of death. The church today isn’t known for producing people who are sacrificial about the way they live. We want to work on improving in this area.
The truth is God wants our lives to be awesome. The trick is God doesn’t want us to pursue awesome lives for ourselves but rather to provide an awesome life for others. That’s what will make our lives so awesome.
3. Share a situation in somebody’s life, other than your own, that could use some encouragement or help.
Pausing to consider other people’s problems opens a doorway to compassion. Compassion moves us into a place of cooperation with God to more effectively bring about God’s Kingdom in the earth.
4. This would be a great time for everybody to share what they plan to do over this next week to reach into a specific situation. This could be a text, a call, a visit, offering help to somebody in need, etc.
The church in the hands of this Risen King will truly change the world.
GP2RL: Purpose to make a daily difference in the lives of those within your reach this week.