We Gather Here
Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit. Ephesians 2:19-22
God created us to be in a family. For almost every one of us, our earliest memory is that of belonging to a group of people – father, mother, or siblings. God’s design in creating us within a family environment is for our protection, and for us to learn what love is about, since our happiest memories are usually about being together with our families or a closely-knit group of friends. God designed the church to be the household in which we can protect our hearts and feel free to love again. The Bible is clear that God’s household is not just a place where people mingle once a week, but rather a group of people who gather together frequently, be it for Sunday worship, midweeks, Bible Talk and small groups or discipling times.
And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching. Hebrews 10:24-25
One of the themes throughout the Bible is how we need other people in our lives to have a consistently deep relationship with God. A sincere and earnest heart may get us started in this journey to heaven, but what’s required to make it to our destination are the helping hands and healing words of those who are committed to us in love. We need “fellow sinners” to help us be more Christ-like, as together we hold to the pledge we made to Jesus our Lord.
…speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work. Ephesians 4:15-16
To Know God
Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.
The second part of our mission statement is a reflection of our desire to know God and His will. The importance that God places on knowing Him and His heart can be seen clearly throughout the Bible. In order to love God we must know God – not just know “about” Him in a purely intellectual way, but to know Him in a personal, heartfelt manner that enables us to have a relationship with Him.
One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?” “The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’” Mark 12:28-30
As a church that is committed to knowing God, we purposefully seek to be closer to Him. Our worship of God needs to be conducted in a way that pleases Him. When we worship, God looks past our words and our singing to see the attitude in our hearts. When we gather together for the breaking of bread and drinking of wine, let us do so with hearts that desire to understand His intense love and sacrifice for us on a deeper level. When we come together for deeper bible teaching, let us be grateful for the way God reveals Himself to us in His Word.
This is what the Lord says: “Let not the wise boast of their wisdom or the strong boast of their strength or the rich boast of their riches but let the one who boasts boast about this: that they have the understanding to know me, that I am the Lord, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight,” declares the Lord. Jeremiah 9:23-24
Make God Known
You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot. You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. Matthew 5:13-16
Making God known to the lost around us is not about earning our way to heaven. It is about being the salt of the earth and the light to the world. It is nothing to be afraid of, nothing to be ashamed of, and it should not be a matter of religion. Making God known is a pure alignment of our hearts to His. Using another metaphor, it is like us becoming His eyes, roaming back and forth on the earth, seeking the prodigal sons and daughters who are ready to come home. Making God known is about seeing the Father jumping for joy as He sees those who were once dead raised back to life again. Making God known is the heart of Him who created us.
I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent….In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents….But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him….But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found. Luke 15:7, 10, 20, 32
We are the chosen instruments through which God’s heart for the lost can be known, so as to let them come to a knowledge of the truth. All the things God has done for men were directed towards the one single purpose of having a relationship with them, and that usually happens when disciples are making God known.
How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!” Romans 10:14-15