OSL-09 - Designed for Christ's Church

Calvary Bible is a church that belongs to Jesus. He is building this church, and as we celebrate our 80th year as a local church, Jesus has great plans for each of us. Every believer has been specially designed by God, to do ministry in Christ's church. 

Please open to the verse that is on the lanyard holding our nametags. Find the reference on your lanyard or someone’s around you (and if you don’t know them, say hello and meet them). 

When you have opened to the verse, stand with me for the reading of God's Word. First Peter 2:5 is a “design-check” verse. It is God reminding us that we all need to check if we are together doing the ministry He designed us to do in Christ's church.

Follow along as we listen to Peter’s capturing God's Words and giving them to us in the Holy Scriptures:

I Peter 2:5 you also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.

Pray

We are all servants, designed to offer our lives to God as a gift. Most households in America take a moment around the New Year to look at their financial standing. How the debts vs. assets are doing, or the savings for the college fund, or the baby fund, or the house fund, or the retirement fund. 

For most Americans, last year was a year the stock markets gained back almost a third of the loss of the financial meltdown of the year before. But, a third of a loss gained back, means quite a loss still exists. Financial life is so precarious at times.

Have you ever wished you could just once be on the inside of a great financial deal, like an option to buy as many shares of Google stock as you wanted to, at only a dollar per share (current price $619.80)? Wouldn’t that thrill your heart to know you had such wealth potential?

We all think so clearly on what we would like when it comes to finances, but what about another investment, one in non-material or spiritual things? 

Did you know that you were designed to produce an amazing, endless wealth stream by investing your life, your time, your treasures, and your talents in Christ's church? It is such an incredible opportunity that the only caution is:

Don’t wait to
Invest in Christ’s Church

The key is NOW. Don’t wait. While you have something you can sacrifice, you go ahead and invest it! May I remind you we live in uncertain times? We can only invest in Heaven while we are here on Earth. Our lives are so short, our days are like a vapor.

At the end of our lives every unredeemed moment, every unconsecrated dollar, every carefully guarded piece of gold that was not offered to the Lord, and every sparkling jewel that was only for me and not for Him will be devalued, wiped out forever. 

As the wise Apostle Peter wrote near the end of his life: "But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, in which the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up" (2 Peter 3:10). 

Think about all the time you had on Earth, and all the treasures you ever held. What good will they be one second after you die? Death means saying good-bye to all stocks, bonds, property, and gold. Death means saying farewell to all our collections, houses, condos, furniture, clothes, electronics, and cars. 

The wise investor will strategically invest his time and treasures in a place that will bring the greatest dividends for the longest time. We cannot take paper dollars or solid gold American Eagles with us unless we transmute them into something that will bridge the gap between earth and heaven.

So what is the one investment that always yields the highest dividends for the longest term? Honestly, there is only one. Every moment and every treasure invested in Christ's church has an endless term and a dividend that lasts forever. There is no risk involved, every investment is swept up daily and collected into the treasuries of Heaven to await our arrival. So the question is, are we:

Investing in
Christ's Church

Are you functioning as a healthy member of Christ's church this morning?

Remember that there seven key metaphors in God's Word for the Church . Each of these Biblical pictures is a powerful way for us to see how God looks upon us who are Christ's church.  

Each of us have been designed by God to be: 

1.    His TEMPLE: because God wants our worship!
2.    His PRIEST: because God wants sacrifices.
3.    His RELATIVE: because God wants us as His family.
4.    His BODY: because God wants us all connected, and working together as a unit, not disconnected and separate.
5.    His BUILDING PROJECT: because God wants to manage a construction team.
6.    His BRIDE: because God loves anticipation and celebration. 
7.    His FARM: because God wants fruit and crops.

God uses these passages to help us understand our responsibilities as believers. He wants us to apply each of the truths revealed by these descriptions of the church into our daily lives.  We often need to be reminded that as members of Christ's church:

1.    We are His TEMPLES: because God wants our worship!

Knowing that God looks on Christ's church as God’s new temple—should increase our awareness of God’s very presence dwelling in our midst as we meet. 

I Peter 2:5 you also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.

Have you personally sought your God, this week, and through His Word offered Him worship? If so say “Yes” aloud right now! God designed us to be 100% employed in offering Him worship as His Temple.

2.    We are His PRIESTS: because God wants sacrifices.

Knowing that God  designed Christ's church as a priesthood—should help us to see more clearly the delight God has in the sacrifices of praise and good deeds that we offer to Him. 

I Peter 2:5 you also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.

•    Sacrifices from consecrated hands: Hebrews 13:16 But do not forget to do good and to share, for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.

•    Sacrifices from yielded voices and lips: Hebrews 13:15 Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name. 

•    Sacrifices from surrendered bodies: Romans 12:1-2 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. 2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

I am part of Christ's Priesthood. I should want to delight in offering the sacrifices of our consecrated hands, surrendered bodies, and yielded voices.  

To aid us, turn with me to Hymn # 379 and sing as a dedication of your hands, feet, voice, and money to God: “Take my Life and Let it Be”

3.    We are His RELATIVES: because God wants us as His family.

It is God who came to walk with Adam and Eve, it is God who is making a home for us and has invited us to dwell WITH Him IN His house forever. God loves our fellowship; and He seeks us to also love our family members He has given to us through being born-again into His Family!

Salvation is called our “adoption” by God. We enter His family by the new “birth”! He wants us in His family—we should increase our love and fellowship with one another. Our relationship because of Christ has transformed how we respond to each other.

I Timothy 5:1-2 Do not rebuke an older man, but exhort him as a father, younger men as brothers, 2 older women as mothers, younger women as sisters, with all purity.

We should want to increase our love and fellowship with those in Christ who are my true family. 

•    Try wearing your nametag as a “ministry”. 
•    Start a list in the back of your Bible of people you want to know better and pray for. 
•    Start asking them how you can encourage them. 
•    Then pray for that area all week long, and look for them next week and find out what God did in their lives. 

Can you imagine coming each week and looking for people you’ve prayed for and seeing people looking for you? That is what we need to be employed in doing. 

God designed us to be 100% employed in serving and encouraging our spiritual relatives.

4.    We are His BRIDE: because God loves anticipation and celebration.

In our world of living together before marriage, and playing with sin, it is hard to describe the joyous anticipation that God designed into marriage. Today every believer is engaged to be married, to Jesus.

Knowing that God designed Christ's church as the bride of Christ—should stimulate us to personally strive for greater purity, deeper love for Christ, and swifter fuller obedience to Him. 

II Corinthians 11:2 For I am jealous for you with godly jealousy. For I have betrothed you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ.

I am Christ's Bride. I should want to strive to stay pure for Him. When I watch TV I am seeking His approval. When I dress it is for His adoring gaze. I think of Him as my beloved.

God designed us to be 100% focused on being His Bride.

5.    We are His BODY: because God wants us all connected, and working together as a unit, not disconnected and separate.

Knowing that God designed us as the body of Christ—should increase our interdependence on one another and our appreciation of the diversity of gifts within the body. 

I Corinthians 12:27 Now you are the body of Christ, and members individually. 

I am Christ's Body. I should want my body to do what His did. Jesus went around doing good. He had compassion for the confused, He helped the poor, healed the sick, loved the outcasts, and comforted the lonely. God has no Hands but yours. 

God designed us to be 100% employed in being a connected part of His Body.

6.    We are His BUILDING PROJECT: because God wants to use us as His construction team.

God has designed the perfect set of plans to make each of us fully functional, full of joy and endless delights. He has to cut, sand, and nail us at times, but the end result is worth all the pains and struggles. As David said, God wants to show us those plans, stay close to us all the way through filling us with joy, and as we stay on target, showing us endless pleasures (Psalm 16:11).

Knowing that God designed Christ's church as a house that is being built—should stir each of us to be a part of the process of building up, edifying, and discipling one another. 

1 Corinthians 3:9b For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, you are God’s building.

I am a working partner in Christ's Building Project. I should want to be stirring up those around me to love and good works. I should become an expert in building up others, mending others. 

Christ designed me for helping repair and rebuild others; and He should find me 100% employed in doing what He created me to do.

7.    We are His FARM: because God wants fruit and crops.

Knowing that God designed us as His special orchard—should encourage us to continue growing in the Christian life and obtaining for ourselves and others the proper spiritual nutrients to grow. 

1 Corinthians 3:6-9a I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase. 7 So then neither he who plants is anything, nor he who waters, but God who gives the increase. 8 Now he who plants and he who waters are one, and each one will receive his own reward according to his own labor. 9 For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, you are God’s building.

I am Christ's Fruit Farm, His own personal garden that He planted. I should want to bear the fruit He planted into my life. Jesus wants to harvest from me a crop of His love, His joy, His peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. All these are what I want Him to find me 100% focused on growing by the power of His Spirit, in the soil of my life.

Celebrating our Design
At Communion

This morning we have been called together to celebrate communion at this Lord’s Supper. We are invited because we are the church of Jesus Christ. 

The Lord and Savior of His church has invited us to partake of this reminder of our oneness in His Church, our unity because of His Cross, and our connectedness through His Body.

1 Corinthians 10:16-18 The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ? 17 For we, though many, are one bread and one body; for we all partake of that one bread. NKJV

As Christ's Church we are “one bread” as portrayed by this bread of communion. It is the symbol of Christ’s body (and life) given for believers. 

At salvation we partook of Him, became His body, and became one with Him and connected to every other brother and sister born again, into His Church. 

Every time we celebrate communion:
•    We affirm that we are Christ's Church; 
•    We affirm Christ is the Head of the Church; and
•    We affirm that through Christ we have become united to each individual person (member) of His Church!

As you hold the bread and cup, ask yourself the central concept from this entire message: 

Are you doing what
God designed you to do?

Each of us have been designed by God to be: 

1.    His TEMPLE: because God wants our worship!
2.    His PRIEST: because God wants sacrifices.
3.    His RELATIVE: because God wants us as His family.
4.    His BRIDE: because God loves anticipation and celebration. 
5.    His BODY: because God wants us all connected, and working together as a unit, not disconnected and separate.
6.    His BUILDING PROJECT: because God wants to use us as His construction team.
7.    His FARM: because God wants fruit and crops.

And all that is possible only as we see that we are “in Christ” and in Him alone is all this possible as He lives in and through us by His Spirit!