Matthew 28:18-20 Ephesians 4:1-16 October 27, 2013
I want to be part of a church that is leading a life worthy of its calling. I want to be part of a church that demonstrates humility, gentleness, patience, and love. I want to be part of a church that works to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
Is that the sort of church in which you want a part? If we are not leading a life worthy of our calling, then what do we need to do? If we are not demonstrating humility, gentleness, patience, and love, then what do we need to do? If we are not maintaining the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace, then what do we need to do?
We know from the Bible that we are to make disciples. That is we fish for people and help them to become part of the kingdom of God. We live and work so that we come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to maturity, to the measure of the full stature of Christ.
We know from our Book of Discipline that we are to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. The only way for the world to be transformed is for the church to be transformed. The only way for the church to be transformed is for individuals within the church to be transformed.
Scooby-Doo was a favorite cartoon of mine as I was growing up. There was nothing like hearing Casey Kasem speak in the best dog voice he could and say, “Zombies!”
Those four meddling kids would go around solving all sorts of mysteries. It would turn out that an unlikely person would be behind the effort to scare the locals. What was fascinating about the cartoon was there were four unlikely friends who worked together to solve mysterious events. Their fearless mascot was with them, good, old Scooby Doo. Zombies kept Scooby Doo moving in the various shows and movies over the years. He always tried to stay away from them and to get the mystery solved.
What about us, do we stay ahead of the creepy things in life to get our work done? Yes, we have work to do as a church. Jesus tells us our assignment in Matthew 28. He is very clear that we are to baptize people and to disciple them.
This process of making disciples is sometimes difficult to define. Yet, Paul gives the church in Ephesus details on the work God has for us. He tells the church that we are to build up the body of Christ. So somehow we go from being a bunch of disciples from unlikely places in life to being the living, breathing body of Christ here on earth!
- All nations are to be made disciples (Matthew 28:18-20)
- Jesus has all authority to tell us to do this work
- We make disciples
- baptize – UM’s realize that this includes children
- Teaching them to obey Jesus
- We are not alone in this work! (Jesus is with us!)
- We make disciples. That is the sort of church with which I want to be involved. I want to be part of a church that obeys Jesus in this work. The parable about the one son who said he would and didn’t, and the other son who said he wouldn’t and did help their father comes to mind. It is a matter of obedience that we do what we are said we are going to do. That is after all the mission of the UMC. We are to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world, and the local church is the place that this work occurs. Of course, the world won’t be transformed until the church is. And that means the church won’t be transformed until we as individuals are transformed. It sure sounds like scary work, this making of disciples. It is even scarier to know that some don’t want to keep people from becoming zombies. That’s right, sometimes is appears as if wandering in this dark world is how we want to leave people. Yet as we are transformed into disciples, then we realize that the body of Christ gets built up, even with people who are not like us!
- We get built up (Ephesians 4:1-16)
- We have been called to a worthwhile life
- We bear with one another in love
- We make every effort to maintain the unity of the bond of peace
- One – body, Spirit, hope of your calling, Lord, faith, baptism, God & father of all
- We are graced with different gifts for this work
- These gifts came from Jesus Christ!
- The gifts are to be used for building up the body of Christ
- to be mature in Christ
- To be perfect (Matthew 5:48)
- Grow up into him – we meet his stature!
- How do we know we are working properly? We are built up in love!
- Love the one who doesn’t have the same gift as you
- Love the one who doesn’t agree with you
- Love the one who seems to be your enemy!
- I want to be part of a church that is being built up in love. I hope that you want to be part of a church like that. Since coming here nearly 2 ½ years ago, I have seen this church express love. Whether the love was expressed to church members or to members of the community, we have expressed love. I know that I have not reached the full stature of Christ. Together, we still have work to do to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ.
What work does God have for us? Through Jesus, we are to be making disciples. Through being one body, we are to be mature as Jesus, to the measure of the full stature of Christ.
What do we need to do to be part of a church that is leading a life worthy of its calling? What do we need to do to be part of a church that demonstrates humility, gentleness, patience, and love? What do we need to do to be part of a church that works to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace? What do we need to be doing to come to the measure of the full stature of Christ? Are we ready to be transformed to be like Jesus?