September 26, 2010, will mark a very important day in the short history of our church. It is a “12-stone memorial” type of day (see Joshua 4). Not only are we closing out a series of messages about the church, but we will be putting our faith, hope, and love into action by signing the church covenant. I truly believe Lighthouse Baptist Church is a church that will stand the test of time – and here’s why…
The Master is in Control
Church Still Works because Jesus Christ is the Head of the Church (Eph. 4:15, 5:23). That’s who He is and the position He holds. Pastors and boards might try to usurp their authority – but they are not the head, Jesus is. We are His body and, as long as we are connected to Him, we are given great power and opportunity to accomplish the will (wishes / desires / intentions) of our Head. What’s even more, Christ has died and rose again for His church. Yes, this act was effectual for the lost world too, but several verses in the New Testament reveal that He shed his blood for the church (Acts 20:28; Eph. 5:25). We are indeed the treasure hid in the field and the pearl of great price (Matthew 13). Jesus sold all He had (even His life) as ransom money to purchase us to be His. In addition, Christ has promised final victory to the church (Matthew 16:18). As part of the family of God, involved in a local faith-family, I am assured that I’m on the winning side! It might seem that the other corner has the advantage, that we have been knocked down or nearly knocked out – but the last round is not yet over! Christ has not delivered his final blow! Church still works because my Master is still in control.
The Mission is Critical
Church Still Works when the urgency of our mission is understood. True churches have a mission – they know their purpose. We, as God’s people, have received the Great Commandments: love God and our neighbors. We must be serious about our Upward Mission: learning to glorify God in all things (1 Cor. 10:31). If Christ is the head, then He deserves the preeminence. Since God is God, He is worthy of all pleasing (Rev. 4:11). “For of Him, and through Him, and to Him, are all things: to whom be glory forever. Amen.” (Romans 11:36) Our church has an Inward Mission: demonstrating love to one another (Hebrews 10:24-25). We have been compelled to seek the good of each other – so much so that we are willing to ‘push each others’ buttons’ in attempts to motivate them to compassion and to diligence through our encouragement and faithfulness.
Many churches stop with the Upward & Inward Missions… neglecting the Great Commission: our Outward Mission of reaching the lost with the gospel of Christ. We have been sent by God: “as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you.” (John 20:21b) The banner that reads “You are now entering the Mission Field” as you leave the church isn’t just cliche … it’s very real! It is our mission. The church is not the church without a gospel-centered message nor without gospel-carrying messengers. Each of these three are vital to the health and growth of our church. They must remain in balance; none of these should be sacrificed to the over-emphasis of the others.
The Members are Committed
Church Still Works where the membership take their commitments seriously. The previous post contains our church’s newly-adopted covenant with one another. In signing the covenant, we are
…agreeing together for the unity of the faith. God desires it, the Spirit orchestrates it, the world needs it, most seldom understand it: unity. We are brought together first by the “unity of the Spirit” (Eph. 4:3) and then we commit to the “unity of the faith” (4:13) with the understanding that this will not be complete until Christ comes again (4:13). We have adopted this simple thought which has stood for centuries: “In essentials, unity; in non-essentials, liberty; in all things, charity.” (see Rom. 14:1-4, 12).
…affirming our care and support of one another. Most of the covenant reflects a level of commitment, not only to Christ, but to other Christians in this church. We are committed to loving each other Biblically and accepting none of the Enemy’s wicked substitutes or counterfeits.
…attesting to our responsibilities as Christian families. As the family unit deteriorates in America, it is essential that like-minded families encourage each other in the faith. When standing so counter-culture and defying such a wind of liberalism, we must stand together emphasizing the values of a Christ-centered life to our children and children’s children.
…asserting our common calling to advance the gospel together. We recognize that we cannot do what we are called to do separated and alone. Not only is togetherness the best way, it is the only way to fulfill God’s command to reach our neighbors and the nations with the good news.
…avowing to remain faithful, wherever God has placed us. The last line of the covenant reads something like this: “If we ever leave LBC, we will find another church to fulfill these commitments.” In other words… we are done with ‘dating the church.’ We stand committed to be faithful and to continue.