LIVING ON THE FRONTLINE

DEVELOPING A FRONTLINE FAITH

CHRISTIANS USE SOME FUNNY CLICHES IN CHURCH

“Lord we want to pray for Mr Jones who is lying in a bed of sickness”
“we just pray for Mrs Jones who is at death’s door, just know you can pull her through Lord”

SOME CLICHES WE USE ARE NOT FUNNY AT ALL

Some cliches damage the ability of the church to actually be the church

On Bible College Weekends I often had to give a testimony including a description of how I had been ….. “CALLED TO FULL TIME CHRISTIAN SERVICE”

That cliche actually endangers the church God calls us to be ….. because it perpetuated two myths about calling and serving, namely that there were

SPECIAL PEOPLE ….. That cliche gives the impression that only those called to serve Christ in and through the church are really called (clericalism)
SPECIAL TIME …. It also gives the impression that we serve Christ at special times, not all the time. It’s infers things done away from the church are not Christian and calling only happens when we are doing church activities (sacred/ secular divide)

THE DANGERS

1. CLERICALISM …… Divides Christians into LAOS AND KLEROS in Greek

KLEROS ….. the professionals who are “called” to service Christ
LAOS …. the amateurs who support the ministry of the clergy

2. SACRED / SECULAR DIVIDE

TONY ROBINSON on tv documentary, says ….. “CHRISTIANITY IS A SPIRITUAL NOT PRACTICAL FAITH”

He was perpetuating this myth that we only really serve Christ in the church building doing “christian” things, like leading worship, or bible studies, or praying etc

“I believe in God, the family and McDonalds at the weekend and in the office the order is reversed” Ed Koch founder of McDonalds

The scared / secular divide gets our priorities wrong and insulates our world from the influence and power of the Kingdom of God

THE ULTIMATE REASON THAT CLERICALISM AND SACRED / SECULAR DIVIDE IS SO DAMAGING IS THAT IT CONTRADICTS THE CLEAR TEACHING OF SCRIPTURE

Just listen to what Paul has to say about serving Christ

17 And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. Colossians 3:17

Paul doesn’t say a small group of people have to serve Christ when they do Christian things

he says

whatever we do
whether in word or deed

we have to do it all

in the name of the Lord

not

its not some people

who are to do somethings

in the name of the Lord

BUT

all Christians are to do everything they say and do
wherever they are
whatever they are doing
whenever they are doing it
IN THE NAME OF THE LORD

IMPLICATION OF WHAT Paul SAYS locates the place where we serve the Lord
as not just when we get together as the church
but in our every day life

WHICH MEANS

we are all called to live out the implications of the Lordship of Christ in every aspect of our lives

WHICH IN TURNS MEANS THAT

There are no INSIGNIFICANT PEOPLE

We are all called to serve the Lord, not just some of us.
No pecking order in church in which some people are called and others aren’t

Clericalism is wrong because LAOS AND KLEROS don’t describe two distinct groups of Christians one of which is “called” while the other isn’t. Rather both words are different ways of describing the same people, all GOD’S people.

WE ARE ALL CALLED ….. CALLED TO BE DISCIPLES
what is different is where, how and who we are called to serve

What’s different is the CONTEXT OF OUR CALLING

WE ARE ALL CALLED TO BE DISCIPLES

As mums
As engineers
As neighbours
As students
As drivers
As nurses
As carers
As church leaders

NO INSIGNIFICANT PLACES

Growing up i came to believe in the Evangelical pecking order

Missionaries ….. These were at the top. Whenever some said they were serving the Lord in Africa, there was hushed silence. ( btw That’s great and people make real sacrifices )

pastors …. serve the lord in church

Leaders, Sunday school teachers etc

Everyone else at the bottom

We gave the impression the real place you serve God is in and through the gathered church and it’s activities

BUT SCRIPTURE DOESN’T CREATE A LIST OF MORE AND LESS IMPORTANT PLACES, there is no sacred / secular divide

If Paul’s words are true “do it all”

What you do in the name of the Lord in your
office
home
street
gym
work place
School
Church

is significant as anything I do as a church leader
in the name of the Lord

in a theological college
or
church building

THE TRUTH IS THAT
ALL OF US DO SIGNIFICANT THINGS IN THE NAME OF THE LORD

“…What you do in the present—by painting, preaching, singing, sewing, praying, teaching, building hospitals, digging wells, campaigning for justice, writing poems, caring for the needy, loving your neighbour as yourself—will last into God’s future. These activities are not simply ways of making the present life a little less beastly, a little more bearable, until the day when we leave it behind altogether (as the hymn so mistakenly puts it…). They are part of what we may call building for God’s kingdom.”
― N.T. Wright, Surprised by Hope: Rethinking Heaven, the Resurrection, and the Mission of the Church

“IN THE NAME OF THE LORD” = with the authority of Christ, in furtherance of the mission of Christ in a way that expresses the nature of Christ” short hand for that is The Kingdom of God

THE CHURCH NEEDS A PARADIGM CHANGE

Change the way we understand church.
Church is about gathering AND going
Church is as much about Monday morning and Wednesday afternoon as it is about Sunday morning.

PARADIGM CHANGE …. Church is to, inspire, enable and equip us to live out Colossians 3:17 = whole life discipleship on the front line

Living for Christ is the everyday business
Of every Christian
Every day

WHY NOT TAKE THE TTT CHALLENGE AS A STARTING POINT?

What will you be doing This Time Tomorrow?
How will you do it in the name of the Lord?

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