Assemblies of God Empowered Magazine God's Eternal Word - Page 7

EXECUTIVE church let his r ise Pastor Steve Batten, Ex Executive Presbyter, Co Senior Pastor citywestchurch, New Plymouth, NZ Last Sunday morning during worship I apologised to the church. I had come to realise that some decisions I had agreed to historically were not helping in the building of his church, as the Body of Christ; they were in essence hindering it! I had witnessed especially the erosion of relationships, where to some extent our services had become mechanical rather than relational; we had used the reasoning of our increased size to compartmentalise worship. What irked me most was that I had allowed anonymity, privacy and personal preference to crowd out the concept that we are the living, breathing Body of Christ. People could come to our Sunday event, not connect with anyone, then leave disconnected and therefore spiritually dysfunctional. In a word, our priority had become functionality over relationship! By way of contrast, my goal is that in some small way we will be known for our love and commitment to each other, within our community first, well beyond the attributes contained within the event called Sunday worship. Now he’s using you, fitting you in brick by brick, stone by stone, with Christ Jesus as the cornerstone that holds all the parts together. We see it taking shape day after day - a holy temple built by God, all of us built into it, a temple in which God is quite at home.” Ephesians 2: 19-22 The Message Paraphrase. (MSG) While Paul uses the analogy of the church as a building in the same way as Peter does in 1 Peter 2: 4-5, he also paints the picture that we are in essence a body; a living growing, breathing picture of personal unique-ness and corporate togetherness. (See Ephesians 1: 22-23 and 4:15-16; Romans 12:4- 8 and 1 Corinthians 12:12-27) "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 4:16 NIV). Paul, the imprisoned Apostle, writing to the church in Ephesus reminds us today of these kingdom priorities. We face, as every generation has done before us, the challenge of living out the reality of the Eternal Word within a culture that is often marching in a very different direction. While on the one hand Paul highlights our uniqueness of function and our committed responsibility to engage, on the other he reminds us of our obligation to operate together within the framework of love and a commitment to unity and giving honour to one another. Here is what Paul said: “…That’s plain enough, isn’t it? You’re no longer wandering exiles. This kingdom of faith is now your home country. You’re no longer strangers or outsiders. You belong here, with as much right to the name Christian as anyone. God is bui lding a home. He’s using us all - irrespective of how we got here - in what he is building. He used the apostles and prophets for the foundation. What an assignment! To be and to do at the same time, yet by his grace stand shoulder to shoulder, as living stones of a building that one day will be revealed as both magnificent and miraculous! ISSUE ISSUE #3 #3 DECEMBER DECEMBER 2017 2017 | 7 | 7