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Exhalting Christ

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CBC FALL MINISTRY MEETING – presentations by the Elders.

We have been Prayerfully considering the following questions:

        Where is God currently moving us as a body of believers?  What are the evidences?

        What can we see/visualize/discern regarding the path ahead?

Assuming we can begin to see His purposes in our midst – what can we infer we need in order to accomplish His will with us?

What significant challenges are we facing?

Let me take a few moments to set the stage for what the other men will be sharing.  I want us to pause and take a moment to look in awe at JESUS CHRIST EXHALTED.  I want to talk about why exalting, or glorifying Christ has to be the first and foremost focus in all we do as a local church. 

·         Briefly explain diagram…  The 2 pillars are a way of including and representing our six statements that come after our basic statement of purpose… our basic statement of purpose is represented by the top part…

·         So, I want to take a few moments on the top part of this diagram… others will talk more specifically about the two pillars.  

From beginning to end, the Bible presents and exalted picture of the LJC.  In the OT we read of the preparation for His coming.  In the Gospels we see Him as God in human flesh, living and working in this world to save sinners.  In Acts we follow the story of the gospel of Christ being spread throughout the world.  In the NT Epistles we find the details of Christ’s work and instructions for those who are members of His Body, the church.  In Revelation, the final book of the Bible we see Christ on the throne, reigning as King of Kings. 

I looked back over some sermon notes from 2005 and noticed that we had spent some time in Colossians 1 talking about some of the reasons we have for exalting, or glorifying Christ.  In chap. 1 we see that Christ is to be exalted because:

1.  HE IS OUR GOD – v.15

2.  HE IS OUR MAKER – v.16-17

3.  HE IS HEAD OF THE CHURCH – v.18

4.  HE IS THE SAVIOR OF ALL WHO WILL TRUST IN HIM – v.19-23

  When we talk about Christ as the HEAD of the church, (#3 above) we mean…

1.  Christ is the LIFE of His Church.  The Church is a living organism that is connected to, and dependant on the living Christ.  There is the idea of a living connection and relationship between the head and the body.  A body cannot live disconnected from its head, and the head cannot be disconnected from the body.  Both the head and the body must be connected for there to be a living organism. 

JC is the source of life for the church.  Without JC the church does not exist and without the Church, the life of Christ would not be known on this earth.  Christ has chosen to reveal Himself to this world through the church.  Don’t miss the importance of this.  There is a primary way that Christ has chosen to make Himself known to the world, and that is through His body, the Church.  JC is revealed through the lives of His people, the Church. 

Think of the implications of this: 

  • JC promised that He would build His Church and the gates of hell would not prevail against it (Matt.16:18).  He commissioned His followers to go and make disciples of all the nations (Matt. 28).  And wherever His followers go and make disciples, His Church is established.  In a very practical sense this means that if some part of the world is without the church (His Body), that part of the world cannot know Christ the head. 
  • Also, if the world sees some body of religious people out there with some head other than JC, then that body of people is not really the true church. 

Yes, Christ is the LIFE of the church.  As the life the Church He is the source of all its activity.  The body acts, but the head tells the body how to act.  The body cannot do anything without direction and life from the head.  That means, we as various members of the body depend totally on the head for life, purpose, meaning, and significance.  That’s why it is so important to worship Christ and seek Christ together as a community of believers.

2.  Christ is in CONTROL of His Church.   We as the Elders of CBC are not the ones who ultimately control the church.  Acc. to 1 Corinthians  12, the Head of the body is Christ. Acc. to 1 Peter 5, JC is the Chief Shepherd – we are “under-shepherds” charged with the responsibility to lead, feed and protect the flock of Christ.

All of us who are truly a part of this local Church are sheep under the “Chief Shepherd.”   If we are truly His followers, serving and obeying Him is not an option.  The role of the head is to rule and to reign over the body.  And that is Christ’s right – to rule and control us – to reign as king over our desires and ambitions. 

Illustr:  A healthy, normal body submits to what the head tells it to do.  In the physical realm, when a body tries to do things apart from the head, we immediately recognize that something is not right.  When the body is not obeying the head we know that there must be something drastically wrong – there must be some horrible disease, or handicap, or injury that is keeping the body from following the head.  There is some deformity or mental problem that keeps the body from functioning according to the desires of the head. 

Even so, when the Church does not submit to Christ as its head, there is some ugly malfunction taking place – the Body is not healthy.  On the other hand, when the Church lives in submission to Christ, the Body is healthy, growing and flourishing, free of any disease or deformity.

Now, let’s briefly give our attention to Col. 2:1-10…   There is so much rich truth here!  This text shows us what will be going on in our church body if we are truly exalting Christ.  Let me briefly point out three things that will be happening in our church body when we are truly exalting Christ.  (“Briefly”!!!  Because I can hardly hold back from delving deeply into these verses… But my goal this morning is not extensive exposition – I just want you to see the big picture…)  So, if we are exalting Christ, we will be:

Knit together in LOVE –v.2…  The distinguishing mark of a true disciple of Christ is love.  God has put us in this community of believers that we may practice love – that we may unceasingly grow in our love for one another.

·         “knit together in love” =

 

Rich in a true KNOWLEDGE of Christ – vv.2-4…

·         True knowledge…that is Christ Himself, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge”

·         An experiential knowledge…  Understanding AND Living it out….

·         “all the treasures” = don’t worry about the stock market… it cannot begin to match the treasures of wisdom & knowledge that there are to be enjoyed in Christ!

Established & Growing in FAITH – vv.5-10

Earlier, I said that Christ is the LIFE of the Church – I want us to be reminded of the growth Christ intends for His Body: 

  • Colossians 2:19…
  • What does this growth look like?  Colossians 2:5-10…
  • If we bounce back to Chap. 1, we see how Paul saw his purpose in relation to the Church:  Colossians 1:24-29…  As part of this marvelous Body of Christ, Paul’s role was to make Christ known, …to admonish & teach, …to aim to “present every man complete in Christ.”
  • Ephesians 4:15  …but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ, 

 

“established” = 2:7… 1:23…

“steadfast” = 1:23...

“the stability of your faith in Christ” = 2:5…

Steve & Jim will talk more specifically about what God is doing in the areas of EQUIPPING & SENDING…

DEEPER STUDY #1

(16:18) Church (ekkleôsia ): the word means to call out a gathering, an assembly. In the Greek there is no spiritual significance ascribed to the word itself. An example is the town meeting in Ephesus which was “called out” (ekkleôsia). It was only an official city-wide meeting (Acts 19:32, 39, 41). What is the difference then between such secular gatherings and the church of God?

1.It is God who calls together and gathers His church. His church is the body of people “called out” from the world by Him. They are His body of people, a people sanctified or set apart by Him to form the church of the living God.

2.God dwells within the very presence of believers when they gather together (see note—§1 Cor. 3:16-17).

3.The gathering of God meets together for two purposes—worship and mission. God is the object of worship and His mission becomes the objective of the church. Therefore, God’s church, the local assembly, gathers together to worship and to pool its resources in order to carry out the mission of God Himself. It should be noted that this is
the first mention of the church in the New Testament. (See notes—§Matthew 16:18; note—§Ephes. 2:20; note—§Ephes. 4:4-6 for more discussion.)

CTW:  Colossians 2:6-7

Messages from the CBC Elders:  Exalting Christ in Every Area of Ministry that God is Directing us to Move Into. 

(pursuingholiness.com)

Doctrine

It occurred to me that as a Christian blogger, posting the doctrine I adhere to would be a good starting point. I am no theologian. This blog is nothing more than a record of how God is working in my life, and my thoughts on various matters. I am not called to preach or teach. So this doctrine is copied verbatim from my church website, because at any time when my beliefs are not in accordance with this doctrine, the adjustment needs to be made on my side.

DISCLAIMER: Anything posted not in accordance with this doctrine is my fault, not my church’s. Anything I post here that is incorrect, offensive, whatever, is my fault, not my church’s. Neither my church nor its pastors are responsible for what is written in this blog. (Although they do get credit for anything good written as a result of my growth as a Christian, which they greatly facilitate.)


The illustration is intended to express our desire to focus our emphasis as a local church on the cross of Christ.

All that we share and practice flows out of
the work of God’s grace, God’s wisdom and God’s power that is clearly displayed through the cross. For that reason, we will make our boast in the cross of Christ and seek through our practice as church to display its wondrous glory. The four points around the cross are arranged to show our desire to be both full and balanced in our practice and experience. All of us are tempted to live an imbalanced Christian life, where we emphasize one aspect of Christianity to the neglect of another. Some Christians may have experiences but not much understanding of Biblical teachings. Others may embrace the concept of grace but not be walking in holiness. Still others may emphasize the importance of the written Word but not be very concerned about whether that Word is being experienced.

It is our desire to have both fullness and balance in our emphasis as a local church. You may click on each of these points around the cross to get a fuller explanation.
Grounded in the Word

We believe the Bible to be God’s all-sufficient revelation to man as it pertains to the doctrines and practices of the kingdom of God. We seek to model the local church after the example given in the New Testament as well as the revelation contained in the Old Testament. Our emphasis is on encouraging our people to fully embrace the doctrines, wisdom and experiences that are shown to us in scripture.

The local church is given to teach the truth and to protect the truth, which is of vital importance since it is God’s truth that sets us free from sin and God’s eventual judgment of sin.
” I write so that you may know how one ought to conduct himself in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and support of the truth.” 1 Tim 3:15
” If the foundations are destroyed, What can the righteous do?” Ps 11:3

Throughout the New Testament, the most common threat to the church is that of heresies and false teachers. The Bible warns us about keeping a number of different things from polluting the truth. When we consider a few of these examples, we can see how necessary these warnings are for us today:

* Philosophy (Col 2:8)
* Traditions of Men (Col 2:8)
* Subjective Revelations & Experiences (Col 2:18)
* Demonstrations of Power (2Thes 2:9-10)
* Convincing Arguments (Rom 16:18, 1Tim 4:1)

Being “grounded in the Word” means that we want to embrace only those doctrines and practices that are in agreement with the Scriptures, but it also means that we want to embrace all of the doctrines and practices that are supported by the Scriptures. We would agree with the thoughts expressed by author and pastor Terry Virgo when he says,

“It has been a source of great sadness to me to see two schools of thought within the evangelical church over many decades now. Those who come glorying in manifestations of power sometimes seem dismissive of those whom they regard as “cold theologians’”. I heard a man speaking at a large conference saying that theology was the enemy of the church and that if only we could abandon doctrinal perspectives the church would be a happier place. What tragic nonsense!

We also see and hear those who love theological insight and savour the doctrines of Scripture expressing equally dismissive remarks about Christians who are enjoying God’s power as though they were mere children preoccupied with experience. How I long for a recovery of true biblical Christianity where the apostle Paul, who wrote the book of Romans, also raised the dead!”
Desiring the Fullness of the Spirit

And my message and my preaching were not in persuasive words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, 1 Cor 2:4

…while Thou dost extend Thy hand to heal, and signs and wonders take place through the name of Thy holy servant Jesus. Acts 4:30

Then he said to Him, “If Thy presence does not go with us, do not lead us up from here. 16 For how then can it be known that I have found favor in Thy sight, I and Thy people? Is it not by Thy going with us, so that we, I and Thy people, may be distinguished from all the other people who are upon the face of the earth?”
Ex 33:15-16

A distinguishing mark of God’s people is the supernatural. We believe that the supernatural experiences of the New Testament are still for the church today and that we should be open and desiring to experience the fullness of the Spirit. An example of Biblical experiences include:

* Salvation & Sanctification (Jn 1:12-13, Rom 12:2)
* Filling by the Holy Spirit for the Empowerment of Service and Transformation (Acts 1:8, 4:31, Eph 5:8)
* The Fruit of the Spirit (Gal 5:22-23)
* The Gifts of the Spirit (Rom 12, Eph 4:11, 1Co 12)
* Miracles (Jn 14:12, Acts 2:43)
* Awe & Proper Fear of God (Ex 20:18-20, Acts 5:11)
* Conviction & Revelation of God’s Holiness (Is 6:1-5, 1Co 14:24-25, Heb 4:12-13)

Motivated by Grace

Understanding that we are saved and maintained by God’s grace releases us from works for the sake of gaining God’s acceptance into works as an act of worship and gratitude. We don’t work in order to be saved; we work because we are saved, and the new life in us now compels us to live in agreement with God’s nature. Our confidence is completely in the finished work of the cross. Being motivated by grace means avoiding the tendency toward legalism which occurs when we confuse our own effort or righteousness as part of justification rather than the result of our having been justified.
Pursuing Holiness

When biblically understood, grace should not release us into a “freedom to sin,” but rather it should release us into the power of God to be transformed into the image of His Son. If your salvation experience is not making you more and more like God (HOLY), then you probably haven’t really experienced salvation. The New Testament Christian is called to aggressively pursue the mortification of sin and the putting on of Godly attitudes and actions.

“In justification our own works have no place at all and simple faith in Christ is the one thing needful. In sanctification our own works are of vast importance, and God bids us fight and watch and pray and strive and take pains and labour.” J.C. Ryle

It is out of our pursuit of holiness that comes our emphasis on application of truth and not mere knowledge of truth. The schedule and variety of ministries of the church are designed to create the opportunity to both learn and apply the truths of God. Our goal is not merely to attend meetings and acquire knowledge but to place our lives in a context where genuine transformation can be experienced and the character of holiness can emerge.

Fall Ministry Meeting – Oct 19, 2008

Opening Song – Worship Team

Announcements -  Andy

Two songs – Worship Team

Elders Reports

·         Dave F.

·         Prayer for Ed, Andy, Scott – Doug M., Raymond L.

·         Andy:  Colossians – Exalting Christ.

Song:  “Savior Like a Shepherd Lead Us”  Nick leads from piano.

Elders Reports

·         Jim – Missions

·         Steve – Spiritual Formation

Closing Song – Worship Team

Q & A Time following dismissal. 

           

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