Randall Caselman

Bella Vista Church of Christ

03/05/2017 A.M.

 

Seven Functions Of Godly People

 

I’m reading a book by Tim Woodruff entitled... “A Church that Flies.”

He tells that during a seminar on time management.... A speaker began to place large rocks in a wide-mouth jar... When the rocks filled the jar... The speaker asked... Is the jar full? Theaudience said yes... Then he proceeded to pour sand in the jar to the top....Is the jar full? Again the audience said... Yes. The lecturer brought out a pitcher of water and poured its contents into the jar. Now... He asked?

 

What’s the point of this illustration? Because the seminar was on time management... An eager participant gave the predictable response... No matter how busy you are...There is always room to fit one more thing into your life.

 

NO!!... Said the speaker... The point is... You’ve got to put the big rocks in first for life to work… For life to be worthwhile.

 

You see… There are some major things we must pay attention to up-front… First and foremost.

 

The question we want to ask this morning is simple... What defines us as God’s People... Individually and as a church??

• Why are we here?

• What does God require of us?

• What is God trying to do with us... Through us?

• What is the essential business of God’s people... Individually and corporately?

• What goals and ambition should God’speople embrace?

• What is it that defines us as... God’s people?... His Children… His family?... His household?

• In short... What are the Big Rocks...Those things that really count in our religion?

• What are the realities that shape God’s people?


I suggest this morning that these seven things have always been true. They were... True under the Patriarchal Age...True under the Mosaic Dispensation... True today in the Church Age.

 

So... Access a Worship Bulletin...

Let’s address the Seven Functions that define us as God’s people...

Seven Rocks that must go into our Life Jar first...

Both as a church or individual...

You see… If this thing called Christianity is gonna work in our life...

There must be… Worship... Holiness... Community... maturing...

 servanthood.... Witnessing...Influence...

 

First... There’s Worship.

Worship is the primary function of God’s people.

  • Cain and Abel were building altars and making sacrifices.

  • Worship was the first thing Noah did after exiting the Ark.

  • Worship was a big part of Abraham’s life.

  • The first two of the Ten Commandments spoke of worshipping God and Him alone.

  • Who could know Judaism and not see that God desires to be worshiped.

 

Clearly... New Testament churches were worshipping communities....

Individually... Christians were taught to cultivate an attitude and lifestyle of Worship. New Testament Christians were taught to live worshipful lives... To glorify... Honor...Worship... God in all their attitudes and actions.

 

Paul says in Colossians chapter three...Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God.

 

Read this chapter again... It’s not about just what we do here in this auditorium... It’s about life daily... Read the chapter again... Worship is a way we live.

 

Paul goes on to say... Whatever… 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.

 

Romans chapter twelve indicates that worship is about our becoming a living sacrifice...  Giving ourselves to God as His living sacrifice.

 

For the Early Church... Worship was living out God’s purpose on a daily basis... Not just for an hour or two on Sundays.

 

My question is this... Can we claim to be God’s People… if the only time we worship God is when we are gathered in this building?

 

Worship is a lifestyle... It’s living godly lives daily... Moment-by-moment.


Genuine Biblical worship should never be confined to church buildings with certain rituals.

 

Worship is an experience in the presence of God...

  • For Enoch... Worship was walking with God.

  • For Noah and his family... It was about building an Ark.

  • Worship involves thinking about God.

  • Meditating on His Word... Submitting to His will... Living as He instructs.

  • It involves admitting our sin-brokenness... Our sin sorrow... and repentance.

  • Worship is where we express our... Gratitude... Awe... Joy... Fear.. and Humility.

 

Worship can occur anywhere...

• On a mountain top...

• On the plains of Mamre...

• At a burning bush...

• On the banks of the Red Sea...

• On the road between Jerusalem and Gaza...

• On a Sunday Morning on a Rocky Island in the Aegean Sea...

• In a closet or a church building... In fact it needs to occur in both...

Paul says it should occur in all we do... in word or deed.

 

Now know this... You are not hearing me say that the New Testament doesn’t speak to us of formal Corporate Worship as we are involved in this morning... Worship that the Hebrews Writer says we should not miss… But... But... If this is the only time and the only way we worship God... We are not living as His people... Amen?

 

The second big rock... God’s people are called to be Holy.

Holiness in the Greek simply means something or someone... Set apart for a particular use or function.

  • Old Testament Israel was set apart as God’s chosen people... To be His Holy nation.

  • The Tribe of Levi was set apart as Priests with a holy function.

  • The Temple was Holy... A place where God resided... Lived among His people.

  • Jerusalem is spoken of as the Holy City.

 

In every dispensation... In every culture...God has asked His people to come out and be separate... Be HOLY... Set yourself apart for My purpose... For My use.

 

Leviticus 11.45 says...I am the Lord who brought you up out of Egypt to be your God... Therefore be holy, because I am holy.

 

1 Corinthians 1.2 tells us the church is called to be holy. To the church of God in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus and called to be holy… Together with all those everywhere who call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ... That includes us!!

 

1Thessalonians plainly tells us that God calls us to be holy... Set apart for God’s use.

 

Peter speaks of our being... Holy... Set apart... Peculiar people... Purified by obeying God’s truth.

 

John indicates that... We are holy because God lives in us through the Spirit He gave us.

 

Here is something to think about...Holiness is more than just living by a set of moral rules... Some “thy shall and thy shall nots”...

 

Holiness is living a LIFE OF Integrity... Where we... Genuinely... Truly...

• Hunger and thirst after righteousness...

• Desire to be like God...

• Want to be identified as His instrument of righteousness...

• Where we seek first His kingdom righteousness...

• When we want to be like Jesus in... Heart... Mind... Attitude... Disposition...and Behavior.

 

Church... Again... We cannot be God’s people and person by being lax in our pursuit of Holiness... We must do more than keep the rules... We must pursue Holiness with integrity... Be holy because He is Holy.

 

Peter puts it this way... As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance... But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do.

 

Our third rock is community.

God desires intimacy...  Our God exists in community...Father... Son... Spirit... and He wants us to have the same relationship as does the Triune Godhead.

 

God calls us to be... A community... A family... A household.

• Abraham built a clan...

• Moses built a nation...

• Jesus and His Apostles built a church.

 

The New Testament word for this intimacyis KOINONIA... It speaks of...

A fellowship...

An intimate working together...

A togetherness where blessings are shared...

A one anotherness where members have all things common...

Where what’s mine is mine... But it is yours if you need it.

Community occurs when we... Come to know... Admit... and are dependent upon one another.

 

I gotta tell you folk... Most of our churches today are a long way from being the kind of community God desires… We still have a lot of restoration to do in this area!

 

Scripture says... Where many form one body and each member belongs to all the others...That’s Romans 12.5.

 

In a world characterized by... Loneliness... Isolation... NARCISSism... God’s church... His children... Are to provide a stark contrast of intimacy and sharing... Where people rejoice with those who rejoice... Weep with those who weep... Mourn with those who mourn. The church is to be a community where hospitality rules and people forgive as they’ve been forgiven.

 

Number four... We must be known as a maturing People.

The church... Each of us... Must be into making disciples... And I don’t mean making converts... I’m not speaking of evangelism... But maturing ourselves spiritually taking on the image of Jesus.

 

Our verse is Romans 8.29… For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son.

 

We are not only responsible for our own maturing... We are responsible for one another.

 

We see this demonstrated in the Old Testament...

• The Apprenticeship of Samuel under Eli...

• Moses’ Mentoring of Joshua...

• The partnership of Elijah and Elisha...

• Mordechai and Esther.

 

In the New Testament there’s...

• Paul &Timothy...

• Barnabas & John Mark...

• John & Gaius.

 

Church... It’s true... When thisfunction is ignored... Apostasy is only a generation away.

Look around you this morning... We’re anold church... There’ll notbe a church here unless we... Encourage... Admonish... Edify... Mentor... and Partnershipwithour youth... Amen?

 

Indeed... This is a significant rock in our being the church God calls us to be.

 

God calls His people to serve.

Paul tells us the Old Testament was written to teach us... It serves as our example... As a schoolmaster... For instance...

 

Abraham was not a man living in isolation with his God... His narrative is about a man who was willing to serve others... Eager to serve those around him.

• He went to war to protect the people he lived among...

• He offered hospitality to strangers...

• He begged God to spare Sodom...

• Abraham served as a peacemaker with his neighbors.

 

Under Moses... Israel was instructed to be a people of benevolence... Helping the poor... Feeding the hungry...Ministering to widows... orphans... and the aliens living among them.

 

In the New Testament... Jesus becomes the highest expression of serving others... When he said... I came... Not to be served... But to serve... God washed feet... And said... You will be blessed... Your church and your personal life will be happier... When you are willing to wash feet... Serve others!   

 

Indeed... Servanthood has eternal significance… Jesus said... A part of our joy in heaven is based upon how we deal with this rock in our life.

 

So... We best not excuse ourselves from this function... From Benevolence… Helping others.

• Because we’re lazy...

• Because we’re selfish...

• Because we are quote… “Out of money”…

• Because we’re prejudiced... 

• Or because we’ve judged others unfairly.

 

Serving others is an essential function for the individual and for the church. It speaks volumes about our being God’s people.  Jesus said... When you serve the least among My creation... You’re serving Me.

 

We are called to be a witness

God has always called for some form of evangelism...

• The Patriarchs had a mandate of reproduction... Go forth and multiply... They were mandated to grow God’s Kingdom numerically.

• Israel testified to the surrounding nation of God’s goodness.

• Jonah who was sent to Nineveh...

• A Jewish slave girl witnessed to Naaman...

• Daniel...Shadrach... Meshach... Abednego... Had an impact on Nebuchadnezzar and his people.

 

By the time of the church... The mandate to multiply was primarily a matter of spiritual reproduction... Teaching...Converting... Seeking and saving the lost.

 

The growth of the primitive church is a testimony to the effectiveness of their witness... Scripture tells us they turned the world upside down.

 

The command from the lips of Jesus was to go...Go into all the world... Preach... Teach Baptize...Teach again His commands.

 

A function of God’s people is to testify of... His coming... His life... Teachings... Death... Resurrection... and Promised Return... We are to share the good news.

 

Perhaps this function is summed up in Philemon... Verse 6... I pray that you may be active in sharing your faith...

 

Then finally... We are to influence...

We are to be the salt of the earth...

The light of the World...

Stars shining in the universe... Leaven in a sin-flattened culture.

 

We cannot read these verses without understanding that God intends His people make a difference in their world...

• In the family...

• In our friendship circle...

• Down at work...

• Out on the golf course.

 

Salt influences everything it touches....

Light cannot be hidden...

Stars are seen from… every location… every angle… In every activity…

A little leaven raises the whole loaf.

 

Ten people of God would have saved Sodom and Gomorrah.

• How many will save America?

• Bella Vista...Bentonville... Rogers?

• How many will it take to save the business where you work?

• How many to save my family and yours?

 

We can... We will... Make a difference in our world... When we live like Jesus... When we have His Heart...Mind... Attitude... Disposition... Behavior.

 

Can you imagine a world where everyone had a Jesus heart and behavior?

Here it is church... It’s possible...

• But it must start with… each of us individually!

• We are the answer!

• We must function as God’s people and person

It must begin with our church... This church.

 

We must stop fooling around with details... Start focusing on the Big Rocks... the weightier matters of our faith...

• Daily lifestyle Worship...

• Holiness...

• Community...

• Spiritual Maturity...

• Serving others...

• Witnessing... Sharing Jesus...

Becoming... salt... Light... Stars... And Leaven.

 

If we will become a church that flies...We must stop being focused on every individual rivet in the body... And start being more concerned with the shape of the wing... Amen?

 

The invitation is that you become a child of God by... Faith... Repentance... Confession of Jesus... And be born again in New Testament baptism.

 

As His child... Our challenge is to act like His children... Function as His people in our daily walk.

 

Come to Jesus!... Accept the challenge!...As we stand and sing together.