Unleash My Purpose
Here are the notes for my teaching at the Cornerstone Church on Sunday, July 8, 2018:
UNLEASH MY PURPOSE
Part 2 of What Your Church Can Do For You. Colossians 1:27-28.
Peter Foxwell. The Cornerstone Church. July 8, 2018.
We're in a three-part series called What Your Church Can Do For You. It's a overview of our Cornerstone 101 class. I want everyone to know what the Cornerstone is all about. Today, we're focused on our purpose as a church.
Let me give a little background on today's passage. Paul is writing to defend his ministry. Some people thought there was a problem with his teaching because he focused too much attention on Jesus Christ.
So, Paul writes to tell them that Christ is the center. He is the center of all God is doing. He is the center of the universe. He is the center of salvation. And he is the center of their new life with God.
The best thing about the Christian faith is Jesus. In fact, without Jesus, there is no Christian faith at all.
That's why the purpose of the Cornerstone Church is to help you find and follow Jesus.
CORNERSTONE PURPOSE ONE: TO HELP ME FIND JESUS
THE MAIN PLAN OF PREACHING
(Colossians 1:25) I have become its (the church) servant by the commission God gave me to present to you the word of God in its fullness...
God appointed Paul as a steward in God's house. He commissioned him and gave him a serious responsibility: "Present the word in its fullness."
It's important to bring out the full meaning of that phrase. We could say it like this: Paul was to teach them the word of God so it would have its full effect in their lives - reach its full life-changing potential.
The word of God is super-powerful. People hear it and find Jesus. We can see that happening in the growth of the Church in Acts:
Peter and John were jailed, but the word kept working: (Acts 4:4) "But many who heard the message believed; so the number of men who believed grew to about five thousand."
When the church delegated ministry to the deacons so the apostles could focus on prayer and preaching, the church grew: (Acts 6:7) "So the word of God spread. (Spread = grew like a seed, reached its full potential) The number of disciples in Jerusalem increased rapidly, and a large number of priests became obedient to the faith.
Here's what we can say, the main plan of preaching is to unleash the word.
THE MAIN PERSON OF PREACHING
(Colossians 1:26) ... the mystery that has been kept hidden for ages and generations, but is now disclosed to the Lord's people. 27 To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.
This tells us that the focus of Bible teaching is the Lord Jesus Christ. What about Jesus?
He is the Savior. Jesus is our way into the glory of God's new creation:
(Colossians 1:27b) "... which is Christ in you, the hope of glory."
(Romans 8:18) I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.
(Romans 8:23-24) We, too, wait with eager hope for the day when God will give us our full rights as his adopted children, including the new bodies he has promised us. 24 We were given this hope when we were saved. NLT
He is the Savior for all peoples, all nations. Everyone who turns to him in faith.
(Colossians 1:27a) "The Gentiles," literally, the peoples - people groups.
(Romans 15:12) "The Root of Jesse will spring up, one who will arise to rule over the nations; in him the Gentiles will hope.”
The main person of preaching is Jesus Christ.
That's what the Cornerstone is all about. We want you to find Jesus - the Jesus who saves us and brings into the glory of the new creation.
If you haven't found Jesus the Savior, now is the time. Everything else can wait.
CORNERSTONE PURPOSE TWO: TO HELP ME FOLLOW JESUS
THE MAIN PATTERN OF PREACHING
(Colossians 1:28a) "He (Christ) is the one we proclaim, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom..."
"Proclaim" is one of the words for preaching in the New Testament. But don't think about a loud guy in a pulpit. It can mean "to herald," but it also means to communicate. Paul communicated Christ.
Sometimes it was a lecture like what I'm doing. Sometimes it was more of a discussion like I would love to do right now. Sometimes it was in a synagogue, or a lecture hall, or a home, or the marketplace. Always to help people who find Jesus to follow Jesus.
Here's how we communicate Jesus: Two sides of the same coin:
"Admonishing" means to "set the mind in proper order." It helps people let go of their old beliefs system, to reject their old worldview. This makes room for the biblical worldview.
When I found Jesus, I didn't want to be part of a the church because I had some very anti-church beliefs. I needed help to set my mind in proper order and let go of my old worldview before I could love the church like I do today.
"Teaching" is the other side of the coin. It's the positive information that helps us construct our new beliefs and the new lifestyle that flows out. This is information about Jesus. Who he is, what he's done, what he's doing now and what he taught. We apply the teaching in order to follow Jesus.
The main pattern of preaching is to tear down our old belief system so we can build up a new belief system based on Jesus so that we can follow him.
If you're struggling to follow Jesus, the problem may be deep under the surface in your belief system. Ask for help to figure it out.
THE MAIN PURPOSE OF PREACHING
(Colossians 1:28b) ... so that we may present everyone fully mature in Christ.
Paul was thinking about that great day when we all stand before the judgment seat of Christ to receive our reward (2 Corinthians 5:10). Paul thinks of himself as an OT priest offering us up to God as an acceptable sacrifice on that day.
(Colossians 1:22) But now he has reconciled you by Christ's physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation.
(2 Corinthians 4:14) we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead will also raise us with Jesus and present us with you to himself.
So, Paul's goal is this: when we stand there at the throne, we'll be fully mature in Christ. That's a process that begins now.
In Christ. Maturity is the full manifestation of our union with Christ - his person and power (life, cross, resurrection, ascension, reign, intercession).
Mature. One day, the work of transformation will be perfected, completed, done. We'll be totally like Jesus. Today, it's a process of slow change as we follow Jesus now and then massive transformation when we see Jesus later:
NOW: (Colossians 4:12) Epaphras, who is one of you and a servant of Christ Jesus, sends greetings. He is always wrestling in prayer for you, that you may stand firm in all the will of God, mature and fully assured.
LATER: (1 Thessalonians 5:23-24) May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 24 The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it.
All preaching has a goal. It is not just transfer of information. No, it must go a step further. Preaching urges us to follow Jesus now so that there is transformation. Slow changes now. Huge changes later.
The main purpose of preaching is life-transformation. That's why our purpose is to help you follow Jesus.
At the Cornerstone, we are very focused. There's a million options for our time and attention. But we have narrowed it all down to two things. This is what we are all about. This is why we exist as a church.
Our purpose is to help you find and follow Jesus. That's it. That's our priority. That's what we budget for. That's my job description. It's the focus of everything I do from pastoral care to preaching on Sundays.
That's how we decide what goes on the church calendar and what doesn't. Does it help people find Jesus? Does it help people follow Jesus?
From the nursery to the Safari Zone. From the youth group to the small group. Our business is to help people find and follow Jesus.
When you commit to the Cornerstone, that's what you're committing to. You're saying, "I've found Jesus, now I want to follow him. I'm signing on to help others find and follow Jesus."
Some churches are great for your business. Great for networking. Some churches are great for your social life and some for social action. Some churches are known for their sports. Others for the flashing lights and showtime music.
We want to be known for two things: our people find Jesus and our people follow Jesus. We want the community to think, "Cornerstone's where you go to hear about Jesus. They're obsessed with Jesus. Their priority is Jesus."
Your life boils down to two things really. Your purpose for living is to find and follow Jesus. That's God's priority for you. That's what he wants us all to focus on. So, ask yourself: Have I found Jesus? Am I following Jesus?
Turn to Jesus for salvation.
Follow Jesus for transformation.