“Father, may they be one, as we are one…”-Jesus, John 17:21
In 1 Corinthians 12 Paul introduced the human body as a metaphor for the church. In Romans 8 and Ephesians 5, although indirectly, Paul describes the church as a family, and as a bride respectively. These metaphors suggest that God perceives his church not only as a group of individuals, but as one. This requires we adjust our own perspective, learning to think about our own identity in the same way God does. We are so enamored with the self (reinforced by our culture with a steady gushing current of self-centering, self-exalting ideologies), that it is really challenging to see our interconnectedness, and what that means as the church.
That’s why we encourage you to really consider what it means to be Better Together. This is not just a noble catchphrase, but describes the core of our identity that we have together in Jesus. If we miss this; if we don’t pursue it, then we won’t fully experience the kind of fruitfulness and good work Jesus prayed for.
One of the great possibilities that God designed for families is the chance to learn and model the gospel (to and from each other and to others outside our homes). It is an amazing concept to wrap our minds around. The gospel can be proclaimed and portrayed in every household that is made up of believers who understand and follow the scriptures. Wanna teach your children and grandchildren the gospel? Then one of the ways is to practice the principles found in a Godly Marriage. Wanna show the neighborhood what a loving savior looks like and how people should respond in trust and obedience to that amazing love? Clearly and consistently live out God’s design for marriage. The world gets to see a compelling picture of the Savior and a picture of the Church. That is remarkable!
When Paul wrote these words about the sacredness of marriage and the relationship of Christ and the Church, they were somewhat radical and counter to the prevailing culture. They were not new though. Paul references back to the beginning of time in Genesis 2 as to the relationship within the marriage. The Greek, Roman, and pagan cultures had cheapened the view of the marriage relationship. Now, centuries later, the biblical standard for marriage is becoming a radical change from the modern, post-evangelical culture. Once again, the marriage relationship, as established by God, is being over-shadowed by the non-biblical cheapening of the relationship between a man and a woman.
Why is this a dangerous trend? The marriage relationship is a picture of the body of the Church and the person of Jesus Christ. To abandon the biblical relationship of marriage is to paint a false picture of our relationship with Christ. As believers…as the church…we must give a clear, accurate picture of God’s love and plan for man. The world needs the truth!
The marriage bond will defy all attempts at formulaic tidiness. You who are married might have begun to suspect as much. With all the heated debate about complementarian this and egalitarian that (what?), and the meaning of “head” and the parsing of “be subject to,” it’s easy to lose the voice of the Spirit inviting you to sit in the paradox and be formed by it. God’s word predates our ways of seeing the world. Paul calls it a mystery. Submission leads to authority, leadership results in submission. Will a wife submit to her husband? Then let her husband lift her to places of authority just as Christ commissioned Mary to evangelize about the risen Lord. Will a husband lead his wife? Then let him from her learn how to submit as Christ submitted to the cross.
Re:Verse passage –Romans 8:15-17, Ephesians 5:22-32 (day two) The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God,17 and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him. Vs. 16b-17
Have you ever felt left out of a group? Even if it was one that you belonged to, you just didn’t feel like you were good enough, strong enough, or successful enough to really fit in. This may trigger some unresolved angst from a Middle School clique, but the reality is that we have all felt “on the outside” at some point in our lives.
The Apostle Paul understands what this feels like, and wants to make sure we don’t bring that kind of ‘in or out’ mindset to our faith. Paul fought for the inclusion of Gentiles into full fellowship not scraps and bits. Trusting and following Jesus gives us an all-access pass into his fellowship. Are you living like that?
Join us as Senior Pastor Chris Johnson, Associate Pastor Aaron Hufty, and Associate Pastor Bryan Richardson walk us through Romans 8:15-17, Ephesians 5:22-32 in our Summer Re:Verse Series: “Better Together.”
Today we celebrate the start of Better Together. If you have been around this church for a minute, you recognize this. We learn together. We laugh together. We worship together. We dream together. We pray together. We play together. Through this series we will do all these things (maybe even all of them today). Yet, this isn’t new information. This is an intentional time for us to remind one another of how special it is to be together.
What is it that you need to be reminded of? Do you need to be reminded that you have a family that you can lean on in your days of struggle? Do you need to be reminded that you have a place in this church to serve with your gifts? Do you need to be reminded that you are not alone inside and outside of these walls? On this Pentecost Sunday, ask the Holy Spirit to remind you of how and why He led you to FBCSA. Each of us will have different answers on how we got to this place, but I would guess all of us will answer the why in a similar way: we are Better Together!
One of the biggest hangups in the life of the Corinthian church was an inaccurate picture of what it meant to be a spiritual person. Coming out of a culture of pagan worship where ecstatic personal experiences (like speaking in tongues) where elevated, it was no surprise that this became a superior value in their church. For them spirituality had little to do with daily Holy Spirit-led living, connecting with others, or fulfilling God’s mission, but rather, regularly experiencing the more charismatic gifts.
Sound familiar? There is a strong temptation in contemporary Christian church culture (and has been for some time) to define spirituality in similar ways. If we are not mindful, our “spiritual” lives can be totally disconnected from daily life, and yet we can still consider ourselves spiritual because we love singing those hymns, or we are moved to raise our hands when the band plays the right song.
Paul says, this ought not be so. True spirituality is when the Holy Spirit guides us through all of life; this can take shape with or without heightened “spiritual” experiences.
“But now God has placed the members, each one of them, in the body, just as He desired.”
We value the worth and dignity of others because we can attribute who they are to the fact that they are created and loved by God. Scripture makes this very clear. Who they are is less a mystery and something we easily understand. Along with “who”, scripture can also answer the “where” question as well.God places believers exactly where he wants and desires.There is intentionality and precision. As you look around the sanctuary this Sunday, does that thought and insight cause you to think about the other members of this body (FBCSA) differently. With care and confidence, God places people in His church to worship, serve, fellowship, and minister.He has done that for them and for you (me). That’s cause to celebrate and encourage all the members of the Body of Christ.
There is no better picture of the body of Christ than Paul’s description here in Corinthians. Set in context, Paul is answering some of the problems and conflicts in the Corinthian church with a description of how the healthy church is supposed to look like and act like. As we embark on this new study of Better Together, we are trying to paint an accurate picture of how we function as a New Testament church and how we can best accomplish God’s mission for our church.
When we have completed this study, each member should not only know that God’s assignment is best carried out in community with one another, but also what being a member of First Baptist Church San Antonio means in belief and actions. We need each other…we need each other pulling in the same direction and not just everyone doing their own thing. We are seeking God’s blueprint in Scripture and dedicating ourselves to being obedient to His Word. Will you join us? We are better together!