His Purpose; Our Presence
God is a God of purpose. You can find this expressed numerous times in Scripture. From the creation account in Genesis to climaxing of human history in Revelation, the pages of Holy Scripture abound with references to the fact that God is a God of purpose. One of the amazing truths of this is that God has included mankind in his purpose. Paul speaks of those persons who are called according to God’s purpose, Romans 8:28. When a thing, a person, a plan, a project, an action, a word, church…to name a few, when these are God’s purpose, you can be sure that He will attend to that which is according to His purpose.
What started out as Pine Hills Church of the Nazarene, which then became New Life Church of the Nazarene and is now called Metro West Church of the Nazarene, from its inception, has been slated for God’s purpose. For sixty years, this movement has been engaged in its God-given purpose. Undaunted by the threatening, destructive and disruptive presence of all sorts of prevailing elements, the Lord of the church continues to lead His church in triumph. I am not sure to whom to credit this statement, but I have heard it said that “it is better to perish with a cause that will triumph than to triumph with a cause that will perish”. In the midst of various sort of the unpleasantness, the apostle Paul is confident that God is always leading his church in triumph through Christ, 2 Cor. 2:14.
The community of believers remain constantly confident in God’s ability to lead His church, to love His church and to lavish his church with his grace. God will never change His purpose for His church. While we may change our allegiance and loyalty from one denomination to the next and even question the church’s legitimacy, our discontent and disagreement will not affect God’s purpose. Knowing that the church is God’s purpose, there are those individuals who willingly and delightfully commit their all to Christ and His purpose. The church for them is not a gig. It is not a hangout spot. It is not even a place. It is a force, a movement, a mystical community built on the indestructible and unchangeable foundation of Jesus Christ as its firm foundation. The purpose of God is eternal. Therefore, the church has to be eternal. This should cause us to be extremely humble. God has made it possible for us, mortal and temporal beings to be a part of His eternal purpose. We must remember that His purpose was before our presence.
Our presence as God’s representatives and heralds of his love and grace must bear witness to this awesome God who deeply cares for the world. Our presence must be a redeeming one. It must be seen and felt. The Great Commission in its various forms in the Gospels suggests the necessity of our presence. This is the same way God executed redemption for us. There was Presence…the Word became flesh and dwelt among us. The concept is further borne out in two of the Metaphors that Christ has used to describe his followers. We are the light of the world and the salt of the earth. We must be a presence that is carrying out God’s purpose. Much confusion seems to exist in this area. It shows up in discussions, deliberations, comments and behaviors. Though very well-intentioned, there are those whose mindset demonstrate utter ignorance as to the significance of the church’s presence. There are those who seek to become a part of it thinking that it is a social fraternity; others think it is a country club; still others think the church is a production house for the arts or the center for civic activity or an elitist privileged organization.
As a redemptive presence, we must proclaim the gospel of Christ. As a redemptive presence, we must adhere to the teachings of Christ; we must be a community that is being changed into his image and therefore be a reflection of who He is. These are not idealistic concepts. They are the very core of what it means to be Christian. Our presence must be the difference maker where there are injustices, abuses, poverty, and other social ills. Our presence must make the difference in bringing about healing in relationships at every level: between human and God and human and human. Our presence must serve as the demonstration of hope to the broken. It must be the signal to the lost that there is Someone who will not stop searching until He has found that which was lost. It is a sad commentary on the church if our presence is only for our own comfort and enjoyment. We must not be a catchment for persons who are searching for somewhere to go. We must be a rescue for sinners, pointing them to Christ.
Our presence must be the prophetic voice that confronts people of every stratum and rank; every color and creed, every language and tongue. The church today is not a new thing. If it is, it is not true. As has been said, if it is true it’s not new and if it is new it is not true. The church is the continuation of what began on the Day of Pentecost in Jerusalem about AD 33. What began there with the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on some men and women who were waiting in obedience to the command of the Lord, a number of about 120 soon became 3000, then 5000 men then they eventually became to many to count. They were continuing in the apostles doctrine, prayer, breaking of bread and fellowship. A church informed, learning, leaning on the Lord, loving one another and caring for the newborn believers who were added to the church daily.
Today, I am humbled to be listed among the number of men and women who answered the call of Christ to shepherd His flock. I have vowed to be faithful. I have vowed to finish my course. I have vowed to feed his flock. Today, I offer you an opportunity to become a part of God’s flock. Come under His care and be a part of this indestructible force that is the anvil on which hammers are broken. Rise up young people, rise up children, rise up mothers and fathers and answer the call to salvation and service. The church of Jesus constantly remain.