What is the purpose of the church?
-Ephesians 3 says the purpose of the church is that the wisdom of God might be revealed.
-Ephesians 4 says that there are individual gifts that are to be used within the body, within the church for the work of ministry. God’s ministry is happening through us
-1 Peter 2 says that we are to declare His praises, the one who saved you and rescued you. Our lives are literally to point towards Him in all we do
-Acts 2 shows the church forming community, selling what they had, sacrificing and sharing what they had to minister to the needs of ALL. The church was gathering regularly, devoting themselves to the teaching of God’s Word, and to prayer.
What is God’s purpose for our church specifically?
At the beginning of 2020 we introduced a brand new mission statement for our church: Transformed by God to bring hope to others through Christ.
Throughout our “Changed to Change” series we want to explore the following:
-a Biblical understanding of the call to transformation
-Biblical transformation happens in a moment
-Biblical transformation happens over time
-the attainment of Heaven is the ultimate transformation
The bottom line:
The Gospel of Christ is The Gospel of Transformation
Three snapshots of Biblical transformation:
1. “BORN AGAIN” (John 3:1-8)
3 Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born (gennaō – To be born or begotten, as in a woman giving birth to a child. Nicodemus’ confusion may come from the fact that this use sounds like a literal reference to being actually born, which is Jesus’ intent) again. (John 3:3)
-This reference to being “born again” also implies a dying. (John 12:24)
-You can’t read these words of Jesus without clearly understanding that Jesus is interested in complete and total transformation -He is talking about being born again
2 “NEW CREATION” (2 Corinthians 5:14-17)
17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation (ktisis – the act of founding, being a creature. Also rabbinical usage to refer to those who converted to Judaism from idolatry) has come: The old has gone, the new is here! 2 Corinthians 5:17
• To be transformed from living for self to living for Him is dramatic change.
• One doesn’t happen without the other. You can’t be in relationship with Christ without transformation and you can’t be transformed apart of Christ.
3. “SANCTIFICATION” (1 Thessalonians 5:23-24)
23 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.
(hagiazō – separate from the profane for dedication to God; Separate, consecrated. Purified. Renewed)
• This is not a symbolic act, but one’s spirit, soul, and body being sanctified, which means to “separate, consecrate, purify or renew”
• On our own, we are sinners, but the power of transformation is that God can sanctify us, purifying us so that we are no longer slaves to sin
Scripture for further Reflection/Study:
Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we[a] have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we[b] boast in the hope of the glory of God. 3 Not only so, but we[c] also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope.
2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.
2 Corinthians 3:18
18 And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.
21 Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,” for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. 2 I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. 4 ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” 5 He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!”