A Community of Grace and Truth
Topic: Sunday Message Verse: John 1:14
How We Think About Church
Our past experiences often shape our present expectations. While us having a wide range past experiences can be good, if we're not careful we can each expect something different from church and all pull in different directions.
What if instead of our past experiences shaping our present expectations about church, we had shared, biblical expectations which, in turn, would create a future expectancy? An expectancy about what God could do in us, through us, and among us.
John 1:14 NIV
The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
Jesus and the Church
Any time you talk about a church that is truly Christian, it has to start with Jesus. Without Jesus, there is no such thing as “the church.”And so if you have a church without Jesus, you really don’t have anything at all. Whether it’s the worldwide Christian church as a whole, or it’s a local expression of the church like Hopevale, it all starts with Jesus.
Jesus is fully God and fully man. He is the one and only Son of God who came from God the Father, with whom He had co-existed since the beginning of time. And yet He also humbled Himself and entered our world as a helpless baby boy, born to Mary and Joseph in a Bethlehem manger.
God With Us
Just as God was present with His people in the Tabernacle during the times of the Old Testament, John 1:14 tells us that Jesus "tabernacled" among us. The Shekinah glory that once filled the Tabernacle was now present in this man, Jesus. Jesus is Immanuel--God with us and God for us.
The Church's Primary Role
The church is supposed to pick up where Jesus left off. We are to be Jesus to our world.
1 Corinthians 3:16 NIV
Don't you know that you yourselves are God's temple and that God's Spirit dwells in your midst?
Grace AND Truth
“Grace” and “Truth” don’t naturally seem to go together. Grace is soft-sounding and accepting, while truth seems hard and judgmental. Yet the Bible tells us that Jesus is was (and is) full of grace and truth, meaning He’s 100% grace and 100% truth. There’s no 50-50 blend. There’s no compromise of one at the expense of the other. Somehow, in the person of Jesus, these two come together beautifully in their entirety.
The Church is a Community
The church is to be a community, not just a collection of individuals. So even though religion in our culture is an individual pursuit where everyone does their own thing, the Bible makes it clear that the we are forgiven sinners, brought together by the Spirit of God, into the family of God, to help advance the Kingdom of God. We are a community of grace and truth.
John 13:34-35 NIV
"A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another."
Connections Study Guide
Our Connections study guide returns this week. You can find our weekly Connections in the bulletin and at the Online Sermons section of our website. Simply click the Launch Media Player icon and you'll see a link to access the Connections guide that corresponds with each week's message.