Waynedale United Methodist Church
Sunday, August 20, 2017
Making Disciples of Jesus for the Transformation of the World!
   

Feb 12, 2017 Sermon

“I Believe: I am a Child of God, The Church is Christ’s Body”

John 1:12, 1 Corinthians 12:12 – 14

Ted Jansen  February 12, 2017  Waynedale UMC

 

1.)        Who are you?  How would you describe yourself? 

            As you think of describing yourself you might start with the present day facts of how old you are, where you live, how tall you are and information like that. 

            You might share when you were born, who your parents are, what school you attended, what groups you were a part of, etc.  You describe your past to the present.    

            You might describe yourself and some goals that you have for the future, what your dreams are, what you want to be when you grow up!               

            Another way to describe yourself would be to share the experiences you have had in your life.  You could add details about these moment, whether they were bad or good, and how they have shaped your life. 

           

2.)        How would you describe your spiritual and faith life?  What do you know and believe about your identity as a follower of Jesus Christ?  Who are you? 

You might describe how you experienced God’s grace, and how you came to faith in Christ and how the church has shaped you.  What would you share? 

 

3.)        Here is a belief from “Think, Act, Be Like Jesus,” by Randy Frazee.  I believe I am significant because of my position as a child of God.

            Would you have used those words to describe yourself?  I am a child of God!  Do you believe this?    

 

4.)        Each of us has a need for a healthy self-view, or self-esteem.  We all have a need to be loved, to have purpose, to feel secure, to feel significance, to have a sense of belonging.  These are the needs that Randy Frazee highlights in his book. 

When these needs are met in a positive and healthy way we have a good self-view or self-esteem.  These help us focus on the truth of God and our identity. 

The challenges in our lives are when these needs go unmet in our lives.  Sometimes these needs might be met but only for a short time, or these needs are met but with conditions.  Sometimes we don’t understand these needs because we have been neglected or our perception of   needs are distorted by painful experiences. 

 

5.)        We all have experienced pain in some measure because we live in sinful and selfish world.  We live in a world where people hurt us.  We live in a world where suffering happens.  We have all dealt in some way with pain and suffering. 

            You have been or you might know someone who has been abused in some form.  This causes pain and hurt.  You have been or might know someone who has abused a variety of substances.  This hurts and breaks hearts.  You have been or know someone who has been divorced, has experienced unhealthy relationships, or who struggles in being single or married.  We wonder if we are normal.  You have been or you might know someone who has struggled with mental health issues.  This can be hard and confusing at times.  You or someone you know has experienced the death of a loved one.  Grief causes stress and shakes our world.     

            These experiences of pain, hurt and brokenness affect us and those we love.  We might begin to believe these hurts define us and are the deciding factor in our identity.  We need a word from God about who we are.  

 

6.)        Listen to John 1:12.  “To all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.” 

            This verse teaches us that to receive Christ is the first step claiming our identity as a child of God.  We receive what God offers us in Christ. 

            Then we believe.  We continue to believe day by day by day by day the truth and promises that God has given to us in Christ.  We cannot forget this truth, the truth that we are children of God.  A child of God is special, blessed by the Lord Almighty.  I believe that I am special.  We are not defined by the hurt and hang-ups of our past.   

           

7.)        Here are three scriptures that affirm this truth that we are children of God.      

            “If we are children, then we are heirs – heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.  (Romans 8:17) 

            “Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in your midst?  (1 Corinthians 3:16)

            “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone the new has come!”  (2 Corinthians 5:17)  

            These verses remind us that we are heirs, we are God’ temple and that all of the old “stuff” is gone.  We are a new creation.  We have a new identity.  We need to erase the old memories from our spirit with God’s help.    

 

8.)        Let me illustrate.  If I told you that I was a choir member what would you need to see to convince you that is true? 

            What if I put on a choir robe, sat down with the choir members and when the anthem began my mouth opened.   This would give you evidence that I am a choir member.  You might believe. 

            I am wearing what other choir members wear when they sing, I am sitting where they sit before they sing, and you can see my mouth opening.  You might say, “he is a choir member.”    

            What if I said I am a Boy Scout?  Just saying it doesn’t make it true.  But, if I wore a uniform, went to the meetings, and earned badges then that might convince you.  

 

9.)        I am a child of God.   I need to put on, all around me and my spirit, this truth of God so that I hear God’s voice and not negative voices.  I need to put myself in the place where children of God are present; in worship in fellowship, in study, in service.  I need to live out my faith to the best of my ability.

            The church is vital in helping shape and strengthen our identity, as children of God.  We have a purpose as children of God in being a part of a congregation.  God has a purpose for the children of God in the life of the church.

 

10.)      God’s primary tool to accomplish God’s mission is the church, God’s people.  We are the vessels of that Divine Love to each person.  God’s purpose is to use the church in such a way that what God is doing in heaven will be accomplished on earth.    

            Listen to this statement of belief.  I believe the church is God’s primary way to accomplish his purposes on earth.

 

11.)      Listen to 1 Corinthians 12:12 – 14.  Paul is teaching about the identity of the church. 

“The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body.  So it is with Christ.  For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body – whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free – and we were all given the one Spirit to drink.  Now the body is not made up of one part but of many.”

            God created the church, to fulfill our purpose as children of God and God’s purpose to bring each person to a saving faith in God’s Son, Jesus.  We witness to God’s love together.    

 

12.)      Here is an illustration of great strength being demonstrated when we work together. 

            The Calgary Stampede has been known for many years as one of the premier rodeos in the world.  One of their most exciting and anticipated events is the Heavy Horse Pull.  The story is told of the year when a horse pulled 9,000 pound, while another pulled 8,000 pounds.  At the end of the event the owners of the top two horsed decided to see what both animals could do working together.  Teamed up, you would expect them to pull 17,000 pounds, right?  Wrong.  When harnessed together, they pulled 30,000 pounds!  (Think, Act, Believe Like Jesus, Randy Frazee, page 69) 

            Almost twice what they could do as individual horses they did when they worked as a team.  They encouraged each other and worked harder. 

 

13.)      The Church does great things when we worship, work and witness together.  We can each do our own part, together we do more. 

I want to illustrate the power and impact of one and the impact of many.  Listen to the music of the chorus, “Alleluia.”  The music is nice, but when you add a voice to that music a different dimension is experienced.  Then when you add a few more voices the song gets better.  When you add the voice of each person singing the chorus you sense a greater strength and power.  When we take out the music and just focus on all the voices singing you sense God’s presence in their midst. 

            One person, one voice makes some noise, some pretty noise and music is great.  One church, with many voices can make an impact on others and the world.