If we hope to understand our purpose as individual Christians, we must first understand the purpose of the church. God, it seems, it doing something in the world, and he’s using the church. God is commanding the church to live differently. He wants us to demonstrate the Kingdom in our life together.
In order to understand this, we have to understand how Jews and Christians thought the world worked.’ Jews believed God would set the injustice in the world right in some big, cataclysmic event. This “Day of the Lord” would mean punishment for the wicked and reward for the righteous. Further, God would come to live with his people as the king. When Jesus, that messianic king, rose, initiating the new age, God didn’t bring wickedness to an end. So Christians were forced to reimagine how this might work. They concluded that God had inaugurated his Kingdom with Jesus, but that kingdom’s final triumph would have to await his return. God had called Christians to live as if the new age had dawned, while still living in the old age. In other words, we are supposed to live out the logic of the Kingdom in our life together.
This means that we demonstrate Jesus’ justice and righteousness as a community of believers. We do this through the practices of inclusivity and reconciliation.
Questions for Reflection
- Who are the people that you think feel most unwelcome by the church in our community? How can we show them that they are welcome?
- Am I a part of a group that is traditionally in conflict with another group? How can I show God’s reconciliation to people on the other side of that divide?
- Does understanding the church as a community characterized by inclusion and reconciliation change the way you approach living-out your faith as an individual?
Other Sermons on Purpose and Community
Download the New and expanded 2020 BIC Advent Devotional