Encouragement

Continue On

June 13, 2014

Why are we here? What’s the purpose of a Church? Is it for believers to get together and catch up? Is it a time to worship God for His greatness and get fed? Is it a time to come together, encourage and pray for one another? Certainly. But is that the entire purpose of a Church?

If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God.
Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.
Colossians 3:1-2

In verse 1 he said “If ye be risen with Christ”, that means if you’re saved, a believer of the Lord Jesus Christ, you are to “seek those things which are above”. The word “seek” in this verse means to desire, to endeavor, or to go after. It’s a striving for heavenly things.

Verse 2 states that Christians are to “Set your affection on things above”. This phrase directly references the mind. Today we might think that affection is talking about some kind of emotional state, but “affection” as it is used here directly means to exercise the mind. By implication it means to have a mental disposition or an intense focus. Where should the Christian’s focus be? On things above.

Before we go on, let me remind you of what Christ has done for believers.

And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power:
In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ:
Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead.
And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses;
Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross;
And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it.
Colossians 2:10-15

Jesus Christ died on the cross for the sin of man; every man. He was the Lamb of perfect sacrifice that paid for our sins with his blood, and made a way to bring God and man together. Jesus Christ rose on the third day after his crucifixion, showing his power over the grave. Without accepting this perfect sacrifice, we have no hope of heaven. The gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ his Son. If you reject the Son, you reject the Father.

Christ said:
But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:
For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.
The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light.
But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness!
No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.
Matthew 6:24-28

God says that it’s impossible to serve both him and the world. In the first few verses we looked at, God was telling Christians to set their sights on things above. These verses warn Christians that if they worship money, position and esteem in the world, then it’s impossible for them to please God. That’s serious.

Now, back to our text in Colossians 3. This book was actually a letter written to the church at Colossi. Now, does that mean that we shouldn’t apply this to our own life as individuals? No, if you’re a Christian then you should absolutely apply these concepts to your own life as an individual.

However, if you miss the point that this message brings to a church, you have indeed missed the larger message.

When Christ gave the great commission in Matthew 28, who was he speaking to? He was talking to the eleven disciples (minus Judas Iscariot of course).

Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, into a mountain where Jesus had appointed them.
And when they saw him, they worshipped him: but some doubted.
And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.
Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.
Matthew 28:16-20

The great commission was not given to an individual, but to the first church, comprised of Christ and his disciples, for which he spent an entire night praying for, before selecting them.

And it came to pass in those days, that he went out into a mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God.
And when it was day, he called unto him his disciples: and of them he chose twelve, whom also he named apostles;
Luke 6:12-13

This was the foundation of the first church that was established at Jerusalem.

God gave his commission to this church. Not to individuals.

And all that believed were together, and had all things common;
And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need.
And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart,
Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.
Acts 2:44-47

The naysayers will tell you “Hey, just look where that system got them, they ended up broke, and the churches of Macedonia and Achaia had to send relief to Jerusalem” (Romans 15:26). Let me tell you, though, I’d rather be broke, and see God bless the church that I am a part of in saving and adding people daily to my church, then to “have it all” in this world.

So what am I saying?

I’m saying that over the years Americans have become arrogant, self-righteous, and refuse to yield to one another, even in churches. Church members often spend more time butting heads than getting the gospel out.

Then they wonder why they don’t see souls saved, and churches are broken, bleeding, crippled and just barely hobbling along.

So what’s the answer? To find those who will listen while we give them the gospel.

How you might ask?

Any way possible. Many people in the US just don’t read the material you may give them these days. They may get through the first couple of sentences, but if something doesn’t just reach out and grab them, then your material will end up in the trash. People today watch videos, TV and movies. They hang out online. Some churches are using radio and TV to get the message out. While that can get expensive, Youtube and Google Hangouts are free.

And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart,
Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.
Acts 2:46-47

Then had the churches rest throughout all Judaea and Galilee and Samaria, and were edified; and walking in the fear of the Lord, and in the comfort of the Holy Ghost, were multiplied.
Acts 9:31

And as they went through the cities, they delivered them the decrees for to keep, that were ordained of the apostles and elders which were at Jerusalem.
And so were the churches established in the faith, and increased in number daily.
Acts 16:4-5

So what am I saying?

I’m saying not only was it possible in the first century, but they did it in the first century. It’s still possible today. Other Christian groups that don’t have all their doctrine correct are doing it right now.

But as long as Christians fight amongst themselves, as long as they allow sin to dominate their lives, as long as they succumb to the feelings of hopelessness and inadequacy, their churches will not grow, and they will not reach this generation.

Period.

Believers have to get past themselves.

I beg you to continue on, to fulfil the great commission. I beg you to come together as churches and get a vision, to test ideas and seek the Lord on how to reach America, and then pray that God will send out those who are added to this church to fulfil the great commission in other parts of the world.

I’ll close with these simple words:

Continue On!

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