Please be sure to scroll below for a second reflection on today's Sunday worship.
Today’s Sermon was centered around Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians, chapter 9 verses 1-23.
The New Testament clearly states that the model for ministry is our Lord Jesus Christ. The nature of our ministry is service. The motive for ministry in Christianity is love. The measure for ministry is sacrifice. The authority of ministry is submission. Finally, the purpose of our ministry is the Glory of God.
In the Gospel according to John, Jesus said, John 14:12 (NLT), “I tell you the truth, anyone who believes in me will do the same works I have done, and even greater works, because I am going to be with the Father.”
The greek word for works is ergon which means an action that carries out, completes, an inner desire (link). What Jesus is saying is that if we truly believe in Him, we will do exactly has He had accomplished and even bigger things. This is the will of God the Father. So before we accomplish the greater things that Jesus talks about, we need to first accomplish the exact same things he accomplished: demonstrating the Fruit of the Spirit.
So what things did Jesus accomplish in His ministry? He first demonstrated the fruits of the spirit in His everyday life and in His character. Jesus always fully demonstrated the fruits of the spirit in His actions (Galatians 5:22-23).
Then, we are called to exercise the gifts of the Spirit such as wisdom, faith, healing gifts, etc. (1 Corinthians 12: 8-10). These clarify our purpose in life and who we are called to be and the type of responsibility we have as Christians to help build the Kingdom of God. Paul makes it clear when he says in: 1 Corinthians 9: Verses: 22-23. “To the weak I became weak, that I might gain the weak: am become all things to all men, that I may by all means save some. And I do all things for the gospel’s sake, that I may be a joint partaker thereof.”
Paul is showing the extent to which he is willing to sacrifice his life for the Kingdom. He is ready to try and fit in with different types of societies so that he may share the good news of the Gospel, even if it means putting his life on hold, just as long as he remains true to who is in Christ Jesus. As Rev. Karen said, Paul says to consider fitting in for the sake of the Gospel. But, to not lose sight of whom it is we are called to be in Christ Jesus: Saints. Paul identifies himself to be a servant of God.
In the same manner, we need to consider the world changing around us. We need to try and fit in without losing sight of who we are called to be. We need to try and make ourselves known as Christians in different communities by demonstrating the fruits of the spirit.
Also, we should consider accepting, not tolerating, different backgrounds especially in a diverse country in order to demonstrate the fruits of the Spirit. This will help us move forward with the gifts God has given us so that we may work for the Kingdom to come.
Everything is worthwhile when we follow the will of God. How do we stay true to God but still have an inclusive approach in today’s world? We can only do so but first demonstrating the fruits of the spirit in our actions before we go out into the world to do the will of God. We will only be able to approach the world, if we are confident in our understanding of the importance of the fruits of the Spirit and the role they play in our character building especially after baptism.
Today’s service included the baptism of a child. As a congregation Rev. Karen asked us if ‘we promise to raise the child in the love and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ within the home and the fellowship of the church’. We all responded that we would. I remember sitting there thinking that, having a different background as the child, would somehow play a role into how I would approach the child to build a friendship, so that I could contribute in the upbringing at church.
I truly believe that our cultures influence our interpretation of friendship and fellowship. However, Jesus has freed us from cultural ties and has allowed us to all interpret love through His spirit. This would be a great example of how I would have to try and understand her cultural upbringing in order to approach her and assist her through life with the help of the Holy Spirit.
I would have to build some sort of trust with her family in order for them to be comfortable around me so that I may be allowed to share with her the Good news of the Gospel. All in all, we need to find a balance between trying to be accepted by people and trying to stay true to who we have become in Christ Jesus.
In my understanding of the good news of the Gospel of Jesus, the Holy Spirit is ready to guide us in the sharing of his word. However, the question is, do we demonstrate the fruits of the Spirit in our day to day lives before we go out into the world to accomplish the works that we are called to for?