Sunday, December 21, 2008

200 Words #2: Love and Serve Jesus.

The DNA of a mature church in 200 Words:

#2: A Mature Church will grow to Love and Serve Jesus.
'Decisions are made by those who show up.' Presence, according to Jed Bartlett, counts.

From ancient times, God promised to 'show up', (with gravitas, naturally: 'The LORD your God will come.')

God promised to come to his temple; to ‘bare his holy arm, bringing salvation’; and that his feet would 'stand on the Mount of Olives'. The ancients believed that God would come to his temple, but not on an actual donkey. Nor that his holy arm, bared, could have actual hands. Nor that he his feet, standing, could be pierced.

Jesus prayed for the Father’s will to be ‘done on earth, as in heaven’. It turns out that Jesus is God’s will embodied ‘on earth, as in heaven’. He preached the Kingdom, bound the brokenhearted, and promised wrath for the faithless.

Like Father, like Son.

John says God ‘pitched his tent among us’. But we are not happy campers: ‘he came to his own, and his own disowned him’.

And yet there is method in the madness: In giving his life, he beat the path to an impossible door: His Kingdom, with justice met and grace received.

And raised as Messiah, he requires one thing: YOU. (And your knees!)


  • Scripture references can be read by clicking on the yellow links, or in one page by clicking HERE. (Isaiah 35:4, Malachi 3:1, Isaiah 52:10, Zechariah 14:3-4, Matthew 6:10, Matthew 4:17, John 3:36, John 1:11-14, Mark 10:23-27, Philippians 2:8-11)
  • Pic on Flickr by Yousef Al-Asfour


Anonymous said...

Hey Justin,
at the risk of throwing in a red herring
I'm just wondering about the 'A mature church will grow to...' bit.
It raises questions for me:
*can you have immature churches/Christians that don't love and serve?
*maturity is something I'm guessing you want for every church not just an elite?
*is maturity a state or a process?
*your Philipians 2 gives link implies a last days fulfilment
*both/and answers are fine but may not be obvious from the language of 'a mature church'
*with 'maturity' language is there a danger of idealism - perhaps the great church is the one with lots of immature people around, and messed up people, and people who haven't yet learned to love and serve Jesus?
Sorry if this is a sidetrack from your main point
(Interesting how Paul uses the growing up language for the Corinthians in 1 Cor 3)

Justin said...

No problems, MK.

You can have immature churches, can't you? Like the Corinthian Church, as you point out.

And I do take maturity to be a process, rather than an ideal. That is, if a church is growing and seeking to love and serve Jesus, then you could call that church mature (or maturing) and not denying that the church is full of broken and messed up people.

Would you prefer Healthy?

In what way would you change things?

(Oh, and I'm assuming that Paul, when he writes Phil 2, is wanting knees to bend to Jesus now, rather than only later.)

Anonymous said...

this may be my 2nd attempt at replying - please delete if it is.
If maturity is a process and not an ideal state then I think all my concerns are allayed.

I like Stott's 'Living church' - 'healthy', 'living', 'maturing' and 'fruitful' all pick up ideas of 'vitality' and contrast with sick/dead/immature/barren. Once you start thinking of the right adjective to use you realise how many there are in scripture. John 15 vine/branches is helful because it shows the vitality of the church comes from the life of Jesus and cut off from him is to be under judgement and death and unfruitful.

And yes, in Phil 2 the logic is bow now. The eschatology is all will bow then.
Thanks for this series Justin - very stimulating. I have so little time this week to do anything but will read with interest.

Giraffe Pen (기린 만년필) said...

Justin in your post you very aptly wrote that God requires on thing of us: OURSELVES. One of the weaknesses with the Two Ways To Live gospel presentation is that it seems to overlook this part becauses it focuses so much on HOW to become Christian without saying much about the high cost of discipleship. God requires ALL of us because He did all the work on the cross and when I became a Christian there wasn't much of an emphasis on this truth because I was focusing so much on how to become one. In the years since becoming a Christian obedience has been my biggest issue and although I can't blame anyone for being stubborn and disobedient it would have helped me to no end if someone had spelled this all out to me when I first came to know Jesus, to explore what that would look like.

mike said...

Thanks for these summarys. It's great to step back and look at the big picture again. Your language is refreshing.

I love that point 5(scripture) is displayed throughout as it points us to the Father, Christ and Spirit, without it having to be placed as a monadic number one. I scoured a heap of church websites recently and checked out their 'about us' section. So many churches introduce themselves "We beleive in the Bible and its authority over our lives" and don't go any further. Of course, this should be said, but for a few Jesus didn't get a mention. For many you had to scroll to the bottom of the page.