Over the past few weeks our core group at Jacob's Well has been asking some simple questions as we start our work to establish a new church in central New Jersey. How do we begin to establish a community which will live for the glory of God and the good of the city by extending hope through the gospel of Jesus Christ.
In order to walk in the way of Jesus we are pausing right at the beginning to look at some important questions.
- First, if this is Jesus' church we need to know clearly who he is...he is the Christ, the one promised to be our prophet - to bring us the message of God, he is a great priest - reconnecting us to God and he is our great King - our leader in this life and the age to come. Furthermore, this "Christ" is the Son of God - he is God come to earth...God incarnate - God in a meat suit.
- Second, we asked the question...what is Jesus' mission? What did he come to accomplish when he came to earth? We saw two things clearly: 1) To seek and save that which was lost...people far from God - con men, hookers, liars, religious people, etc. he came to forgive people and reconnect them to the Father by his death on a cross. He paid for our sins and offers grace and pardon to all who will come. 2) He came to bring a new reality - the Kingdom of God. A realm not of physical geography or political boundaries but rather a realm where the rule and reign of Jesus is supreme. This kingdom breaks through into this age, through the church, a counter cultural society where we live in the world but differently. We handle sex, money, power, alcohol, media, marriage, soccer games, etc. in a different way under the rule of Jesus our King.
- Third, we looked at how the mission of Jesus extended through his earliest followers and how their model gives us a paradigm for our work today. Normal people, empowered by God the Holy Spirit, moves people to establish churches, communities where people are saved by Jesus and set together under his rulership and reign. Through the course of everyday commerce and living the church extended the mission of Jesus into the reaches of the Roman Empire through the ancient port cities - urban areas of cultural and economic import.
This week we close our series on Knowing the Way by looking at this society called the church and seeing what the church is and how she functions. Finally, we'll see how we live life together in a way that gives God honor, does good for our neighbors and people hear of the forgiving God of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Should be fun times...