Thursday, June 29, 2017

EMA Day 2: Graham Beynon - sermon: 1 Peter 2:4-10 – The God Who Gathers

Do you typically by default think I or we?

Individualist and collectivist cultures – defined by relationships, groups?

Top 3 individualist countries: USA, Australia, UK

Church – God saves people into a gathered church

(1) God is building a new temple (v4), a spiritual house

Forget about the temple in Jerusalem

Eph 2 – the people are the temple

Living stones, people

God presences himself, meets with his people

Also a holy priesthood offering spiritual sacrifice – whole life offered in worship to God

God is all about relationship, dwelling with his people, present to them, living with them

People come into this new temple through Jesus v4

People come to see Jesus as God sees him and to view him as precious and trust in him

But others reject Jesus as useless rubbish – reversal – rejection to exaltation

How people respond to Jesus and to the message / word cf. Ch 1: the word that was preached to you, the word about J

The gospel does not just result in saved people, it results in a saved people: it creates the church, churches, a temple

Cf. Belonging and believing – it is by believing we belong – individual to collective, not automatic or by association or osmosis – personal trust essential – to the one who believes

Not just a matter of background / upbringing

Belonging before believing? Evangelistic and apologetic power in non-Xians interacting with Xians, but you can’t belong without believing

If you believe, you belong – church membership is not optional – belong to J, belong to his church

Distinguish faith in Jesus and church-going nominalism – but church essential – joining the church is integral to conversion

Eph 2 – in X you are part of the new humanity

1 Cor 12 – baptised by the Spirit into one body

We come to faith as individuals and no one can believe for us, but faith is not purely vertical or private

Church is more than useful / helpful

Conversion results in a new corporate identity – a building, founded on J, not just a whole load of stones!

Xianity is not just a you and J thing

We should define ourselves not just in distinction to others but in relationship with them

God dwells amongst us as a people not just privately in my heart

(2) God is gathering a new people through Jesus (v9)

The language of Ex 19 – redemption, treasured possession, kingdom of priests, holy nation

Church as new Israel, new people of God – “replacement theology”, fulfilment, transformation, multi-ethnic people of God through J

Unique privilege, access to God, treasured, valuable to God

Holy, distinguished from the dark world, set apart, foreigners and exiles, not belonging to the world

Changed, transformed

Recipients of mercy

Corporate identity, united, brought together

Covenant promise: I will be your God and you will be my people

Implications for our view of church:

Challenges a functional view of church – church not just a tool, what it does, a means – not merely utilitarian – the collective nature of the church is not accidental or pragmatic but essential

USA: drive in church

Listening to sermons online not the same as church!

Church not just meetings I go to for the sake of my relationship with God – church more than a filling station

Not just in and out – drive through church without the car!

The homogeneous unit principle a functional view of church, merely pragmatic means to an end?

Who we are not just what we do

Families do things but they are not just means – they are a thing!

Francis Shaffer – we need an orthodoxy of doctrine and of community, and understanding of who we are as God’s people and how it is lived out

Church as more than good meetings

What is the mission / goal of the church? What is the aim here in 1 Pt?

God wants a chosen and treasured people who belong to him and proclaim him and live as his people

God sent Jesus so there could be church! The story of the Bible is the story of gathering of the church. Fall, loss of church. Promise of church. Model of church. Fulfilment of church. Future church.

Church is not only the agent but the goal.

Philip Jensen: what if God doesn’t have a purpose for the church? What if the church is the goal not the instrument, more like a diamond than a hammer it exists for the pleasure and glory of its owner not as a tool for another end.

Obviously the church still does stuff!

Eph 4 – the body grows and builds itself up. The goal is a mature body suitable for Christ.

Or the perfecting of the bride for X.

I and we, of course. Trinity. I trust in Jesus and then we! So we. I belong to the people of God. That defines me. I belong to God’s temple, people, nation, family.

Church not just a priority over TV & sport but how people think of themselves.

When we serve the church, we are about God’s mission. God sent Jesus so there could be church. The future is church.

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