“I pray that God will be our instructor,” stated Pastor Josiah. He reminded us that without Jesus going to the cross and rising from the dead, there would not be a WAY. The twelve disciples were given the task of following the LORD and sharing the Good News with Jews and Gentiles. According to Dr Robert E. Coleman in his work, The Master Plan of Evangelism, those twelve were to reproduce. They knew the Savior and His Spirit so well that they felt compelled to tell others. Then the seventy and the thousands who saw the LORD spread the love of Jesus with the world.
An important point was “People know what you believe by how you live.” Matthew 7:20 stated it so well. “Yes, just as you can identify a tree by its fruit, so you can identify people by their actions.” (NLT) The saying “Actions speak louder than words” captures the same thought. Our actions reflect what our thoughts are and are the fruit of our thoughts and decisions.
Another point was “Our decision to follow Him can’t afford to be cheap. It must be pure.” From Galatians 2:20- “My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me.” (NLT) That is to take up our cross daily instead of letting our feelings, our culture, the media dictate how we should think, live and be. Only with Christ living in us and choosing Him to guide us daily can we live the life the LORD has for each of us.
Then the LORD used Pastor Josiah to share new insights into practices that are quite familiar to us as Christ followers-communion and baptism. From 1 Corinthians 11:23-26, Paul detailed what he learned from the LORD about the Last Supper-the breaking of bread and the sharing of wine. When we take communion, we announce Jesus’ death and resurrection. Though communion is often thought of as symbolic only, it is by faith and understanding that
“the cross is announced; the New Covenant in His blood is declared; His grace is made known; His goodness is published; and salvation is proclaimed.”
We are retelling the fact of His life, death, and resurrection as we take communion.
“Communion is a powerful gift to the Body of Christ where our faith touches our obedience .”
Do we need to drink the grape juice to be forgiven? NO! Forgiveness occurs only through faith with understanding that He is the LORD, Healer, Jehovah Jireh. The bread and grape juice provide a point of contact, something tangible where faith is coupled with action. Jesus as Savior is believed and acted out. Faith touches our obedience and dance together. Also may our decisions be authentic and not a momentary acceptance with no follow through in how we live life. For in Romans 6:1-3
“Well then, should we keep on sinning so that God can show
us more and more of his wonderful grace? Of course not! Since
we have died to sin can we continue to live in it? Or have you
forgotten that when we were joined with Christ Jesus in baptism
we join him in his death?
If communion was not important, Paul would not have warned us about taking communion in an unworthy manner. 1 Corinthians 11:27
“So then, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup
of the LORD in an unworthy manner will be guilty of
sinning against the body and blood of the LORD.” (NIV)
“Communion is an act of obedience, a point of contact that emphasizes with exclamation a very present power that has remarkable results with the believer,” stated Pastor Josiah.
The second sacrament water baptism links us with Jesus. We may live new lives in Christ. When we died with Christ, we were set free from sin’s power. Jesus won the battle against sin. Pastor Josiah shared how he tried to fix the circumstances when he was a younger Christ follower. He was saved and then tried to work his way to heaven after his decision. He would have mess up Monday, mess up Tuesday, church Wednesday, mess-up Thursday. That was his pattern. He really did not have the mind of Christ. However one night on the couch, he read Romans 6, and the Word jumped out at him.
He asked,”Do I change the Word of God or do I change me?” His answer is “Don’t settle for “sin management” when the price for “full freedom” has already been paid.” Romans 6:6-8 states
“We know that our sinful selves were crucified with Christ so
that sin might lose its power in our lives. We are no longer slaves
to sin. For when we died with Christ we were set free from the
power of sin. And since we died with Christ, we know we will
live with him.” (NLT)
Our relationship with Him grows and gets more and more exciting as we depend more and more on Him because we fall more and more in love with Him. Expressing our love for Him and adoration of Him please our Abba Father. Understanding what you are really doing while being baptized allows God to meet you in that moment. Like Moses leading the nation of Israel out of Egyptian slavery across the Red Sea, we cross from our old lives to the new lives in Christ. The Israelites had to believe and go across the dry land of the Red Sea. The Egyptians also chased the Israelites into the Red Sea, but the waters drowned them. The Israelites obeyed the LORD and arrived safely to the other side They came out free.
Demonstrated faith’s result is that we have
1. died to sin (Romans 6:2)
2. been joined with Christ in His death. (Romans 6:3)
3. been buried with Him (Romans 6:4)
4. been raised to new life (Romans 6:4-5)
5. seen our sinful self crucified with Christ (Romans 6:6)
6. seen that sin has lost its power in our lives (Romans 6:6)
7. been set free from the power of sin (Romans 6:7)
8. life with Him (Romans 6:8)
9. been dead to the power of sin (Romans 6:11)
10. been made alive through Christ (Romans 6:11)
In following the LORD, it changes the trajectory of our lives. May we be salt and light in this troubled world.
July 5-The Next Chapter meeting at 6:30
July 8-Celebration of life for Dana Blatchford at 3:00. PLEASE BRING FINGER FOOD FOR THE RECEPTION immediately following the service.
By: Larry and Annette Linthicum