This Sunday we begin a new sermon series, “Timeless Truths from the Early Church.” It will include five core principles from Scripture that apply to every church of every age. I will list those principles as sermon titles at the end of this post.
As we embark, I pray that two realities will under-gird us as we apply each of the messages. One of these thoughts came from Pastor Ray Ortlund Jr. as he opened last week’s Gospel Coalition West Coast Conference (October 16-18, 2018). The other came from Pastor Mark Dever on his “Pastor’s Talk” podcast with Jonathan Leeman (Episode 59: On Teaching the Church about the Church). Both stirred my heart. I’ll share them briefly with you and then lay out the five “timeless truths” we will receive together.
First, as stated by Ray Ortlund, “We are not a church community cut off from our past, but we are the heirs of the ages.” We are a continuation of the same church that extends back to the days of scripture. We are the extension of a line of Christians who sacrificed life, blood, property and position to honor the King Jesus and spread His Kingdom. We do not “unhitch” ourselves from our past. Going all the way back to the Old Testament Patriarchs, to the Apostles, to the early Christians, we are part of an ongoing legacy of God’s redeeming grace. We are to live according to the same biblical vision of community that they did!
Second, as said playfully by Mark Dever while asserting the authority of Scripture in organizing the church: “There are rules and paradigms where you just saw memory verses!” In other words, actual structures and commands are found for us in verses we’ve been familiar with, but not responsive to. We’re familiar with certain statements of the Bible, but fail to stop and think, “Oh, wait! God actually intends for us to DO these things and live them out.”
Brothers and sisters, we believe in the authority of Scripture. As we consider these timeless truths, lets receive them as God’s will for our church, Bethel Grace Baptist of Bellflower. It’s His plan for us to live this way together.
Here are five timeless truths from the early church.
Oct 28 – “We Are a Family of Believers.” So we share our hearts, our homes, our resources, and the love of God with one another.
Nov 4 – “We Are a Household of Grace.” So we rejoice in saving grace, pursue sanctifying grace, and practice the spiritual gifts of grace.
Nov 11 – “We All Contribute to the Cause.” God has gifted every single one of us to build up the church and advance the Kingdom. We all have different gifts, and we use them for the common good.
Nov 18 – “We Support our Leaders with Love.” Elders are overseers for the church and under-shepherds of Jesus. Deacons and deaconesses aid the church with ministries of mercy. We honor them in their work as they serve under God.
Nov 25 – “We Are Citizens of another Kingdom.” So our great passion is to declare the excellencies of a greater King and help soothe the tension of this earth with God’s grace.
May the Lord join us together, united in Christ, to live out these timeless truths.