Sermon Audio: Canon R. Hurkmans
Special Music: "Be Lifted Up" M. Wakefield
A quick look at your driver's licence says a lot about who you are: your address, your age, your height, your date of birth. But is this really "who you are?" Is this your identity? Actually, these facts don't even begin to describe our true identity as God's people. Today our six week journey through the book of Ephesians comes to an end today. We've been asking the question: "Who" Is the Church?. Today our journey ends with Paul's warning to "be strong" and "stand firm" against our enemy... but who is this enemy? Paul's answer: the Devil. While this might make some of us squirm (the devil? really?), we need to explore this important topic. and find out not only who our enemy is, but how we can be strong as God's people.
In a city like Ephesus, you NEED to know who you are... especially if you are a Christian. With all sorts of competing values and religious ideas, its easy to be swept up with the crowd and lose your unique identity.
The same is true today: the church is meant to be a unique, distinct group of people that live and act according to God's values and a Christian worldview.
So that means Paul's letter to the Ephesian church is incredibly relevant for us today, just as it was 2000 years ago. Today we begin a new, 6-week series entitled: "Who is the Church?"
Every great organization can tell you WHAT they do. Some can tell you HOW they do it. Very few can tell you WHY. This is the theory put forward by Simon Sinek in his book, "Start With Why," and its an idea that has incredible relevance for the church today.
So here goes: Why do you come to church? Many people have a hard time answering this question. Churches struggle when they can't articulate the "WHY": what is the thing we do that makes people get out of bed every Sunday morning?
Today we explore the question "WHY", and as we will see, if we don't know the WHY, we will never experience the "WOW" of what God intends for His church.
With so much being written these days on the negative effects of the "church growth movement", it may make us think that wanting to "grow" the church is a bad thing. Is it? The answer depends on "why" we want to grow the church. If we want the church to grow so that we have 'bragging rights' over the church next door, then that is a bad thing. Of, if we want to grow the church so that we have more people under our influence, under our power, then that is also a bad thing. But wanting to grow the church in order to help more people, deepen people's spirituality, or reach out to more people in need: these all seem like great reasons to grow a church. At the beginning of a new year, we begin an exploration of what it would take for our church to (finally) "break 150" and expand the ministry God has given us here in Port Colborne. Join the conversation!
The world has changed. As David Fitch (Prodigal Christianity) has stated, the church now finds itself in a culture that is "postChristian." This means the church now inhabits a world that is post-attractional (people don't gravitate toward the church anymore), post-positional (the church no longer occupies a position of respect and influence within society), and post-universal (the culture no longer speaks or understands the Christian story & vocabulary).
What do we do? Give up? Give in? Far from it. These are exciting times, for as we shall see, we can turn to Jesus and see in His ministry another way, a better way. Join us this Sunday for the first in a series of topics we are calling "ReThink Church."
Sermon Notes and Questions
Canon Robert Hurkmans was the priest at St. James and St. Brendan from 2006 to 2018.