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Being and Becoming the Church (2 of 10)
Have you heard the news? We're going back to the moon, but this time without people. An unmanned rocket launched this past Friday from the coast of Virginia with a robotic explorer that will study the lunar atmosphere and dust. Of the forty (40) or so moon missions, this is the first moon shot from Virginia. As many times as we've been to the moon and as close as it is to us, scientists still have many unanswered questions, questions that keep driving them to seek answers, to "shoot for the moon."
Paul has no illusions about the perfection of the church, he knows the church well, but he loves the church because the church is of God. He knows who they are in Christ and what they can become. And he wants more than anything for the church to (1) continue to grow in their understanding and appreciation of the blessings of salvation and (2) to continue discovering the place they as God's people have in God's divine purposes. Even though they "are" the church, Paul wants them to keep shooting to "become" the church.
Paul's thanksgiving and prayer for the church shows what it means to both "be" the church and what the church is to "become."
First, Paul's prayer of thanksgiving reveals . . .
1. The People of the Church (1:15-16)
The word "church" means "called-out ones." Christians are people who have been "called-out" by God in Christ. With all of the imperfections and problems of the church, Paul was extremely grateful for other believers and he thanked God for them. As Paul thinks about the people of the church, he is grateful to God because they are . . .
(1) Loyal to Jesus. They have "Faith in the Lord Jesus." This expression describes the consistent activity of their faith which is in Christ (see 1:1). They are faithful to Christ, they are loyal to Jesus. They know Jesus and they follow Him.
Loyal to Jesus, that's a pretty good description of what it means ...
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