Each member of the body of Christ has a role to play in the preaching of the Gospel and helping one another in the journey to the Kingdom of God.
Our Involvement in the Gospel of the Kingdom of God
A Review of Our Online Presence and a Discussion of the Roles We Can Play in the Organization.
Mr. Martens has asked me to review for the local brethren our online presence for the purpose of outreach, whether as a venue for sharing the Gospel of the Kingdom of God or for participating in our journey toward that Kingdom. So, today, I will be re-introducing some information shared back in early 2014, sharing with you additional details on our own local outreach, and I will include some suggestions on ways each and every one of us can count ourselves as part of a functioning body of preaching and discipleship.
Let’s go back to the beginning and review man’s God-given role on the earth.
Genesis 1:26 Genesis 1:26And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.
American King James Version× And God said, Let Us make man in Our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the heavens, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over all the creepers creeping on the earth.
Genesis 1:27 Genesis 1:27So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.
American King James Version× And God created man in His image; in the image of God He created him. He created them male and female.
Genesis 1:28 Genesis 1:28And God blessed them, and God said to them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.
American King James Version× And God blessed them. And God said to them, Be fruitful, and multiply and fill the earth, and subdue it. And have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the fowl of the heavens, and all animals that move upon the earth.
So, God designed us and purposed us to have dominion over the earth. Our job was to maintain what God had created.
What actually happened, though, and as witnessed in Genesis 3 was that we relinquished our authority over to the god of this world. Even though we did not intend to, we almost immediately became slaves to what God defines as “evil works”; simply meaning any work we labor to produce is inherently based upon a mixture of the knowledge of good and evil.
Nevertheless, we were designed to labor to produce fruit as it were, labor to produce a work, or a product. Our design was to produce only good works not mixing with or being replaced by bad works.
Ephesians 2:10 Ephesians 2:10For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to good works, which God has before ordained that we should walk in them.
American King James Version× For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to good works, which God has before ordained that we should walk in them.
In the Gospel of Mark, after Jesus was resurrected, triumphant over death, he gave to His disciples, and we are also His disciples, a great commission.
Mark 16:15 Mark 16:15And he said to them, Go you into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.
American King James Version× And He said to them, "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.
Mark 16:16 Mark 16:16He that believes and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believes not shall be damned.
American King James Version× He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.
This commission was given and then we see how that was carried out in all the New Testament books after the books of the Gospel.
Acts 28:30 Acts 28:30And Paul dwelled two whole years in his own hired house, and received all that came in to him,
American King James Version× Then Paul dwelt two whole years in his own rented house, and received all who came to him,
Acts 28:31 Acts 28:31Preaching the kingdom of God, and teaching those things which concern the Lord Jesus Christ, with all confidence, no man forbidding him.
American King James Version× preaching the kingdom of God and teaching the things which concern the Lord Jesus Christ with all confidence, no one forbidding him.
Colossians 3:16 Colossians 3:16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.
American King James Version× Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.
2Ti 4:2 Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching.
The United Church of God, aIA has taken this commission very seriously and has made a special effort to put in writing our Mission and our Vision as a church.
Bain & Company provides a succinct definition and comparison of these two types of statements made by companies around the world.
“A Mission Statement defines the company’s business, its objectives and its approach to reach those objectives. A Vision Statement describes the desired future position of the company. Elements of Mission and Vision Statements are often combined to provide a statement of the company’s purposes, goals and values. However, sometimes the two terms are used interchangeably.”
In the case of the UCG, we distinguish the two with the following descriptions.
Our mission is to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ and the Kingdom of God in all the world, to make disciples in all nations and to care for those disciples.
A Church led by God's Holy Spirit, joined and knit together by what every member supplies, with all doing their share and growing in love to fulfill God's great purpose for humanity to bring many children to glory (Ephesians 4:16 Ephesians 4:16From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplies, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, makes increase of the body to the edifying of itself in love.
American King James Version×; Hebrews 2:10 Hebrews 2:10For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.
American King James Version×).
Let’s take a moment to review the context of Ephesians 4 and Hebrews 2…
Ephesians 4:11 Ephesians 4:11And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;
American King James Version× And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers,
Ephesians 4:12 Ephesians 4:12For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:
American King James Version× for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ,
Ephesians 4:13 Ephesians 4:13Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ:
American King James Version× till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ;
Ephesians 4:14 Ephesians 4:14That we from now on be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;
American King James Version× that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting,
Ephesians 4:15 Ephesians 4:15But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:
American King James Version× but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ—
Ephesians 4:16 Ephesians 4:16From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplies, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, makes increase of the body to the edifying of itself in love.
American King James Version× from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.
Transitioning to Hebrews 2…
Hebrews 2:9 Hebrews 2:9But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honor; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man.
American King James Version× But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, for the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, that He, by the grace of God, might taste death for everyone.
Hebrews 2:10 Hebrews 2:10For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.
American King James Version× For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.
Hebrews 2:11 Hebrews 2:11For both he that sanctifies and they who are sanctified are all of one: for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brothers,
American King James Version× For both He who sanctifies and those who are being sanctified are all of one, for which reason He is not ashamed to call them brethren,
Hebrews 2:12 Hebrews 2:12Saying, I will declare your name to my brothers, in the middle of the church will I sing praise to you.
American King James Version× saying: "I WILL DECLARE YOUR NAME TO MY BRETHREN; IN THE MIDST OF THE ASSEMBLY I WILL SING PRAISE TO YOU."
Hebrews 2:13 Hebrews 2:13And again, I will put my trust in him. And again, Behold I and the children which God has given me.
American King James Version× And again: "I WILL PUT MY TRUST IN HIM." And again: "HERE AM I AND THE CHILDREN WHOM GOD HAS GIVEN ME."
Fleshing out the verses of the UCG vision statement reveals a powerful theme of unity via godly means to a godly fulfillment of unity.
So, referring back to Ephesians 2:10 Ephesians 2:10For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to good works, which God has before ordained that we should walk in them.
American King James Version×, when we become converted, we take on the mantle of good works, and the opportunity for doing good works abounds for each of us. As Solomon concluded in Ecclesiastes, the whole duty of man is to fear God and keep His commandments.
Ecclesiastes 12:13 Ecclesiastes 12:13Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.
American King James Version× Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God and keep His commandments, For this is man's all.
Ecclesiastes 12:14 Ecclesiastes 12:14For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.
American King James Version× For God will bring every work into judgment, Including every secret thing, Whether good or evil.
And, of course, we know by now that everything we think and do hangs on that law, which in all its details is summarized to love the Lord our God with all our hearts, souls, and minds, and to love our neighbors as ourselves.
Matthew 22:36 Matthew 22:36Master, which is the great commandment in the law?
American King James Version× "Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?"
Matthew 22:37 Matthew 22:37Jesus said to him, You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.
American King James Version× Jesus said to him, 'YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND.'
Matthew 22:38 Matthew 22:38This is the first and great commandment.
American King James Version× This is the first and great commandment.
Matthew 22:39 Matthew 22:39And the second is like to it, You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
American King James Version× And the second is like it: 'YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.'
Matthew 22:40 Matthew 22:40On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.
American King James Version× On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets."
Sure, we have the opportunity every day and week to obey the Ten Commandments, and we can think of all the laws that hang from those laws which we can and must strive to obey. But, as the church vision statement includes the Helper, the Holy Spirit, we have the opportunity to do a good work by blessing the man who cuts us off in traffic or who works to destroy our reputation (Luke 6:28 Luke 6:28Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which spitefully use you.
American King James Version×). We do a good work when we give to the needy (Matthew 25:34-36 Matthew 25:34-36  Then shall the King say to them on his right hand, Come, you blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:  For I was an hungered, and you gave me meat: I was thirsty, and you gave me drink: I was a stranger, and you took me in:  Naked, and you clothed me: I was sick, and you visited me: I was in prison, and you came to me.
American King James Version×). We do a good work when whatever our hand finds to do we do it with all our might (Ecclesiastes 9:10 Ecclesiastes 9:10Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, where you go.
American King James Version×). The list goes on and on.
So, we know from the word of God that each of us has a role to play in preaching the Gospel and preparing a people.
However, as members of the body, we can struggle trying to figure out our place in the body. We know to do good works in our life. We work to love God and our neighbor, but we aren’t sure where our talents lie in service to the body of Christ, specifically. You see, the church is designed to be more than just a resource for instruction in the word. It has two other important functions.
It must, one, prepare its people to become good examples by the power of the Spirit of God. This means that the church must be a proving ground for the instruction provided. She gives opportunities within the body to practice doing good works toward one another. And, two, the church, the body of Christ, must preach the gospel of the Kingdom of God to the world as a witness. These are… functions of the entire body, not just the preachers found in the body. It’s not just the feet of evangelists that carry this precious gospel from place to place.
Let’s transition, now, to how our church reaches the world with the Gospel and instruction for its own people, and how this little congregation makes an effort to do what we can to help.
Great advancements in communication have been made since the establishment of the New Covenant Church, of which Jesus is the Head.
- Finding a place where sound carries, writing letters, and making personal visits
- The publication of the Bible for the masses with other written works to aid in the study of the Bible
- The invention of electronic amplification technologies, telephony, radio, and television
- Finally, the internet
We can find examples in the New Testament where instruction was given from a boat on calm waters, directed to the shore, or on the top of a hill, or by making use of an amphitheater. Letters were written to brethren. Carriers of the Gospel would travel from town to town and house to house to share the truth with others or to encourage each other in the faith.
With the invention of the printing press, this allowed for the word of God to reach many, many more people, and various other works of literature were published to aid in Bible Study.
Electricity opened up a vast new world for communication, both in being able to carry (1876) and amplify sound (1912), to carrying sound and images to far flung places via radio (1920) and television (1928).
But now we have the internet, the official birthday of which was January 1, 1983! The first web “browser” was released in 1993, and the internet had become firmly established by 1995 with Netscape Navigator being the most popular web browser at the time, having over 10M users globally.
All of these avenues of communication remain in effect in our modern day, but the amount of people reached in any given year finds its apex via the internet.
World Internet Usage and Population Statistics
Our emphasis as a church on using the internet as a communication system to help us in our commission ramped up in 2013, when the Home Office redesigned their home page, and, thusly, our local home pages.
REFER TO SLIDES OF OFFICIAL UCG LOCAL PAGE, THEN OUR INDEPENDENTLY MANAGED SITES.
Things we can DO!
In relation to our web presence…
These are recommendations based on interest and ability, offered to explain the value.
- Simply Interact on social networks with a godly disposition.
- Participate in church posts with various acknowledgments.
- Use skills you have that adapt well to the internet
- Verbal instruction
- Written instruction
- Technical maintenance
In relation to other avenues of influence…
- Be PRESENT and ACCOUNTED FOR!
In Exodus 12 & 20, Deuteronomy 5, and Leviticus 23, the LORD commanded that we rest on the Sabbath Day and that it is a Holy Assembly. He also clearly takes ownership of the Sabbath Day as HIS day of rest.
And we are reminded of this precious gift in Hebrews…
Hebrews 10:24 Hebrews 10:24And let us consider one another to provoke to love and to good works:
American King James Version× And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works,
Hebrews 10:25 Hebrews 10:25Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as you see the day approaching.
American King James Version× not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.
- SERVE if you are physically able! (food prep, setup, takedown)
- Provide words of encouragement to members and ministry.
1Th 5:9 For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ,
1Th 5:10 who died for us, that whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with Him.
1Th 5:11 Therefore comfort each other and edify one another, just as you also are doing.
1Th 5:12 And we urge you, brethren, to recognize those who labor among you, and are over you in the Lord and admonish you,
1Th 5:13 and to esteem them very highly in love for their work's sake. Be at peace among yourselves.
- Pray for God’s will in providing avenues for sharing God’s word and the proclaiming of the coming Kingdom of God as well as protection of those who are engaged in such work.
2Th 3:1 Finally, brethren, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may have free course, and be glorified, even as it is with you:
2Th 3:2 And that we may be delivered from unreasonable and wicked men: for all men have not faith.
- Give generously of your time and resources for the building up of the brethren and for the preaching of the Gospel.
Mark 12:42 Mark 12:42And there came a certain poor widow, and she threw in two mites, which make a farthing.
American King James Version× Then one poor widow came and threw in two mites, which make a quadrans.
Mark 12:43 Mark 12:43And he called to him his disciples, and said to them, Truly I say to you, That this poor widow has cast more in, than all they which have cast into the treasury:
American King James Version× So He called His disciples to Himself and said to them, "Assuredly, I say to you that this poor widow has put in more than all those who have given to the treasury;
Mark 12:44 Mark 12:44For all they did cast in of their abundance; but she of her want did cast in all that she had, even all her living.
American King James Version× for they all put in out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty put in all that she had, her whole livelihood."
When I speak of generosity, I speak of generosity of the heart, even as this widow gave.
Good works are in progress throughout the churches of God all around the world. These works are accomplished by the way we treat each other and even by what we keep in our minds to ponder. These works are accomplished by our godly behavior with brethren and toward family, friends, and strangers.
Today’s presentation is intended to introduce and reintroduce ways you and I can participate in the mission and vision of the church, and it’s a reminder that we can do much to help in the sharing of the Gospel of the Kingdom of God.
Our prayers matter to God, not that He needs you or me to pray for others, or else God won’t pay them any attention, but that it shows God where our heart is. It is the responsibility of the ones who are doing those works to make sure they let God know they are submitted to Him and want His protection, but it is up to you and me to show God we care about what they are doing and how they are doing it, and that we desire our God to watch over them. For, certainly, what God’s servants and messengers are doing is an extension of us, all fitly joined together as one body, whether they preside over the body, present on BeyondTV, or produce Jelly episodes for our youth.
Let’s turn to Romans for a final scripture…
Romans 12:5 Romans 12:5So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.
American King James Version× so we the many are one body in Christ, and each one members of one another.
Romans 12:6 Romans 12:6Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith;
American King James Version× Then having gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, if prophecy, according to the proportion of faith;
Romans 12:7 Romans 12:7Or ministry, let us wait on our ministering: or he that teaches, on teaching;
American King James Version× or ministry, in the ministry; or he who teaches, in the teaching;
Romans 12:8 Romans 12:8Or he that exhorts, on exhortation: he that gives, let him do it with simplicity; he that rules, with diligence; he that shows mercy, with cheerfulness.
American King James Version× or he who exhorts, in the encouragement; or he who shares, in simplicity; or he who takes the lead, in diligence; or he who shows mercy, in cheerfulness.
Please continue to prayerfully consider and evaluate your role in the body; the body at large and also locally. All of us have to face feelings of inadequacy, fears of failure, the risk of pride, to one degree or another and maybe based on the specialization we endeavor to pursue, but if we will seriously contemplate our role in the body, I believe each and every one of us can do more to participate in the mission and vision of the Church of God.
Harkening back to the role God gave to mankind back in the beginning…
He designed and created us to be in the image of God.
God worked and still works to…
prepare mankind to enter His family.
By design, God created us for good works. And as His saints, He has equipped us with His Spirit to achieve those works resulting in everlasting and priceless value.
To the Kingdom!