“The Church of God”
(Stewardship Month #2)
I want to start something funny that I found on an internet site: Timmy didn’t want to put his money in the offering plate Sunday morning, so his mother decided to use some hurried creative reasoning with him. “You don’t want that money, honey,” she whispered in his ear. “Quick! Drop it on the plate. It’s tainted!” Horrified, the little boy obeyed. After a few seconds, he whispered, “But, mommy, why was the money tainted? Was it dirty?” “Oh, no, dear,” she replied. “It’s not really dirty. It just ‘taint yours, and it ‘taint mine,” she replied, “It’s God’s.”
Today is the second Sunday of Stewardship month. Last Sunday, we talked about how “we are called as the stewards of God” since God created all things. We, the stewards of God, should manage everything given by God. But, we remember that the talent or gift God gave us may be different according to our ability. However, even though we have a smaller capability, we have hope because God may give us another chance to improve our capacity. This includes our personal gifts, talents, family members, loved ones, companions, possessions, and even the things and people around us. It also includes the church.
Therefore, I want to talk about “the church of God.” Our church was also entrusted to us by God through our Lord, Jesus Christ. Jesus promised Peter he’d build the church on his faithful confession. That story is here: Jesus asked his disciples at Caesarea Philippi, “Who do people say I am?” His disciples answered, “well, some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” “But, what about you?” he asked them again. “Who do you say I am?” Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God.” Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by person, but by my Father in heaven. And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock, I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it” (Matthew 16:13-19).
It was the first time Jesus mentioned the church. Jesus promised to build the church on Peter’s faithful confession about Jesus Christ. The church began on the Pentecost day after Jesus was lifted to heaven. As Jesus promised, the Holy Spirit came to his disciples, who gathered together and prayed in the Upper Room where Jesus had the Last Supper with his disciples. When Jesus was arrested, his disciples were scattered by fear. They saw Jesus’ death, resurrection, and ascension, but they were still afraid of persecution. They gathered together and prayed with all their hearts. Finally, God sent them the Holy Spirit, who gave them strength and encouraged them to stand firmly in faith. They became strong evangelists, church planters, and the church of God by the Holy Spirit.
As Jesus wanted to build the church of God on his disciples’ confessions, he still wanted to build the church on many believers’ confessions. The church could be built by the faithful confession of Jesus Christ and with the help of the Holy Spirit. As we often hear, we are the church of God, the body of Christ. When we gather together in the name of Jesus, each of us becomes a part of the local church, belonging to the universal church of God. It is like how First Corinthians says, “The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body. So it is with Christ” (1 Corinthians 12:12). Each of us, surely is the Temple of God, where the Holy Spirit is. However, our local church is built when we, having different gifts and talents, gather together in the name of Jesus. Therefore, each of you is a precious part of our local church. It is like how our church buildings are made up of bricks, roofs, windows, walls, pews, tables, chairs, floors, ceilings, and many more parts. Some may be praised by many as beautiful, like stained glass; some may not be recognized, like nails or glue; some may be used very often by many, like pews or chairs, or kitchen sinks, but some may be used rarely like communion plate and cup or Baptismal fountain. However, as all of the parts are important for the church, we are also very important to our local church. Remember, we can be a beautiful church because we are different and have other gifts and talents. As the First Letter of Peter says, “You are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God” (1 Peter 2:9). Each of you is a chosen people and God’s minister for the church of God.
Such as a beautiful church also should have a stewardship mind because it belongs to God, and God entrusted it to us. Today’s scripture shows us the stewardship of a local church. I will read it. Please form an image of the church in your mind, “All who believed were together and had all things in common; they would sell their possessions and goods and distribute the proceeds to all, as any had need. Day by day, as they spent much time together in the Temple, they broke bread at home and ate their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having the goodwill of all the people. And day by day, the Lord added to their number those who were being saved.”
What a beautiful church! It was the early church, and we should build this kind of church with our cooperation and God’s help. The church is where all believers gather together and share all their possessions with those in need. The church is where we spent much time together in the Temple. The church is where we have communion and eat our food together with glad and generous hearts. The church is where we praise God and have the goodwill of all the people. In the church, the Lord adds to the people who are being saved day by day. Can we make this kind of church? Can we enjoy gathering at the church and sharing food and materials with those in need with glad and generous hearts? We have been doing these things. I appreciate your faithful ministry, dedication, generous donation, and mindful prayers. Even though nobody fully knows your dedication and contribution, God surely knows you.
You may remember when Abraham prayed for Sodom and Gomorrah. God promised him God wouldn’t destroy the cities if He found ten righteous people. But God couldn’t find ten, so it was destroyed (Genesis 18:16-32). Remember, God still seeks faithful stewards for his ministry. If you are one of the ten faithful stewards in our church, our church should be revived again because of you. Remember, the Lord adds a number of people to our church when we enjoy gathering at the church and sharing our possessions with generous hearts, praising God. Let’s build the kind of beautiful church of God together. Thanks be to God, Amen!