At our first Core Group meeting, Jeff taught through 1 Peter 2:9-10 in connection with our Vision statement. The goal in that first meeting was to remind ourselves of the God-centered nature of the church, as well as to grow in our understanding of why we exist as a church.
We’re posting the points from Jeff’s talk in a series of four articles.
At Midtown Baptist, our Vision is as follows –MidtownBaptistChurchexists to glorify God in Christ. To achieve this Vision of glorifying God in Christ would be the definition of “success” in our understanding. But where in the Bible do we get this Vision? And what does it mean to glorify God in Christ? Those are questions that I think 1 Peter 2:9-10 can answer for us. So, let’s take a look at four truths from this passage and see what we can learn about our Vision as a church.
The first truth is this – the church is God’s creation. We see this in verse 10. Note the contrast in our situation before and after God’s work in our lives. Before God’s work in our lives, we were not a people, and we had received no mercy. The implication is that we were alienated, separated from God. That is a hopeless situation, one that promises a future of justice and judgment. But God, out of his sheer grace and mercy, has made us into a people. He has shown us mercy. He did not leave us in that hopeless situation. Instead, he has shown mercy to those who should have received justice and judgment. He has made us into a people, his people. Here’s the point – the very fact that the church exists – both the Body of Christ and individual local churches – the very fact that we exist highlights the grace and mercy of God.
So, here at the beginning ofMidtownBaptistChurch’s existence, let’s remind ourselves that our very gathering together is because of God’s grace and mercy shown to us in Christ. Just our sitting here with one another, listening to God’s Word, should remind us of God’s initiative, of God’s mercy and grace. We are not here out of our own initiative. Our plans are not ultimately rooted in our own desires or insights. We are here because of God’s grace and mercy. That means that we should be a humble people. Let us never position this church or talk about our ministry in a prideful, better-than-others kind of way. To do so would be to violate the most foundational truth concerning our existence as a church – we are God’s creation, the result of his own gracious and merciful initiative. There is no place for pride in the church, especially a church that acknowledges God’s sovereign grace.
The implication of this truth is also important. If our creation is the result of God’s gracious working, then our continued existence must also be intimately connected and related to God. If our very lives originated in him, then our continued life as the church must also be rooted in him. What I mean is that our vision as a church must begin, continue, and end with God. If our vision did not begin and continue and end with God, it would indicate that we have forgotten the miraculous way in which the church was founded. It would indicate that we have left the source of our life. That is why our Vision statement is about God because the church is about God.