The month of September is exciting in our preaching and feeding of God’s word together. At each site across the network, we are either working through Jesus’ words in the Sermon on the Mount or beginning to unpack the fivefold ministry gifts of Ephesians 4. In chapter 4, the Apostle Paul outlines how the ecclesia (church – or gathering of God’s people) is to function.
So on the one hand, Jesus is speaking directly to our hearts, painting the picture of what kingdom people genuinely look like as we go about our business. While Paul speaks directly to our ministry calling as members of Christ’s body, outlining what it looks like for God’s people to participate in Christ’s kingdom work.
Jesus reveals that in this world, his followers are salt and light. We are difference makers. We are people who bring light and life into the world as his ambassadors. He also reminds us that if we are to inherit the kingdom of God that we must have a righteousness that exceeds that of the Pharisees; righteousness that goes beyond the highest external expression of moral piety. Any self-aware person quickly realises the impossibility of Jesus’ demands. Such recognition brings humility, leading to repentance, resulting in purity. “Blessed,” says Jesus, “Are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
Paul teaches that God has given every believer a gift, that is a spiritual gift of grace (charisma). These gifts enable us as the church of God to live a life worthy of the calling (klēsis) we have received. These spiritual gifts of grace or ministries are that of apostle, prophet, evangelist, shepherd and teacher. As these ministries are present and expressed together through each believer, Christ’s body can function and partner in Christ’s work in the manner through which we have been designed.
Jesus’ words convict, Paul’s words instruct. Both are necessary if we are to live life well, side by side as a community of kingdom people. I look forward to hearing how God is at work in the lives of people across all of our sites.
James Hornby|Lead Minister