A Word from Pastor Oren - January

Our church has a purpose, and it is a significant and glorious purpose! I know that our church has a purpose because THE CHURCH—the bride of Christ—has a great and magnificent purpose. The church has been bought by the precious blood of Jesus shed on the cross (Hebrews 13:12), called into fellowship by a holy God who loves and cares for his people (John 16:27), and then has been sent out into the darkness of humanity to shine the light of Christ’s gospel for those in need (Matthew 5:16). I really like the way the Apostle Paul writes to his friend Timothy to remind him of why he spent so much time teaching Timothy the truths of God’s Word. Look at these words and consider the reality that they are as much for us today as they were for Timothy some 1950 years ago.

14 I hope to come to you soon, but I am writing these things to you so that, 15 if I delay, you may know how one ought to behave in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, a pillar and buttress of the truth. 16 Great indeed, we confess, is the mystery of godliness:
He was manifested in the flesh,
vindicated by the Spirit
seen by angels,
proclaimed among the nations,
believed on in the world,
taken up in glory.

Paul’s desire was to visit with Timothy again, but if the Lord God would not allow him to make the journey, he was sure to remind his young friend about the importance of God’s church. Paul wanted Timothy to remember the “identity” and purpose of the church. We read that the church is “a pillar and buttress of the truth.”
As I sit down to write this short article, it is still December and Christmas is just around the corner. We aren’t quite yet in 2013, but it’s close. And as I think about the New Year coming soon and all that God will do in us and through us, I think it is important that we stop and take a moment to recognize our identity once again. It is so easy for our church to get caught up in “ministry stuff” — the things that may be right and good for us to pursue, but are not meant to define us. We are to be defined, if I am reading Pauls’ words correctly, as a pillar and buttress of truth. We are to be a people and a place where truth is upheld by the body and where the body is uplifted by the truth. In a world that is growing increasingly more confused and lost in its own way, Jesus’ church must hold fast to the truth. There are way too many “truths” for me to list here in this article that I believe are essential to the Christian faith, but I do want to make note of what Paul mentions as the “mystery of godliness.” At the very core of our identity is our Savior and King, Jesus, who is the one who calls us into godliness and who also makes us godly by the power of his grace and will. Jesus was “manifested in the flesh” (John 1:14) and vindicated by the Spirit (Mark 2:11), and seen by angels (Matthew 4:11). Jesus has been proclaimed among the nations (Revelation 5:9-10) and believed on in the world (John 1:12) and taken up in glory (Acts 1:9).
Our purpose is to fulfill God’s will for his church, which is the constant and continual proclamation of the truth of our Lord, Savior, Master, and Sovereign King, Jesus. With so much debate these days about truth and its relative relationship to our daily lives, I feel it is of utmost importance that you and I commit ourselves to studying, speaking, and living in the truth. Jesus is Lord! Our lives should declare this truth. Every aspect of our living each day should cry out that we have surrendered ourselves to one who is greater and is deserving of our sacrifices and praise. Our homes, our families, and our church should be a place where the person and work of Christ Jesus is well known. We are to be a pillar and buttress of truth. Will you be part of our purpose this year at FBC Baton Rouge? Will you commit yourself to the truth of Jesus Christ? Will you share with those who are lost, hurting, broken and alone? Will you make sacrifices for the good of your neighbors? Will you love Jesus by loving his church? I pray that God will bless you greatly in 2013. Please pray for our church, that God would do mighty things in our midst for the glory of his name.
Your Pastor,
Oren

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