I just wanted to share with you all what a blessed time we had at church yesterday. This was a "special service" of Scripture reading, singing and testimonies. We just completed our series on The Sermon on the Mount and, like we did upon finishing our series on God With Us (what I call our Sacred Space series), we capped it off with a service of testimonies on how the Gospel teaching in the series has affected our thinking and our living. I so look forward to these times of sharing because, as I've already shared with our Body, it helps me to "fill out" my own understanding of the Gospel. To paraphrase Paul, the Body causes the growth of the Body! Only as we minister to one another do we truly grow in our faith because it's through our mutual ministry that the Spirit within each of us ministers Christ to each of us. While all of us are not gifted and called to be Preachers or Teachers (in the formal sense), we are all gifted and called to be ministers of the Gospel--to one another as well as the "world".
To be honest, at our church we do all minister to one another on a regular basis in our conversations and our fellowships (and various classes and studies throughout the months); but services such as these allow each of us to gather our thoughts and express a particular aspect of the Gospel teaching that has affected our individual thinking and application for life. It's in these services, as I said, that a particular sermon series becomes "filled out" in my understanding. In a series as large as our God With Us or The Sermon on the Mount series, my mind, like most I suppose, latches onto certain aspects of the teaching more than other aspects. Our minds can only process so much at a time and we tend to take a special interest in the ideas that affect us personally, or speak to our individual hearts. What may stick out in my mind may not be what someone else is motivated by and vise verse. I need to hear the thoughts of my Brothers and Sisters concerning the Gospel. I need to hear what I missed! I need to know what aspect of the series has affected my Brethren so that I grow with respect to Gospel itself (and by extension, God) and with respect to my Brothers and Sisters in the Lord.
As a "worship leader", I may have been intimately involved with the series each week; but as I've said to our congregation, I still get "tunnel vision", so-to-speak, and focus on certain things that stand out to me. I need to have my understanding of the series complimented by the understanding of my Family members. Our Pastor also recognizes his need to hear from his Brothers and Sisters not only to be encouraged by the fruit of the Spirit in their lives, but to have the Gospel ministered to him! He understands that even though he has been the most intimately involved with the material, he still needs to hear how the Spirit has ministered these things to us so that his understanding of the Gospel is made full. We must be faithful with one another as fellow ministers of the Gospel to one another.
This is also an important way in which we show our love for one another. As my friend Jim continues to stress, we're called to love one another! And if we hold back from ministering to one another, then we are not loving one another. We need each other to grow up in our faith! We need each other to grow up with respect to the Gospel; to grow up with respect to our love for God, to grow up with respect to our love for one another, and to grow up with respect to our love for the "world" that doesn't know the love of God for them in Christ. Without the mutual ministry of the Saints one to another, each of us is deficient in our spiritual growth.
I wanted to take this opportunity to publically thank my Brothers and Sisters at SGCC for their faithfulness to me. And I also want to encourage you, my readers, to be faithful in your ministry to the Body that God has placed you in. I'm so blessed to be a part of a congregation that truly loves one another and shows it by seeking the good of each of its members. As Paul says, "We, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another." Let's be faithful to the Spirit as He continues to remind us of who Christ is and who we are in Him by the power of the Gospel. And let's continue to be faithful minsters of the Gospel one to another for our maturity in the faith unto His glory--in the church and in the world. Amen!