Are we Hallmarked as a healthy church

Inclusive Partnerships

 
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As I have reflected on this topic I have found myself drawn into a study, and as I have studied I have found that my Bible is full of partnerships. However, today I must focus on just a few in order to try to communicate the kind of inclusive partnerships that God wants in His church today.
First: I would like to stir you to reflect that our view as Christians of God in three persons, the Trinity is itself a community and a partnership with very strong collaboration. However, we should then take that a stage further; through the baptism into the Holy Spirit we have been included into that partnership. What more wonderful a picture of inclusive partnership could you have than that we have been brought into the community of the Godhead; we are declared to be co-workers, friends, co-heirs!!
Building on that I would like to share with you some specific passages in the New Testament which speak of the kind of partnerships that demonstrate that a church has adopted the shape, been moulded by the Holy Spirit and hallmarked by God:
1.      Philippians 1: 3-6
Every time I think of you, I give thanks to my God.  Whenever I pray, I make my requests for all of you with joy, for you have been my partners in spreading the Good News about Christ from the time you first heard it until now. And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.
2.      Philippians 2: 25-27
Meanwhile, I thought I should send Epaphroditus back to you. He is a true brother, co-worker, and fellow soldier. And he was your messenger to help me in my need.  I am sending him because he has been longing to see you, and he was very distressed that you heard he was ill.  And he certainly was ill; in fact, he almost died. But God had mercy on him—and also on me, so that I would not have one sorrow after another.
3.      2 Corinthians 5: 20 – 6: 2
So we are Christ’s ambassadors; God is making his appeal through us. We speak for Christ when we plead, “Come back to God!”  For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ.
As God’s partners, we beg you not to accept this marvellous gift of God’s kindness and then ignore it.  For God says,
“At just the right time, I heard you.
On the day of salvation, I helped you.”
Indeed, the “right time” is now. Today is the day of salvation.
4.      Colossians 1: 7-8
You learned about the Good News from Epaphras, our beloved co-worker. He is Christ’s faithful servant, and he is helping us on your behalf.  He has told us about the love for others that the Holy Spirit has given you.
 

 

Keith Brockbank, 21/08/2011