God designed us to work both for our livelihood and for the Kingdom of God. Consequently, we will be held accountable for our work both individually and corporately as the body of Christ. The book of Revelation includes a “report card” of sorts given by God to seven churches; following this example, Greg reported on how Woodland Hills has been Growing in the Spirit over the past year.
Greg reminded us that this week marks the first anniversary of Growing in the Spirit. With this in mind, we read Ephesians 2:10, which states that we are created in Christ to do good works. Though they don’t justify us before God, we are designed simply to do good works.
At some level we all feel the need to be significant. This is not a pride thing; it is simply a reflection of the fact that God has made us significant and that we are to do significant things as God designed. Work, both for our livelihood and for the Kingdom, is part of how God designed us to function. Also, we will be held accountable for our work! As Christians, we often think that our relationship to Christ means that there will be no judgment applied to our lives from the time we accepted Christ forward. This is simply not the case. Although Paul does say there is no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1), Paul also speaks of a purging fire that will reveal what we built and how much of that is worthy of the Kingdom (I Cor. 3:11-13).
It is important for us to realize that Paul is not speaking only to individuals about this sort of accountability. Corporate accountability is very common in Scripture as well. For instance, in the book of Revelation, God gives a report card of sorts to seven churches (Rev. 2-3). Seven times, the words “Let anyone who has an ear listen to what the Spirit is saying to the churches” occurred (Rev. 2:7, 11, 17, 29; 3:6, 13, 22). Like all churches, these churches were called to do specific things for the Kingdom of God. Like all churches, they stood or fell together, not as individuals within a church, but together as communities of people called by God. We too stand or fall together as a church. We need to stand together in obedience to the call that God has for this body. What unites Woodland Hills Church is our vision:
To be a community of spiritually empowered people
Who reflect God’s love and advance God’s Kingdom
In St. Paul and the surrounding area
And to the world as the Lord leads
Working hand in hand with other expressions of the Body of Christ
Until all have reached fullness in Christ.
Greg’s challenge to all who are spiritually aligned with Woodland Hills is that we should memorize this vision statement and let it shape our decisions and our lives as we become a spiritually empowered community. Following the “church report card” example in Revelation, Greg offered the following report to us on how God feels we are doing as WH:
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- I know of your passion in worship and fervor in proclamation, but you are too much of an event and too little of a community…become a community. Let all who have an ear listen to what the Spirit is saying.
- I know of your vision for youth, but you are not reaching my open hearted and hurting kids in your area. Bring them in by building a youth center. Let all who have an ear listen to what the Spirit is saying.
- I know you work to honor me in your stewardship of resources, but you are supporting banks too much and people too little…pay off your debt. Let all who have an ear listen to what the Spirit is saying.
- I know you call yourself Woodland Hills Church but I call you a Bridge, for you are to tear down walls that divide my people and be a force that unites them. Let all who have an ear listen to what the Spirit is saying.