I’m spiritual but not religious is a common self-identifier. Today, many people embrace supernaturalism while rejecting traditional forms of religious expression. The Christian version looks like this: I’m a follower of Jesus, but I don’t go to church, or, at least I don’t see reason to identify with any church in particular. And it is true that the institutional church has fallen on hard times and much is self inflicted. Some even wonder if it was a mistake in the first place. One person famously said: “Jesus came proclaiming the Kingdom, and what arrived was the Church.” But what if the institutional church, along with its officers, was a part of Jesus’ original intention? Might that have implications for our spirituality. And might it also have implications for how we think about men and women working together in Christ’s kingdom? Come this keep as we dig deeper into God’s word.
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SCRIPTURE: Matthew 28:16-20; Acts 1:15–17, 20, 24–26; 2 Tim 1:8, 11-14, 2:1-2
(Matthew 28:16-20) 16 Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. 17 When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. 18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
(Acts 1:15–17, 20, 24–26 ABBREVIATED) In those days Peter stood up among the brothers (the company of persons was in all about 120) and said, 16 “Brothers, the Scripture had to be fulfilled, which the Holy Spirit spoke beforehand by the mouth of David concerning Judas, who became a guide to those who arrested Jesus. 17 For he was numbered among us and was allotted his share in this ministry.”… 20 “For it is written in the Book of Psalms … “‘Let another take his office.’
24 And they prayed and said, “You, Lord, who know the hearts of all, show which one of these two you have chosen 25 to take the place in this ministry and apostleship from which Judas turned aside to go to his own place.” 26 And they cast lots for them, and the lot fell on Matthias, and he was numbered with the eleven apostles.
(2 Tim 1:8, 11–14, 2:1–2) Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord, nor of me his prisoner, but share in suffering for the gospel …11 for which I was appointed a preacher and apostle and teacher, 12 which is why I suffer as I do. But I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed, and I am convinced that he is able to guard until that day what has been entrusted to me. 13 Follow the pattern of the sound words that you have heard from me, in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. 14 By the Holy Spirit who dwells within us, guard the good deposit entrusted to you.
You then, my child, be strengthened by the grace that is in Christ Jesus, 2 and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men, who will be able to teach others also.
CONFESSION OF SIN
You have told us, O God, what is good;
And what do you require of us but to
and to love kindness,
and to walk humbly with our God?
We have not listened to you, O God.
We have neglected justice,
and spurned kindness,
and proudly walked alone.
In your mercy, hear our cry. Forgive our sins and give us ears to hear and believe.