6/25/06, P-3-B

Working Together With Him
II Corinthians 6: 1-13

sn’t this a beautiful Sanctuary? I have long admired it: Too bad that I do not add to its glory as I stand in this huge Pulpit. I do however have a nice robe, which I will begin to wear after the long hot summer. In some small way I pray that I will eventually be used to be counted worthy of this high honor. What a great group of members and staff that we have begun to meet at St. John. We are so happy to be here. This is going to work!

Although there is not much to me, I do have a brilliant and lovely wife, Marilyn. She is a Licensed Professional Counselor (Ga. State Univ.) after being a Ga. Baptist Hospital, R.N. She is the mother of our two daughters who both attended Sandy Springs Schools. Lyn graduated from Riverwood High School. Both she and Candi graduated from The University of Georgia. Lyn is an Agent with Merrill-Lynch and is married to Gerald Lewis; a C.F.A. Candi is a marketing manager with a computer software company. She and Brian are the parents of our first grandchild, Charlotte Hope, just nine weeks old. Lyn and Gerald live near us in Sandy Springs, Brian and Candi live in Roswell. Brian is with an investment firm. It’s great to have our family back home together again.

What a great group of folks we have begun to meet around St. John Church. I have been here to visit clergy friends over the years and have attended many meetings in this Glorious Sanctuary. I love the architecture. This big stone Ark stands as a sign that God will always keep His promises. .

And what a wonderfully applicable Epistle Lection we have for this third Sunday in Pentecost. It was selected by the Revised Common Lectionary committee to illustrate the practical results of the early believers being filled with the Holy Spirit with power to conquer the world.

Work can become a drudgery, toil, trevail. I was reared in North Carolina where many labored in the Cotton Mills and Furniture Factories. The mill workers came out of the sweat factories each shift with white cotton lint covering their clothes and with there hair looking like a big snow cone cotton lint glued to their greasy hair cream. Furniture workers were covered from head to toe with sawdust and resembled wooden manikins. Work was hard in the plants.

Yet, so many believers found a new and rewarding kind of work through their church work. After a quick bath, they filled their churches most every night. Some became Methodist Lay Preachers and others gave all of their free time implementing their sense of calling to ministry by doing every job that needed doing around their church. These fine people learned that God could use every one of them in the massive workforce of the Christian Church. Just as in the first Century when the Church was finding its way. Today’s text is pointing out that every believer has a purpose and calling. Indeed, churches could not exist without volunteers working together for their Church.

Key to the concept is that believers are bonded by their mutual submission to Christ’s claim upon their life. They were working together with Him, the Lord Jesus Christ. We may differ in many ways as

Individuals, but whenever we are working together in service to Jesus Christ we are the greatest force in the world

Every member of St. John Church is called by God to serve through their church. It is not so much our ability that He needs, but our availability. The Spirit of our Almighty God, who flung the stars into space, will call, empower and reward us.

Most of you know this because so many have been members here forever. You have tasted the thrill of victory and sometimes the agony of what seemed like defeat; but Christ’s Church will win in the end and we will be crowned victors.

The distinctions between clergy and lay are not as great as we once seemed to think they were. In today’s world we work together for Christ as one body with the goal of fulfilling the high calling of the local church. Our calling is to fulfill Jesus’ Great Commission for all of us to band together in small groups (local churches) to go into every village and town of the world to proclaim, teach and establish local churches as we win the world to faith in Christ, one soul at a time.

John Ed Mathison, Pastor of one of the largest and fastest growing churches in Methodism, was our Conference Preacher this June in Athens, has written a book about how Frazer Memorial United Methodist in Montgomery, has grown from just 400 members in 1970, to its present membership of nearly ten-thousand. His book is entitled, TRIED & TRUE, Eleven Principles of Church Growth. We may study this book in a small group to see if any of their model might be beneficial in our situation. But one principle of Frazer is that every member is called to some kind of ministry. John Ed believes that “We Should Be Working Together With God.”

Another simple, yet effective and easy style of local church growth is “The F. R. A. N. Ministry.”
It is built around the reality that each of us has a few friends, family members, associates and neighbors that are unchurched and would possibly visit our church if we would invite them. Think about it, didn’t many of you visit for the first time because someone invited you? Inviting new F.R.A.N.s might be something that you would be good at, as you seek a way to, “Work More With Jesus in Strengthening Our Church.” Just as we invite people to lunch we can also invite F.R.A.N.s to visit our church.

Let us look quickly back at chapter five of our text, which gives us a general picture of what has happened to us as a result of becoming a follower of Jesus.

2 Corinthians 5:15, says: “He died for all, so that those who live might live no longer for themselves, but for Him.” Then, verse seventeen says: "... if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away. “All this is from God… who has given us the ministry of reconciliation.” (v. 18, NRSV) The miracle in this is that the majority of individuals who have confessed Christ, did so because someone invited them to visit.

And we are rewarded in our work. We get to see people that we have befriended become a part of Christ’s Church and workers in it because you were the one who initially invite them to visit.

Just imagine how much more beautiful our Sanctuary would be if it were filled to the brim with new “Workers together with Him.”

a sermon synopsis by C. Robert Allred, Th.D., Pastor
6/25/06, P-3-B