Sunday – October 8, 2017 Series Week Four: “Who Is In Charge Here?”

Sunday – October 8, 2017 – Read the Word on Worship

Sunday – October 8, 2017 Week Four: “Who Is In Charge Here?” from Sunrise Community Church on Vimeo.

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SERIES: “The Church- Can We Have It Our Way?”
Week Four: “Who Is In Charge Here?”

Word On Worship – Sunday – October 8, 2017 Download / Print

Colossians 1:18
He is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything.”

I want to answer the question, “Who runs this church?” While this may be a review for some of you old timers, those who are relatively new in this church may not understand how we operate as a church government. Many people wrongly assume that as the pastor, I run the church. I may be the teaching Elder here at Sunrise, but to assume that the pastor runs everything in the church is not only wrong, it is dangerous.

Many people also wrongly assume that our church government is patterned after the U. S. government and operates as a democracy. The pastors and the elders are the elected officers, similar to the President and Congress. At church business meetings, members can voice their opposition to whatever they don’t like and vote according to their preferences. While that system is fine for America, at the risk of sounding un-American, I must say God is not an American. He didn’t set up His church as a democracy, where the most powerful factions control the purse strings. We’re not free to impose our American ideas about government onto the church, unless we find those ideas in the Bible.

Another model that has greatly influenced how American churches are governed is that of American business. Most businesses have the chairman at the top, with his board of directors beneath him and the stockholders as the voting members of the corporation. When that gets carried into the church, the pastor is viewed as the CEO, the elder or deacon board are the directors, and the congregation represents the stockholders, who have their annual meet­ing to vote on how the business should operate. With that model, the answer to the question of who runs the church is, “The pastor does, along with the board of directors.” But, the stockholders have a say in things, and if the company isn’t going the way that they wish, they can vote those guys out of office.

While there may be a few similarities between the business and government models and the church, the biblical picture of church government is different. One major difference is that the church is not just an organization, but also a living organism. Webster defines an organization as “an administrative and functional structure.” He defines an organism as “an individual constituted to carry on the activities of life by means of organs separate in function but mutually dependent.” That describes the church. We are a living unity, the one body of which Jesus Christ is the head. Each member is a vital part of that body, separate in function, but mutually dependent on one another and on Christ, the head. Biblical church government is to allow Jesus Christ to truly function as the living head of His body. None of us should be seeking or voicing our will about various matters in the church, unless we are very convinced that our will coincides with God’s will as revealed in His Word.

Sunday – December 27, 2015 Revelation 10:1-11 “The Bittersweet Book”

Sunday – December 27, 2015 – Read the Word on Worship

Sunday – December 27, 2015 Revelation 10:1-11 “The Bittersweet Book” from Sunrise Community Church on Vimeo.

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Word On Worship – Sunday – December 27, 2015 Download / Print

Revelation 10:9-11
“So I went to the angel, telling him to give me the little book. And he said to me, “Take it and eat it; it will make your stomach bitter, but in your mouth it will be sweet as honey.”  I took the little book out of the angel’s hand and ate it, and in my mouth it was sweet as honey; and when I had eaten it, my stomach was made bitter.”

You’ve heard the old adage, “You are what you eat.” Well, it’s actually true. When you eat a burger, your body metabolizes it. It assimilates and converts it to energy and the building material to create flesh and bone. That burger eventually becomes a part of your body, whether you like it or not. You bear it on your body. The same ought to be true with God’s Word. You should begin to act and look more like Jesus Christ. Every day and in every way, people ought to be able to say: “I’m becoming more like Christ.”

This angel tells John that this book “will make your stomach bitter, but in your mouth it will be sweet as honey.” This is a sweet and sour scroll. God’s Word can be bittersweet and hard to digest. Sometimes God’s Word can give us heartburn; other times it is sweet to the taste. We must understand that prophecy and Scripture, as a whole, is bittersweet. There are sweet promises in the Bible, but there are also bitter warnings. God’s Word can bring joy to our heart but at times it brings sorrow. It both blesses us and burdens us. People get excited about studying prophecy. Unquestionably, there are some exciting things about this book — a sweet taste. But it also burdens the believer about his unsaved family and friends and is a stern warning of judgment to come to the unbeliever.

This revelation was pleasant at first because it was a revelation from God. Please note that John tastes God’s revealed Word. It is not enough to see the book in someone’s hand or even to know what it contains. We must assimilate it and digest it. Too many Christians do not make the Word part of their inner being. Yet, our privilege as believers is not only to read the Bible but also to assimilate it into our lives. God won’t force-feed us with His Word; rather, He exhorts us to take it from His hand, eat it and assimilate it into our lives. The Word of God is the food of the Christian. It is compared to bread (Matt 4:4), milk (1 Pet 2:2), meat (1 Cor 3:1-2), and honey (Ps 119:103).

Still, as John meditated on it and comprehended the fearful judgments that it predicted, he became distressed. Have you ever experienced the sweet and bitter dimensions of God’s Word? We read of God’s love and mercy toward us, His eternal plan of salvation, His promise to give us a future and a hope, and the assurance of eternal life. That’s sweet. But then the Word also speaks directly to areas in our lives that may require change. Maybe your behavior or lifestyle dishonors God and is in direct violation of His Word. Maybe you have excused a bad attitude or a critical spirit in your life. At times, God’s Word can be a painful tool of correction. But it is always redemptive. It is always for our good. I would suggest to you that you haven’t really learned the Word until you live the Word. So how are you living? What difference has the book of Revelation made in your life?