Sunday, August 14, 2016

Speaker: Aditya Nanda Kuswanto

An Aside

  • What makes a church service a church service?
  • Since the Church, the body of Christ, can meet anywhere, it must not be location.
    • A church service can even be held in a house, such as it was with the early church.
  • If not location, what are the fundamentals elements of a church service?
  • Following the early church’s example, which lacks all the extraneous elements of the modern-day, a church service must have:
    • Praise and worship
    • Sharing of the Word
  • Congregations tend to disproportionately focus upon the sermon, focusing on who the speaker that day will be, and come away believing that the sermon is the main meat of the service.
  • However, only one of these will be done in Heaven.
    • (Revelation 5:12-13) …saying with a loud voice, “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing!” And I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, and all that is in them, saying, “To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honor and glory and might forever and ever!”
  • The sharing of the written Word we do in the present day is but an earthly substitute for living in the fullness of the truth of the Living Word.
  • However, worship, as a natural reaction to the glory of the King of Kings, will never have an end
  • When we are in His Presence, will we share His word to others in Heaven, who can just hear fresh new Word straight from God? Or will we respond to His presence by exalting and worshipping him?
  • That’s why congregations should take worship seriously. Worship at church is practice for what we will do in the future.

Ministry as Union Between Service and Character: Transformation of the Servant

The Holy Spirit Transformed the Early Church

  • Since we, as a Church, are waiting upon the Third Pentecost*, we must learn how to properly wait for it
    • *Third Pentecost as pertaining to Pentecostal/Charismatic terminology
  • (Acts 1:8) But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.
  • The early church is a model of those waiting for the outpouring of His Power and Spirit upon a generation.
    • (Acts 2:42-43) And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles.
  • The same resurrection power in Jesus had now been outpoured onto an entire community.
    • Jesus promised that His followers would do greater things than He using this power.
  • Living in that power changed the early church’s lifestyle.
    • That same power in us should also change the way we do everything.
    • It should permeate every layer and level of our life.
  • We can observe how powerful was the Spirit was in the day of the early church, not in how miraculous their works were, but from how they lived.
  • With great power comes great responsibility.
  • The Book of Acts is not just an example of how a church should be, but also what a church shouldn’t be.
  • (Acts 5:1-5) But a man named Ananias, with his wife Sapphira, sold a piece of property, and with his wife’s knowledge he kept back for himself some of the proceeds and brought only a part of it and laid it at the apostles’ feet.  But Peter said, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and to keep back for yourself part of the proceeds of the land? While it remained unsold, did it not remain your own? And after it was sold, was it not at your disposal? Why is it that you have contrived this deed in your heart? You have not lied to man but to God.” When Ananias heard these words, he fell down and breathed his last. And great fear came upon all who heard of it.
    • What is it that we can learn from Ananias and his wife?
    • Are we to give everything to the church?
    • Is it wrong to keep some of our earnings?
  • The problem is not in the withholding of money, but in the withholding of the truth.
  • Our service to the Church is important, but the character that supports it is just as important.
    • Our ministry, as in the work that we do as servants of Christ, is a union between our service and our character.
  • God examines not only what we do for Him, but why we do it for Him.
  • Ananias and his wife is a perfect example of service without character.

The Twofold Working of the Holy Spirit

  • The Church is a harvest that God has cultivated.
    • The Word was sown by Jesus, the Spirit brought the field explosive growth, but as always, after a maturation is the time for reaping and weeding.
  • His Spirit doesn’t only give us the power to do His works, but also transforms us.
  • We cannot accept the power He gives but resist the change He brings to our character.
    • Rejecting one means to reject the other, because both are a manifestation of the Spirit’s work in us.
  • If we want to continue our ministry, we must ensure that our character can uphold it.
    • God doesn’t need our service from us specifically. As He did with Saul, He raised a David when Saul continued to reject Him. Queen Esther was reminded of this.
  • If we keep resisting God, one day, God will leave us to our own devices
  • If the Holy Spirit stops transforming our character, it means that He has stopped supporting our ministry.
    • (Hebrews 12:6) For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.


The Grueling Process of Character Transformation

  • (Psalms 51:1-2) Be gracious to me, O God, according to Your lovingkindness; according to the greatness of Your compassion blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin.
    • David comments vividly on what it felt like when God sanctified him after what he had done with Bathsheba against Uriah.
  • (Psalms 51:7-8) Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones that you have broken rejoice.
    • The process of cleansing that occurs when we are filled with the Holy Spirit is not pleasant.
    • But it must occur simultaneously with us receiving the Spirit’s power.
  • The Lord does not load us into a washer and set it on “Delicate”.
    • We are scrubbed vigorously, to remove every stain, slammed hard against the ground.
  • (2 Timothy 2:20-21) Now in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver but also of wood and clay, some for honorable use, some for dishonorable. Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from what is dishonorable, he will be a vessel for honorable use, set apart as holy, useful to the master of the house, ready for every good work.
    • As seen above, not all vessels are fit for all purposes.
    • Dishonorable vessels are not used for honorable purposes.
  • If we want to be used for an honorable purpose, we must be honorable vessels.
  • God does not want us to imitate Christ for the sake of imitating Christ, but so that we may be able to uphold the ministry that wants to entrust unto us.
    • Can our character be united with our service?
  • He wants us to be useful to the master of the house.
  • God only ever breaks us down, so that He can rebuild us in His fullness.