We have just started a sermon series based on the book of Ephesians aimed at helping us to build on our sabbatical reflections on the subject of ‘Gospel Partnerships’.
Last week, Pauline pointed out that the basis of any partnership for the sake of the Gospel is God himself. He is the blueprint for working together because he works in relationship with himself – Father, Son and Holy Spirit. If we are not in step – or in time – with him (I’m reminded of my parade ground drill practices as a young police officer), then our efforts will be an unsightly shambles! That is why it is so important that one of the main conclusions from our Church Day last month was a developing consensus that we need to draw our strength from the Holy Spirit – from God himself – if we are to walk In step with him.
It’s only as we each walk in step with God individually that we stand a chance of walking in step with each other. We’ve reflected on this principle in the past. In an age where independence is so highly valued, the counter-cultural idea of interdependence – dependence upon each other – is such an important principle for us to grasp. If we are made in the image of an interdependent God, then surely that means we were made to be interdependent, not totally independent (nor totally dependent!) That is why it is so important to find our place in God’s family and to play our part in church life by using the gifts, talents and insights that God gives us. It is also why it is important as an individual congregation that we work in partnership with other churches and organisations to bring God’s love to a needy world.
Today’s service recognises that our Gospel Partnerships do not just take place within our congregation, or between congregations in our town. We play a small but significant part in sharing the good news of Jesus around the world. Today is an opportunity to remember our mission link partners serving with BMS in other nations. The financial and prayer support that we and other churches give enables people like our friend Annie Brown in Nepal to share God’s love in places that we could not otherwise reach.
And as we walk in step – or in time – with God and with his Church both locally and around the world, we find that we also take our place walking in step with Christian believers over time, as we continue to share the timeless good news that ‘God loves the world so much that he gave his one and only son, so that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life’ (John 3:16). Let’s keep in time together with that wonderful news!
With my love and prayers