We find ourselves in very interesting times. We find ourselves in a place where people are particular about where they will contribute. For decades, many Southern Baptists (our denomination) would contribute to their denomination and the various organizations and associations primarily out of loyalty. Today, many contribute not out of blind loyalty, but to a just cause that makes a difference. Loyalty to an organization just because doesn’t wash much anymore. If that organization has lost its vision, then this generation will take their business or their resources and invest in that which itself invests.
The vision God has for us has captured our leaders here at Arapahoe Road Baptist Church and we pray will capture all of you here who have already come and connected to ARBC. Some of you are here out of loyalty to ARBC. No matter how we may move forward, you love this church and will stick with it. I’m thankful for you.
Yet, we live in Denver in 2014. If we want people to connect and contribute, we need to be clear as to what they are connecting and contributing. Telling them that they should connect and contribute to Christ and ARBC ‘just cuz’ is not a legitimate reason. Nor should it be for us. We should want more. We should want to contribute more.
We connect to a church to contribute to His kingdom. This may sound very restricting and very un-today when it comes to thinking about the Christian life. But consider what God has revealed about His church:
- The body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12)
- The bride of Christ (Ephesians 5:22-33)
- The building of Christ (1 Peter 2:1-7)
- The manifold wisdom of God (Ephesians 3:10)
- The pillar and ground/buttress of the truth (1 Timothy 3:15).
In His universal church, God has raised up local churches with elders and deacons in order to preach the word, equip and serve the saints, and make disciples (that is, reaching those who need Christ and helping them grow biblically and spiritually in Christ).
We connect to a church, not ‘just cuz,’ but for a just cause–in order to contribute to His Kingdom. God set up His church as the primary vehicle to accomplish His mission. We are part of a body, we are not maverick, renegade, or lone rangers. In Ephesians 4:11-12, look at why:
11 And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, 12 to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ.
The leaders in the church that God has gifted for the church are there to help all peoples connect with the church, but then to help all take that next step and contribute to the Kingdom work both inside and outside the church.
We contribute based on the love His Spirit pours his love into our hearts. Look at Romans 5:1-5:
Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. 2 Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. 3 Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, 4 and endurance produces character, and character produces hope,5 and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.
A genuine love is a love that comes from the one who is love. And the one who is love is the one who pours this authentic, Spirit-driven love into us.
Don’t blur the line to what is good. It’s much like the word ‘love.’ For many, expressing love is often defined in our culture as, “If you love me, you’ll let me live my life as I wish.” No, if I love you, then I will love you enough to tell you God’s will and truth. Remember what it says, “Transform your mind… so you may test what his good and pleasing and perfect will is.”
Love then is transformed in the mind not simply to be selfish but selfless. Paul shows us what a true love looks like in God’s economy. This love is that which God pours into us by His Spirit as we contribute to His kingdom.
Just cause or ‘just cuz?’ This is a question all of us who are part of any organization need to start asking.