I prepared this past week to preach from Luke 12:22-34, but then kept getting pulled back to the previous text, and in particular 12:21, thinking through how to be "rich toward God (12:21)." I realized that the primary way we do this is through God's vehicle for accomplishing the advancement of his Kingdom on the earth - the church. In other words, if we would be rich toward God, we must be rich toward the church.
If you'd like to hear how I ended up unpacking and defending that idea, the sermon should be available tomorrow. Here is a little bit from the sermon prep time this past week, that didn't make it directly into the sermon, from Stop Dating the Church (SDC):
Now I want you to see how the church and the Good News connect: the church is the vehicle that Jesus chose to take the message of the gospel to every generation and people.
Are you seeing the bigger picture? The church matters because Jesus chose it to tell and show the world the message of his love. And this message, carried forward through history and lived out for all to see, is the world’s only hope.
Paul David Tripp writes to Christians:
Your life is much bigger than a good job, an understanding spouse, and non-delinquent kids. It is bigger than beautiful gardens, nice vacations, and fashionable clothes. In reality, you are part of something immense, something that began before you were born and will continue after you die.
God is rescuing fallen humanity, transporting them into his kingdom, and progressively shaping them into his likeness - and he wants you to be a part of it.
But the point is not that God wants you to be a part of it individually, he wants you to be a part of that mission with others. Our Father is clear that you can’t do this on your own; rather, you must do it as part of a family. Again, SDC:
The church community is where we learn to love God and others; where we are strengthened and transformed by truth front he Word; where we’re taught to pray, to worship, and to serve; where we can be most certain that we’re investing our time and abilities for eternity; where we can grow in our roles as friends, sons and daughters, husbands and wives, fathers and mothers. The church - [and only the church, not any other organization or agency or institution] - is earth’s single best place, God’s specially designed place, to start over, to grow and to change for the glory of God [and advance his kingdom].
The only question left is…are you in?
Let's stop dating the church y'all.