In this sermon, Pastor Neil continues his series on the essentials with Part II of his message concerning the church and how we should be the love radius for our community. Here are some excerpts:

The Four Distinguishing Marks of a Good Church

The Church finds her visible yet imperfect expression in local congregations (like ours) where 1) the Word of God is preached in its purity and 2) the sacraments are administered in their integrity; 3) where scriptural discipline is practiced; and 4) where loving fellowship is maintained. For her perfecting (the Church) awaits the return of her Lord.

If you should ever move away and no longer be able to be an active participant in the worship, life, and witness of Faith Church, when you move to a new community, you should look for a church fellowship that exhibits these four distinguishing marks [above]…

The church is to be:

  • The most loving place in town. May it be so in us. May our church family be known as the most loving place in Kingstowne.
  • The most forgiving place in town. Because everybody needs forgiveness.
  • Where everybody needs to learn to forgive. If we don’t, or won’t, we shut ourselves off from the flow of God’s mercy and grace in our lives. May our church be the most forgiving place in town.
  • The church is to be the most grace-filled place in town. Because everybody needs grace. May our church always be a place of grace, a place where God’s grace abounds.
  • The church should be a storm home for all of us who need a place of refuge. May our church be a storm home when the storms of life hit…

The Love Radius

Here is a final thought. Bombs and other explosive devices have what is called a “blast radius,” which is the distance from the source that will be affected when an explosion occurs.The United States military’s largest conventional (non-nuclear) bomb, the MOAB – Massive Ordnance Air Blast Bomb, also known as the “Mother of All Bombs” – has a blast radius of one mile in every direction.

In a different kind of way, the church ought to have a “love radius,” don’t you think? Our “love radius” should affect every person connected in any way to our church family. And itought to extend out from the source, from our ministry center here at 5725 Castlewellan Drive, to positively affect our community one mile, two miles, even five miles or more inevery direction. (The analogy and the term “love radius” come from Tyler Edwards, Zombie Church, 59).

How great would it be if that were true of us? Wouldn’t it bring joy to the heart of Jesus? What can we do – what can you do – to make it more real?

May 12, 2019

John 13:31-35

Dr. Neil Smith

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