Scripture Based Identity of Every Believer

THIS is an exciting time here at Midtown Church!

I want to thank everyone who has thoughtfully read ‘Letters To The Church’. I pray it has helped you to apply Scripture more specifically in your life as a church body part. I thank those who attended our 1st listening session 2 Wednesday’s ago and all who gracefully shared thoughts and ideas for corporate changes.

If you are a Covenant Member or want to be, THIS Sunday & THIS Wednesday night are Big! We are clarifying the Biblical Vision for Christ’s Body, THIS body! How we go forward as a church will only be as Biblical as the level of Biblical living each of us does as individuals. We are only as strong as the weakest link! Chan’s book points us to Scripture that describes the identities we CAN grow into as ‘Body Parts’. We are here to become ‘Functioning Body Parts’… HEALTHY Parts!

Our Membership Covenant: the message is on line if you were not here. Everyone should listen to that. Today: More of God’s vision for this Body: The Biblical Identity of Every Body Part.

Chan has taken the Biblical truth about the local church and laid it out so it gives us guidance on how the Scripture envisions Jesus Christ’s Body. I am going to focus on the middle section of the book which addresses the core identity of local church members as it is described in Scripture. There is a series of identities described by these chapter titles. Chan shows how it is normal for each and every member of the Body of Christ is to be described in these ways, identities we grow in to by God’s Spirit working in us. If we are going to be as Biblical as we can as a church, then EACH of us must embrace these identities. We are all called to be GANG MEMBERS, we are all to be SERVANTS, we are all to be SHEPHERDS and we are all meant to eventually be CRUCIFIED!

We believe, based on Scripture, that the ONLY thing that makes people Members of Jesus Christ’s Body gathered together locally is their individual confession of Biblical Salvation and subsequent eternal life. This is an explicit and complete surrender of your entire life to Jesus Christ’s Lordship. We believe that all who have surrendered their lives then begin and continue throughout the remainder of this life to pursue Biblical Christ Discipleship. Biblical Salvation makes you part of The Body, Biblical Discipleship makes you a healthy, growing part of the body you belong to (YOUR Local Church). The Biblically given identity of healthy, growing members a local Body of Christ is perfectly communicate by Chan in four terms: Gang / Servant / Shepherd / Crucified

Gang Member (Undivided)

The metaphor Francis Chan uses in chapter 5 of his book ‘Letters to The Church’. It is a helpful twist on understanding how Scripture describes being part of the ‘Body of Christ’.

You join a Gang because you believe the Gang is the only place you belong. You join a Gang because there is no other choice. But it takes a ‘Whole-Hearted’ commitment…It demands ‘Undivided Loyalty’… You don’t go hang with another gang every now and then. You don’t give some of your business profits to another gang, even if they are doing some ‘Really Great’ Things’. You are ‘Undivided’ in your loyalty to the gang, just as Christs calls us to be as members of HIS body!

Philippians 2:1-5

Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus.

  • A description of what be each of us becomes as God makes us part of His Body
  • The reasons why we give our lives to Christ are the same as how we live our life In Christ
  • A oneness of love is about how we value our body parts, how we value THIS body
  • Unity: John 17 ‘The Ultimate Apologetic’ Our unity proves Christ is God
  • The practice of putting others first flows from a heart of unity and undivided loyalty
  • We are only as united as our level of humility towards each other
  • We are to imitate our Lord and Master in His selfless relational practices
  • Undivided unity is a ‘Mindset’, an identity as a fully attached part of THIS body

Servants: (Humble)

What is the difference between serving and being a ‘servant’? One does stuff, the other IS something. It is a matter of God given identity. This is who we are supposed to be, IN CHRIST!

Mark 10:42-45

Jesus called them together and said, “You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many.”

  • The rest of the world is set up so that success is getting served
  • Successful economic, social, political and health choices result in being served
  • Not in the Gang…I mean Body of Christ… this is going to be opposite
  • Jesus measures success by your level of servanthood
  • Servanthood is more than serving (we serve to get attention & dissuade guilt)

The most narcissistic person in the world can serve others, but it take humility to truly BE a Servant. (serving is humiliating). True humility is found not in words or even public actions (public actions can be opportunities to perform). Rather humility is found in what is done day in and day out to serve Christ and HIS mission. BEING a servant means you will go unrecognized, serving Christ’s Body week after week, year after year. Consistent practice serving Christ’s Body transforms us into Servants.

Shepherds: (Selfless)

Caring for those God entrust to you every way you need to, with your entire life. This is not just for Christian leaders, it is for each and every one who has surrendered their life to Jesus Christ as Lord! We are all to care for each other AS HIS BODY, THE LOCAL CHURCH!

John 21:15-17

After breakfast Jesus asked Simon Peter,“Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?” “Yes, Lord,” Peter replied, “you know I love you.” “Then feed my lambs,” Jesus told him. Jesus repeated the question: “Simon son of John, do you love me?” “Yes, Lord,” Peter said, “you know I love you.” “Then take care of my sheep,” Jesus said. A third time he asked him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” Peter was hurt that Jesus asked the question a third time. He said, “Lord, you know everything. You know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Then feed my sheep.”

  • The only thing that matters to Jesus is whether or not Peter loves HIM
  • Peter is like: ‘Yes Lord’, then ‘Yes Lord’ then you are God, you know!
  • ‘Feed my lambs’ is special care for baby body members to grow into the flock
  • ‘Take care of my sheep’ is about watching over them where they are (local Ch)
  • ‘Feed my sheep’ is about helping them grow to be more
  • This is often thought of to be only for the leaders of churches (Peter 1st Pope)
  • This is for the same audience as Matthew 28: It’s for everyone who loves Christ
  • When we have become servants then we are ready to be ‘Care Givers’

John 10:14-18

I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me— just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep. I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd. The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life—only to take it up again.

  • We are to be ‘little Christs’, so we are to eventually be ‘little Good Shepherds’
  • He is going to be bringing other sheep in on a regular basis but unity remains
  • He lay down His life, we lay ours down to be like Him…
  • And being like Him means we join the ranks of ‘the crucified’

Crucified: (Sacrificial)

A Lifestyle of laying down your life for people at a local church: THGIS is where you do it, where followers of Christ have always done it! I have this as my goal, this is to be the goal of EVERY follower of Christ!

Galatians 2:20
I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

  • Paul was not the 1st or the last to go to this place
  • This is not just for ‘super christians’ this the normative
  • This is the goal…we are not going to lower the bar
  • To be HIS church we all need to agree and act in way that imitate this lifestyle
  • This is going back to why we joined the Gang in the 1st place

First: As members of Jesus Christ’s Body Our surrender to Christ’s Lordship creates a bond as tight as a street GANG. UNDIVIDED unity that flows from each member living selflessly, imitating Christ. As a healthy, growing part of this Gang / Local Church we serve others. Through this we actually become SERVANTS in our attitude, actions and identity. As practicing servants of the local church we grow to care for other body parts and we start to become SHEPHERDS. Not only are we doing for others, but more and more will God entrusts the care & growth of others to each of us! Finally: When We are a seasoned shepherds we begin to think, feel and act as ‘a good shepherd’ (following Christ’s example) you are identified as one who lays down yourself constantly for others. Whatever it takes, in a sense being CRUCIFIED with Our Christ. If this is our pattern of living then God will truly be glorified and we will fulfill the Biblical Vision for Jesus Christ’s Church.

Standards which shape BIBLICAL church culture

  • Healthy, growing members of Christ’s Body live as gang / local church members
  • Healthy, growing members of Christ’s Body live as servants of the local church
  • Healthy, growing members of Christ’s Body live as Shepherds in their church

If you are a follower of Jesus the normative state for you to be in is one of spiritual growth. This doesn’t happen by chance. We believe Biblical Christ discipleship is the lifestyle of EVERY member of Christ’s Body known as Midtown Church.

We want to have a conversation about where this church can grow and or change to be more biblical. But we must put the horse before the cart…as in we must operate in the proper order and that is for us all to get on the same page about what is most important to a Biblical Church Culture.


We are only as united as a body if each member is undivided. The Body Metaphor in Scripture is used because it can only be understood one way: being part of Jesus Christ’s Body is an exclusive relationship with a particular group of believers at a particular time.. Each body part is only part of one body, Biblical Christianity has always and will always be about collective ‘Body Life’.

You cannot be a Servant on your terms, a true servant serves how and when and in ways dictated by their Master. Biblical Christianity calls us to imitate our Master Jesus Christ in His Servanthood, not doing some service projects.

Each of us who confesses they love Jesus as Peter did are called to care for sheep. A Shepherd must grow into the identity. You learn to care about sheep by caring for sheep (on the job training only). Wether you care for a few or for many, there is no alternate biblical Christian Identity.

As an undivided member of THIS Gang, we become servants in heart, and deed. As we serve our Master He will grow us into the identity of a shepherd, caring for the body above our own self interests. When we do that as a lifestyle we are ‘crucified with Christ’.


GANG MEMBER: How are YOU going to reorder your life to get to being undivided here at Midtown?

SERVANT: How are you going to specifically practice ‘Being’ a servant in the coming months?

SHEPHERD: What is your plan for your ‘on the job training’ to learn how to care for other sheep here at Midtown this year?


2nd Kings 5:1-16

1 Naaman, commander of the army of the king of Syria, was a great man with his master and in high favor, because by him the Lord had given victory to Syria. He was a mighty man of valor, but he was a leper. 2 Now the Syrians on one of their raids had carried off a little girl from the land of Israel, and she worked in the service of Naaman’s wife. 3 She said to her mistress, “Would that my lord were with the prophet who is in Samaria! He would cure him of his leprosy.”

4 So Naaman went in and told his lord, “Thus and so spoke the girl from the land of Israel.” 5 And the king of Syria said, “Go now, and I will send a letter to the king of Israel.”

So he went, taking with him ten talents of silver, six thousand shekels of gold, and ten changes of clothing. 6 And he brought the letter to the king of Israel, which read, “When this letter reaches you, know that I have sent to you Naaman my servant, that you may cure him of his leprosy.”

7 And when the king of Israel read the letter, he tore his clothes and said, “Am I God, to kill and to make alive, that this man sends word to me to cure a man of his leprosy? Only consider, and see how he is seeking a quarrel with me.”

8 But when Elisha the man of God heard that the king of Israel had torn his clothes, he sent to the king, saying, “Why have you torn your clothes? Let him come now to me, that he may know that there is a prophet in Israel.” 9 So Naaman came with his horses and chariots and stood at the door of Elisha’s house. 10 And Elisha sent a messenger to him, saying, “Go and wash in the Jordan seven times, and your flesh shall be restored, and you shall be clean.”

11 But Naaman was angry and went away, saying, “Behold, I thought that he would surely come out to me and stand and call upon the name of the Lord his God, and wave his hand over the place and cure the leper. 12 Are not Abana and Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? Could I not wash in them and be clean?” So he turned and went away in a rage.

13 But his servants came near and said to him, “My father, it is a great word the prophet has spoken to you; will you not do it? Has he actually said to you, ‘Wash, and be clean’?” 14 So he went down and dipped himself seven times in the Jordan, according to the word of the man of God, and his flesh was restored like the flesh of a little child, and he was clean.

15 Then he returned to the man of God, he and all his company, and he came and stood before him. And he said, “Behold, I know that there is no God in all the earth but in Israel; so accept now a present from your servant.” 16 But he said, “As the Lord lives, before whom I stand, I will receive none.” And he urged him to take it, but he refused.

1 Thessalonians 5:14-18

Paul writing on behalf of the leadership group he is part of (the whole letter is from the plural) to the body that is the local church in Thessalonica. This passage near the end of the letter, is a guide to some basics of how we are to live as Jesus Christ’s body; the local church known as Midtown Church.

This morning let it serve to encourage us to a lifestyle that glorifies God as members of Christ’s body, the local church.

14 And we urge you, brothers and sisters, warn those who are idle and disruptive, encourage the disheartened, help the weak, be patient with everyone. 15 Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always strive to do what is good for each other and for everyone else.

  • What is the warning and why do we bother?
  • You can’t encourage someone who is disheartened if you don’t know they are hurting
  • The weak need to be real that they need help, admitting they are that they are weak
    • Romans 12:3 For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you.
  • ‘Making Sure’ This should be an agreed upon cultural norm: NO responding to evil with evil
  • With in the family / body we do what is best for individuals AND the whole body

16 Rejoice always, 17 pray continually, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

  • We are to live with joy! How do we do that? Big picture we live surrendered lives to Christ
  • To do that WE PRACTICE!
  • Practicing always being Joyful
  • Practicing continuous Prayer
  • Practicing being thankful no matter what
  • This is how we are to BE as members of Christ’s body

I encourage you to serve our body in ways that create harmony, not disruption. I encourage you to get emotionally involved in the life of you fellow body parts, patiently helping those you can. I encourage you to not respond to wrong with more wrong but rather to seek what is good for everyone, thinking of the good of the entire family that is the membership of Midtown church!

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Biblical Church Culture

This is document meant to synopsize aspects of The Old and New Testament Scriptures as they pertain to the current church age and to specific bodies of Christ. Our desire here at Midtown Church is to have a Biblical Church Culture, and by culture I mean concrete actions, lifestyle, practices; what we actually do, not ideas, theories or intentions. (Culture does not consist of ‘intentions’, it consists of action, deeds, relationships, practices, habits, rituals, and words spoken face to face) These paragraphs communicate standards, values and practices that are expressed in norms and values and behaviors that mark our ‘Biblical Church Culture’.


Having surrendered our lives to God’s grace as followers of Our Lord Jesus Christ, and having been publicly baptized as a testimony of our love and submission to Him, we, the members of Midtown Church, purposefully and joyfully enter into this covenant with one another, affirming our God-given leadership, in common unity as a family in the Lord. Together before Christ Our Lord, God The Father and The Holy Spirit, as members of Midtown Church we covenant:

  • ‘Christ-Given Unity’
  • A surrendered life is a prerequisite, each member’s response to God’s Grace
  • Baptism is a common declaration
  • We covenant together by choice with purpose and joy
  • In submission to Christ we submit to HIS body
  • John 17 / Ephesians 4 / Philippians 1

Article 1:

Together before Christ Our Lord, God The Father and The Holy Spirit, as members of Midtown Church we covenant: To affirm by action, word, presence and heart, The Midtown Church Statement of Belief. And in unity of belief we will identify as ‘Life-long Disciples of Jesus Christ’ and actively pursue sanctification.

  • ‘Body Member Identity’
  • Our complete agreement on the ‘Biblical Essentials’ found in our Statement of Belief
  • The identity of a disciple means it permeates every aspect of your life (Goal)
  • The active pursuit of sanctification requires showing up and growing
  • John 13 / John 17

Article 2

Together before Christ Our Lord, God The Father and The Holy Spirit, as members of Midtown Church we covenant: To live out our valuing of the gatherings of this body by our consistent attendance in our Sunday Activities as well as other gathering prioritized by the Leadership, fully participating in the discipleship journey of our church body, including mentoring and small groups.

  • ‘Body Presence’
  • 1st you value being here by prioritizing it in your life, then you live that out
  • Sunday matters! Members of Christ’s body figure out how to be here
  • Gatherings prioritized by the leadership means the stuff we are all doing together
  • Hebrews 10 / Romans 12 / Psalm 133

Article 3

Together before Christ Our Lord, God The Father and The Holy Spirit, as members of Midtown Church we covenant: To Biblically practice the sacraments of Immersion Baptism and The Lord’s Supper. To be dedicated to the prayerful, consistent study and application of God’s Word, and the Spirit-Led praying for others and ourselves.

  • ‘Common Basics’
  • Immersion Baptism: Jesus did it, each of us should do it.
  • The Lord’s Supper: Jesus commanded we do this every time
  • Matthew 3 / Mark 1 / Luke 3 / Acts 2
  • Matthew 26 / Mark 14 / Luke 22 / John
  • 1st Corinthians 11 / Ephesians 6 / 2nd Timothy 3

Article 4

Together before Christ Our Lord, God The Father and The Holy Spirit, as members of Midtown Church we covenant: To prioritize being a part of communicating the Biblical Gospel of Jesus Christ in humble cooperation with God’s Spirit in every sphere of our lives.

  • ‘Shared Purpose’
  • We exist to be the ongoing presence of Jesus Christ
  • ‘Holistic Gospel Declaration’…
  • Spirit led living
  • Matthew 10 / Luke 4 / Acts 5, 8, 9 & 17 / Romans 15 / Colossians 4
  • Jeremiah (19 references…) 20:9 ‘God’s Word is a fire, I can’t keep in me’

Article 5

Together before Christ Our Lord, God The Father and The Holy Spirit, as members of Midtown Church we covenant: To practice with our actions, words and attitudes, loving other members by considering others’ needs and perspectives more important than our own, following Christ’s example.

  • ‘Consideration’
  • The practice of caring for people, consistently matching intention with action
  • We will never consider other member’s needs if we don’t know the other members
  • Christ put the needs of the members of His Body before His own needs
  • Philippians 2 / Romans 12:3 / James 4 / Deuteronomy 8

Article 6

Together before Christ Our Lord, God The Father and The Holy Spirit, as members of Midtown Church we covenant: To pursue intimacy in our relationships with other church members, living all of our lives together in brotherly/sisterly love as exemplified in Scripture. To value and practice transparency and openness in our relationship together.

  • ‘Relational Health’
  • The ‘One Anothers’ of Scripture
  • Transparency and openness requires equal commitment and shared sacrifice
  • Healthy relational intimacy comes from real unity of action, belief and attitude
  • Intimacy takes time and trust (Consistent demonstration of commitment)
  • John 13:34-35 / Romans 12 & 13 / 2nd Corinthians 13 / 1st Peter 3

Article 7

Together before Christ Our Lord, God The Father and The Holy Spirit, as members of Midtown Church we covenant: To exercise ‘Spirit-Given Tender Care’ for each other, with the goal of faithfully encouraging, instructing, and admonishing one another in truth and love; guided by The Spirit through The Scriptures. Going out of our way to be slow to take offense, quick to reconcile, sharing burdens and joys with tangible humility and love.

  • ‘Biblical Conflict Resolution’
  • God’s principals for interpersonal issues
  • Recognition of our shared identity and condition
  • We need Jesus to teach us how to encourage, admonish and instruct in healthy way
  • Giving up our rights to everything as Jesus’ disciples, we should be hard to offend
  • Tangible humility and love is the way of Christ / our honoring of HIM
  • Ephesians 4 / 1st Thess. 4 / Hebrews 10 / 1st Peter 1 / 1st John 4

Article 8

Together before Christ Our Lord, God The Father and The Holy Spirit, as members of Midtown Church we covenant: To generously and consistently give financially to the general fund of Midtown Church, as well as to approved designated budget items, based on Scripture and an informed understanding of Body Undertakings.

  • ‘United Generosity’
  • 10% of your net income is a good starting place, give it to your church body
  • In unity we agree how everyone’s shared sacrifice will be used (no ‘pet’ giving)
  • We agree to be informed about what the financial priorities of the church are
  • 1st Corinthians 16 / Malachi 3 / Mark 12 / Luke 20

Article 9

Together before Christ Our Lord, God The Father and The Holy Spirit, as members of Midtown Church we covenant: To serve the church body and our neighbors in humble and repentant representation of Our Lord Jesus Christ, informed by Scripture and empowered by The Holy Spirit who indwells us equally.

  • ‘Servant Attitude’
  • The opposite of demanding and entitled
  • We all serve each other in The Body because we are all vessels of God’s Spirit
  • We don’t serve from our own resources; rather we are empowered by God’s Spirit
  • Philippians 2 / John 13 / 1st Peter 4 / 2nd Corinthians 5 & 8

Article 10

Together before Christ Our Lord, God The Father and The Holy Spirit, as members of Midtown Church we covenant: To actively work together (collaborate with and encourage fellow members) to advance Christ-centered ministry in our church and other Christ Affirming Entities for the purpose of identifying and cultivating our spiritual gifts as we discover and practice them.

  • ‘Body Ministry’
  • There is no ‘My Ministry’ only ‘Our Ministry’ or Christ’s Ministry or Church ministry
  • The use of the gifts God has given us is not optional,
  • Matthew 25; the parable of the talents / Hebrews 13 / Ephesians 2 / Ephesians 4

Article 11

Together before Christ Our Lord, God The Father and The Holy Spirit, as members of Midtown Church we covenant: To submit in unity to the authority of The Midtown Church Body, as led by Our Elder Team, in all matters that are Biblical, align with our Statement of Belief, Our Church Constitution, By-Laws and this Covenant.

  • ‘Biblical Leadership’
  • Biblically Qualified Elders & Deacons
  • The Authority is held by the Body, exercised by and through the Elders
  • We each submit to the body as we submit to Christ
  • Ephesians 5 / Hebrews 13 / Luke 22 / Hebrews 13

Article 12

Together before Christ Our Lord, God The Father and The Holy Spirit, as members of Midtown Church we covenant: To respectfully question in reverent order, all matters and practices of the church that are not being led in accordance with Scripture, our Statement of Belief, Our Constitution, By-Laws and this Covenant.

  • ‘Biblical Accountability’
  • The leadership of the church is accountable to members
  • The Body is responsible to ensure the leadership is doing what we have agreed to
  • 1st Timothy 5 / Acts 15 / 1st Corinthians 1


Our membership covenant is a synopsis of our Biblical Church Culture. It is a summary of God’s Word pertaining to the function of Christ’s Body. It is what we agree to do together as Jesus Christ’s church, standards, beliefs, norms, attitudes and practices. The more Biblical our church culture, the more God is glorified!


Learn the Covenant and the Scripture behind it, work through any questions you have and then practice the actions and attitudes prescribed by it.

Discipleship Is Looking For God

We continue to celebrate Jesus’ Birth, and I want to encourage you to look at this coming year through the lens of Christ. What this means is putting Christ in the foreground of you view so you do things with Him in view. If we live with a continuous view of who Christ really is our future will be bright. Christ came to be the light of revelation for all the nations. This text gives us two big ideas as to how we are to biblically follow Christ. Being on the lookout for what God is doing. Being obedient while being on the lookout. 4 examples of how we are to be as followers / disciples of Christ: Joseph, Mary, Simeon and Anna.

Matthew 2:21-40

21 Eight days later, when the baby was circumcised, he was named Jesus, the name given him by the angel even before he was conceived. 22 Then it was time for their purification offering, as required by the law of Moses after the birth of a child; so his parents took him to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord.

  • Named & Circumcised on the 8th day (today is the 8th day…imagine)
  • 41 days from birth they take the 10 mile walk from Bethlehem to Jerusalem
  • Star is still up there…they just do the next thing they know they should do
  • The way they looked to the future is by letting God continue to lead

23 The law of the Lord says, “If a woman’s first child is a boy, he must be dedicated to the Lord.” 24 So they offered the sacrifice required in the law of the Lord—“either a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons.”

  • This is an example of a clear command from God and a timely obedience to it
  • They saw something special was going on but didn’t seek special treatment

25 At that time there was a man in Jerusalem named Simeon. He was righteous and devout and was eagerly waiting for the Messiah to come and rescue Israel. The Holy Spirit was upon him 26 and had revealed to him that he would not die until he had seen the Lord’s Messiah.

  • Scripture gives this man high praise
  • Not just waiting but eagerly awaiting…
  • God promised him he would see the Messiah before he died

27 That day the Spirit led him to the Temple. So when Mary and Joseph came to present the baby Jesus to the Lord as the law required, 28 Simeon was there. He took the child in his arms and praised God, saying, 29 “Sovereign Lord, now let your servant die in peace, as you have promised. 30 I have seen your salvation, 31 which you have prepared for all people. 32 He is a light to reveal God to the nations, and he is the glory of your people Israel!”

  • Divine Appointments: They happen when you are looking for the Messiah
  • Holy Spirit Guidance (Simeon) and Basic Obedience (Mary & Joseph)
  • Simeon recognizes Messiah because of his consistent walking with the Lord
  • He knows that this baby is going to be the salvation of all nations
  • He is the light that will help everyone see God!
  • Total Recognition of four Spiritual Realities
  • Jesus IS God’s salvation
  • God gives Christ to all kinds of people
  • Jesus is A Revelation of what God is all about
  • Jesus is EVERYTHING to God’s people, the Spiritual Israel

Living In Light of Christ means you are on the lookout for what God is doing
33 Jesus’ parents were amazed at what was being said about him. 34 Then Simeon blessed them, and he said to Mary, the baby’s mother, “This child is destined to cause many in Israel to fall, and many others to rise. He has been sent as a sign from God, but many will oppose him. 35 As a result, the deepest thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your very soul.”

  • 1st the shepherds now this…
  • Simeon blesses them then makes the pronouncement to Mary:
  • This child will define who rises and who falls
  • Even though He is a sign from God He will face much opposition
  • He will cause many to get real, but all of that reality will be painful for Mary

36 Anna, a prophet, was also there in the Temple. She was the daughter of Phanuel from the tribe of Asher, and she was very old. Her husband died when they had been married only seven years. 37 Then she lived as a widow to the age of eighty-four.

  • She is called a Prophet where Simeon is not…
  • She had lived a lifetime of devotion (Set Apart)
  • Made the most of her situation & trusted God had her where He wanted her

She never left the Temple but stayed there day and night, worshiping God with fasting and prayer. 38 She came along just as Simeon was talking with Mary and Joseph, and she began praising God. She talked about the child to everyone who had been waiting expectantly for God to rescue Jerusalem.

  • She was persistent in her pursuit of God, an example of Spiritual Consistency
  • She lived in God’s presence looking for what HE was doing
  • When she saw God at work she told others who were intentionally seeking

39 When Jesus’ parents had fulfilled all the requirements of the law of the Lord, they returned home to Nazareth in Galilee. 40 There the child grew up healthy and strong. He was filled with wisdom, and God’s favor was on him.

  • They knew what was expected of them and they did it!
  • That is what God expects from us: once we know what He wants, we do it!

Four people looking for God

Four people with incomplete pictures of what God is doing

Four people willing to do what it takes to see God

In your life as a disciple we can be like the examples given in Scripture

Application Suggestions:

Be like Mary & Joseph; while the info is still making sense, focus on obedience.

Be like Simeon: when you know what God wants, be on the lookout for the how, where and when.

Be like Anna, when you know how, where & when to be for God, be on the lookout for what.

Be on the lookout for The Spirit’s scheduling of ‘Divine Appointments’.

Be persistent in your looking for God and His revelation

These are Be-Attitudes of Christ’s Disciples