Biblical Church Culture
Since we began Midtown Midtown church our goal was to be as biblical as possible Over the past 6 months we have taken a journey to assess how Biblical our culture was, and then make improvements.
We desire to be The body of Jesus Christ, functioning under His Lordship, intentional discipleship, active relationship building, worshiping, serving and giving based on Scripture.
Scripture / Family / Prayer / Generosity
Our Cultural Imperatives Based on Scripture
Intentional Discipleship / Family Shepherding / Empowered Prayer
Humble Servanthood / Collective Generosity / Authentic Worship
The vision of Midtown Church begins and ends with Jesus the Christ. We believe He is GOD: the resurrected Incarnation, who claimed specifically to fulfill all the old testament scriptures….Christ Jesus defines Biblical Culture.
What did Jesus say HIS followers should focus on?
#1 Priority… if we do this well , everything else flow from it!
INTRO: Jesus is addressing those who did not believe He was from the Father…”for unless you believe that I am who I claim to be, you will die in your sins.” “Who are you?” they demanded. I am who I have said I am, sent from The One… Once you have lifted the Son of man on a cross then you will know that I am He and I say only what the Father taught me. And the one who sent me is with me…
Then many who heard him say these things believed in him. So He said to them:
Jesus said to the people who believed in him, “You are truly my disciples if you remain faithful to my teachings. And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” ~ John 8:31-32
- This standard is only for believers
- Real deal disciples of Christ are faithful to HIS teaching…(this includes the O.T)
- You have to do things to be faithful… applying Christ’s teaching to your life
- This should be the most important thing in our lives as Christians!
- A life living out Christ’s teaching will lead you to the truth, and true freedom
Application: We must now Christ’s teachings and live them out (practice)
INTRO: Jesus predicts his betrayal & basically identifies Judas as the one who will do it… He speaks of how He is going to glorify the Father & be glorified by the Father… Dear children, I will be with you only a little longer. And as I told the Jewish leaders, you will search for me, but you can’t come where I am going.”
“So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.” ~ Jesus @ John 13:34-35
- This is directed to ‘Dear Children’ / Disciples…
- Love (Agape) is understood to be displayed through action (not feeling, deeds)
- The example Jesus has given and will give them is to love sacrificially
- Jesus’ followers loving each other as Christ loves us, will prove our allegiance
Application: We are to love and care for each other sacrificially
INTRO: Jesus that same night…walking through the valley…doing His vine & branches talk…The branches need to stay connected to the vine to produce fruit (kingdom stuff)
“But if you remain in me and my words remain in you, you may ask for anything you want, and it will be granted! When you produce much fruit, you are my true disciples. This brings great glory to my Father.” ~ Jesus @ John 15:7-8
- To remain it is assumed you are already there (disciples)
- ‘Pray’ basically means to ask… When we direct our requests to God = Prayer
- Jesus says that constant connection is needed in order to get what you ask for
- Remain in me = Connection (H.S.) My words remain in you = Bible Application
- It is the idea that the closer to God we get the more we want what HE wants
Take delight in the Lord, and HE will give you your heart’s desires. ~ Psalm 37:4
- Producing ‘fruit’ that God desires proves who our master is & brings HIM glory
- A basic purpose of the New Testament Church is Glorifying God to the max!
Application: Our Prayer life must flow from our intimacy with Christ
INTRO: Jesus had just predicted how He would die and rise again…Then the mother of the sons of Zebedee, came to Jesus with her sons. She knelt respectfully to ask a favor. What is your request?” he asked. She asks: “In your Kingdom, please let my two sons sit next to you, one on your right and the other on your left.”
Jesus tells them they don’t know what they ask… yes they will share in His sufferings (as all of His followers will) but the right and left hand thing is not His to decide…When the others heard this they were indignant…
But Jesus called them together and said, “You know that the rulers in this world lord it over their people, and officials flaunt their authority over those under them. But among you it will be different. Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first among you must become your slave. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.” ~ Jesus @ Matthew 20:25-28
- Among you = among my true followers
- The World’s Way: Those in charge selfishly oppress those under their authority
- Jesus’ Way: Those in charge humbly serve those under their authority
- Jesus says among HIS disciples (The Church) Leader = Servant
- He Says among HIS disciples (The Church) Top Dog = Slave
- Being a servant or slave to Christ means that you’re those things to His Body
- Christ set the example of servanthood going to the cross
- He gave His life to ransom many..
- Those of us who have been ransomed are servants and slaves of HIS Body
Application: We are to practice servanthood and aspire to be slaves of Christ
INTRO: Jesus was teaching in the temple courts after arriving to Jerusalem (holy week). Jesus had just talked about how the Jewish Religious leaders were hypocrites… Jesus sat down near the collection box in the Temple and watched as the crowds dropped in their money. Many rich people put in large amounts. Then a poor widow came and dropped in two small coins.
Jesus called his disciples to him and said, “I tell you the truth, this poor widow has given more than all the others who are making contributions. For they gave a tiny part of their surplus, but she, poor as she is, has given everything she had to live on.” ~ Jesus @ Mark 12:41-44
- Because Jesus addressed this insight to His disciples it is for the church
- Our giving to the local church is to be compared with giving to the ‘Temple’
- Jesus says she gave more! (As God sees it) because of what it cost her
- Jesus says it’s not the amount but rather the sacrifice made that matters
- We are to be God dependent in our giving, walking by faith, not sight
Application: Giving to Christ’s body should cost us something
INTRO: Jesus and the disciples are traveling through Samaria (not usually done). Alone sitting by a well, Jesus meets this woman… After Jesus offers her water that will permanently quench her thirst, He asks her to go bring her husband… She says: ‘I have no husband’ (implying that she is a widow). Jesus says: you have had five husbands, and you aren’t even married to the man you’re living with now. You told the truth!” (kind of a backhanded compliment), She says, “you must be a prophet… so tell me what is the deal with worship places? Jesus tells her the problem is not where you worship but what you know about who you worship, and that salvation comes from the Jews… (as in Jesus of Nazareth)
But the time is coming—indeed it’s here now—when true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth. The Father is looking for those who will worship him that way. For God is Spirit, so those who worship him must worship in spirit and in truth.” ~ Jesus @ John 4:23-24
- Jesus says: in the future, starting now… here is what is going to matter…
- 1st Jesus say: ‘True Worshipers’… that must mean there are ‘untrue worshipers’
- Jesus says the authenticity of our worship of God / Christ is based on 2 things
- Understandable Knowledge & Unfathomable Mystery (Spirit & Truth)
- There are definable, explainable facts about God (Truth)
- And at the same time God is amorphous, intangible and metaphysical (Spirit)
- As ‘True Worshipers’ we worship God because His Spirit is indwelling us
- And because we belief in the truth we have about Him
Application: Our Worship should express what we know and mystery as well
INTRO: So when the apostles were with Jesus, (AFTER THE RESURECTION) they kept asking him, “Lord, has the time come for you to free Israel and restore our kingdom?” He replied, “The Father alone has the authority to set those dates and times, and they are not for you to know…. BUT…
“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” ~ Jesus @ Acts 1:8
- Every person who God brings to ‘Biblical Salvation’ is indwelt with the H. S.
- One of the things the indwelling Spirit does is to empower our witness
- To be a witness is to provide information about what you know
- As Christ’s followers we are to provide information to others about Jesus
- We do that in our own spheres of influence and help others do it in theirs
- Jesus says we are to be part of witnessing to who He is everywhere…
- Jerusalem is where they were = Atlanta (Jerusalem = Atlanta Care Center)
- Judea is the surrounding area = Georgia (Sumeria = GABN & WDA)
- Ends of the earth = City of Grace in the D.R. / Stokes Family in Turkey / WDA
Application: We are to support the spread of the Gospel where ever we can
Everything in our church culture flows from the Scriptures, read as Jesus Christ’s followers have read them for 2000 years!