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Rev. Charles Broome - August 25, 2019
New Wine: Serving the Greater Good in Ministry and Mission
From Series: "New Wine for New Wineskins"
Strangely, this series has been months in the writing, beginning back in January when our Vision Committee began their work. It continued as it was presented to our church and ministry leaders, to the church and finally to the Church Council in March, April and May. In May, the Church Council approved the committee’s proposal. This sermon series, one of the first steps of the implementation process, introduces how we will go about accomplishing our new Vision Statement as we strive to be known in our community as a church who fully embodies our new cornerstones. Please be in prayer for this series and the work we seek to accomplish over the next five months and beyond. We look forward to seeing you in worship.
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Kingswood strives to be a loving community where all are welcome, the lost are found, and disciples are made for the transformation of the world by committing to passionate worship and discipleship; engaging in radical hospitality and building a loving community; serving the greater good in ministry and mission; and sharing the good news of Christ locally and globally.
Cornerstones of Ministry
Who is God? We believe in the one God, who is the father, creator and sustainer of all things, the source of all goodness, truth and love. We believe in Jesus Christ, who is God manifest in the flesh, our teacher, example, and Redeemer, the Savior of the world. We believe in the Holy Spirit, who is God present with us and in us for guidance, for comfort, and for strength.
How do we know God? As United Methodists, we believe we come to know God in four ways:
- The Bible — we believe that the Bible, Holy Scripture, is the primary source for how we know God. The Bible contains everything necessary for salvation.
- Tradition — we believe the Christian faith was developed across many centuries, many cultures, and many nations. Our beliefs are informed by the historical church.
- Reason — we believe that all healthy relationships can withstand and are strengthened through asking thoughtful questions. We are free to wrestle with God, just as Jacob did.
- Experience — our own lives shape who we are and how we know God.
Methodists sometimes call these four ways of knowing God the Quadrilateral.
How has God made things right for us and with us? Since the time of Adam and Eve, humanity’s relationship with God has been fractured, ebbing and flowing. God’s world is good, but it has been broken by us. We believe that Christ’s death on the cross was the ultimate sacrifice by Christ and God to create harmony with humanity and pay for all our sins; past, present and future. Christ’s death is the basis for our reconciliation with God. Through free will and choice, we are made new again in Christ and have new life through Him. God’s willingness to allow His son to suffer and die for us was the perfect offering to make up for the many ways in which we strayed from our relationship with God. He did this because of His unconditional love for us.
- Grace. As Methodists, we believe that Christ’s sacrifice for us shows God’s grace, which means unearned favor for us. In our faith journey with God, we experience three stages of God’s grace:
- God loved us before we even knew Him. Like a flower opens before a rain, God opened his heart to us before we even understood who He was. He pursued us and wooed us into a relationship with Him. Methodists call this prevenient grace.
- God forgives us. Christ’s perfect sacrificial life and death made it possible for God to forgive us when we damage our relationship with Him through sin. God wipes our slate of sin clean simply when we respond by accepting the relationship Christ offers us. We don’t have to fulfill a contract with God to make up for our sin. He has pardoned us. Methodists call this justifying grace.
- God strengthens us for the journey. As we grow closer to God over time, we get better at being followers of Jesus. John Wesley told us that God will help us to be sanctified, like the strong walls of a fortress against sin, with the goal being perfection.
By perfection, Wesley meant ripe like a piece of fruit ready to be plucked from a tree, not perfect as in flawless. Methodists call this sanctifying grace.
How do we respond to God’s Love? As followers of Jesus, we respond to God’s love by loving Him and our neighbors. As a faith community, we find that our faith is best experienced together. Here are examples of how we love God and our neighbors:
- Loving God — we pray; we study and reflect on the Bible; we worship; we share our faith with others; and we practice the traditional sacraments of communion and baptism.
- Loving Neighbors — we help the poor, the sick, and the lonely. We give back (a portion of) those resources God first gave us – our time, talents and treasure, to help people locally and around the world. We challenge injustice, oppression and discrimination. We are all God’s children and we strive to be inclusive and nurturing. We believe we are called to be stewards of our planet and take excellent care of the environment for future generations of neighbors.
- Methodists believe that these examples are means of grace, by which we both grow closer to God and make His presence known on Earth.
- Do we have to? Doing good won’t earn our way into Heaven. We respond to God’s love in these ways not out of a duty, but instead because we are reflecting the love God has for us back upon Him and upon those around us.
Kingswood Church is a congregation of The United Methodist Church, a worldwide connection of more than 12 million members in Africa, Asia, Europe and the United States.