In a year in which we have been looking at what it means to be obedient to Jesus as a congregational family and as individuals, it seems right to focus on the four ‘W’s” of obedience to Jesus….
Words Works Ways Wounds
1. Words. Jesus is the WORD of God, so it is obvious (or should be!) that the Word, the Scripture, is non-negotiable to the Christian life. To Obey the Word, we must know the Word! The Life Journal continues to be the way we as a congregation walk this out, for the real goal is to HEAR the Word, not just study it (Him). The stream of the church we most associate with a high view of Scripture is the Evangelical steam. We are gratefully an Evangelical Church Family!
2. Works. To do the Work Jesus did, we need to recognize and be open to flowing in those works. Jesus healed the sick. Jesus cast our demons. Jesus flowed CONSTANTLY in the supernatural, only doing what He saw the Father doing. Jesus touched the untouchable, taught the multitudes and fed the hungry. Obedience to His works assures us of not trading the supernatural in for a calm and comfortable religiosity that feels good as it lulls people to death… The Charismatic/Spirit-filled stream of the faith has done a great job of doing the works he did, and even greater things in the Holy Spirit. We are gratefully a Charismatic Church Family.
3. Ways. Obeying how and where Jesus did things is critical to being faithful servants. Jesus resisted the religious leaders. Jesus did virtually all His ministry among the poor and outcast of Israel. Jesus focused on small villages, not large cities. Jesus treated women as equals. Jesus valued children and a child-like outlook on life. Obedience to His ways ensures that we don’t allow the culture to dictate what and where we release the Kingdom, but rather the King and His ways! The Mainline Churches, such as the Methodist Church, did a good job of focusing on the Ways of Jesus—until recently. We are gratefully a Mainline Protestant Church Family.
4. Wounds. Scripture calls us not only to be connected to Jesus in His victories, but also in His sufferings! Hidden in Jesus’ wounds, in the “Cleft of the Rock,” we can experience the Glory of God in a survivable and powerful way! In His wounds we are healed and reconciled to the Father. In His wounds we are betrothed. Our wounds and pains and struggles only make sense when united to His wounds. The Catholic Church has done a good and valuable job of remembering the cross and not just the empty tomb. We are gratefully a Catholic Church Family.
These four streams flow together as a River for those congregations and individual believers who are willing to obey all of them. Which one is most important? That is like asking what is more important—breathing in, or breathing out? Neglect ether or any and you are dead!
God is calling us to walk fully in Jesus’ Words, Works, Ways, and Wounds. It is the Antioch Church model and the early church model. The Western Church has splintered it and separated it badly, but Father is calling us to be fully in to Him fully!
So we are an Evangelical, Charismatic, Protestant, Catholic Church? Yes! It is exactly what the world needs and obedience to Christ demands!