· Willkommen zum letzten Sonntag Gottesdienst im Jahr 2007.
· Wir fangen heute morgen mit der Gebetswoche an:
· Thema: Auf die Dauer erbaut: Jesus Christus als Grund und Ziel
1Kor. 3:11“ Einen andern Grund kann niemand legen ausser dem, der gelegt ist, welcher ist Jesus Christus.“
Im Wesen der Gemeinde,
wie auf einer Großbaustelle, sieht es oft chaotisch aus:
Riesenkräne, hundert Leute, Berge von Material,
ungezählte Maschinen, Abfall- Containers,
Gerüste, riesige Erdlöcher, halbfertige Mauern,
Fahrzeuge, die anfahren und abfahren,
Staubwolken bei Trockenheit,
Schlammwege nach Regenfällen,
Geschrei und Geschimpfe in verschiedenen Sprachen,
Pleiten und Pannen,
manchmal ein verunglückter Arbeiter
und viele neugierige Zaungäste.
Dem vorübergehenden Zuschauer
Zeigt sich ein Bild der scheinbar sinnlosen Unordnung
und des grossen Durcheinanders.
Aber die Leute, die am Bau mitarbeiten,
und ihren Teil tun,
sehen über den Chaos hinweg,
wie das Endresultat aussehen wird.
Was anderen so verwirrend und unordentlich scheint,
wird planmäßig und gezielt,
sinnvoll und richtig erbaut,
damit das Gebäude zu seinem Ende,
wozu es erbaut wird kommen kann.
Manche Tage im Leben der Gemeinde
Und im persönlichen Leben von Christen
Ähneln solch einer chaotischen Baustelle.
Doch wenn wir persönlich und gemeinsam
Auf Jesus Christus, als festes Fundament bauen,
und uns gegenseitig ermutigen und erbauen,
dann wird der Leib Christi, die Gemeinde,
„Gottes Bauprojekt mit den Menschen“
Zu seiner Ehre auf die Dauer erbaut werden.
Dem wollen wir nachstreben.
Wahres Leben ist Aufsehen auf Größeres, Höheres und Besseres.
„Lasst uns aufsehen zu Jesus,
dem Anfänger und Vollender des Glaubens!” (Hebräer 12,2)
Wahres Leben ist Aufgehen
in einer großen Berufung und Aufgabe,
wie der Same zu einer Frucht.
Leben ist Aufrichten,
die in Mutlosigkeit und Müdigkeit erschlafft sind.
„Darum richtet wieder auf die lässigen Hände
und die müden Knie!” (Hebräer 12,12)
Leben in Christus ist Aufbauen.
Gott möchte mit uns sein Haus bauen.
Jeder von uns ist Baustein im Bau des Meisters,
der einen andern trägt
und ebenfalls von anderen getragen wird.
„Laßt alles geschehen zum Aufbau der Gemeinde.“
Built to Last: Jesus Christ as Ground and Goal
1 Cor. 3:5-15; Eph 4:15-16
On Divisions in the Church
5What, after all, is Apollos? And what is Paul?
Only servants, through whom you came to believe—
as the Lord has assigned to each his task.
6I planted the seed, Apollos watered it,
but God made it grow.
7So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything,
but only God, who makes things grow.
8The man who plants and the man who waters have one purpose,
and each will be rewarded according to his own labor.
9For we are God's fellow workers;
you are God's field, God's building.
10By the grace God has given me,
I laid a foundation as an expert builder,
and someone else is building on it.
But each one should be careful how he builds.
11For no one can lay any foundation
other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ.
12If any man builds on this foundation using gold,
silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw,
13his work will be shown for what it is,
because the Day will bring it to light.
It will be revealed with fire,
and the fire will test the quality of each man's work.
14If what he has built survives,
he will receive his reward.
15If it is burned up, he will suffer loss;
he himself will be saved,
but only as one escaping through the flames.
15Instead, speaking the truth in love,
we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head,
that is, Christ.
16From him the whole body,
joined and held together by every supporting ligament,
grows and builds itself up in love,
as each part does its work.
Today we begin with the prayer week services.
In this service we want to introduce the theme,
And we will continue to develop it
over the next couple of evenings.
I will use the material that was prepared by Tom Yoder Neufeld
For the Prayer week materials that will be used
By many Mennonite Congregations across Canada.
Foundations are very important.
A foundation defines the shape,
establishes the stability,
and defines the size and nature
of what can be built upon it.
We see this clearly in the construction of buildings,
but it is also true for other kinds of foundations.
There is a close relationship between the foundation
and what is built upon it.
If a foundation is inadequate,
whatever is built upon it will collapse (Matthew 7:24-27)
or at least tilt dangerously
(like the Leaning Tower of Pisa).
Even when a foundation is perfectly built,
it remains useless if nothing further is built on it.
Foundations exist to be built upon.
That is also true of the church’s foundation.
The Christian church is built upon a foundation
that is not an idea, not a doctrine,
not an ethical standard, but a person – Jesus Christ.
The metaphor of Christ as the foundation of our faith
Is central to who we are as a Christian Church.
In ancient Turkey and Greece, including Corinth,
There are some pretty fascinating tourist destinations,
That show buildings from the time of Jesus.
Often times there is not much other than a foundation left
From what used to be buildings or roads,
homes, temples, schools, and baths.
These ancient sites teach us the solidity
and durability of foundations,
reminding us that they serve a purpose,
namely to furnish a solid basis for what is built on them.
Paul found the metaphor of a foundation well suited
To express how essential and necessary,
indeed, how foundational, Jesus Christ is
for our lives as people of God,
individually and collectively.
Jesus also used this metaphor in a somewhat different way
when he spoke of those who
foolishly build their house on sand,
and those who wisely build it on rock,
on a sure foundation
that can support the house through the storms
that will surely come (Matthew 7:24-27; Luke 6:46-49).
Paul uses this metaphor in many different ways:
In 1 Corinthians 3,
where we find the image of Christ as our sole foundation,
Paul presents himself as a mother
feeding the Corinthians with milk,
when he wished they could already handle solid food (v. 2).
In the very next verses he is working God’s garden plot (vv. 5-9),
which turns out to be not just a field but a building,
the foundation of which is Jesus Christ,
a foundation on which he,
and indeed all believers build together (vv. 9-15).
And also, quoting Psalm 118:22,
Jesus is referred to as a stone that was rejected,
but who has become the precious corner stone,
a stone of stumbling and judgment for some
and a stone of healing and salvation for others
(1 Peter 2:4-7; cf. Isaiah 28:16).
Even more, this stone is called a “living stone” (1 Peter 2:4),
on which the many “living stones”
of the people of God are built together
into a “spiritual house”–God’s own home– the Body
in which they all serve as priests.
The point of all of these metaphors is to place us
in immediate and intimate relation to Jesus
who is the one who gives us the basis, the ground,
and the orientation upon which we grow and build.
As we turn over the calendar from 2007 to 2008
I invite you to reflect prayerfully
on the imagery that our lives are based on Christ,
that our spirits are nurtured by Christ,
and that we individually and collectively
are shaped and formed by Jesus Christ
into the building of a temple
fit to be God’s home,
into a body as living limbs and organs
fit to do the work of Christ.
May we gain a fuller and deeper insight
into what it means for us as believers
and as a community of faith
to be faithful to the one who is our ground and our goal.
When Paul wrote these words:
“no other foundation than Jesus Christ”
he could not know that we would treat these words
like a foundation,
or that we would pattern our lives after Christ the rock.
Paul would not have understood his letter as foundational;
for the only foundation was and remains
the crucified and risen Messiah Jesus.
The primary reason why he used this metaphor
Was that cracks had developed
within the household of faith (1 Corinthians 1:11).
Some were identifying themselves
as followers of specific leaders of the Jesus movement
(Apollos, Peter, Paul).
Others were claiming that they were better than the rest
Because they were followers of Christ alone.
Spiritual competitiveness, exclusiveness,
judgmentalism, and license,
were threatening Corinthian church life.
We hear echoes of that in our own context.
The church in Corinth was a young church.
There were not yet any established structures or traditions,
Leave alone denominations and conferences.
The church did not have a New Testament
to help them sort out difficult questions.
The church in Corinth was a strange mix of people:
Jews and non-Jews,
and others whose background was marked
by the worship of a diversity of gods,
often in ways that deeply offended the Jewish members
of the circle of believers.
There were a few well-to-do persons, (1 Corinthians 16:15),
who had homes large enough for group meetings,
but many more who were “low and despised”
(1 Corinthians 1:28; 7:21-24).
This diverse group of persons shared a sense
that they were part of something new and revolutionary.
They had responded to the Good News
that Christ had come.
Yes, he had been tortured and crucified by the Romans,
but God had raised him up again,
and, with that, signaled the beginning
of the transformation of everything.
The spirit of Christ,
bonded them together as one faithful community,
worshipping and witnessing together.
It brought together Jews and Greeks,
slaves and free,
men and women in one organic community (Galatians 3:28).
While these people from different backgrounds
were becoming one community,
the intensity of spiritual experience,
and the unprecedented diversity produced
a lot of competitiveness, superiority,
lack of sympathy, and marginalization,
tearing at the fabric of the community.
The challenge Paul faced was more than having people get along.
That’s hard enough.
But much more was at stake:
Paul saw the emergence of a new humanity.
This community was nothing less
than the ongoing active presence of the living Christ,
a community with a messianic identity and calling.
Because this is what they were,
the divisions among them were endangering
God’s great redemptive project for the world.
There is “no other foundation.”
Nothing and no one else is big, solid, or long-lasting enough
to keep this fragile community together.
What does this word mean for us today?
We can understand Paul’s concern for the Corinthian Church.
Our own time is increasingly foundation-less.
We speak of a “post-Modern time,”
a time in which diverse values
and versions of reality are tolerated and even encouraged.
Even members in our congregations
Are very different in their beliefs, ethics, and behaviours.
This causes deep divisions in the church today.
When our attention is diverted from the true foundation,
Deep divisions threaten to break appart
Our lives, as people of God,
are built upon the foundation
of what God has done in Christ.
Many Mennonite church splits began with a view of unity
that focused on secondary things.
But our foundation is not our convictions about Jesus,
our beliefs about him,
or even our understanding about what a true Christian is.
Our foundation is Christ himself.
To be unified in Christ himself,
we must be in relationship with Christ
and Christ’s body.
To do this we must be a people of prayer.
In our prayers we can rejoice in Christ
and praise God for His church.
It is very revealing that Jesus Christ is described
As “the building block that was rejected”.
The Jews and the Romans did away with him,
Because he did not come with power and might
As they imagined the Messiah would.
This rejected stone became the cornerstone
On which we are to build.
God has chosen weakness to show his power (2 Cor 12:9),
the cross as a means to save,
and the weak and humble
to shame the powerful and wise (1 Cor. 1:18-31).
This is how God builds.
The cement of both the foundation and the building
that God works with
is nothing other than God’s love
that takes endless abuse,
and bears anything (1 Cor 13).
That is our foundation…
The ministry, death, resurrection,
and ongoing lordship of Jesus Christ.
Because this foundation is the living person of Christ,
this foundation is secure.
But Jesus Christ is not only “foundation”,
He is also the “Goal” or our faith.
The Goal of building on the foundation of Jesus Christ
is that we would grow up into Him
who is the head… that we would become like Jesus.
And we do that in this way:
Since you are eager for spiritual gifts,
strive to excel in them for building up the church.
When you come together,
each one has a hymn, a lesson, a revelation, a tongue,
or an interpretation. 1 Cor 14:12
Let all things be done for building up. 1 Cor 14:26b
Therefore encourage one another
and build each other up,
as indeed you are doing. 1 Thess. 5:11
One of Paul’s favorite ways of capturing
the relationships we enjoy with each other in the church
and our task in relation to each other
is “building each other up.”
Whether Paul is addressing the relationships
between the weak and the strong in Rome (Rom 15:2),
superior spiritual insight (1 Cor 8:1),
the right to insist on one’s freedom in matters of behaviour
(1 Cor 10:23),
the use of the gifts of the Spirit in worship
(1 Cor 14:4-5, 11-12, 26),
or the exercise of pastoral and apostolic authority
(2 Cor 10:8; 12:19; 13:10; Eph 4:12, 16),
the most fundamental task,
and the highest service we can offer each other
in the body of Christ,
is to “build each other up”.
Foundations exist to be built upon.
Implicit in Paul’s metaphor of Christ as our sole foundation
is the clear call to build on that foundation.
“Building each other up”
speaks not only to the care, respect, concern– in short,
the love we have for each other,
but also to the project of building up the body of Christ,
in which we engage when we care for each other.
To build one another up is to participate
in the greatest building project ever –
namely to build God’s temple – the church.
It means engaging in the construction of a home
in which God lives
with befriended and reconciled enemies,
with lost children who have been welcomed home.
God’s home remains a construction site.
The building is never finished.
No matter how many rooms there already are (John 14:2),
More can always be added.
“Building each other up” brings to mind
those we are already close to.
That’s not always a comfortable thought,
for it is often those closest to us in our circles of family,
work, and church who irritate us the most,
who test our capacity for “anothering” most severely.
God’s temple is where God is at home.
As Rev. 21:2-4 puts it,
3And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying,
"Now the dwelling of God is with men,
and he will live with them.
They will be his people,
and God himself will be with them and be their God.
In spite of the unity and diversity
The strife and divisions and the occasional victories
The image of God living with His people
And being present in the midst of it all
Is a wonderful and promiseful picture
Of what God is up to.
May we be solidly built on Jesus Christ
Our true and only foundation.
And may we set our hearts and our aim firmly
On building each other up.
To the Glory of God!
When we build this body on Jesus Christ
The solid foundation,
And we strive in all our words and actions
To build each other up,
Then Christ’s Church will be built to last.