You've heard the phrase "No man is an island", yet we live in a culture and a day where individualism tends to reign and everything is better if we can do it ourselves. I was trying to help my grand daughter ride her bike on an incline the other day and she just didn't want my help. She insisted she could do it herself even though she would get stuck and be unable to get herself going again. That's our society. A "do it yourself" culture.
What we looked at this past Sunday was an important topic for us. Should we be "going it alone" as a church or can we actually accomplish far more if we work with others to advance God's Kingdom? Of course we can accomplish things on our own...no doubt about it. It all depends on what and how much you want to accomplish. This Sunday was our mission Sunday. We talked about our partnership with Sovereign Grace Churches (SGC) and why that is so important to us. In the end, to understand our partnership, we must go back to Scripture, and in particular the book of Acts.
It all starts with a radical desire to obey our Lord, and in particular to wait for the Spirit. In order to do anything productive at all in God's kingdom we must wait for God's Spirit. He must be behind everything we do. The early believers "waited" and power came from the Spirit to be witnesses and the first church was born. In this we see that we need two things to do God's will; the word and the Spirit. When we desire God's word and depend on God's Spirit God's will is sure to follow.
When the early church did this in Acts we see three things happening. First we see people getting saved. In ch. 2 in this first encounter with the Spirit we see 3000 getting saved. This is what happens throughout the book of Acts. People get saved because of God's word and His Spirit. When people receive Christ they are not just renting a room, they are turning over the deed to the house! This is New Testament Christianity. It's radical! Not the often times watered down, individualistic version we see today. The next thing that happens is these new believers are added to a church. "The Lord added to the church daily, those who were being saved". This is a radical concept. They joined with others who were experiencing the saving touch of the Holy Spirit. In Acts 2:42 we see the picture of this first church. They learned together, loved each other, fellowshipped together and worshipped together. They were very diverse, but they had everything in common. This radical commitment to Jesus and to his church is what has caused her to survive through the millennia. They were better together! Finally we see the next result was as more people came to the Lord and churches established they started to partner together to see more churches planted. Again, they were better together! We see apostolic men sent out from local churches. We see them putting elders in place over the churches, we see them working as leaders together in ch. 15 to hammer out issues that were facing them and then publishing the results to all the churches. They needed each other. They were better together.
This is true of us today. We have been a part of a family of churches called Sovereign Grace Churches since our inception. We were planted here by a group of churches partnering together in the gospel to have a gospel influence in Southern California. This partnership helps us insure we have doctrinal integrity. It gives us a way to have problems and disagreements adjudicated in a Godly, biblical way. It helps keep us on task of seeing people saved and added to local churches just as we see it in the book of Acts. As our partnership grew we were in turn used within that partnership to plant three more churches over the years with a desire to plant more until Jesus comes. This is our gospel mission. We do this better together with other like minded churches.
This is our gospel mission as a church and why we don't want to "go it alone" but in the context of getting all the help we need. We see the pattern in the book of Acts and we see the need for it today. We could not have planted the churches we have by ourselves. We worked together. We're better together! This partnership needs financial support to accomplish and we believe God has called us as individuals to be a part of this greater mission. As pastors we would encourage you, just as you have been faithful to support the church here, to consider financial support for the shared mission we have with SGC. So much happens as a result of God's provision through God's people. We train pastors, equip churches and care for them, strategize for church planting, produce music, and send leaders throughout the world to do the same in other nations. We have been a part of that on every level here at Sovereign Grace Pasadena. From seeing people saved and added to the church, to training pastors locally and sending men to the pastor's college, to planting churches, to being involved with the Philippines to see the same thing happen there.....we are BETTER TOGETHER!