OUR VISION - ROOTED
The vision of King's Church Cockermouth is to love Jesus and make Him known - we do this by:
Being secure in Christ
Knowing who we are individually
Church in the Community
Here we look at how we become rooted in Christ, in our faith and in our local church and community. All too often we discover just how rooted we are when disaster or emergency affects us - for example, the death or illness of a loved one; job loss; financial disaster; personal illness. Even the small issues of life can show us just how rooted we are in our faith. Just ask yourself the question - who do I turn to, or what do i do when I'm panicking? All too often, prayer can be a long way down the line of actions we take.
Ephesians 4 is a fantastic chapter applying the truth we read in chapters 1-2 of being rooted in Christ. Paul equates it to being 'mature', 'equipped', 'growing up', 'building' and 'working properly'.
There's an old hymn that has the line 'Will your anchor hold in the storms of life?' One of the biggest differences to being in Christ and His Kingdom is knowing that our lives are secure in Christ on high, our Anchor is in Him.
So, how do we become ROOTED? Lets look at some truths to help us.
Throughout this leaflet, you will notice the number of times the phrase 'in christ' appears. To be rooted in our faith means that we have a clear understanding of what this does for us.
When we become Christians, we are given a new position. The Bible describes this as being 'in Christ'. Wherever Jesus is, we are. This answers our struggles with our worthiness, our gifts, our value, our striving to earn position. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God (Colossians 3v3).
The truth is that in our own strength, we're never going to be worthy, our skills will never take us into the Kingdom of god. our value is not rooted in our talents and abilities, but in him. We cannot earn the right to stand before God. The Bible is clear, The wages we have earned only ever earn us death. But the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
So, now we stand in Christ by grace alone. this is all the work of Jesus. It is a life changing reality.
In Christ, we are:
Justified (Romans 3:24)
Righteous (Romans 3:22)
Reconciled to God (Romans 5:11)
Dead to sin, alive to God (Romans 6:3-11)
Released from condemnation (Romans 8:1)
Free to live (Romans 8:2)
Seated with him in Heavenly places (Ephesians 2:6)
The list is endless. Try doing a study of the phrase 'in Christ' - it will be overwhelmingly good for you, and will always lead you to worship Jesus.
The most important part of a building is.... its foundations. Without them, the house falls down in times of trial (Luke 6 v 46-49). Equally, the most important past of the tree is.... its roots. They help the tree stand in all weathers and are essential to provide nutrients and water for growth.
Where do we get our foundations from?
By reading and studying the Bible. What does the Bible actually say? What does Jesus tell us to do? Read the Bible asking these sorts of questions.
Praying. When we pray, we continue to deepen our roots. We are showing our dependency on god, and our desire to have a relationship with Him. Keep asking to be filled with the Holy Spirit.
By learning from others. When people preach, think about what they are saying. How does it affect me? It's good to read Christian books that strengthen our faith. Ask friends for good recommendations. We also learn through the godly example of others - ask questions, be teachable.
By believing and acting on all that God shows us. Grace empowers us to do the things He is showing us.
Once we have firm foundations, we are then able to build with confidence.
GROWING IN CHRIST
Colossians 2 v 6-7
Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.
Being rooted means that we grow in all sorts of ways. We can tell a plant is alive because it grows to maturity and produces all its meant to produce.
We grow by seeing our lives begin to change and produce fruit. The Christ-like fruits we should expect to see in a growing Christian are listed in Galatians 5 v 22 - 'But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self control...'
These are the sorts of things we should look for in ourselves and each other. As we grow in the Spirit, these fruits become inevitable. They are the opposite of the list Paul give us 3 verses earlier. As the new fruits develop, the old fruits begin to disappear.
God gives gifts to build up the church and equip us to reach out (1 Corinthians 12 v 4-11 and Romans 12 v 6-8). These are wonderful gifts, and we can help them grow, 'fanning them into flame' and using them. It's important that we grow character fruits and develop spiritual fruits. It keeps us growing Christ-like.
1 Peter 2 v 4-5
You yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to god through Jesus Christ.
It is incredibly difficult to grow as a christian by yourself. We need one another. We grow together in a variety of ways:
Discipleship - Jesus' favourite way of helping people grow was to disciple them - teaching them in real life situations. We can be discipled by one another to learn new aspects of our faith, in character and gifting.
Worship - our worship together is first for God, but amazingly encourages us. As we share spiritual gifts and hear God through people, we hear his promises and encouragement from others. Through people, we encounter His presence, we hear His promises and encourage one another.
Being a temple together - God has designed the church to be an amazing demonstration of interdependence. We depend on Him and we need one another to build dynamic communities.
Building good foundations - when we're together, we can grow in our beliefs (theology) and work at our values.
So let's encourage one another to grow in Christ. Lets provoke one another to be all the God wants us to be, to grow in Him 'until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ so that we may no longer be children...' (Ephesians 4 v 12-14).