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3 March 2014

Refresh Update - ‘Fulfil His good purpose’ - No. 2

John Risbridger 2019 John Risbridger Minister
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‘Continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfil his good purpose.‘ (Philippians 2:12–13)

As we learned so powerfully on our Discipleship Day yesterday, the gospel is not only a story to tell or a set of truths to believe; it has implications that have to be ‘worked out’ in all of life.
 
The good news is that we do not work out those implications alone, because God is at work in us by his Spirit, shaping our wills to be in line with his will, and so changing our actions to ‘fulfil his good purpose’.
 
That is exactly what we were praying for in our Church Members’ Meeting last Thursday. We have a great vision to share God’s blessing by being a blessing, for the glory of Jesus, Our prayer was that God would work in us by his Spirit, changing our wills and directing our actions to fulfil his good purposes for us.  And that is exactly what happened as the church gave strong support to the Refresh project (see the Introducing Refresh blog for more details or watch this video), aimed at developing our ministries and redeveloping our building.
 
What does a church look like when God enables its members to work out the practical implications of the gospel?
 
It is a thankful, serving and harmonious community, which does ‘everything without grumbling or arguing’ (Phil. 2:14).

It is a community whose life is radically different from the surrounding culture – ‘children of God in a warped and crooked generation’ (Phil. 2:15).

It is a community which visibly shines with the light of God, not retreating into a holy huddle, but living transforming lives as salt and light in our city and world – ‘shining among them like stars in the sky’ (Phil. 2:15).

It is a community which clearly proclaims the gospel, ‘holding firmly to – or holding out – the word of life’ (Phil. 2:16).
 
When Paul sees a church like that he knows he hasn’t run his race in vain (Phil. 2:16), and so he pours himself out sacrificially along with them to see the vision fulfilled (Phil. 2:17).
 
In the end, the challenge of Refresh isn’t about finance and buildings; it is about our hearts.  Do we want to be the kind of church Jesus wants, or do we want to be the kind of church that we are comfortable being?
 
Last Thursday night, God worked among us and we began the ‘step change’.  The question for me and for you is, how does God want me to use my time, my talents and my treasure/wealth to make the vision a reality?

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