At GCC we have three distinctive. We believe our goal is simple – to be a Christ Exalting Church. The means to that goal is being a Biblically Faithful church. This results in being a Family Oriented church.
We believe there are 3 convictions to being a Family Oriented church found in Ephesians 2:19-22.
We Have the Same Identity in God’s Family
In Ephesians 2:19-22, Paul is indicating that as believers, though they are diverse and different, they share the same citizenship. Consider being a citizen in a city – the rights and privileges one has to vote, participate, share, provide. Now as Christians we are part of the true city of God. But also in the text, Paul moves to a more intimate image of a family. In the context of Ephesians, Jews and Gentiles who once hated each other are not part of the same family. Now what does it mean to be part of God’s family? First, God is our Father – we have been fathered anew by God himself. Second, we are Brothers and Sisters – we are now related by the blood of Jesus. Third, we share in the same identity – we are no longer outside of His promises and covenant. We are brought into His family. You and I as part of God’s new family, having a new status of citizenship and have the same identity in Christ. We are equal because of this reality. In Jesus we are now One New Humanity.
We Have the Same Gospel
In the text, Paul moves on to discuss the Foundation. Notice it doesn’t say that Christ is the foundation. Paul is speaking about the writings and teaching of the apostles and by implication referring to the writings of the New Testament. These writings lay the foundation of the New Testament church and what it means to be a New Testament people. Then Paul states that Christ is the Cornerstone. This could refer to as the foundation stone that the entire structure is built upon. But it could also refer to the capstone of the temple, where everything is held together. Simply put, He holds everything together. Jesus is everything!
Listen to Ephesians 1:7-10
We have redemption in Him through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace that He lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding. He made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure that He planned in Him for the administration of the days of fulfillment—to bring everything together in the Messiah, both things in heaven and things on earth in Him.
The gospel creates our identity. The gospel of Jesus must be everything for us. We are built upon the apostles teaching and Christ is the cornerstone. He is everything. As a family oriented church we share in the same gospel.
We Have the Same Purpose to Grow
Lastly, Paul provides the purpose of the Family. They are to growing into a Holy Sanctuary and God’s Dwelling place. Paul once again uses the image of a temple. The church is the holy temple of God. The point is that the temple (the church) grows – it gets bigger as the people of God are being built by God. How do we grow into a holy sanctuary?
Paul said in Ephesians 4:11-13
And He personally gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers, for the training of the saints in the work of ministry, to build up the body of Christ, until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of God’s Son, growing into a mature man with a stature measured by Christ’s fullness.
God has given us all gifts for the work of ministry. As we exercise our gifts in the church we grow and are built up, which means if we don’t grow, we aren’t exercising our gifts. In order for the church to grow into God’s dwelling place, there will be growing pains. But growing up is part of being the Family of God.
Often times we think about church only in terms of the “place you go” but the church according to Scripture is about the people you covenant with as the Family of God. At Grace we seek to be a Christ exalting, Biblically faithful, and a Family oriented congregation. We desire to be a New Testament church that makes much of King Jesus. Here we see 3 convictions – as a family we have the same identity, we have the same gospel, and we have the same purpose.