Hebrews 12: 1-3
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy that was set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.
2 Corinthians 3: 18
But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.
Romans 1: 17
….the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith….
Psalm 84: 5,7
Blessed are those whose strength is in you….
…They go from strength to strength,
till each appears before God in Zion.
“The work of God, in and through the people of God, empowered by the Spirit of God, cannot be stopped.”
These were the words of pastor friend of mine (incidentally also called Alan) this past Sunday as he also informed his congregation that he and his wife would be moving on in June to their next assignment. As with CCV, in their context there was both great anticipation for what God will do in the days ahead through the appointment of new Godly leadership, but also a deep sense of genuine loss as the founding pastors announced they would be moving to new pastures.
Change and transition, while rarely something we long for, is totally inevitable. Our God is the God of the new thing, He calls His people to sing a new song, to enter His Kingdom we must experience the new birth, in Christ we are new creations and one day there will be a new heaven and a new earth. So we shouldn’t be at all surprised when we experience God’s ‘new’ breaking into the rhythms and routines we have become accustomed to. It is simply a visible sign that the Spirit is at work among us, leading us forward into the ‘more’ He has already made available for us.
The last verse Alan Scott quoted on Sunday past was Hebrews 12: 1-2:
“…let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith….”
While at times like this we can tend to focus on leaders and ourselves, the writer here tells us that we fix our eyes on one person: Jesus Christ. Why? Because He is the author and finisher of our faith. He initiates and He completes. He creates and He concludes. He calls and He sends.
Causeway Coast Vineyard was never primarily built on personality, charisma or gifting. It was built on Jesus - His mission, His glory, His worship, His mandate, His people and His heart for our community. Therefore, we can have complete and total confidence of greater things ahead. In God’s Kingdom, as we release our best, He releases His promises. As we relinquish our desire for comfort and security, He pours out His abundance and increases our capacity.
If you look at the previous chapter of Hebrews, we have what is sometimes called the “Faith Hall of Fame”. Here we see listed the great heroes of the Old Testament and their incredible accomplishments. Men and women like Noah, Abraham and Sarah, Joseph, Moses, Rahab, Gideon, Samson, Samuel and David. Yet we read:
“These all died in faith, not having received the promises…” (v. 13) and, “…all these, having obtained a good testimony through faith, did not receive the promise, God having provided something better for us, that they should not be made perfect apart from us.” (vv. 39-40)
When you look at this list of names, you can’t imagine that God would have anything greater to do than what he accomplished through them. Yet, as each one of them died, God still always had more for His people. You can only imagine the sense of loss as each of these great men and women departed. It must have seemed to some that God had left with them! However, God's people go from faith to faith, glory to glory and strength to strength. Why? Because the work of God, in and through the people of God, empowered by the Spirit of God cannot be stopped.
CCV is not our church. We are His church. His body. His bride. His family. His people. That which we initiate, we have to sustain. That which He begins, He sustains, supplies, sends and supernaturally empowers. So with complete assurance, with the Apostle Paul we can declare that we are, “….confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” (Phil 1: 5-6)
We look forward to seeing you this Sunday at 9.30 am, 11.30 am and 7.00 pm.