Our Church is not the building. Our Church is a real community of people meeting together to worship God here on the beautiful Central Coast of New South Wales.
Living as Christians is not something we do in isolation from each other. We become a family because God has adopted us as his children. We love each other as brothers and sisters and enjoy spending time together, encouraging and supporting each other.
We seek to be welcoming and inclusive of all people. And what we know, we seek to share. So please join us.
Last week to our great delight and relief, a ‘Sold’ sign was placed over the ‘Selling’ sign at our home. This means no more open homes, yahoo!
For a month (which is really a very short time), on several occasions we prepared our house for mid-week or Saturday inspections. In addition, much of our spare time has been given over to sorting through things as well as packing away items that have no immediate or regular use. There is also the emotional disconnection involved with leaving behind a family home that you have loved and created some special memories in.
During this time of transition we have been doing a lot of ‘letting go’ as well as regular cleaning - especially in preparation for inspections.
As I was vacuuming recently, preparing for what would be our final open home, it dawned on me this was a metaphor for our life here on Earth as Christians. Followers of Jesus are but temporary residents on Earth, our permanent home is in Heaven, that is our final destination, and unquestionably a more desirable place than our current occupancy.
Just as a vendor eagerly cleans their home to make it appealing and presentable to prospective buyers, so too we ought to keep our lives clean in light of our returning King, who will take us to our permanent home in Heaven. We read in Matthew 24:42 “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come.”
What exactly are we supposed to be watching for? Should we be cloud or star gazing with anticipation for Jesus return? No, what we need to be watching is our lives and our obedience to Christ’s teachings. With all the cleaning taking place in preparation for the open homes, the question I asked was “How do we stay clean during a time of transition between Earth and Heaven?”
Two thoughts spring to mind; confession and keeping short accounts.
The Bible makes clear that confession of sin is not a ‘one off’ deal. It is true that Christ’s blood washes us clean for past, present and future sins, however that is not something we can simply take for granted, we must live with and ongoing spirit of humility, repentance and confession. Acknowledging the sinful state in which we continue to exist, whilst constantly receiving the grace, forgiveness and cleansing balm of Jesus in our lives is to be an ongoing rhythm whilst we live in the ‘in between’ state of transition from earth to heaven.
The practice of daily confession of sin keeps us clean before God.
In addition, keeping short accounts with others is also an important way to keep clean.
Don’t hold grudges. Speak the truth in love. Refuse to allow things to fester. Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry. We know these biblical imperatives in our heads, but find them hard to put into practice, and yet there is so much wisdom in learning the art of ‘letting go and letting God’. Keeping short accounts helps us travel lightly and remain clean from the root of bitterness which can so easily cause trouble (see Hebrews 12:14-15).
So, next time you are doing some kind of cleaning, remember the significance of keeping clean before God through confession and remaining clean in our relationships with others by keeping short accounts.
9 I pray that your love will overflow more and more, and that you will keep on growing in knowledge and understanding. 10 For I want you to understand what really matters, so that you may live pure and blameless lives until the day of Christ’s return. 11 May you always be filled with the fruit of your salvation—the righteous character produced in your life by Jesus Christ—for this will bring much glory and praise to God. Philippians 1:9-11
Blessings, Pastor Joel