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SCRIPTURE REFERENCES » 1 Peter 5:1-11

Resolutions of Emmaus Christian Fellowship

Greetings!

As we begin this journey together as a new congregation I feel that it’s important for us to begin with a vision. The elders of Emmaus will be working with the statement below in the months to come, adding to it and perhaps taking away, until we are confident that this is indeed the direction the Lord wants for us to go as a new church. Once complete, we will align all that we do in ministry for the express purpose of accomplishing these goals. Please pray for the elders of this new church that God would give them wisdom during this formative stage.

Resolved to Proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ

Gospel means “good news”. The good news that we proclaim is that God, by His grace, saves sinners who trust in Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of their sins. Every person on the planet is a sinner to one degree or another. All have broken the law of God and are deserving of the wrath of God. The gospel is the message that God came in human form as the man Jesus Christ. He lived a sinless life and yet he died the death of a sinful man. We deserve death because of our sin but He, being innocent, died in our place. He paid the price for the sins of those who have faith in Him. Ultimately the good news is that God does for us what we are not able to do for ourselves; God saves us and He empowers us to live the Christian life day after day.

Certainly God can bring people to salvation in any way that He pleases and yet we know that God has determined to bring people to salvation primarily through His people, the church, proclaiming of the good news of Jesus Christ. It is imperative that we proclaim this message in our community and to the ends of the earth. The gospel message proclaimed by the church combined with the work of the Holy Spirit is the primary means by which men and women will be ushered into the Kingdom. If we are to be a God honoring, Christ exalting church, we must never loose our zeal for the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Resolved to Preach the Whole Counsel of God’s Word

 

The teaching pastors of Emmaus will devote themselves primarily to the expositional preaching of God’s Word. This means that their prime objective week after week will be to study the scriptures, striving after the original thought and intent of the biblical authors, so that truth can be communicated and application made for the people of God in this modern age. The scriptures will primarily be taught book-by-book and verse-by-verse from the pulpit. Preachers will, through careful study and the guidance of the Holy Spirit, identify the main idea of a given passage and deliver that idea to the people in a way that is applicable to them today.  The preacher’s job is to explain the text, serving as God’s mouthpiece before the people of God. The preacher is obligated to speak where God speaks and to refrain where God refrains. Undoubtedly this will require the preacher to explain things that are difficult to understand and to, at times, proclaim truths that are offensive to believers and non-believers alike. The preacher is to proclaim the truth in a spirit of gentleness with an attitude of humility, all the while seeking to please God, and not the opinions of man.

 

Resolved to Shepherd the Flock of God

The pastors and elders of this new church will to be fully devoted to the spiritual care of the flock of God that has been entrusted to them (Acts 20:28, Hebrews 13:17, 1 Peter 5:1-11). They are to love, protect, nurture, feed, encourage, rebuke, listen to, tend, confront, counsel and lead the people of God in a spirit of humility and gentleness, being willing to suffer, if need be, for the good of the sheep.

This quote form Alexander Strauch is appropriate; “Shepherds are willing to bear the pain and endure the brunt of the sheep for the sheep. True elders do not commend the consciences of their brethren but appeal to their brethren to faithfully follow God’s Word. Out of love, true elders suffer and bear the brunt of difficult people and problems so that the lambs are not bruised. The elders bear the misunderstandings and sins of other people so that the assembly may live in peace. They loose sleep so that others may rest. They make great personal sacrifices of time and energy for the welfare of others. They see themselves as men under authority. They depend on God for wisdom and help, not on their own power and cleverness. They face the false teachers’ fierce attacks. They guard the communities liberty and freedom in Christ so that the saints are encouraged to develop their gifts, to mature, and to serve one another.”[1]

 

Resolved to Lead the Flock of God

The pastors and elders of this new church are to be concerned with leading the church as a whole in a direction that will result in the growth of individuals in Christ and also in the expansion of the Kingdom of God both in the San Jacinto Valley and to the ends of the earth.

It is true that Pastors are to be concerned primarily with people and with the proclamation of truth, but they are also to be concerned with systems, structures, and even facilities that will help to further the gospel of Jesus Christ and bring spiritual depth to the people of God. The leadership is responsible to provide a vision for the church that will, through the empowerment of the Holy Spirit, result in the lost coming to faith, the spiritual growth of Christians, the raising up of new leadership, the planting of new churches, and the sending out of missionaries. Leadership is a spiritual gift that is vital to the life of the church. The Elders are responsible to make sure that visionary leadership is present within the church, be it through the ministry of the Lead Pastor or through one of the Elders.

Resolved to Disciple Men and Women, Boys and Girls

A disciple is a follower. We exist to make followers of Jesus Christ locally, and to the ends of the earth. Not only is required that we preach the gospel, we must also, as Matthew 28:20 commands, teach men and women to observe all that Christ has commanded us.

We will encourage men and women to grow in Christ through preaching, small group bible studies, discipleship triads, and classes of various kinds, but ultimately we desire to help people to grow in Christ by coming along side and developing authentic relationships with them. Information is important for growth in Christ, but transformation takes place when the Holy Spirit moves on individual hearts in the context of community.

Resolved to Serve the Church, Community and Nations

 

The church is called to proclaim the gospel to a lost world, but we are to do so with a servant’s heart, taking every opportunity to bring relief to a world that is suffering both physically and spiritually. Christ Himself did not come to be served, but to serve and to give His life as a ransom for many. As His followers, we should advance His kingdom with the same attitude. The church is to serve humanity by ministering to the sick and needy, lifting up the downtrodden, and protecting those who are weak and vulnerable. We are to love people by meeting their physical needs as well as being concerned for their spiritual needs. The church should never have to choose between one or the other. Just like Christ, we are called to minister to people both in the physical realm and in the spiritual, and never should we forsake one in favor of the other.

Resolved to Support Missionaries

Because we are materially rich in comparison with the rest of the world we believe that we will be held accountable for how we manage the abundance that God has given us. Our desire is to support those who are spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ to the ends of the earth as much as we possibly can.

Resolved to Send Missionaries

It is not good enough for us to simply send money and expect that others will do the hard work; we must also send our people to the nations. Certainly there are situations where other people are in a better position to take the gospel to a particular area, and in such circumstances we should be willing to pray and send, but we must also be willing to go. Our prayer is that the Lord will begin to call people to full time missions from amongst us. We will help train, encourage, and send such people as opportunities arise.

Resolved to Plant Churches

We believe that we should be sending missionaries to the ends of the earth and also planting churches locally. There is a great need here in the San Jacinto Valley for Bible teaching churches. We are praying that God would even now begin to call men and women into full time ministry so that they can be sent out for a new work. We will help train, encourage, and send such people when the opportunities arise.

Resolved to do all things for the Glory of God and for Our Joy

 

At the core of our ministry is this understanding that all things exist ultimately for the glory of God. This world, human beings, the church, they all exist ultimately to point to God as being supreme above all else. Is He is holy, and righteous, sovereign over all things and He alone deserves our praise.

 

Resolved to Pray

 

We acknowledged that God does not need our prayers. He is not bound by our prayers, nor is He limited in any way by the lack of our prayers, and yet we know that God moves when His people pray. By His grace and mercy God has determined to involve us in His work in the world through prayer. We will be a people who attempt great things for God but only after we humbly submit to God and move forward in full dependence upon Him.

In His Grace,

Joe


[1] Alexander Strauch, Biblical Eldership: An Urgent Call to Restore Biblical Church Leadership (Littleton, CO: Lewis and Roth, 1995), 98.



"Him we proclaim,
warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom,
that we may present everyone mature in Christ."
(Colossians 1:28, ESV)

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