Today we give thanks to the Lord for the past thirty years of the existence of the English speaking congregation of Grace CCC. There have been many faithful people who have served in various capacities over this period to ensure that this congregation has grown and is what it is today. The Lord has been good and it is His name we praise today! I am thankful for the ministries of past Pastors who faithfully, not only taught God’s word, but shepherded the flock. Rev. Keith Noldt in particular toiled for many years and we thank the Lord for him and his wife Janette. I know that they are held in high regard by many in today’s congregation. But he was ably partnered by faithful deacons and Sunday school teachers as well youth group leaders who are too many to be named. So I thank these people for their humble service and the years of commitment they have given to this church family.
It is good to look back and thank the Lord for His goodness. But we need to be careful in looking back and glorying in past triumphs! You see, the work remains unfinished! There is much to be done! The race is still to be run! If we continue to look back we cannot move forward. There are new frontiers to cross and new challenges to take head on. The cause of the gospel in going forth to people who do not know Jesus MUST remain the chief vision and focus of God’s church.
This morning we take a look at the very first church – the church in Jerusalem. The church was in distress. So much had happened over the past two months. Their beloved leader Jesus was put to death. Many of His followers had deserted or denied Him. The little church was holed up in a place somewhere in Jerusalem. The risen Jesus had appeared to them and told them to wait together until the promised Holy Spirit came. These people had no idea of what was about to hit them. They did heed His counsel – what else could they do? This little church numbered 120. He told them that they would become His witnesses to people in Jerusalem, Judea, and Samaria and to the ends of the earth. I wonder if they realized what He was saying to them! This same commission to be His witnesses to a sad and hurting world has been passed on to us. This is the race we are in – the race to bring people to Jesus! The work remains unfinished! Our Jerusalem is Kogarah/Sydney! Our Judea is NSW! Our Samaria could be Indonesia! And the ends of the earth are those people groups who are yet to hear about Jesus! So what is our vision? Surely our vison must be the same as Jesus’ vision! Our strategy must be the same as Jesus’ strategy – to go forth, under the power of the Holy Spirit, to be His witnesses! Let us be creative, courageous and committed to this magnificent challenge! Let us be the bearers of the best news anyone could possibly hear in this next season of our ministry as the International Congregation!