We continued with week three of our series, CODE, at C3 Church Wellington. The series CODE is all about the DNA of C3 Church Wellington – who we are, who we want to be, and the culture we want to cultivate as a people.
If you weren't able to make it on Sunday, let's recap it, because we really don't want you to miss out!
Code three: We roll away the stone.
The heart of Jesus and our church is simply that Jesus loves you. The love of Jesus is pure, unfailing, relentless, without condemnation, and perfect. The love of Jesus is for everyone; for any person. Jesus desires to draw all people to Him
On Sunday, we had a look at the testimony of Lazarus being raised from death by Jesus in John 11:1-45.
Jesus responded to the call of Mary and Martha when their brother Lazarus fell deathly ill, traveling to Judea to raise Lazarus from the grave after four days. Lazarus had been unwell for a while. Jesus waited three days to visit him and his sisters, but still He came.
Then Jesus added, “Lazarus, our friend, has just fallen asleep. It’s time that I go and awaken him.” [John 11:11.] His disciples didn’t understand that Lazarus was in fact dead, leading Jesus to continue “And for your sake, I’m glad I wasn’t there, because now you have another opportunity to see who I am so that you will learn to trust in me. Come, let’s go and see him.” [John 11:15]
Upon arriving, Jesus assured Martha of her brother’s resurrection. Martha ran to her sister, Mary who fell at His feet.
“Martha,” Jesus said, “You don’t have to wait until then. I am the Resurrection, and I am Life Eternal. Anyone who clings to me in faith, even though he dies, will live forever. And the one who lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?” [John 11:25-26]
Tears streamed down Jesus’ face, deeply moved with tenderness and compassion as He saw Mary weeping at His feet and all her friends who were with her grieving. Then Jesus came to the tomb and told them to roll away the stone. Still Martha doubted.
Then Jesus, with intense emotions, came to the tomb—a cave with a stone placed over its entrance. Jesus told them, “Roll away the stone.” Then Martha said, “But Lord, it’s been four days since he died—by now his body is already decomposing! [John 11:38-39]
'Jesus looked at her and said, “Didn’t I tell you that if you will believe in me, you will see God unveil his power?”’ [John 11:40]
Jesus called out to His Father and declared the authority given to Him by God, before shouting, ‘Lazarus! Come out of the tomb!’ Then in front of everyone, Lazarus, who had died four days earlier, slowly hobbled out.
We believe that we are called to be a people who will roll away the stone. What does this mean? Jesus told “them”, the people, to roll away the stone so that He could raise Lazarus from death. The stone in Lazarus’ testimony is a physical stone blocking the way for Lazarus to rise again. We as a church believe to roll away the stone is to remove barriers or obstacles that prevent people coming to Jesus. Just as Jesus told the people to roll away the stone, we believe it is our responsibility to roll away the stone in others’ lives by making it as easy as possible for them to come to Jesus.
What are some stones? We want to touch on two common stones we believe are massive barriers for people coming to Jesus.
Religion has two very different meanings and serves different purposes. Religion can either be defined as “the belief, service and worship of God” or it can mean “a system of religious attitudes, beliefs or practices”.
Religion becomes a stone when the “how” becomes greater than the “why”. If the “how” in what we say or do becomes more important than the why, then we have created a barrier that prevents people from coming to Jesus freely.
We, C3 Wellington, make the commitment that the how will always flow from the why.
What is our why? Jesus. All will know and experience the love of Jesus. Our mission as a church then reflects that – to bring those far from God close to Him. Our mission is aimed to serve the “why” of our church. We believe as a church that Jesus loves everyone, it’s personal. Jesus is not a system; He wants relationship with all of us.
The definition of apathy: the lack of feeling or emotion; the lack of interest or concern.
In Revelation 3, Jesus confronts the church in Laodecia who were slipping towards a culture of apathy:
I know all that you do, and I know that you are neither frozen in apathy nor fervent with passion. How I wish you were either one or the other! But because you are neither cold nor hot, but lukewarm, I am about to spit you from my mouth. [Revelation 3:15-16]
Religion creates lukewarm believers. Religion creates a type of believer who is indifferent, mediocre, has a non-committal attitude, and lives out their faith by just going through the motions day to day. Lukewarm believers will commonly say “well I attend church” or “I believe in God”. Lukewarm believers lack relationship with Jesus; they have lack of interest to pursue Jesus daily.
Apathy is a stone because without a passion for Jesus, how will the people in your life get to know and experience the love of Jesus. At best they may begin to observe the same religious attitudes and systems that you do.
We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. [2 Corinthians 5:20]
The two most important questions we can ask ourselves in our Christian walk is “Do I love Jesus?” and “Am I passionate about Jesus?” This is important because relationship drives us out of a place of apathy. We will no longer want to be on the fence about Jesus, we will become all in for Jesus, and we will find ourselves passionate about Jesus and His heart for people.
C3 Wellington will be a church that is passionate for Jesus and always hungry for more of Jesus. We will be a people overflowing with the love of Jesus. We long to see others encounter the love of Jesus. We will measure our faith by relationship and not simply belief. We will be ambassadors for Jesus and let him make His appeal through us.
We choose to throw out the system of religion and choose to be in service and worship of God. We choose to throw out apathy and choose passionate and intimate relationship with Jesus.
We will roll away every stone.
- By Shekinah Rapata