As I spent time reflecting back over the last three years of Kineo, one thing that has been ever so true, is that God has been faithful! We began Kineo in our living room in Dec. 2008 with just over a dozen people who were excited to see a gospel-saturated church start up in this city. We were fully aware that there were other great gospel-saturated churches in the city, but what was capturing us all was that God had burdened us with the call of starting another one. With the help of Living Streams, and a few other church bodies, we got Kineo off the ground and God has been building ever since.
In year 1 we solidified a food pantry ministry that is on hold for now since we needed to use the kitchen for more space, and are in the process of partnering with FSBC’s pantry and clothing distribution. We also began Young Life at Alhambra, and had them start meeting in our sanctuary (which is now used by Alhambra/Maryvale combined and Sevilla Jr. High YL). There have been many testimonies of how God has saved kids through YL), and it is continuing to this day.
We also were able to start our first 2 community groups at the end of year one, beginning of year 2, and our church body grew from 10-40 people. Going in to year 2 we were excited to go through a year of CG’s, and other ministries that became established the first year. Over the summer, I got a chance to connect with GCU at a more intimate level and was able to be a camp speaker at their leader retreat and we were able to recruit some significant student leaders who have helped us grow in the area of campus ministry and have seen many people come to know the Lord at GCU. By the end of year 2, we had 3 CG’s going strong and more than half the church attending a CG and 10 people who had gone (or were going) through Surge.
Year 3 comes and we were outgrowing our church building, so we had plans to remodel it, but the cost was more than we could raise, so we moved to night services as we rented from FSBC from April to Dec. This was a good, but hard season for us. Good, in that we had room to grow, but bad in the sense that we were not at home and our small congregation was dwarfed by the size of the sanctuary at FSBC. God then graciously gave us some money to do some work on our building (this one) and we were able to expand this place to hold almost double the amount of people.
So here we are in 2012, celebrating 3 years of God’s provision. We have 4 CG’s, 4 Surge tables, 3 Bible studies, Mending the Soul groups for men and women starting soon (healing from sexual abuse and neglect), a full time pastor coming on board (Kevin Rash) and Chris Sanchez as our worship and creative arts director coming on full time. God has been faithful! This is where this passage in Romans 15 picks up and applies to us.
God has been faithful and he uses fully devoted followers of Himself to continue to advance His church and show His faithfulness. Without you, Kineo doesn’t exist. You are the body of Christ. You are the hands and feet. You are the physical display of the gospel of Jesus. If Kineo grows, it’s gonna be because God has worked in the hearts of His people to advance His church, for His glory, and our good. Kineo needs workers!
I am here to ask you to jump on board with us; to commit to this local expression of Christ’s body at a more intimate and intentional level. To commit to being a vital part of our Sunday morning worship services. To commit to being more intentional with being a part of a CG. To commit to living your life radically different for the sake of God’s kingdom and to take it upon yourself to help Kineo grow in all aspects. We need you and I know the Lord desires of you to live in line with His gospel for His glory and others good! So let’s jump right into our text for this morning’s sermon.
Read Romans 15:1-6: LIVE THE GOSPEL
First off, Paul says, referring to those who are part of the church: 1 We who are strong (or “able”) have an obligation (“are indebted” or “bound to perform a duty”) to bear with the failings of the weak (or “those who are weak in the faith”), and not to please (accommodate) ourselves. 2 Let each of us please (accommodate) his neighbor for his good, to build him up.’
And here is how we are equipped and able to be strong and not seek to please ourselves: 3 For Christ did not please himself (make Himself comfortable), but as it is written, “The reproaches (dishonor, insults, condemnation) of those who reproached you fell on me.” 4 For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. 5 May the God of endurance and encouragement grant (to give of one’s own accord and with good will) you to live in such harmony (oneness, unity, of being the same) with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, (John 17:20-23) 6 that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Paul says that what was written about Christ was so that you might have hope by trusting in and looking to the God of endurance and encouragement to live such humble and loving lives among one another.
And this is no easy task. People have junk. People are hard to be patient with. People are full of pride, envy, jealousy, deceit, gossip, slander, etc… We need something outside of ourselves to live in the way Paul’s writing! So let’s unpack the two key words here that God is to us:
God is our Endurance: hupomonḗ; fem noun to persevere, remain under. A bearing up under, patience, endurance as to things or circumstances. This is in contrast to makrothumía (3115), long–suffering or endurance toward people. Hupomonḗ is associated with hope (1 Thess. 1:3) and refers to that quality of character which does not allow one to surrender to circumstances or succumb under trial.
God is our Encouragement: paráklēsis; from para-kaléō (3870; para: It means primarily, from the presence or side of someone. // kaleo: It means to call to someone in order that he may come or go somewhere; particularly with a voice as a shepherd calls his flock (Matt. 4:21; 20:8; Mark 1:20, “he called them” means He called them to follow as His disciples).
So paráklēsis with that intimate root meaning is to implore or plead with in an intimate, knowing and loving kind of way. The act of encouragement and comfort.
All of Scripture is actually a paráklēsis, an exhortation, admonition or encouragement for the purpose of strengthening and establishing the believer in the faith (see Rom. 15:4; Phil. 2:1; Heb. 12:5; 13:22). In Luke 2:25, the title of Messiah, “the consolation of Israel,” is eschatological pointing to Him as the one who brings the predicted and long–awaited comfort to Israel.
So God hupomonḗ’s us (He will not allow us to surrender in dire circumstances or cave in under trial) and paráklēsis’ us (He comforts us by standing by our side and calls us by name so that we hear His voice and follow Him). May the God of endurance and encouragement cause us to persevere and comfort us during the times we don’t think we will persevere. May He be our good shepherd. This is how God gets things done in the church!
Read Romans 15:7-13: BE THE CHURCH
Then Paul goes on to motivate us with gospel motivation, not out of fear and/or guilt: 7 Therefore (because the Lord sustains and provides for what we need) welcome (to receive to oneself, admit to one’s society and fellowship, receive and treat with kindness) one another as Christ has welcomed you (this is gospel-centered motivation), for the glory of God.
Then Paul further explains how Christ welcomed us: 8 For I tell you that Christ became a servant (diákonos; a minister, servant, deacon. The derivation is uncertain, but according to some it comes from diakónis, which means “in the dust laboring”) to the circumcised to show God’s truthfulness, in order to confirm the promises given to the patriarchs, 9 and in order that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy. As it is written, “Therefore I will praise you among the Gentiles, and sing to your name.” 10 And again it is said, “Rejoice, O Gentiles, with his people.” 11 And again, “Praise the Lord, all you Gentiles, and let all the peoples extol him.” 12 And again Isaiah says, j“The root of Jesse will come, even he who arises to rule the Gentiles; in him will the Gentiles hope.” Paul breaks out in worship here and this indeed reason to worship the living God!
13 May the God of hope (or “the God of endurance/hupomonḗ and encouragement/paráklēsis”) fill you with all joy and peace in believing/pisteúō; faith (what is the means of receiving this filling, this hope? Believing; in placing your faith in God’s strength and provision, not your own; believing the gospel, not your news), so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope (have more than enough).
We can see clearly that Paul is saying that it is what God does, which is what enables us to love well, minister faithfully, offer hope, endure with the wicked, etc…
Read Romans 15:14-21: REMAIN KINGDOM DRIVEN
14 I myself am satisfied (persuaded, convinced) about you, my brothers, that you yourselves are full of goodness (active and energetic character expressing itself in an act of love), filled with all knowledge (clear and exact knowledge which expresses thorough understanding) and able to instruct (parakaleo) one another. 15 But on some points I have written to you very boldly by way of reminder, because of the grace given me by God 16 to be a minister of Christ Jesus to the Gentiles in the priestly (a sacred office, equal to the sacredness of the Levitical who offered sacrifices in theTemple) service of the gospel of God, so that the offering (Rom. 12:1; their lives) of the Gentiles may be acceptable, sanctified by the Holy Spirit (and not by the works of man).
17 In Christ Jesus, then, I have reason to be proud of my work for God. 18 For I will not venture to speak of anything except what Christ has accomplished through me to bring the Gentiles to obedience—by word and deed, 19 by the power of signs and wonders, by the power of the Spirit of God (by divine power, not man’s power)—so that from Jerusalem and all the way around to Illyricum I have fulfilled the ministry of the gospel of Christ; 20 and thus I make it my AMBITION TO PREACH THE GOSPEL, not where Christ has already been named, lest I build on someone else’s foundation, (Paul’s case for world mission in places where the gospel in not planted) 21 but as it is written, “Those who have never been told of him will see, and those who have never heard will understand.” (this can happen on our home turf; there are people who no not our Lord)
Ambition to preach the gospel: I make it my passionate and unswerving desire to be a messenger who publicly declares the divinely appointed announcement of the great and glorious news that our Lord Jesus Christ died for sinners, and that by faith in our Lord, one might be reconciled with and declared eternally righteous before the God Most High!
Romans 15 is what the Lord desires Kineo to look like this year; to labor in this manor. To make Jesus look beautiful through:
1) LIVING THE GOSPEL – May this good news dwell in you so richly that you trust Jesus’ words and Jesus’ power, not your words or your power.
2) BEING THE CHURCH – May the God of encouragement and endurance fill you with all hope to bear with the failing of the weak and to welcome one another.
3) REMAINING KINGDOM DRIVEN – May you never lose sight of the proclamation of the gospel to all who have not heard it. May the gospel motivate the church to labor for the fame of Jesus!