Advent, Missions and Members

By Not Known

This is a day for celebration as we receive new members by Baptism, Confirmation
and Transfer. It is also a day that links together the Advent season, Missions Sunday
and the membership service.

How do these three things link together?

Let’s start with Advent. As explained last Sunday, Advent is the time when we
remember the first coming of Jesus and remind ourselves that he will come again.
Why did he come? He came for our new members and for all who believe. He came to
do the humanly impossible and to bring the salvation provided by God through the
life, death and resurrection of Jesus the Christ.

What about Missions’ Sunday? On Missions’ Sunday we remind one-another of our
privilege and responsibility to be part of God’s global work of telling the message
about Jesus, showing it in the way we live and calling women, men and children from
all nations to reconnect to God through Jesus. Missions’ Sunday is only possible
because of Advent. Without the first coming of Jesus we have no message to tell.
Without the second coming of Jesus and the reality of judgement, we have no need
to do missions. So, Advent and missions are interlinked.

What about our new members? I’m sure that we can all see the link here. Some of
our new members come by transfer. That is, they were already part of God’s visible
church in another place and are now joining ORPC. Others join us by Baptism and
Confirmation. Their memberships represent new growth in God’s kingdom. It has
been thrilling to read their testimonies and to see how God has been at work in their
lives to lead them to see their need of Jesus and to be ready to commit themselves
to him in faith, hope and love. Their membership represents the fruit of God’s
mission in their lives and is a fulfilment of God’s purposes in Advent.

The gospel supplies the link between these three themes. The gospel is the message
about Jesus and his coming to bring the fullness of God’s salvation to people such as
our new members.

This Sunday we start a series of four sermons and Bible studies that all focus around
the gospel and which all come from a single passage (Rom 1:1-6). Let us pay
attention to the Bible as God teaches us about the gospel. And let us all commit
ourselves afresh to believe the gospel, to live it out and to help tell it to others.