Each year, I, as many pastors, select a theme for our church. This theme reflects something that I believe needs to be emphasized throughout the next year and beyond. This year, our theme comes from the words of Jesus in the Gospel of John.
“I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work.” – John 9:4
International Baptist Church is “a church that works.” We believe in work because “we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works…” (Ephesians 2:10). Our works of righteousness have nothing to do with obtaining salvation – salvation is a free gift to us and there is no other way to obtain salvation except by faith.
“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” – Ephesians 2:8-9
We were saved by the grace of God to do good works. A Christian who is not working is a believer who does not believe the reason God saved them. Our salvation is not just about where we spend eternity. As I heard my college president say many times, “Some people are so Heavenly minded that they are no earthly good.” We have a purpose on this earth as believers – a work that God has before ordained for us. Our duty as Christians is to learn the will of God for our lives and to fully pursue it. We must give ourselves to the work God has called us to do.
Each person in the church is different – made different by the One Who made him or her to work. This is because each person in the church has something different to contribute to the overall work of the ministry. No one person can do all of the work of the church, because no one person makes up the church. Each person brings the gifts and talents God has given to them so that together we can function as a whole – as the body of Christ. Just as the gears in a machine vary in size, each member of the church plays a different part, but no matter the size or place, each one depends upon the others to work.
For five years, IBC Dumaguete has been a working church and God has blessed it. We often say, “God is working in Dumaguete!” He is, and it is through those whom He has created to do good works. May we increase in our productivity and in our attention to detail. May we desire to be used more – to do greater works. May we be patient with one another and help one another fit into the machine – to find their unique place of service. May we work the works in 2016.