Commitment

Posted by on Jan 20, 2012 in Sermon Notes | No Comments

Our Commitment to God’s Call:
The Covenant Ideal of Winchester Covenant Church

The goals behind the presentation of this document:
• to clarify the agreements which bind us together as a people of God so that we can be more deliberate in our living and more productive in our mission;
• to enable us to more effectively impart our values and our call both to our children and also to others whom God adds to us;
• to provide a tool which can serve us when we need to evaluate and prioritize opportunities and when we need to assess our progress.

In truth our covenant is the New Covenant established through the blood of Jesus and held in common with all who are in Christ. We have prepared this document in the spirit of the examples of covenant revivals recorded in the Bible*. In like manner we affirm our response to the Holy Spirit who has enlightened us and has called us to commit ourselves to living the life of the New Covenant.

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Both as individuals and as families, God has called us and has joined us together into the people known as Winchester Covenant Church** in order that we may learn to know and to love God more fully according to the New Covenant in Christ Jesus. We are seeking to learn God’s way of life and to reorder our lives according to his pattern. It is both our calling and our desire to expand God’s kingdom through the testimony of our lives of service and our words of truth.

Our ability to fulfill God’s call rests in the power of God, not in ourselves. We, by grace through faith, have confessed Jesus as Lord, and have believed that God has raised him from the dead. We have been reborn; we are new creatures in Christ. God the Holy Spirit, who raised Jesus from the dead, has made us alive in Christ. The Holy Spirit is transforming our lives; he is producing God’s character in us; and he is empowering us to obey God.

Above all, as God has commanded, we covenant to love God with all our hearts, minds, souls, and strength. In like manner we commit ourselves to love our neighbors as ourselves, and to love one another as Jesus has loved us.

We confess that the love to which we have been called requires action and is related first to our behavior and attitudes, and only secondarily to our feelings. “This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers.” (1 John 3:16)

Introductory Perspective: God calls us to live in covenant; therefore, we live in covenant in response to God’s initiative, not our own.

1. God calls us into a covenant relationship with himself and he enables us to share in the “covenant life” of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
2. As we live in union with God we are joined to him, indwelt by him, and empowered by him so that he graciously fulfills the covenant through us as we continually offer ourselves to him.
3. We are called to covenant life with a tangible community of people, a local manifestation of Christ’s body, the church. Covenant is more than an individual relationship with God.
4. Our ability to keep covenant is only as strong as our individual responses to the living God. We can and should call one another up to fulfill our covenant commitments, but, when all is said and done, it is only by staying in a vital union with God that we will endure to the end and keep on growing in “covenant life.”
5. The life of covenant is an ideal toward which we are to strive in the power of the Holy Spirit. The covenant was fully lived and fulfilled only by Jesus of Nazareth. The rest of us are at various stages in the process of being transformed into the glory of His image. We continue to encourage and admonish one another to keep growing, understanding that none of us is completely transformed.

Exodus 19:4-6
1 Peter 2:9-10
Galatians 3:13-29
Ephesians 2:11-18
Hebrews 8:6
1 Corinthians 1:30-31
2 Corinthians 1:18-22
2 Corinthians 3:17-18
Philippians 2:12-13
Hebrews 13:20-22

We covenant to express our love for God and for our neighbor and for one another in the following attitudes and actions:

We covenant to be a worshipping people.

• We will worship God our King by obeying him, by praising him, by thanking him, and by adoring him.

John 4:23-24
Exodus 23:24-25
Psalms 95-100
Psalms 145-150
Matthew 4:10 (Deuteronomy 6:12-13)
Romans 12:1-2
Philippians 3:3
Hebrews 12:28
Revelation 14:6-7

We covenant to be a humble people.

• We will humble ourselves by denying ourselves, as Jesus requires, putting the interests of God and others before our own. We will seek to live as those who have been crucified with Christ. Though we have become the bearers of glorious treasure, we recognize that we are earthen vessels made for the pleasure and service of God.

Isaiah 57:15
Matthew 5:3
Mark 8:34-35
Luke 14:26-33
Philippians 2:5-9
1 Peter 5:5-7 (Proverbs 3:34)
Galatians 2:20
Colossians 3:1-17
Romans 6
2 Corinthians 4:1-12
2 Corinthians 12:1-10
Revelation 4:11

We covenant to be a serving people.

• Like all human beings, we were created servants to do the will of God. It is our privilege, as those who have been reborn in Christ, to become fully human by becoming servants in all that we do and say. It is our goal to serve using all the gifts and resources which God has entrusted to us.

• We recognize that in order to be true to our call, every person must contribute what he or she has to the common life and mission we share. In God’s community there are no little people. We accept our call to be a priesthood—to represent God to one another and to our neighbors by our lives and with our words, and to represent one another and our neighbors to God in petitions and intercessory prayers.

Philippians 2:1-8
Revelation 4:11
Matthew 20:25-28
Galatians 6:6-10
1 Peter 4:8-11
Romans 12
1 Corinthians 12, 14
Ephesians 4:11-16
1 Peter 2:4-5, 9-11
1 Timothy 2:1-3

We covenant to be servant-rulers.

• We were created to serve God by exercising dominion, that is by serving as his stewards on the earth. Through Jesus Christ we have received grace and the gift of righteousness so that we may reign in life. By means of this grace we will work to master sin, to rule over our own individual lives and families, and to extend the rule of God in the spheres to which each has been assigned. Together through our corporate praise, worship, and intercession we will extend God’s rule even over principalities and powers. As sons of the King, we accept our call to accept the process and the discipline by which our Father is bringing us to maturity, in order that he may entrust us with authority and power as co-rulers in Christ over his kingdom.

Philippians 2:7
Genesis 1:26-28
Psalm 8:4-8
Matthew 28:18-20
Romans 5:17
Genesis 18:19
Deuteronomy 6:4-9
Ephesians 5:22-6.4
Colossians 3:18-21
2 Corinthians 10:13-15
Psalm 149:6-8
Ephesians 6:10-20
2 Corinthians 10:3-6
Acts 26:17-18
1 Peter 2:9
1 Timothy 2:1-3

We covenant to be a faithful people.

• “… without faith it is impossible to please God.” (Hebrews 11:6)

• We will seek to obey and to trust God in every thing. In the strength given by the Holy Spirit we will persevere in obedience and endure hardship with courage and joy. We promise to be loyal to our God and King and to one another. We commit to be accountable to one another, to receive and to give instruction, correction, exhortation, encouragement and admonishment in order that we may be disciples who, in every way, become like Jesus our Master.

Luke 16:10-13
Proverbs 28:20
Ephesians 1:1
Colossians 1:2
Revelation 2:10
Revelation 14:12-13
Revelation 17:14
Matthew 24:25-27
Matthew 25:14.30
Luke 19:12-27
Ephesians 5:21
Ephesians 4:25-32
Colossians 3:12.17
2 Timothy 2:1-4
2 Timothy 3:16-4.2
2 Corinthians 3:18

We covenant to be a people of peace.

• As far as it is in our power to do so, we will live peaceably with our neighbors as well as with one another. We will seek to be just and righteous in all relationships. We will honor the authorities whom God has established in each sphere of life and submit to them as representatives of the Lord.

Matthew 5:9
Hebrews 12:14
1 Thessalonians 4:11-12
1 Timothy 2:1-3
Romans 13:1-7
1 Peter 2:11-3.12
Hebrews 13:7, 17
I Thessalonians 5:12-15
Ephesians 5:22-6.9
Colossians 3:18-4.1

We covenant to be a people who live in community.

• God, (the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) is “community” within himself, and he is our model for life and ministry. We have been called into personal and intimate fellowship with God and with one another. We will fully participate in the activities, the celebrations and the gatherings of this community of faith because we share a common life. We will care for one another through prayer and fellowship, but also through practical service and sharing our material goods.

John 10:30
John 14:23.26
John 16:13-15
John 17:20-26
John 15:1-13
2 Corinthians 13:11-14
1 John 1:1-7
Acts 2:42-47
1 Thessalonians 4:9-12
2 Corinthians 8:1-15

We covenant to be a people who share the good news of God’s Kingdom.

• We have been given the word and the ministry of reconciliation. We will love, serve, pray, and share the good news of Christ’s kingdom with our unchurched family members, friends, and neighbors. We will do all that is in our power to invite them, and to call them, into a relationship with God through Christ Jesus and through his body, the church.

Matthew 28:18-20
Mark 16:15
Luke 24:44-49
John 20:19-23
Acts 1:8
2 Corinthians 5:14-21
Philippians 2:14-16a
Romans 1:16-17

We covenant to be a mission-oriented people.

• We have been called to participate in the eternal purpose and in the present mission of God our Father and our King. We will live as change-agents for God. We will seek to make disciples of the King and, working together in a mutual relation of love, we will seek to further God’s purposes in every sphere of life and in every locality where God gives us influence and responsibility.

Genesis 12:1-3
Genesis 22:15-18
Galatians 3:26-29
Psalm 2:7-8
Matthew 28:18-20
Acts 1:8
Isaiah 2:2-4
Romans 1:5
Romans 16:25-27
Ephesians 2:10
Philippians 3:12

We are not our own. We belong to God and to one another. By God’s grace and by the power of his Holy Spirit, we have entered the New Covenant in Christ, and by his grace and the power of his Holy Spirit we will honor and keep it.

*See 2 Kings 11:12, 17 (2 Chronicles 23), 2 Kings 23:1-3 (2 Chronicles 34), 2 Chronicles 15:12, 2 Chronicles 29 (see v. 10), Ezra 10:1-5, and Nehemiah 10.

**Winchester Covenant Church is a member of a network of churches and ministries, Kingdom Ministries International (KMI). The KMI website is http://www.kmintl.org/

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