[Earlier this year John Stott came out with his most recent book, The Radical Disciple. At the age of eighty-nine he says that this will be his final book. The following is a brief portion of a chapter titled “Christlikeness”, which I found to be very meaningful.]
I remember vividly the major question that perplexed me (and my friends) as a young Christian. It was this: What is God’s purpose for His people? Granted we had been converted, but what next?
Of course we knew the famous statement of the Westminster Shorter Catechism, that man’s chief end is to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever.” We also toyed with a yet briefer statement of only five words such as “love God, love your neighbor.”
But neither seemed wholly satisfactory. So I want to share with you where my mind has come to rest as I approach the end of my pilgrimage on earth. It is this: God wants His people to become like Christ, for Christlikeness is the will of God for the people of God.
The biblical basis for the call to Christlikeness is not a single text, for the basis is more substantial than can be summed up in one text. The basis consists of three texts which we will do well to hold together: Romans 8:29; 2 Corinthians 3:18 and I John 3:2.
The first text is Romans 8:29: God has “predestined [his people] to be conformed to the image of His Son.” When Adam fell, he lost much (though not all) of the divine image in which he has been created. But God has restored it in Christ. Conformity to the image of God means to be like Jesus, and Christlikeness is the eternal predestinating purpose of God.
The second text is 2 Corinthians 3:18: “we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate [or reflect] the Lord’s glory, are being transformed [or changed] into His image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.” The perspective has changed-from the past to the present; from God’s eternal predestination to His present transformation of us by the Holy Spirit; from God’s eternal purpose to make us like Christ, to His historical work by His Spirit to transform us in the image of Christ.
The third text is I John 3:2: “Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.” And if God is working to this end, it is no wonder He calls us to cooperate with Him. “Follow me,” He says. “Imitate me.” Many of us have heard of a book titled The Imitation of Christ, which was written in the early fifteenth century by Thomas`a Kempis. So many hundreds of thousands of editions and translations have been published that, after the Bible, it is probably the world’s bestseller. It is not actually about imitating Christ, for its contents are more varied than this. But it got its title from the book’s first words, and its enormous popularity is an indication of the importance of its topic. Returning to I John 3:2, we don’t know in any detail what we shall be, but we do know that we will be like Christ. And there’s really no need for us to know any more. We are content with the glorious truth that we will be with Christ and like Christ.
Here then are three perspectives (past, present and future) that are all pointing in the same direction: God’s eternal purpose (we have been predestined), God’s historical purpose (we are being changed, transformed by the Holy Spirit), and God final eschatological purpose (we will be like Him). These all combine toward the same end of Christlikeness, for Christlikeness is the purpose of God for the people of God.
The fifth Sunday Pot Luck meal on August 29, 2010 was enjoyed by all.
St. Andrew’s Preschool resumed classes on Tuesday, September 7, 2010. Be in prayer that the preschool will have a good year of ministry to the children and their families.
The Rt. Rev. Royal U. Grote was with us for his annual Episcopal visit on Sunday, September 12, 2010.
Jessica Cowdrey was Confirmed by Bishop Grote in the Service of Holy Communion on the 12th.
September 12th was also Rally Day. Sunday School started up again at 9:30 a.m. Following the service we had our annual picnic on the church grounds. Everyone had a wonderful time of food and fellowship. Thank you to all who came, brought food, set up the picnic area, cooked and helped in any way.
ALL SAINTS’ ANGLICAN CHURCH JOINS THE REC
The Rev. Canon Olugbenga (Olu) Olajide and his congregation were with us for Holy Communion on Sunday, September 12, 2010. During the service Rev. Olu presented his Wardens to Bishop Grote, who officially received All Saints’ into the Reformed Episcopal Church. Be in prayer for Rev. Olu and All Saints Anglican Church that God will continue to bless their ministry in Chicagoland. The mission is presently meeting on Sunday mornings in the chapel of Marian Catholic High School, Chicago Heights, IL.
FALL WORK DAY
Our fall Work Day at the church will be Saturday, October 2nd, beginning at 9 a.m. Hope you can be here to help.
SYNOD OF THE DIOCESE OF MID-AMERICA
Our Diocese’s Annual Synod will take place October 14 & 15, 2010. Rev. & Mrs. Levi, along with Cheryl Yapp, delegate, will be attending the Synod.
Our Annual Homecoming will be October 31, 2010. A meal will be enjoyed by all that day following the Holy Communion Service.
At St. Andrew’s Anglican Church there will be a concert:
“Be Ye Thankful…Jesus is Born!” Pal & Friends
Sunday, November 28, 2010 at 6:00 p.m.
to raise funds for PASS, a Christian crisis pregnancy center.
Plan to attend and invite, invite, invite others!
MISSIONARIES OF THE MONTH
Rt. Rev. Gerhard & Grace Meyer, Youth/Camp/Pastoral Ministries, Germany
2nd - Sophie Levi
5th - Janet Novak
12th - Cheryl Yapp
17th - Carla Yehnert
19th - Ireti Olajide
27th - Annamarie Sellers
The Preacher In His Study
By Louis Paul Lehman
Some people think that sermons
Are propounded on the spot,
The preacher looks about
And finds a target for his shot;
Getting sighted on some soul
In midst of congregation
He opens up both barrels
Upon his prey’s location.
Some people think such sermons
Make themselves out of thin air,
You find a text, get started,
And the sermon is right there,
Just popping up within you
Without thought or decent rhyme,
But you can manage to make sense
About ‘most any time.
But the time has come to tell it
For the good of all concerned
That a preacher builds a sermon,
Though oft it’s not discerned
There are hours in the study
Where the real work is done;
When the sermon’s finished
It’s like a victory won.
The preacher in his study
Is a man at noble task,
He seeks to find the answers
For the questions people ask:
Here he must find the will of God,
Here comes the inspiration
That will enable him to preach
Before his congregation.
The preacher in his study
Drinks of those hidden springs,
He learns the blessed secrets
Until his being rings
With the Light and Love and Hopefulness
To guide the stumbling feet:
For that study is the holy place
God and His servant meet.