Thursday, January 18, 2018

Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

The Church: An Interceding Community
James 5:13-18
Vs 15, 16 The prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise them up; and anyone who has committed sins will be forgiven.Therefore confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another, so that you may be healed. The prayer of the righteous is powerful and effective.
The institution of the Church of Christ was created in the time of Pentecost after Jesus’ resurrection. With His rising again, a new calling was cut into the hearts of the apostles who would then begin their ministry to call thousands into the Church of Christ (Acts 1:8). The Church was not founded in a building, nor was it established in law, or through the want of man. The Church is founded in Christ. To be founded in Christ is the inherent understanding that the Kingdom of God does not rest in this physical World but rather builds in spiritual maturity and in the knowing of God while in communion and fellowship with our fellow believers.
As Jesus was instructing his Apostles before his ascension into heaven, He specifically anointed the lot with the powers and authority of Heaven. On the day of Pentecost, in Acts 2: 1-4 we can visually picture the Holy Spirit ascending down into the Apostles: “they saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. 4 All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.” They then went out and made believers of men, baptizing and speaking the message of repentance, and by day’s end, three thousand were added to their number (Acts 2:40).
The teachings of Christ were not meant to be just told to the new believers, rather they were meant to be practiced and actively engaged in. As the Church is created, the lives of the apostles begin to take a drastic change from one of following to one of interceding through faith. In Acts 3:19 Peter spoke to the crowd pleading to confess their sins. Why? “19 Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord.” When Christ died on the Cross He not only cleared us of our sinful debt, but made way of communication open to the Father. The remission and repentance of our sins invites the Holy Spirit to dwell in us thereby making us members of His Church and since the Church is the living embodiment of Christ, the Church came with power.
Shortly after the day of Pentecost, Peter and John were met with a lame beggar who could not walk since his birth. Peter could not offer anything of the world such as money or material goods, instead Peter raised the lame beggar and by faith healed the man (Acts 3: 1-9). When Jesus healed the paralyzed man in Matthew 9:1, Peter had only observed as the Son of God miraculously healed by faith and authority. However, the special anointing of the first Church to today’s modern church means that as members we too carry authority and power that Jesus had shown, if we believe in faith.
In James 5, Elijah is made an example to model after. Elijah prayed boldly in faith and with power on behalf of and in intercession for the people of Israel who were enslaved in their worship of Baal. [1 Kings 17: 24 “the word of the Lord from your mouth is the truth." She [the widow] made a confession that the Israelites had failed to make.] Elijah prayed earnestly that it might not rain but prayed at a later time for rain to fall again on the land. Then the rains began, signaling the end of the famine (I Kings 18:30-45). Elijah was an ordinary man (James 5:17) with a nature like ours, but he prayed fervently as a Righteous man in order to show the Israelites the true God.
 An interceding community is a community of believers of ordinary men and women who have envisioned the Kingdom of God and knows that that Kingdom can reign on earth through the Church of Christ.
Father, we come before You as ordinary men and women. We fall short of Your creation within us but you continue to love and claim us as Your own. We ask that You give us the strength to go boldly as Your church into this world and proclaim Your Heavenly Kingdom. Help us to repent our sins so that we may accept You whole-heartedly and without reservation so that we may continue Your ministry in this world. Amen.
“… the basis for everything must be sought in the fact that the church-community leads a single life, and that the individual has community with God only by participating in this life…that one does not stand before God alone, but in the community of saints, where even the most personal prayer no longer belongs to the individual, but to the church that gave birth to this person and through which this individual lives.” -Sanctorum Communio by Dietrich Bonhoeffer (p.185).
Roshin Thomas, Long Island MTC, NY
Christian Education Forum, Diocese of NAE of the Mar Thoma Church