Pastor Cox Speaks About the Church's Mission
The church service in the Laurelbrook Seventh-day Adventist Church on April 23, 2016 began with an introit by Samantha (elementary) on the piano. Elizabeth Castle had the Personal Ministries Corner, sharing with the congregation a Guidepost magazine article from 1983.
Rich Sutton then told about the senior trip to the Waldensean valleys coming up on Tuesday. The group is going to Italy via Ireland. One place they will visit is the stone where young people copied the Scriptures and then took the Scripture portions to the world. The group will stay in the home of the main person in charge of the Waldensean work. Hopefully this trip will unite the student body. The group going on the senior trip came to the platform, and Pastor Mark Cox prayed for them that their trip might be a success in the eyes of the Lord.
Rich Sutton announced that worship this evening would be in the auditorium at 7:00 p.m.
The congregation had a silent invocation. The congregation then sang “The Church Has One Foundation”. Rich Sutton then had the Morning Prayer; the congregation sang “Hear Our Prayer”. Mari (9th grader) then called for the offering, which was for local conference budget. Tony (senior) and Clifton Brandt then collected the morning offerings. The congregation sang the doxology, and Rich Sutton prayed for the offering.
Michael (9th grader) then told the children a story about earning an allowance as a young child – a whole dollar. He reluctantly paid tithe on it. When his grandfather came home, he found an envelope with seven coupons for McDonald’s French fries in it. When this was mentioned in church the next week, members gave him more money.
Jonathan (9th grader) then read Ephesians 3:9-11 “9 And to make all [men] see what [is] the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ: 10 To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly [places] might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God, 11 According to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord:” Jonathan Pacheco, one of the older ESL students, and Pedro Arce had special music.
Pastor Mark Cox discussed the topic “The Church: Its Mission, Message, and Method”. The congregation sang “Seeking the Lost”. Pastor Mark had the closing prayer.
Personnel Other Than Students:
Pastor Mark Cox – Laurelbrook pastor / recently retired as a U.S. Navy chaplain
Pedro Arce – works with Laurelbrook’s music program
Rich Sutton – Laurelbrook president
Following are some notes on the sermon by Pastor Mark:
- Ephesians 3:9-11 “9 And to make all [men] see what [is] the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ: 10 To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly [places] might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God, 11 According to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord:”
- Paul has a cosmic, universal view.
- A mystery – how did Jesus become a man?
- “In heavenly places” is used in Ephesians five times. It was God’s intent to use His people to reveal the truth about God to the entire universe.
- There are witnesses from other planets attending worship with you right now.
- John Wesley had a dream that he died and arrived at the Pearly Gates. Questioning the gate keeper, he asked if any of a number of specific denominations were in heaven; the reply was there were none since all were not counted as members of specific religious bodies. At the gates to hell, he was told there many specific church members in hell; he was told that none of these people loved the Lord.
- Often we think of a church as a building, but in reality people are the church.
- Satan creates division by appealing to a specific person’s pride to the point that that person feels he/she is special.
- Young people today have been led to be self-centered and self-serving.
- 1 Corinthians 1:12-13 “12 Now this I say, that every one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ. 13 Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were ye baptized in the name of Paul?” Even in the early church, Satan worked to divide the believers.
- When we think we’re special, we tried to save the church as we are and baptize people who fit our profile.
- How much of what we believe is really truth?
- The church of God is the fellowship of believers, but a church organization is not God’s church.
- Only God really knows who every believer is. Organized church organizations contain people who are a part of a fellowship of God’s believers and people who are really working for the synagogue of Satan.
- If we have a right relationship with God, then the place for people to find God is in God’s churches. These people might have problems with smoking or alcohol; these might be the “lost” that God wants us to help connect with Him.
- Revelation 14 contains the last message of God “to prepare a people to meet God” (Ellen White).
- Membership in the SDA church should be like Special Forces in the military. SDAs should believe in and been willing to prepare the world to meet God.
- How do we communicate this message to the general public when the general public doesn’t feel like coming to church? Why? Satan has taught them that they are not worthy of being in churches.
- Christ ministered to people’s needs first, won their confidence, and then got them to follow Him.
- God’s church are the people devoted to God who help others bring people outside the group to Jesus.
- God has a cosmic calling for each of you today.