Old Brick Reformed Church, Organized 1699

490 Route 520 • P.O. Box 153 • Marlboro, NJ 07746

Office Phone: (732) 946-8860 • Office Fax: (732) 946-9254

Secretary's Email: secretary@oldbrickchurch.orgInfo

Sunday Worship: 9:30AM - 10:30AM

Pastor Kaden's Sermon Notes for Sunday June 14th, 2020

Unity

Do you remember back to your childhood Sunday school days and your teacher illustrating a lesson about the Church by interlocking the last three fingers of his/her hand, pointing the pointer fingers upward touching one another at the tips and pressing the thumbs together tightly as they said and demonstrated, "This is the Church. This is the steeple. Open the doors and see all the people." How many of you remember that? I learned it so long ago I can't even remember which Sunday school teacher taught that to me.

Whoever it may have been who taught you that cute little illustration was helping each of us, of course, to learn an important lesson about something that holds the church together, it's the unity we all share in Christ. What is unity? Well, I like the way Charles Swindoll explains it. He says, "Union has an affiliation with others but no common bond that makes them one in heart. Uniformity has everyone looking and thinking alike. Unanimity is complete agreement across the board. UNITY, however, refers to a oneness of heart, a similarity of purpose, and an agreement on major points of doctrine."

Unity in the body of Christ was a quality Jesus earnestly prayed for. In his high intercessory prayer recorded in John 17, Jesus prays:

"I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, (the message of the disciples) that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one. I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me."

John 17: 20b-23

The Apostle Paul emphasized the importance of unity in the body of Christ too in Ephesians 4: 1-13, 1 Corinthians 12, and Galatians 3: 28. And, in many of the very wonderful hymns of the faith, hymns such as, Jesus Loves the Little Children and In Christ There is No East or West, the hymn writers describe the richness and beauty of unity shared in fellowship among Christians.

Following the Pentecost event when the disciples were filled with the Holy Spirit and empowered for ministry, as they come out of hiding, from behind closed doors, and begin proclaiming the Good News of Jesus and the resurrection in the streets Dr. Luke in the Acts of the Apostles' describes the incredible unity those early believers shared. Two passages, in particular, come to mind: Acts 2: 42-47 and Acts 4: 32-37. Take a look at them.

In Acts 2: 42-47, Dr. Luke identifies a number of characteristics which brought those believers together in unity. Luke says, "They devoted themselves to the apostle's teachings and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer." With one mind and heart, the disciples' attention was focused on spiritual things. They enjoyed worshiping and praying together. Their gatherings inspired them. Their spirits were lifted. Their gatherings brought hope and encouragement to press on even as they faced intense persecution and danger.

You may be wondering why your "spiritual tank" is feeling a little empty and dry in these "lock down" days from coronavirus. Well, part of the reason you’re feeling this way is because you’re missing the fellowship we share in church, "the missing jewel of worship" as it has been called. That gathering time, when we can come together as a spiritual family, is a time to sing, pray, and listen to God's Word read and proclaimed. It's a time when our spiritual batteries are recharged and are replenished. Without that "missing jewel" we're left feeling empty and dry.

You'll notice, Luke provides even further depth to this picture of unity he's painting in the Church when he tells us:
"Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done
by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common.
Selling their possessions and goods they gave to anyone as he had need. Every day
they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their
homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying
the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved."

You sense the unity, harmony, and love that was present among those early Christians as you read these verses. They shared a spirit of unity the body of Christ in every age has been called to share.

Luke adds even more detail to this wonderful picture of unity as we turn to Acts chapter 4: 32-37. In these verses, Luke describes the generosity and care the body displayed towards others and, in particular, to people suffering want and need. Each generously shares their abundance with others so that no one lacked anything. Just as the heart of our Master compassionately aided the poor and needy so too the Church, following the example of Jesus, reaches out to help people in need. And this spirit of love and generosity came as a response to the UNITY the Christians shared in Christ.

I am reminded of a wonderful poem written by Reuben Welch titled: We Really Do Need Each Other. It goes like this:

You know something--
we're all just people who need each other.
We're all learning
and we've all got a long journey ahead of us.
We've got to go together
and if it takes us until Jesus comes
we better stay together
we better help each other.

And I dare say
that by the time we get there
all the sandwiches will be gone
and all the chocolate will be gone
and all the water will be gone
and all the backpacks will be empty.

But no matter how long it takes us
we've got to go together.
Because that's how it is
in the body of Christ.

It's all of us
in love
in care
in support
in mutuality---
in unity

we really do need each other.

Jesus prayed that we "may be brought to complete unity ..." May his prayer be answered in us.

God bless you

2 Thessalonians 2: 16-17

More about the church, steeple and people.
HERE'S THE CHURCH...by Robert Morgan

During Vacation Bible School one year, a pastor's wife had an experience with her primary class that can teach us all a great lesson. About an hour before dismissal one evening, a new student was brought into the room. The little boy had one arm missing, and since the class was almost over, the teacher had no opportunity to learn the details of his situation, but she was nervous that one of the other children would say something insensitive to him, so she proceeded cautiously with the lesson.

As the class time came to a close, she asked the children to join her in their usual closing ceremony. "Let's make our churches," she said, putting her hands together to form the "church".

"Here's the church and here's the steeple, open the doors and..." Suddenly the awful truth struck her. The very thing she had feared that the children would do, she had done.

As she stood there speechless, the little girl sitting next to the boy reached over with her left hand and placed it up to his right hand and said, "Josh, let's make the church together".

Yours in Christ,

Pastor George Kaden

Reformed Church
In America
RCA The Reformed Church in America is a fellowship of congregations called by God and empowered by the Holy Spirit to be the very presence of Jesus Christ in the world.

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