23 Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. 24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, 25 not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching. Hebrews 10
A Gathering SET APART > SENT TO SERVE
The cycling seasons create dramatically changing landscapes. Barren fields sprout green plants. The plants flourish into a rich, dense crop. The harvest is plentiful.
Jesus presented the image of the harvest as a metaphor for His disciples (Matthew 9:35-38). “When He saw the crowds, He had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.”
Not much has changed. Our communities today are filled with people in the grip of fear, anxiety and distraction. “Harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.”
Jesus came to bring good news and healing to these crowds. Jesus came to “harvest.” Jesus came to welcome the harassed & hurting into His arms of grace, love and life. His ultimate intention is expressed in Luke 19:10, “[I] have come to seek and to save what was lost.”
Jesus came from heaven to earth. God in flesh, the Son of God - seeking. In the body of a man, Jesus did what only a man could do - He went to the cross of suffering and death. In His death on the cross, Jesus did what only God could do - forgive the sin that distracts & separates humanity from God. After three days God raised Jesus from the dead and set all those who believe in Him free from the sting of death. "For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Jesus Christ our Lord" (Romans 6:23). This assurance & Good News is only through Christ, not by any effort on our part. "But because of His great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy,made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in sins—it is by grace you have been saved" (Ephesians 2:4,5).
Jesus entrusted His followers with the work of harvesting. Before Jesus was taken up from them, He said, "But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8). These witnesses became a gathering called the "Church" and were set apart from world and sent out to serve. Hands of help. Hearts of healing & hope. Words of love & life.
Bethel is a part of this gathering. Followers of Christ, forgiven and called to the harvest, set apart to serve and to extend healing and hope to the harassed and the helpless.
This is who the Church is > the Church is the gathering of Christ followers set apart from the world and sent out to serve. To be the presence of Christ. Bethel strives to be such a gathering: built up in Christ, pointing people to Jesus.