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Six Great Ends of the Church: 2. Shelter, Nurture, and Spiritual Fellowship of the Children of God

Lesson: Acts 2:42-47


As I get started, I need to warn you: I’m about to get all TELEOLOGICAL on you. (not theological)


Now there’s a $5 word if ever there was one.


TELEOLOGICAL – it is a particular way of thinking about the world and how we live in it. TELEOLOGICAL is a word that describes one of the ways that we can order and shape our lives together – one of the ways that we can look at the world we live in, the challenges we face, and decide how we will live our lives today.


Now, there are a number of ways that we can order our lives together. We can order our lives by RULES: Do this. Don’t do that. That offers some clarity – you know where you stand. But we know that life is wild and wooly – and you just can’t come up with a rule for everything.


We can order our lives by the VALUES that we hold. We believe in this value, therefore, we will make decisions and live our life to reflect that value. I believe in honesty and truth, therefore, I will choose to do the most honest thing.


A TELEOLOGICAL approach invites us to order our lives based on our GOALS or the ENDS that we want to achieve – in Greek, the telos, the goal, the end – hence, teleological. This is our goal – this is the end that we want to achieve – how shall we live now to make that so? We want to end the historic and persistent power of racism in our country – how shall we live now to make that so? It is a TELEOLOGICAL approach.[1]


So, in this summer sermon series, as we turn to a list of what Presbyterians call the GREAT ENDS OF THE CHURCH – we are engaging in TELEOLOGICAL thinking. This is the end – the six ends – that we want to achieve as the church. This is what we want to be – in the name of Jesus. How shall we live our life now – in this moment, and in the next – to make it so?


Today, we are turning to the second GREAT END OF THE CHURCH: “The shelter, nurture, and spiritual fellowship of the children of God.” Our end – our goal – is that the church offer to the world, to the Children of God -- Shelter. Nurture. Fellowship/community. Or, I might say – our goal is that the church offer to the children of God – which is everybody – a place in the world.


If that is our goal – our telos –

we want to offer everyone a place in the world, in the name of Jesus –

then how shall we live our life now?

How shall we live.... to make it so?