Topic: Sunday Message Verse: Matthew 22:35–22:40, Matthew 23:23–23:24, John 13:34–13:34, Galatians 3:28
A five-week series diving deep into our five defining values as a church--the distinguishing characteristics that shape Hopevale.
Hopevale DNA: Our 5 Defining Values
“Hopevale DNA” answers the “how” question. What’s most important to us as a church in how we approach life and ministry? In business vernacular, it's the equivalent to our core values—how we conduct ourselves, how we treat others, how we function as a church family, how we live out our faith beyond the four walls of this church. Here are our 5 defining values:
1. Focused Faith
2. Authentic Love
3. Mutual Respect
4. Shared Ministry
5. Servant Leadership
These are the qualities that make us us.
Focused Faith: What does it mean?
FOCUSED FAITH means keeping the main thing the main thing.
We can’t let secondary issues distract us from what matters most.
Matthew 22:35-40 NIV
35 One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: 36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” 37 Jesus replied: “ ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
The Greatest Commandment = Love
“Love God with everything you’ve got,” Jesus says, but then also “love people and seek out their greatest good just as you would do for yourself." Even though it appears Jesus gives two answers, the truth is these two loves go together--they cannot be separated. Whether it’s the God above us or the people around us, it all comes down to love. Love is the major we need to major on. End of story.
The Apostle Paul communicates the same thing in the famous love chapter of the Bible—1 Corinthians ch. 13. He says that we can do all these heroic acts for God and all these noble deeds for others, but if they’re not done out of love, then they don't really count at all. Conversely? Even the smallest of acts done with the greatest of love can make a difference, impact a life, and change the world.
Matthew 23:23-24 NIV
23 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices—mint, dill and cumin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former. 24 You blind guides! You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel.
Focused Faith: "Die Fors," "Fight Fors," & "Fuss Overs."
When it comes to our beliefs, it’s not just about “what we believe” as a Christian, but it’s also about “how strongly we hold-on to those beliefs.” Not all beliefs should be weighed the same; rather, we should have: “die fors,” “fight fors,” and “fuss overs.”
Every church needs a “die for” list of beliefs--the church that doesn’t stand for anything will fall for everything. Yet if you study the Bible and read about church history, you’ll discover that a church’s “die for” list better not be very long. Otherwise, you’ll run the risk of losing focus. The shorter the “die for” list, the healthier the church.
Focused Faith: 3 Core Beliefs
The Hopevale "die fors":
The BIBLE is the only WORD of God
It is our final authority in faith and practice. (2 Timothy 3:16)
JESUS is the only SON of God
Jesus is fully God and fully man, uniquely qualified to be the Savior of mankind. (1 Timothy 2:5)
His GOSPEL is the only WAY to God
We experience salvation and receive forgiveness by God’s grace alone, through our faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone. (Ephesians 2:8-9)
John 13:34-35 NIV
34 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
Focused Faith in the Church
In essentials, unity;
In nonessentials, liberty;
In all things, charity.
We need to be united in the essentials and keep the main thing the main thing. Beyond that, in the non-essentials, we’ve got to give each other the freedom to have beliefs and to hold convictions that might be different than ours. Then in all things, when we can love each other through those differences, that’s when Jesus shines the brightest.
Galatians 3:28 NIV
28 There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
How we conduct ourselves, how we treat others, how we function as a church family, how we live out our faith beyond the four walls of this church—these are the questions we’re trying to answer when we talk about Hopevale DNA. Pastor Dan
1. If you had a DNA test done, what do you think it would reveal about your ethnic background? What are some ways your family talks about and expresses its heritage—or not?
2. How would you describe Hopevale’s “DNA” to a friend? What would you include on a short list of what makes Hopevale Hopevale?
3. How do we determine what we die for, fight for, or fuss over as a church family? How do we actually put into practice what these verses tell us?
* Jude 3-4
* 2 Peter 1:19-21
* 2 John 7-11
* Galatians 1:6-9
4. In your church experience, what “minors” can become “majors” for Christians? Have you majored on a minor before? What can happen in a person’s life and in their church when we major on minor teachings or practices?
5. What are Hopevale’s three “die for’s”? What do you think? What else would you include, or what would you leave out? Explain.
6. Share a Christian belief or practice that you feel passionate about (it’s at least a “fight for”). How do you keep from evaluating others based on it? How can you honor the Lord in this area and also love others who differ?