Welcome to The Washington, DC International Christian Church

 Happy 9th anniversary! Today, we celebrate and honor the planting of the Washington, DC International Christian Church nine years ago, on the 14th of September. Celebrating anniversaries of any kind, whether wedding anniversaries, business anniversaries or even the founding of a country like Independence Day for the United States of America, anniversaries are always joyous occasions. Anniversaries resonate within us in a powerful way because we are reminded of why the specific endeavor was started and the commitment that was initially made. Thus, we often renew our commitment to the purpose of what we are celebrating. For example, an annual wedding anniversary reminds a husband and wife how much they love one another and the life-long commitment they made to one another and God. Celebrating a wedding anniversary usually includes a renewal of commitment to one another.

Additionally, anniversaries are helpful because we are forgetful in nature and need renewal. That once zealous enthusiasm that initiated a specific enterprise can often wane over time. As disciples, we always need renewal and revival to remind us of our love for God and his will. Thank God for his word and inspiring preaching of the scriptures to always revive our hearts and renew our commitments to him.

Today, we remember why the Washington, DC International Christian Church was planted nine years ago, and we renew our commitment to its purpose. Ultimately, the purpose for planting the church nine years ago, courageously led by Andrew and Patrique Smellie, was to save souls! It is time for us to recommit ourselves to the pure purpose of not only the DC church, but the entire kingdom of God and Jesus Christ himself, “For the Son of Man came to seek and save the lost” (Luke 19:10). Too often, we can try to “re-purpose” the focus and mission of God’s church, usually in the attempt of meeting certain needs. Thus, some may want to build a church with the purpose of building family, or impacting the local community or hosting several events to showcase interests or talents. Now, let it not be mistaken, those needs need to be met and those other efforts and good, but they should never replace the purpose of the church or become the focus of our daily ministry. The church’s most important purpose is to “seek and save the lost,” to bring as many as we can to heaven. If the church loses its focus on its true purpose, the church becomes stagnant, self-focused and ultimately, never fulfills what God designed his church to do. From today forward, let us give our lives to the mission of Jesus and the mission of his church, laboring and striving to “make disciples of all nations,” starting right here in Washington, DC! (Matthew 28:18-20).

Furthermore, after we have renewed our commitment to the purpose of the DC church, we also must be completely unified on how we will accomplish said purpose. It is incredible that Jesus commissions us with the daunting task of evangelizing the world, and what he is asking of us is very clear, for “God wants all men to be saved and come to a knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:1-4). However, Jesus leaves the “how” up to the disciples. He does not give us a detailed plan on exactly how to accomplish the mission. Excitingly though, if we study the scriptures and study the ministry of Jesus, we can be successful in building churches according to Jesus’ example. We will not accomplish the mission Jesus has given us with only optimism and simply the desire to evangelize the world; we need to know how to practically imitate the ministry of Jesus. Thus, as a church, as a movement, we must be unified on how we go about accomplishing the mission commissioned to the church. Therefore, we have the scriptures to give us conviction on our conduct. The following are convictions from the scriptures that everyone in the Sold-Out Discipling Movement must live out and preach. We must be patriots for our nation of Christianity, defending the ideals and convictions of our country. Every disciple in the DC church must search their heart and acknowledge if they share these same Biblical convictions… if they currently do not share in these Biblical convictions, then they must get conviction and faith to fight for these ideals of God’s kingdom. Today is a day where we make it very clear what our Christian nation stands for and who is loyal to the “flag” we live and die for. I want to challenge and call every disciple to make these convictions and scriptures their own convictions, and fight to uphold and defend these Christian ideals.

1. We will love God with all of our heart, soul, mind and strength.

Mark 12:28-31
Daily relationship with God through prayer and scripture.

2. We will love our neighbors as our self.

Mark 12:28-31
We must love people like God does.

3. We will lay down our life for the family of God.

John 13:33-34; John 15:12-13
We are family. There is nothing we are unwilling to do for one another.

4. We will walk in the light of God.

1 John 1:5-10; 1 John 2:6
We must confess our sins daily and live like Jesus did.

5. We will seek first God’s kingdom and his righteousness.

Matthew 6:33
We must make God’s kingdom our number one concern. We must devote our time, resources and lives to making God’s church great.

6. We will preach the word of God unapologetic-ally and call everyone to obey fully.

2 Timothy 4:1-5
We will preach the unadulterated and pure gospel of Christ in its entirety. The message will not be watered down and compromises on what God expects of us will never be our conduct.

7. We will build a Jesus ministry.

Mark 1:14-18; John 3:22; John 4:1-2; Matthew 28:18-20
We will build the church as Jess built his ministry. This includes multiplying disciples, raising up leaders and sending out our best leaders.

8. The ideals will always be the standards.

Luke 14:25-33
We must never compromise. The ideal must remain our standard of obedience to Jesus.

9. We will strive for excellence in everything we do.

2 Corinthians 8:7; Mark 7:37
We must never settle for mediocrity. Everything we do must be done well and right.

10. We will bleed for unity.

Ephesians 4:1-6; Mark 3:31-35
We must fight to be unified with one another. We are family and we must live as such.

11. We will only date and marry sold-out, baptized disciples.

1 Corinthians 7:39; 2 Corinthians 6:14-7:1; 1 Kings 11:1-10; Nehemiah 13:23-27
We must remain pure as God’s people. Disciples only engage in disciple intimate relationships.

12. We will be generous and sacrificial in our giving.

2 Corinthians 8 & 9; Proverbs 3:9-10; Deuteronomy 16:16
We are a church that is committed to giving sacrificially every week in accordance with our means and the needs of the church. We are committed to sacrificing and giving whatever it takes to support world missions for the evangelization of the world.

13. We will be unified with the leadership and direction of the Sold-Out Discipling Movement and its Biblical convictions.
I. We Are A Bible Church, Not Simply A New Testament Church

2 Timothy 3:14-17, 2 Peter 3:15-16
Technically speaking, the word “Scripturein this passage refers to only the Old Testament. Now, through the inspiration of the Spirit, we believe that it applies to the New Testament as well.
Colossians 2:13-14
We believe the Old Testament applies to our lives — as much as the New Testament — except for the Mosaic Law and any teaching in the New Testament that supersedes the Old Testament.

II. “Be Silent Where The Bible Speaks, And Speak Where The Bible Is Silent”

Genesis 2:19
In applying scriptural principles to build the visible church, we believe we must obey God’s Word, but where the Bible does not prohibit a practice or name, we are free to use our God-given creativity.
1 Corinthians 10:23
We are free to practice or name something as long as it does not contradict the Scriptures.

III. Discipling Is A Command Of God And Not Optional

Matthew 28:19-20, Colossians 1:28-29, John 15:15
The dynamic in this relationship begins as a teacher/student relationship and then matures to a more peer/peer relationship.

2 Timothy 2:1-3
Discipling is teaching obedience to scripture an d is detailed in the “one another” passages: “love one another,” “instruct one another,” “confess your sins to ea ch other,” “pray for each other,” etc.

IV. A Central Leadership With A Central Leader

Numbers 27:12-23, Exodus 18:12-26, Judges 21:25, 1 Corinthians 4:15-17, Titus 1:5
Throughout God’s Word, when His people were unified, there was a strong central leadership and a godly central leader. (Examples: Moses, Joshua, David and of course Jesus and the Apostles.) Local congregations had an overseeing evangelist who unified the disciples “everywhere in every church.” In the first century, congregations were a collective movement — not autonomous, not self-governing.

Acts 15:19-24, Acts 21:24
In the New Testament, Jesus is the leader of “the Movement!” Uniquely, when He ascends to Heaven, Peter takes on this responsibility as “the apostle to the Jews,” since for the first seven years of Christianity only Jews became Christians. Interestingly, after Paul became “the apostle to the Gentiles,” the leadership of the movement by Acts 15 had passed to Jesus’ oldest half-brother James. At the Jerusalem Council, James, after listening to both sides of the circumcision issue, gives his singular authoritative “judgment,” which is then bound on all the churches.

V. The Dream Of The Evangelization Of The Nations In THIS Generation

Matthew 28:19-20, Acts 1:8, Colossians 1:6 & 23, 1 Timothy 2:3-4
If the world was evangelized in the first century, we can certainly do it again in the twenty-first century! This will be accomplished through every disciple making disciples, and every disciple having discipling relationships.

In closing, Elizabeth and I are grateful to be apart of this incredible DC church family. We believe, as in the words of Frank Sinatra, “the best has yet to come!” We are excited to see what the next months and years will bring us. Let us recommit to the purpose of this great church and let us be completely unified on the Biblical convictions of our church, our movement, our nation. Welcome to the Washington, DC International Christian Church!

 

All for a lost world,

 
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