The Three Stream Church
This summer I have been preaching a sermon series on the Three Stream Church, a model that makes a lot of sense to me because it seems faithful to the whole of the faith. These three streams, Evangelical, Sacramental and Spirit Filled, and not explicitly taught in scripture as such; Jesus did not say to "Go and teach the Three Stream Model." But each of these streams is shown in Scripture to be an indispensable part of the faith.
I started with the Evangelical stream and its Biblical emphasis because our faith is not a matter of individual opinion arising from humans but is revealed from God, first in the Old Testament and then most fully in the New. Our bottom line conviction is that Scripture is indeed "God breathed," (2 Tim. 3:16) and that everything we do must come under the Bible's authoritative guidance.
This is exactly where Christian churches and Christian individuals often get it wrong. The world, the flesh and the devil all conspire to draw us away from the solid rock of Scripture (Matt. 7:24-27). Too often preachers and teachers want their words to be acceptable to the ears of the world, and fall into error. The effect is ultimately cruel because false teaching draws people away from God, whose truth is wed to his love. And God's love is such that he gives us his truth to declare his sovereign majesty, to reveal his will for humanity, to convict us sinners of our sin and to point us to the great gift of salvation through Jesus Christ and his shed blood on the cross.
The Sacramental Stream is about the grace of God received through both of the Sacraments of the Gospel, Baptism and Holy Communion. I preached a sermon on each. My third sermon on the sacramental stream was about the other sacramental acts (Unction, Holy Matrimony, Confirmation, Reconciliation of a Penitent and Ordination), liturgy, theology, the sacramental worldview and the Great Tradition- all gifts of God that make our lives rich.
The Spirit Filled stream complements and fulfills the other two streams. Unless we Christians are filled with the Holy Spirit, biblical truth (the Evangelical stream) is too often reduced to head knowledge about God instead of the knowledge of the Scriptures drawing us into an encounter with the living God. Same with the the Sacramental stream; unless we Christians are filled with the Holy Spirit, the sacramental/liturgical life of the church is reduced to dry formalism. On the other hand, when Christian folks are filled with the Holy Spirit we have power to do the work Jesus gave us to do (Acts 1:8), gifts for various ministries, and an increasingly Christ like character described in Galatians 5:22 and 23 as the fruit of the Spirit.
The Three Stream model of the the faith might be best described as Whole Christianity, with nothing added to what God has given, and nothing is taken away. I hope you at All Saints are blessed by these sermons. I have certainly been blessed as I have prepared and preached them. (And even though this series goes for 9 weeks, I feel as if I have just scratched the surface!) If you are not a member, or if you have missed any sermons please go to the sermons tab on this homepage and listen to any or all you may have missed. I pray that you will be built up in the faith..
God bless you mightily!
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