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When we’re on fire…
When we are prepared...
When we are laser focused…
We are deployed.
My first message in this series on our purpose as a church was on being disciplined believers. Setting controlled burns in our life - specific things that we would do on purpose, for a purpose. Things that we actually have to do - not things that just happen to us or in us. Stuff we do.
Recap prepared - ready to answer for the hope that is within you. my next message was to be prepared. That we should have a relationship with Jesus worth talking about, and exist in a state of being ready to talk about him. We took a look at Philip - and the way that he responded to the lord when called to minister to the Ethiopian man.
Then, if you can remember back - I preached on being focused.
Keeping the most important thing the most important thing. When we lose focus on our Lord, when we widen our view out to try to capture every social issue and trial that comes before mankind - we lose effectiveness.
When we are laser focused on the lord, we are enabled to truly bring him glory, and maybe through that some of the issues of the day are handled.
When we’re on fire…
When we are prepared...
When we are laser focused…
We are deployed.
Today I want to continue this conversation of who we are as believers, who we are called to be as a church, with what seems to be the final piece of our existence.
Equipped for the ministry and sharing the gospel - deployed. Into the church and into the world.
Ephesians 4:1–16 CSB
Therefore I, the prisoner in the Lord, urge you to walk worthy of the calling you have received, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, making every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to one hope at your calling— one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all and through all and in all. Now grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of Christ’s gift. For it says: When he ascended on high, he took the captives captive; he gave gifts to people. But what does “he ascended” mean except that he also descended to the lower parts of the earth? The one who descended is also the one who ascended far above all the heavens, to fill all things. And he himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, to build up the body of Christ, until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of God’s Son, growing into maturity with a stature measured by Christ’s fullness. Then we will no longer be little children, tossed by the waves and blown around by every wind of teaching, by human cunning with cleverness in the techniques of deceit. But speaking the truth in love, let us grow in every way into him who is the head—Christ. From him the whole body, fitted and knit together by every supporting ligament, promotes the growth of the body for building itself up in love by the proper working of each individual part.
Being a christian is not supposed to be a segmented part of your big life. Your relationship with Christ is not supposed to be just like your relationship with one of your friends from work. And if it looks like that - I challenge you that you have no relationship at all. If you define yourself as a believer - if you are a follower of Christ, that is the thing that you are first.
You are a Christian, who happens to also be a -------- whatever else you are. A husband or wife, a parent, a worker.... Your identity in christ should dominate the rest of your existence. That sounds crazy extreme, and it is.
As a christian first… our activity - the expected activity - the stuff that God tells us throughout scripture that we aught to be doing falls into two categories.
The things we do inside the church
The things we do outside the church
As believers - we are called to do things. To actual doing.
If there is an instruction in scripture that applies to you, it requires actual doing. It isn’t something that happens to you or around you, it is something that you put efforts into.
When we have our relationship with Jesus right.. which is what I have been preaching on since Jan 1 this year - Controlled burns, prepared, focused… He sends us to do the things.
Here’s the problem....
We don’t go.
We stay focused on ourselves. Our misery. Our problems. Our struggles. Our successes. Our wins.
Jesus, throughout all of this scripture SENDS US OUT and we stand here like a bump on a log. No intention of going or doing anything. We are content with being.
Today we are going to talk about what it looks like to go. The expectation that we are deployed.
Inside the church:
One another one another.
In the new testament, more than 100 times.. .the greek word Allelon appears.
And that word is translated every time as some sort of calling together.
And I have a list of about 30 of them.
Whenever we see that word, it is an instruction to us, as the church to come along side us, as the church and provide for us, as the church.
God - being all knowing, all powerful, and all present that He is - looked at the church and said....
They are going to need some help.
So he gave us help.
He sent the holy spirit, and he sent us eachother.
John 16:7 CSB
Nevertheless, I am telling you the truth. It is for your benefit that I go away, because if I don’t go away the Counselor will not come to you. If I go, I will send him to you.
He built the church to be the body of christ, that we would work together - exist together, help one another.
God gave us two hands in our own body - and those two hands support one another. When things get heavy, physically, we have a few options.
We can add the second hand, just to stabilize. Thats where your dominate hand can handle the load, but once in a while the wind picks up. So your other hand is just keeping things steady.
Sometimes, we add that second hand to the situation just to come alongside the first, for better grip and more pulling power.
Sometimes when things get heavy, we add that second hand to split the load up. Carrying groceries… You’ve got to do it in one load… so your dominate hand carries 600 pounds, and your other hand carries whatever is left over.
And - sometimes when things get too heavy… we use our other hand to keep our hand from getting crushed.
We’ve got those two hands. And one supports the other, allowing us to accomplish great things.
The passage in 1 Corinthians 12 describes our reality as all parts of the body of Christ...
Yet, for some reason we wander around as though we only have just that one hand or not even that hand - we’ve got a couple of stubs on the end of our elbows, and we can’t do anything with them at all.
Several of us went to school with Nikki Kelly - and should know that you can accomplish a lot with one of them nubs.
We’ve decided as a people, not this church, the church as a whole, that we are going to wander around as if we are all alone. It’s just me and Jesus, and he’s been awful quiet.
I’m not helping nobody, and nobody is helping me.
Why? The easiest answer is this....
It’s too personal. It’s too messy. These people can’t know I’ve got stuff going on.
Yep. It is. It is way too personal.
Did you know, the last time you went to the bathroom and sat down on that stool it took your whole body to deal with the mess you were making? Think that through.
Unless you have some sort of self cleaning apparatus, there were ligaments and phalanges involved in your deification.
There is a reason we have soap! So we can wash up! And even that takes two hands.
With the help of the internet, I have compiled a list of like 30 of those one another statements.
I want to be a part of a church that loves one another well enough to do the rest of this. .
Outside the church:
Be a Witness.
This is sharing the gospel. Telling the world that Jesus died for their sins so that they can be reconciled to God and don’t have to spend eternity in hell separated from him.
Introducing people to the idea that they are sinners - without bashing them upside the head with it.
Speaking tactfully.
Offering truly good news.
Go and make disciples.
This is
Acts 1:8 CSB
But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come on you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
2 Corinthians 1:21–22 CSB
Now it is God who strengthens us together with you in Christ, and who has anointed us. He has also put his seal on us and given us the Spirit in our hearts as a down payment.
My job is to help you to do that. To give you the tools that you need.
We have certain things that we have to do - to exist as a church. If we want programs, we have to staff them. If we want a building, we have to maintain it.
But we are called to more than that.
Every one of us is called to share the gospel. And each of us are tasked with making disciples.
We are called to help people - specifically, individually - to come to know the Lord.
How do we do that?
Did you know… you can lead Bible studies?
You can host prayer groups?
You can - and you should be discipling.
Taking people down the same path you have gone down, and growing yourself.
If sharing the gospel is talking about our faith, and we have no faith, then when we share the gospel we are doing what I call, “talking out of your rear end” because you are talking about something that you don’t really understand. And you can - for a time - speak to things that you don’t understand… but there’s always a point, where you’re out of the conversation.
When we get to that point, we start talking about a God who doesn’t exist - because we give him attributes that we wish that he had, or we think he should have, instead of speaking truth.
This is how bad country music is written. A lack of understanding - with a desire to talk about faith - leads to really bad pop-culture theology.
This isn’t exclusive of talking about our faith - people will do this in all different aspects of their lives. People will look at my overly nice truck and say something like - “well, I would never own a dodge” or something like that, only to then jump into their 89 Ford escort, and mean all of that un-ironically. Speaking to things they have never experienced, based on things that they think something should be.
God is far more concerned with your relationship with him. Your love for him, and His son Jesus.
Philippians 2:6–11 CSB
who, existing in the form of God, did not consider equality with God as something to be exploited. Instead he emptied himself by assuming the form of a servant, taking on the likeness of humanity. And when he had come as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death— even to death on a cross. For this reason God highly exalted him and gave him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow— in heaven and on earth and under the earth— and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
But once we have that - his expectation for us is that we take it into the world and share it.
Take care of one another. Do the one anothering. One another one another.
GO OUT, and Keep it simple.
Share the gospel. Share your testimony. Share your experience of a gracious God. Share the scripture that helped you to understand. And make disciples.
Share with us. We want to know!
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