I WILL—9 Traits of an Outwardly Focused Christian  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  35:18
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Build it and they will come! A famous line from the movie “field of Dreams
“An Iowa corn farmer, hearing voices, interprets them as a command to build a baseball diamond in his fields; The ghosts of shoeless Joe Jackson and the other seven Chicago, players banned from the game for throwing the 1919 World Series. When the voices continue, Ray seeks out a reclusive author to help him understand the meaning of the messages and the purpose for his field. He does, and the 1919 Chicago White Sox come.” Scott Renshaw as.idc@forsythe.stanford.edu
(S2) Christianity in the Roman Empire | Khan Academy)
The phrase build it and they will come, speaks to the rise of the Christian church in 4th century Rome.
Constantine's (313) conversion—1st Christian emperor
Council of Nicea (325)—Established the Nicene Creed
Theodosius (400) —Christianity became the official religion of the state
Build it and they will come, and many did. Buildings erected as religious institutions were formed — Yet some call this time in church history as begining of the downturn of Christianity — The first body of Christian believers, began as people gathered, not in buildings but in the homes, neighborhoods and communities—They went to where the people were.
Churches were full—Sunday school rooms, children's/youth programs, potlucks...The church was thriving. I hear it said often, ‘remember when...’
Around 1985 things began a shift in the western Christianity, as open doors and waiting for the people to come began to slowly replace the early practice of church evangelism of GOING
“Therefore, GO and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.” Matthew 28:19
Build it and they will come, may have worked for Kevin Costner's character in Field of Dreams, but it was not what proliferated the rise of the late 18th century movement called Methodism to become the largest denomination in America by the 19th century
Disaffiliation—Not leaving Methodism—Back to our roots in theology and practice
The genius of the Methodist movement began with the practice John Wesley and some of his colleagues, at Oxford University. Wesley summarized his understanding of Methodism's purpose in this way
"What may we reasonably believe to be God's design in raising up the Preachers called Methodists? To reform the nation and, in particular, the Church; to spread scriptural holiness over the land."
Early Methodists were drawn from all levels of society, as preachers took the gospel to laborers, criminals, the sick and the poor, those who tended to be left outside organized religion at that time. The church grew because of its embed DNA of GOING—rooted in Peters words, filled with the Holy Spirit
Acts 4:12 “There is salvation in no one else! God has given no other name under heaven by which we must be saved.””
The world needs this message more than ever—The church needs to rise up, get out of its pews and get back to its roots of the practice of GOING.
Twin Springs Church Story (pg. 59)
From 450 in attendance to barely 90 showing up on as Sunday. What happened? The demographics were right—a large surge of growth of people moving to the community. For so long, Twin springs church, like many churches, basically let people know the doors were open and they came, until they didn’t!
Build it, they will come no longer a reliable growth plan
What attracted me to the UMC—Worship—Connection—Outreach
Something has happened. as the church and its members got comfortable and spiritually lazy—becoming more inward focused than outward reaching. Not a new challenge for the church
Revelation 3:15-16 “I know all the things you do, that you are neither hot nor cold. I wish that you were one or the other! But since you are like lukewarm water, neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth!”
Twin City church’s underlying problem went unnoticed by the members and its leaders—they lacked a clear mission and a vision of intentional outreach to the community
(S5)“Somewhere along the way, the church stopped going”
Stopped inviting, stopped intentionally building relationships with those outside the church, for the purpose of bringing the life-transforming grace of Jesus to the lost and the wayward. Some of this is the result of watered down theology, The truth of the gospel, no longer the message and Jesus no longer the centrality of our teaching and worship.
If you were to never stop at a stop sign, if you were to not follow that simple little red octagonal sign instructions, with the white lettering “STOP”, what do you think would happen? Some are chasing the new (really not new) cultural norms and calling it “the way the Spirit is leading us!” Yes. I believe they are chasing after a spirit, but it is not the Spirit of God because what they are following does not line up with the Word of God.” To say plainly, the people of God are being led astray. P. Gruenberg
Preaching is hard when it is speaking TRUTH given to us in the scriptures. This will be the most difficult “I Will,” because it means, I will GO and TELL people about Jesus in spirit and truth! Something most good life-long church members usually avoid.
Reality—Few of us are gifted evangelists (good news)—Most of us in the pews struggle with telling people about Jesus, yet all believers are called to go! In fact you will discover that the power of growing this church is not the sole duty of pastor…It’s in your hands! Every one who has been saved by the transforming power of Jesus has a testimony…(B.Study), and are called to be witness who GO...
Four most common objections about going and a simple place to startWhat can we learn about going from Peter and John’s encounter with the ruling council?
1:8 You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere—in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
The WAY”(Acts 9:2) — From 12 to thousands—They did as Jesus had commanded...GO and tell…but they didn’t have to do it on their own.

I. There is POWER in GOING!

4:8 “Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, “Rulers and elders of our people,”
Their encounter encounter comes after a miraculous healing (lame begger )—Lands them in jail. They had been out with the people proclaiming Jesus’ resurrection and the way to salvation—The evidence of the POWER of Christ was in their GOING.
Acts 4:13 “The members of the council were amazed when they saw the BOLDNESS of Peter and John, for they could see that they were ordinary men with no special training in the Scriptures. They also recognized them as men who had been with Jesus.”
There BOLDNESS was not there doing—
Problem: We try to do it alone
We are not sent to GO, not on our OWN power...but by the POWER of the resurrected JESUS
Ephesians 1:19-20I also pray that you will understand the incredible greatness of God’s power for us who believe him. This is the same mighty power 20 that raised Christ from the dead and seated him in the place of honor at God’s right hand in the heavenly realms.”
There is POWER in going!

II. Buildings don’t bring people to church PEOPLE do!

Acts 4:10-13
Peter and John were I WILL followers of Jesus, because they were faithful to going, even in their dreary predicament—They found themselves on trial, because of a complaint by the Sadducees, who didn’t like their teaching on the resurrection of Christ.
4:2 these leaders were very disturbed….
They were arrested, thrown in jail, and put on trial the next day (that fast). The reason for their arrest...
4:1 Peter and John were out speaking to the people
What does it take to turn a church that wants to grow towards GOING? Intentionally developing a DNA of going! Knowing that…There is POWER in GOING...buildings don’t bring people to church PEOPLE do.

III. We are commanded to GO to DIFFICULT places...to our Jerusalem

Why Peter and John are in this predicament before the Sanhedrin
Jesus went where ministry was most difficult, because he knew that is where the people needed him the most
My visit to the jail
Our Jerusalem is GOING to the hard places, but the good news, its not far from here, it’s right out there! People need Jesus are in our own community
Demographics—growing community —Harvest is plenty...
There is POWER in going—Buildings don’t bring people to church PEOPLE do—We are commanded to GO to DIFFICULT places...our Jerusalem...
Four most common objections about going and a simple place to start.

1. Going is not my spiritual gift

I like to cook, great, fix things...its easier to leave the evangelism to someone else.
I can’t say fancy words (neither can I)—I don’t have the whole bible memorized (nor do I)—I can’ stand up in front of people, (I didn’t want to, you don’t have to).
True we are all gifted differently—Do we think that person who doesn’t have the gift of giving should not give? Or that the person who doesn’t have the gift of music should not sing? Most certainly not—give as you are able...make a joyful noise...and do it all no matter how imperfectly, all in the name of Jesus.
The promise of Jesus, is that YOU will receive power, so YOU can be my witness!
Recall who Peter was before Jesus changed him — from being a stubborn, scardy-cat, weak-hearted…to BOLDLY proclaiming Jesus under the most difficult of circumstances
Going is not my spiritual gift... what can you do?
PRAY for STRENGTH and I promise you the H.S.will gift you
The hardest thing I ever did was to be obedient to God’s calling and GO into ministry

2. Going is what we pay our pastor to do

“When a church declines, who do you think most often gets the blame?
Pastor Jim—Church member—Complaint he wasn’t going enough
If Peter and John were the only ones going, the church would still only be in Jerusalem. If the twelve decided not to start going because they weren’t pastors, then we may not be worshipping together here today.
There are many reasons for church decline; a community that is not growing, denominational problems, hypocrisy or lack of vision. Churches stop growing when its members lose focus of its mission of going!
(S12) — What can you do?
START the Conversation
Jesus/woman at the well/Invite with a question

3. I don’t have time

The lamest excuse—don’t we make time for what’s important? What is the most important than SAVING lives?
The healing of a man who had been laid up for more than forty years is what got everyone riled up and got Peter and John thrown in Jail! Peter asks them, Do you want to know how he was healed?
The word for healing here literally means to be made well, to RESCUE or save someone
Boat, don’t know how to swim, and the only thing you have is a life preserver?
Good news, there is an app for that
I believe the church member truly gets this when we care as much about people as God does. When we see everyone as a valued soul worth saving; worthy of our investing time in them and taking every opportunity invite them, to share Jesus with them.
(S15) — What can you do?
Intentionally look for opportunities
Are we a church that is intentionally focused on saving lives? John Wesley on Evangelism and the Pursuit of Justice
'You Have Nothing to Do But Save Souls' J. Wesley
When we truly understand this, the other two objections go away…

4. I don’t want to impose my beliefs on others

Can you imagine the apostle standing before the crowds and saying, I really have some good news for you, Jesus is the way to healing, to know peace, and find joy, but I don’t want to impose my beliefs on you—After all religion is a private matter!”
The wages of sin…a life without Jesus is death. ‘Your beliefs are not an imposition, they are a life raft for a drowning neighbor, the answer to all the questions...
It’s a simple; is there anything more important than someone having a relationship with Jesus? Everyone will not be open to the good news…but it shouldn't stop us from speaking when the opportunity arises
(S17)—What can we do?
Be PREPARED to speak when there is opportunity
1 Peter 3:14-15 “Even if you suffer for doing what is right, God will reward you for it. So don’t worry or be afraid of their threats. 15 Instead, you must worship Christ as Lord of your life. And if someone asks about your hope as a believer, always be ready to explain it.”
When we believe that, we begin to look for opportunities, and are ready to speak when they arise. When we believe that, we become an “I will” joy-filled church member; the body of Christ-the kingdom of God grows.
They tried to stop Peter and John; their boldness confused them. They threatened them; the result, they let them go—They went not on their own power—they were commited to going—They started the conversation—looked for opportunities—offered the hope that they had in Jesus’ saving grace
19 But Peter and John replied, “Do you think God wants us to obey you rather than him? 20 We cannot stop telling about everything we have seen and heard.”
What if Peter and the other apostles has said, “its not my spiritual gift, it’s the pastors job, I don’’t have time, I don’t want to impose my beliefs on anyone, after all religion is a private matter.”
Changes are in our near future...Building updates…mission…vision…But, the church is not the church unless it is GOING! Full of people who say I Will…GO
I bet if I asked someone invested time in you which lead to bringing you here? Have you thanked them? You should….Let me encourage you-start where you are…keep it simple…ask yourself this questions,
“How has knowing Jesus transformed my life?
The challange
1. Right one NAME on your calendar: Start with those you love and care about
Pray — Visit — Invite
2. Go to your difficult places
Look for the OPPORTUNITY to start a conversation
9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness
3. Believe there is power in going-Believe in that power so you will go
Jesus didn’t say; just build a really nice building and they will come,
2 Corinthians 12:8-9 “8 Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away. 9 Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me.”

There is POWER in GOING

Where is your Jerusalem? Your community, your work, your neighbors, your favorite restaurant, the barber chair; Where do you see people, you can go to and invest in and invite?
Go and make disciples…transforming the world.”
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