Vision. Mission. Purpose.
I would encourage you to open it and Sue turn to the book of Acts turn to the book of Acts with me and we're going to be in rather a large section. The screen says 13 and 14, but we're also going to be diving back into 11 briefly. But now you can start in 13 if you want to and as we open the word together and as the kids go downstairs and as we're singing this morning, I hope that the words that we were singing. We're not just words. I pray that those are really The Cry of our hearts right that our desire is to follow our desires to do what God calls us to do now. Some of you are guests here at redhill some of you've been here for a while some of you have been here. Not quite longer than I've been alive, but getting close. You been here for a while and if you've been at Red Hills for a little while, you know this but if you're if you're new here, let me just talk a little bit about vision and Mission and purpose, right we talked about this at Red Hill so much so that if I said, why does the church exists? I have a feeling that those have been here for a while could answer. What is it that we're supposed to do?
Well done your pop quiz you get a hundred each and a gold star, right? We talked about our purpose as a church as a gathering of committed followers of Christ. What we want to do more than anything else is obey our Lord. We want to obey the one who was willing to lay down his life for us. We want to obey the one as he says at the end of The Book of Matthew to whom all authority has been given we want to obey him when somebody came up to Jesus and said, what's the greatest commandment? He said well trick question. There's actually two the first one is love the Lord your God with all your heart with all your soul with all of your mind. The second one. It is like it is love your neighbor as yourself from that at Red Hills we talked about we want to love God we want to love others, but then he also said after he had died hang the penalty. For our sin after he rose from the dead giving us this hope of new life. He gave a commission to his church. He said go and make disciples. So these are the why of Red Hills the why of Red Hills is to love God love others and make disciples. But sometimes I get distracted by why questions, I like why questions but I think that it's important for us also answered the how question how do we love God? How do we love others? How do we make disciples in and it Red Hills? We've looked at it actually the book of Acts and we've withdrawn from that certain practices of the early church Mercedes map really well with these commands that Jesus gave and so we engage in worship be that singing or other forms. We engage in worship as a church because we want to love God. Pray as a church there still room for growth in that but we pray as a church because we love God and we we open the word of God together. We study it together because we want to obey this command to love the Lord Our God. How do we love others? Well, we Fellowship together. Now. This has been a strange year for Fellowship looked a little different but even so if you can cast your mind back to those six weeks that we did not gather how good was it to walk in after it was not good to be separated for those that long how good was it to walk back in and get to just see and greets and smile and laugh together. We Fellowship together whether we're separated by technology whether we're in the same room we seek to love one another. Well, we seek to engage one another in the partnership of the Gospel. Be safe to serve to serve. The church we seek to survive outside the church and we give we give so that when their resources available for these things to happen. And so we love others in those ways and others as well. I don't want to pretend like this is an exhaustive list. It's not but these are just some key ones that we've identified at the church and said this matters finally, how do we make disciples of the number one way that we do that is just one-on-one discipleship encouraging one another in the faith saying to one another. Hey, this is what I'm struggling with. Would you pray for me? And can I pray for you in any way or let's let's let's sit down and let's read the Bible together and let's just talk about how it applies to our lives this discipleship, right? We do that corporately to That's why we talk about Sunday School. Sunday school is not just an opportunity to drink bad coffee. Sunday school is an opportunity for us to come together gather around the word and with one another say how are we going to apply this to our lives? How are we going to put this into practice day by day and so discipleship, but we're not just focus inside these walls. It's not about the organization known as Red Hills. We want to be engaged in evangelism evangelism is simply taking discipleship on the road taking discipleship outside the walls of the church making disciples of people who may not even know who Jesus is that's what evangelism is sharing the good news taking the gospel out. We want to do that and we have opportunities to do that. Finally We Make Disciples through missions We Make Disciples by sending people out to take the gospel to places where it's never been that we have Partnerships with churches. We have Partnerships with individuals where we are seeking to come alongside them provide for their needs so that they can take the gospel or like in what's going to happen in Ecuador here at the first part of January. We're going to go out and we're going to be teaching pastors and church leaders there in Ecuador about the church about what it means to be a pastor what it means to understand the New Testament, right? This is Mission going outside the walls of the church with the gospel and going Beyond then the question and then I promise we're getting to ask as we're getting back to ex don't give up on me yet. This is where we get back. Where do we do those things? Where do we as a church love God love others and make disciples. Well the task for the disciples here in the book of Acts. We know that one of the keys key theme verses for this book is Acts 1:8 Acts 1:8 Anthony last Sunday when he was preaching he reference that right that they're there to stay dangerous and he is with Jesus Witnesses in Jerusalem Judea Samaria and to the ends of the Earth that we can take that and we can say what we all need to move to the Middle East and we need to go make disciples in Jerusalem or we can do what I think we're meant to do which is to contextualize we're going to put it kind of over our current reality. So as a church making disciples in Iron County, we're loving God and loving others in Iron County. That's our Jerusalem. But we're also meant to love God love others and make disciples throughout our region. That's kind of the Judea and Samaria it throughout Southern Utah Arizona Nevada, right this this section of the world that we happen to live in this region. We want to be obeying the commands of Christ here. We want to be Witnesses for Christ. Not just in Enoch not just in Cedar City not just an iron County but going beyond that and it finally we want to continue making disciples loving God loving others around the world. Everywhere and so we have Partnerships in Kenya in Ecuador in Mexico that we are seeking to do these commands as we go so our vision our mission or purpose and I put three things up there. Not that we actually have like each of those spelled out but to remind us what it is that we do as a church and we need to understand this is this is something that the church has done for centuries. This is this is the story of the book of Acts. The story of the book of Acts is Jesus working through his people who are obeying what he told them to do. And so we've traced the development we've seen the gospel get presented in Jerusalem, and we've seen the disciples spread out and take the gospel with them wherever they went. Now last Sunday, I was jealous of Anthony getting the passage that you got in this schedule because my the church at Antioch is like my favorite church ever. I love the church at Antioch, right? They just started by a bunch of anonymous nobodies. Go in and they start preaching the gospel to Jews and Gentiles alike. And the work of God is carried on there and just an incredible way and so not being able to constructively deal with my jealousy over Anthony getting to preach that text. I want to call us back to it. So let's look at Acts chapter 11 just briefly Anthony did a fantastic job covering it, but I just want to call your attention to chapter 11 and I want you to look at burst 25 with me 25 and 26. So Barnabas went to Tarsus to look for Saul and then I'm going to stop just a second. Then I get a little bit of background. You haven't been with us through the series and acts right Barnabas was one of the disciples in Jerusalem. He he was if they recognized as somebody who is faithful he's gifted of the Holy Spirit and he's a super encouraging person. He's encouraged the disciples everywhere. He's been right and then his name Saul should pop out at us because saw was somebody who started out persecuting the church. He started out hating the Christians. And then Jesus got a hold of him and he went from persecuting Christians to preaching Christ to the Jews and he would it was tough for the early disciples to accept that this transformation is taking place. It was tough for them to understand. It's all really had been genuinely converted by crisis. He has accepted him as his Messiah and so Saul and Barnabas are characters that we've seen before but look at what happened. So this is the church at Antioch and it's doing all the things that Anthony talked about last week and and their there they're growing and doing all that butts Barnabas gets sent to Antioch and he's going to come and he's going to exhort them. He's going to teach them but then he goes to Tarsus to look for Saul. Had prior dealings with and when he found him he brought him to Antioch for a whole year. They met with the church and taught a great many people and in Antioch, the disciples were first called Christian's I want you to get this I want you to get this because when we say that the purpose of our church, the reason we exist is to obey Jesus by loving God loving others and making disciples. We need to think through how we do that. We need to think through what that looks like and so we have the example of this church in Antioch that I want us to look at this morning In this passage and then we'll skip over to acts 13 the first thing that we see here in Acts 11. Is it faithful churches raise up leaders? Faithful churches raise up leaders faithful church has raised up not just leaders in the secular sense. But leaders in the Christian sent right Jesus. Did If anyone among you would be great. He must become the servant of all If anyone among you would be important. He must become the least of all these bencheley right when we think leaders. We don't need to think that this is just oh that's for you know, the pastors are that's for the Sunday School teachers or that's for the children's church teacher note to raise up leaders is simply another way of saying to raise up disciples who make disciples so Antioch where they were first called Christians is this faithful church and it is raising up faithful disciples who make faithful Disciples of Barnabas comes in and he starts making disciples, but then he does something Be interesting he goes and he gets all who it had. These previous dealings with me says hey, I need you to come over here. Why does he do that? Why does he do that? Well for one thing he wants some help there in Antioch. He want some help making disciples there, but I think he does it to because he's aware that's all needs to grow as a disciple maker Barnabas is making disciples in Antioch. Saul is a disciple. He doesn't need to know how to be a disciple, but he does need to learn how to be a disciple maker and the church at Antioch becomes this place where Saul begins to hone. The skills and abilities that God had given him Barnabas teas it before anybody else does he is true back when were first introduced to and Barnabas is the one who tells the disciples except saw don't hold his past against him and now Barnabas is the one who's all right. So let's take the next step. You're going to be a disciple maker and it works. Write it works go figure when the people of God do the task of God according to the means and by which God has given them guess what happens if it works now as pragmatic Americans that should just raise shouts of Hallelujah to us. Might we just want things to work. And so you have all kinds of attempts to make things work in different ways, right? But shirts, let me tell you the only way to accomplish what it is that God wants to see accomplished. Used to do it God's way. You can gather a crowd very easily you can get any number of people to show up for something that's entertaining for something to Excellence. But if you want to do something worth doing You do the work that God has called you to do which is to make disciples not gather a crowd. And you do it the way that God has said to do it do it by glorifying Jesus.
and him alone faithful churches raise up leaders Red Hills in our attempts to love God love others and make disciples. God has been gracious and allowed us to raise up leaders. Turn over to Acts chapter 13 with me.
That's Tuff Stuff that happens in Acts 12. Did Anthony talked about what we pick up in Acts chapter 13. And we look in first one. Now there were in the church at Antioch prophets and teachers Barnabas Simeon who was called Niger Lucius of Cyrene Minnie and a member of the court of Herod the tetrarch and saw while they were worshiping the Lord and fasting the holy spirit said set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them then after fasting and praying they laid their hands on them and sent them off. I want you to bring me acts 11 with you in the acts 13 faithful church has raised up faithful disciples who also make disciples acts 13 churches that are faithful to do the former. In order to continue being faithful send out disciples who will make disciples. They send their leaders out Barnabas and Saul were key leaders in the church at Antioch, right Barnabas and Saul were instrumental in the work that was taking place in Antioch. And the Holy Spirit says set them apart and send them out church. We have had opportunity to put this into practice have we not Dan? Maryama? One of our pastors is not here this morning. He and his wife Monica are up at Panguitch, Utah at Valley Christian Fellowship. Because Dan is serving up there. Is there interim pastor Wright? We had a minimal parts. in raising up Dan and Monica got it already done a significant amount of discipleship in their life through other sources before they got here, but we don't claim them as our own and say If Dan's not here what how we going to organize anything? Who's going to make sure we don't lose track of something important along the way cuz we know Brandon's not going to do it. We could have that view and when Dan called me and he said this is this has been a little while back when Dan called me and he said, you know, I feel or emailed me rather. I feel like the Lord is laying down my heart. Would you pray about it with me and when we prayed together? I said I think I think this is good. I think this is what the Lord wants. And then blank to say go go and do the work that God is calling you to do Bryant and Penny Swenson one of our pastors. Because of pennies health and because of an opportunity at the church that we're partnered with down in hurricane that been Swenson Pat pastors. They felt like now is the right time for them to move down there and to start investing in disciple-making there in hurricane and we say yes because Church our task is now to gather the best team that we can hear and hold on to them for dear life the measure of our success as a church is not how many people are sitting here on a Sunday morning. The measure of our success is whether or not we are loving God loving others and making disciples which means we're going to be raising up leaders means we're going to be sending leaders at and want us to understand it where this sending took place. What were they doing when God got their attention they were worshipping. We're good with that part. They were also fasting that's a little tougher for us today. But I still think it's the discipline that we ought to engage in. They were focused on God. They had their eyes fixed firmly on the one to whom they owed everything. And so with that focus in mind with surf firm resolve to say we're looking at you God When God says send out two of your best they say you bet will do that. Okay, and if it's almost like when you read this, it's just like immediate and I'm sure there was a little bit of time and a little bit of preparation here, but it's they're worshiping and fasting set apart for me Barnabas and Saul then after fasting and praying they laid their hands on them and sent them off just like that. Why because when the church is focused on the purpose of God when the church is focused on the mission of God. Does it matter what God calls them to do? They say we'll do it. They say let's go and then here in the book of Acts. We get the the story of what happens, right? This church has been faithful now to raise up leaders. This church has been faithful to send out faithful disciples who will make disciples and they do it and Barnabas and Saul go and then the last the next section here is all about what happens. We're not going to read all of this text. But I encourage you just a head of skim along with me and hopefully you've been getting our emails and so maybe you had a chance to read this passage before coming in this morning, but in inverse for it says and so being sent out by the Holy Spirit, they went down to seleucia and from there. They sailed to Cyprus and they just start going Set them apart to the work. I have send them out. They're sent out and they start going and they begin to share the gospel. They begin to do what disciples who want to make disciples do the first things that we see here in this section. Is it faithful sent out one confront opponents of the Gospel when they get there to Cypress they begin to proclaim the word in this guy stand-up who is opposing this work. They're sharing the gospel with this guy in this magician stepped up and he starts trying to turn this guy away from the face and they if you can and they rebuke him in in words that frankly we would consider a little harsh you son of the devil you enemy of all righteousness full of Deceit and villainy. Right B say no for a faithful disciple maker to be sent out and to continue being faithful. They must confront opponents of the Gospel in so that's what Paul and Barnabas do and then in in 13 through 52 that next section there. We see that the faithful sent out one's teach the truth of God's word, right? They go in and end at their model here is important their model was to going to a place And they would first go to the synagogue. Where the Jews would gather on on the Sabbath? And they would come ask fellow Jews and they would speak to them and they would say it was very frequent in that day. When we went a Jew from somewhere else came into the synagogue. It was kind of the practice to say. Hey, do you have anything to say to the assembly this this morning? And so sure enough they give Saul and Barnabas this opportunity. To preach and they just open the Bible basically which in those days was just the Old Testament, right? There was no new testament. They open the Old Testament and they began to Proclaim to these Jews. This is what the word of God says about the Messiah of God and some believed and some didn't they're not responsible for whether or not people obey listen believe they're simply responsible to declare the truth of God's word. And so that's what they do faithful sent out once confront opponents of the Gospel faithful sent one teach the truth of God's word. And so that's what they do and then they they caused quite a stir it says there at the end of 13 and they basically get run out of town. But they're not done look at verse 52 and the disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit. Their Joy was not dependent on their circumstances their Joy with 100% dependents. On Christ and on the presence of the spirit with them, they literally get run out of town and they were Joyce anyways. Next section of these faithful sent out one. Don't just take the gospel to the Jews. They take the gospel to the Gentiles as well at Iconium. They entered into the Jewish synagogue, but they spoke in such a way that great numbers of both Jews and Greeks believed and this is simply the pattern that we've seen elsewhere repeated in in the book of Acts. We've seen the gospel go to the Jews and then the church in Antioch right now. Going to the Gentiles it goes to the Samaritans. It gets all the way down to Ethiopia before we're even into double-digit chapters in this book The Gospel is going out without prejudice without prejudice faithful sent ones share the gospel with everyone. Not just the people they think will respond not just the people they think are easy to reach not just the people who look like them smell like them talk like them but everyone Faithful sent ones share the gospel without prejudice next section there. They go to lystra and in lystra Paul performs this miracle and this man is healed now. Paul doesn't perform the miracle, right any good thing that comes out of a Christ follower isn't the Christ follower. Is Jesus working in and through them Paul knows this but the crowded lystra doesn't know that. and so they begin to say that these are God's they interpret the work of God in such a way that it gives glory to the messengers of God and Paul and Barnabas in the eyes of the crowd. They're not ambassadors of Christ. They're the ones who ought to be praised. Paul and Barnabas aren't going to let that stand and they immediately Russian is is the is a crowd of thing Barnabas is Zeus. And Paul is Hermes, right which is really funny because we get the impression like the Paul's in charge when we read the book of Acts and when you read like some of the letters of Paul to get the idea that maybe Paul kind of like being in charge, so it's funny to me that Barnabas gets credit for being the head God and Paul is just the messenger right? He's the little pee on so that just made me laugh when I saw that but there's a good reason for this because Paul was a dude that was doing all the talking right? And that's how it worked with the Greek God Zeus that upon his throne Hermes was the messenger. He would come to declare the God's intention. And so these people are putting two and two together like well Barnabas is here pause doing all the talking this dude just got healed. This must be Zeus. And this is his messenger Hermes. They can't let that stand. Faithful sent ones reject the idolatrous. Praise of men faithful sent ones reject the idolatrous. Praise of men Paul and Barnabas know something that is essential that we know.
It's not about you.
The work of God in this world is not about you. It's not you don't do what Jesus tells you to do. So that others will think that you're cool so that you got a cool story to tell you don't do what Jesus tells you to do to make sure that others will praise you for your faithfulness know you reject that and you try to point everyone you can to Christ don't look at me. Look at Jesus Jesus addresses this in the gospels. He says do good works. Do good works? Not so that you can earn God's favor. But so that you can point the eyes of those around you to your father who is in heaven and that's it. That's the goal. And so when we as disciples receive praise or when we as disciples have extra helpings of people's appreciation put on us we got to be the first to say Nami Jesus is all about him. They continued their Journey it Verse 18 though. It is kind of funny. Even with these words when they say hey quit don't praise us. We're just The Messengers were pointing you to the truth. They say that even with these words. They scarcely restrain the people from offering sacrifice to the cracks me up people just weren't listening. Next section. They are 19. Look at what picks up in this I want to read this section. I want I want I want to read this together, but Jews came from Antioch and Iconium and having persuaded the crowd. They stoned Paul and dragged him out of the city supposing that he was dead. Now, that's a little bit of switch right Verse 18. They're about to offer sacrifices to Denny's people who are opposed to the gospel come and they convince him now don't ask for sacrifices giving stones. Killing, don't praise him. So Paul is stoned and dragged out of the city supposed to be dead. But when the disciples gathered around him, he rose up and entered the city and on the next day. He went on with Barnabas to Derby. Faithful sent ones faithful sent ones suffer for the sake of the Gospel. Church, we want to love God love others and make disciples. Guess what? That is a good thing to want to do. We want to obey Jesus that is a good thing to do. I want you to understand this morning that that is not an easy road to walk. And faithful disciples will inevitably suffer for the sake of the Gospel. Paul suffers And yet he keeps going when they had preached the gospel to that City and Derby they made me example, they returned to livestream zico nymph and to Antioch strengthening The Souls of the disciples encouraging them to continue in the face and saying that through many tribulations. We must enter the kingdom of God and when they had appointed Elders for them in every church with prayer and fasting they committed them to the Lord in they had the Leafs why Why are faithful sent ones willing to suffer for the gospel? Because they can trust that it is God who is at work? How could Paul leave these places knowing that he had just been stoned for believing the gospel and preaching the gospel. How can he go back to these disciples and say don't lose heart.
When you suffer for the kingdom don't give up, how can you do that? Because it's not about Paul and it's not about them. It's about the Lord in whom they had delete. And talk and say even though this doesn't make sense from a human standpoint. I'm trusting you to the care of the Lord trusting you to the one who is faithful.
Faithful sent one suffer for the sake of God the gospel, but they Point others back to God. Look at the last section here. Then they pass through Cydia and came to pamphylia when they have spoken the word in Pergo. They went down to a Talia and from there. They sailed to Antioch where they had been commended to the grace of God for the work that they had just fulfilled when they arrived and gather the church together. They declared all that God had done with them and how he had opened the door of Faith to the Gentiles and they remained no little time with the disciples. faithful sent ones return to praise God with those who send them because while it's not about the sent ones. It is about the one who sends and we need that reminder coming up later in December at some point. We're going to have an opportunity to celebrate with some that we've sent that we still partner with across the seas Lord willing. We'll have an opportunity to celebrate with them what God has done. Dan will be here. At least one Sunday every month will get to celebrate what God is doing.
When we send we have the expectation that is not forever. When we send we have this expectation that we will praise the Lord together again. This is the Hope for the church. So faithful churches raise up leaders. They raise up the seiples who make disciples faithful churches send out leaders. But the ones who were sent out. Are marked by these things? A willingness to confront the opponents of the Gospel willingness to teach the truth of God's word willingness to share the gospel without prejudice to reject idolatrous praise to suffer for the sake of the Gospel. and then whether now or weather in eternity We know that those who are sent and those who sent will praise the Lord together you guys pray with me.