Our Co-Mission Vision: Session 4- Our Target (Part 1)
Session 4- Our Target (Part 1 of 2)
- Have you ever had so much to do, and so much on your mind that you sat down and wrote a list?
- After you made the list did you ever feel just a little bit better?
- If you were to think through why you felt better it may befuddle you at first. After all, you didn’t get anything done that you wrote down just by writing it.
- What did happen though, much of the time, is that you got more clear on what needed to be done. You put it on paper.
- First do this. Step A. Then Step B. Then Step C.
- It isn’t rocket surgery . Knowing what you need to do step by step really helps.
- That’s how so much of life works. You crawl before you walk. You walk before you run. You run before you can make the basketball team. There’s a progress to life.
- The Bible speaks a lot about progression spiritually, too. It uses physical maturity as a metaphor for spiritual maturity.
- Jesus referred to salvation as being born again. The Word speaks of spiritual babes, spiritually growing, spiritually stangnant, young men, and elders.
- It speaks of the milk and strong meat.
- Babies drink milk. Then they eat bread. Then they eat meat.
- They go from being fed to learning how to feed themselves, to even paying for their own food, to then having children of their own and providing for them. Then the process continues with becoming grandparents.
- The same is true spiritually- God wants us to grow spiritually, and to help others to come to faith in Christ and reproduce themselves.
- We’re in the last 2 sermons in our series called “Our Co-Mission Vision”.
- Let me summarize where we have been:
- Week 1- Our problem is spiritual before it is anything else, therefore the answer must be spiritual. The great commission describes God’s mission to change people spiritually from the inside out.
- Week 2- Our mission is the great commission. The great commission is found in five places and gives us this robust view of our mission as a church.
- We reach people for Jesus Christ by preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the lost. When they believe we baptize them, and then teach them to obey everything that Jesus commanded them with the goal of helping everyone who is reached to join in that same mission. This process needs to happen in every corner of the world, starting locally and going to the uttermost part of the earth.
- The Great Commission is a process, and so we said last week that…
- Week 3- Our Strategy- We have a discipleship pathway at Trinity Baptist Church to help people grow in their relationship with God.
- Since the Great Commission is a process, our churches strategy should reflect that process.
- We think steps, not just programs.
- We have a pathway that follows Jesus’ method of ministry in making disciples.
- Congregation- Worship Services
- Community- Sunday School
- Core- Discipleship Groups
- Commission- to the neighborhood and the nations!
- So if our problem is fundamentally spiritual,
- …and our mission is to share the message that opens people to conversion and sanctification…
- …and our church has a process to help us accomplish that mission…
- How will we know when our mission is being accomplished in someone’s life?
- What is the target? What do we think God will accomplish in someone’s life once they have been saved and as they are being sanctified.
- The short answer to that question is spiritual maturity.
28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
29 For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.
- God’s plan for all who would believe in Him has always been to make them like Jesus…to conform them to the image of His Son. Why? “…that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.” That Christ would be the prototype of a bunch of people on the same mission and with the same character that He has.
- Paul said it this way to the Philippians.
3 I thank my God upon every remembrance of you,
4 Always in every prayer of mine for you all making request with joy,
5 For your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now;
6 Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:
- Here is what is clear. God’s plan for us is that we would be saved, and that once we are saved we would grow to be like His Son.
- Now here is the truth. This side of heaven we can not be perfect, but we can be perfected.
- We cannot be sinless, but we must be sanctified.
- God’s desire is for us to be growing. It is part of the commission!
- Make disciples…
- Baptizing them…
- …teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.
- So as we grow, it will show up in our lives.
The life of a mature disciple of Jesus Christ is characterized by continued growth in these 5 disciplines. (We will study the first 3 this week, and the last 2 next week.)
- I have reflected for the last 6 months on how to express what these disciplines should be.
- These disciplines are not what we do
- …in order to be saved.
- …in order for God to love us.
- These are areas that God will grow in us as we walk with him.
- I also want to say that I believe that there is an order here that is typical.
- Each of these disciplines effect all of the other ones, and are used as part of the whole to get the Great Commission accomplished in the world.
1. Faithfully Assembling.
- The word that is translated as “church” in the new testament is the Greek word “ekklesia”, and most literally means “assembly”.
- Here are just a few clear teachings about someone being a disciple of Jesus and faithfully assembling.
22 Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord.
23 For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body.
24 Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.
25 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;
- Now that passage says a lot about Husbands and wives, and uses this metaphor of Christ and his assembly. Here’s the poing I want to make.
- Christ loves the assembly. He gave himself for it.
- The word “assembly” speaks of people.
- The assembly is not a building. It is not a location. Christ’s assembly is a people.
- Those people gather and go. They worship and then they serve. That is what an assembly does. They gather for equipping and then they live out in the world on mission.
- This was the pattern of discipleship in the early church.
41 Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls. 42 And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers. 43 And fear came upon every soul: and many wonders and signs were done by the apostles.
44 And all that believed were together, and had all things common; 45 And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need. 46 And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart, 47 Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.
- This is why the author of Hebrews commanded us this way in Hebrews 10:23-25.
23 Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;). 24 And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works:
25 Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.
- When we assemble it ought not to be that we come just to consume a product of some kind of entertainment. That is not the point.
- What should happen? Provoking and Exhorting.
- Not just from the pulpit but from the pew.
- Provoking to love and good works.
- Exhorting each other to do right.
- In Collossians 3 we are told that even our music- Psalms, Hymns and Spiritual Songs- ought to teach and admonish us who are being controlled by the Spirit.
- Assembly! Don’t stop assembling! As the day of the Lord approaches, you need more teaching, more provoking, more exhorting, more admonishement.
- In fact this is the Biblical pattern of what ought to happen in the context of the body.
11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;
12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:
- The point of the assembling is so that the saints- the “sanctified ones” would be equipped for the work of the ministry, for the edifying (The building up) of the body of Christ- the church.
- So if I were to sum up this discipline in the life of a disciple, I would say this.
A Christ follower prioritzes being a part of a local, New Testament body of believers. They are a baptized member of their local church and make it their priority to attend the services. When they are there, they Worship the Lord, edify fellow members, and seek to grow in their relationship with God and other believers.
Here are three application questions:
- Am I prioritizing assembling with my local church? ____
2. Is my motive for attending to worship God and grow from His Word? ____
3. Is my motive for attending to also encourage and build up others in the body? ____
The life of a mature disciple of Jesus Christ is characterized by continued growth in this second discipline.
2. Obediently Walking.
- Jesus Christ has made it possible for us to have a relationship with God.
- He saved us, and He sanctifies us.
- And now we have the opportunity to commune with Him.
- His Spirit indwells us.
- As we have learned from the book of Hebrews, Jesus is our High Priest representing us before God, and interceding on our behalf.
- Not only can we know about God, we can actually know God.
- Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth and the life, no man cometh to the Father but by me.”
- Relationship happens through communication. No communication leads to no relationship.
God speaks to us through His Word.
- 2 Timothy 3:16-17
2 Timothy 3:16-17
16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: 17 That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.
- God gives us His word to help us understand what to know and how to behave. It corrects the ways that we are thinking that is wrong, and how we are behaving wrong.
- When we think the way God thinks, we begin to behave the way that God behaves.
- As we get into the Word of God the Word of God gets into us.
- The Spirit that wrote the Word of God controls us as we submit to Him.
- The goal of scripture is the goal of the Spirit- to equip us for every good work.
- 2 Timothy 2:15 tells us:
2 Timothy 2:15
15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
- We commune with God through His Word, and He equips us for life.
We Speak to God through Prayer.
- The disciples came to Jesus and said, “Lord teach us to pray.”
- I believe that a distinguishing mark of the ministry of Jesus was His prayer life.
- Christ gave Himself to prayer.
- Before He did ministry in the wilderness for 40 days and 40 nights.
- Before He chose the 12.
- As he did ministry he would pray.
- In times of solitude He would send His disciples away so He could pray.
- Jesus did teach them to pray, and it was a present from day one of the church empowered by the Holy Spirit.
- In Acts 2:41-42 it says,
41 Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.
42 And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.
- The apostle Paul told the Thesalonian church…1 Thessalonians 5:17
17 Pray without ceasing.
- When we get into God’s Word and spend time with the Lord in prayer, we can be transformed from the inside out.
- This is how we walk with the Lord, and as we abide in Jesus He transforms us. Jesus Himself put it this way
3 Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you.
4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.
5 I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.
- So if I were to sum up this discipline in the life of a disciple, I would say this.
A Christ follower stays in communication with God daily. They do this through a consistent and close prayer life. They also study God’s Word to hear from God, understand what He has taught, and obey what He has said. The Word of God is used by the Holy Spirit to equip them for every good work.
Here are some application questions:
- Am I growing daily in my relationship with God through prayer?
- Am I growing daily in my relationship with God through hearing and obeying His Word?
- Is my life becoming more like Christ through consistent repentance, and faith?
The life of a mature disciple of Jesus Christ is characterized by continued growth in this third discipline.
3. Generously Serving.
- As people get saved and added to the church, the goal is to help to continue steadfastly in the apostles doctrine, fellowship, breaking of bread and prayer. We help them faithfully assemble so that they can walk with the Lord.
- I have seen those who get into God’s Word and spend time with God in prayer in a way that becomes the consistent habit of their life. What seems to follow is not just incredible transformation of their life, but incredible ministry from their life.
- You see God gifts us with talents, abilities, spiritual gifts, resources, and opportunitites.
- Every person is uniquely and specifically gifted by God with Spiritual gifts.
- Paul referred to this in Romans 12:5-8 when he said,
5 So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.
6 Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith;
7 Or ministry, let us wait on our ministering: or he that teacheth, on teaching;
8 Or he that exhorteth, on exhortation: he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness.
- God places people in the body of Christ, and I believe in their entire sphere of influence to use their gifting to serve Him and make Him known.
- Ephesians 2:8-10 says this:
8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.
10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.
- That word “workmanship” is the word “poeima”…. Poem, work of art, product of craft…
- God has gifted us for service. This was Jesus’ mentality, Himself.
25 But Jesus called them unto him, and said, Ye know that the princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them, and they that are great exercise authority upon them.
26 But it shall not be so among you: but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister;
27 And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant:
28 Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.
- As a believer grows is spiritual maturity, they recognize that all of their resources- their time, talent and treasure are really God’s, given to us in stewardship.
- Consider 2 Corinthians 9:6-8
2 Corinthians 9:6-8
6 But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully.
7 Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.
8 And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work:
- Paul said to Timothy in 1 Timothy 6:17-19
1 Timothy 6:17-19
17 Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy;
18 That they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate;
19 Laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.
- This really makes the case for the giving. It’s not to lay hold on eternal life through good works for the giver.
- It’s using the temporary resources I have now, that are going away, to make an enternal difference in that which is going to last beyond this life.
- So if I were to sum up this discipline in the life of a disciple, I would say this
A Christ follower sees himself as a steward of all that God has given to Him. As a result of this perspective, they see their talents and spiritual gifts as given to them by God to serve Him and others both inside and outside the church body. They give cheerfully, proportionally, and sacrificially of the money and resources that God has given them.
- Am I using my God given talents and spiritual gifts inside and outside of the body of Christ?
- Am I giving to the Lord through my local church cheerfully, proportionally, and sacrificially?
- Is my motive for giving and serving not for men, but for God?