Building With A Missional Mindset
February 14, 2010 Series: Building
Topic: Church Life Passage: Matthew 28:16–28:20
Building With A Missional Mindset
Last week we began a series called “Building” which we hope will help give us focus as we press forward together as a church. We’re going to focus on our vision for building together, as laid out in the Great Commission and on our vision to own our own building as a tool to help us carry out the Great Commission. If you missed Allen’s introduction of this series last week I want to encourage you to go to our website and listen to it.
The passage that we’re drawing from for this series is Matthew 28:16-20- the Great Commission; the resurrected Lord giving His disciples their marching orders. This morning we’re going to focus on one aspect of the Great commission-GO. The title of today’s message is “Building with a Missional Mindset”.
Let’s go ahead and jump right in. If you have your bibles, turn with me to Matthew 28 and let’s read starting in verse 16.
Matthew 28:16-20 “16 Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. 17 And when they saw him they worshiped him, but some doubted. 18 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
There are 2 main words that we usually use related to this idea of “going”: Missions and Evangelism. Evangelism is the specific act of sharing the gospel while missions refers to the broader work of reaching out with compassion, mercy and service, and building relationships with the aim of evangelizing-sharing and demonstrating the gospel. This is Jesus last instruction to us from earth which is ironic because it seems that in recent history the church in America has become less focused on the lost and much more focused on itself. And I would put us in that category.
My own experience of evangelism has been a struggle and the same has been true of most of my friends. It seems like every church has a few people that are known as the “evangelistic guys (or ladies)”. There seems to be an unspoken, subtle acceptance of the fact that they’re good at it and we struggle with fear, inadequacy and laziness. Why? We have to recognize that we’re engaged in a war; a war against the enemy of our soul and a war against our own flesh. This makes evangelism hard. But we can’t give up. Jesus command is to all of His disciples-that includes of us.
I. Why Should We Go?
So why should we go? Why should we evangelize? Why should we live our lives and build this church with a Missional Mindset? Why should we view our lives as a platform to display and speak the gospel to anyone who would listen with the hopes that as many as possible would come to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ? There are many reasons to go but none as important as love. I believe the 2 primary reasons that we should go are out of love for God and love for people.
a. Love for God
“Go” is a command. Jesus isn’t asking, He’s telling us what needs to be done, what we’re expected to do as His disciples. In John 14:15 Jesus tells us, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” This isn’t a guilt trip or manipulation. Jesus is giving us the natural progression of being a disciple. “Love for me produces a desire and motivation to follow me or obey” is what He’s saying.
But Paul takes this a step farther. Turn to 2 Cor. 5-look at verse 14, “the love of Christ controls us” or compels us. It’s interesting to note that Paul is talking about his experience of evangelism. Verse 11 he says “we persuade others” and in verse 20 he refers to himself as an ambassador of Christ. Paul’s motivation for evangelizing was the love of Christ. Where does this love come from? Any love we experience comes from Him, right? 1 John 4:19-“We love because He first loved us”.
Do you remember that love? Do you remember who you were and how you felt before Jesus broke into your world? Some of you were depressed, hopeless and empty; living the fruit of a life devoted to sin, pursuing pleasure but never being satisfied, hating and being hated. Some of you were happy, successful, deceived. But all of us were on the same track. We had a one way ticket to the judgment seat of Christ where we would be judged alone and naked with only our sinful works to present to the Judge.
Can you imagine anything more terrifying? Can you imagine feeling any more hopeless, lonely and afraid as you stand alone before your creator, a holy God, the great I AM. According to Revelation 20 we will all stand before God and give an account for everything we’ve done in word, thought and deed. And anyone whose name is not found written in the book of life is thrown into the lake of fire.
Do you remember who you were? What about now? Do you realize who you are now; no longer an enemy but a child and friend of God? Now when you stand before that throne and give account for your deeds, you have a mediator, a substitute, and you’re clothed in His righteousness-not the filthy rags of your own works. You are saved! This was motivated by His love for you.
When we’re weak in evangelism, we’re not properly grasping who we are now in light of who we once were. But when we understand and feel the immensity of the gift we see in verse 21: “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God”, like Paul, we will be compelled to act. And this motivates us to love God.
b. Love for People
So we “Go” out of love for God but remembering also motivates us to “Go” out of a love for people because we recognize that we are a person. After you grasp who you are and realize what God did for you, you realize, he didn’t just do it for you-He did it for everybody. He loves you, but not you alone. He loves everyone and if God loves people we should love people.
4 Leapers: This is a day of good news
There’s a story in 2 Kings chapter 7 about 4 leapers. The Syrian army had laid siege to Samaria and famine had taken over the land. Conditions were so bad that the unthinkable was taking place. There was not food and no escape. The 4 leapers sat outside of the city because they weren’t allowed in and one day they began to reason: If we go into the city for food we’ll die, if we stay here we’ll die, we might as well go to the Assyrians and ask for food. If they kill us, we’re no further behind but if they receive us we can eat.
So they went and found the camp empty (the Lord had scared them away) and they ate to their hearts content…until one of them began to feel his conscience and he said in verse 9, “We are not doing right. This day is a day of good news. If we are silent and wait until the morning light, punishment will overtake us. Now therefore come; let us go and tell the king's household.”
Are we hoarding what the Lord has so freely given us? If so, let’s repent and have the same response as the leapers: “We are not doing right. This day is a day of good news…let us go and tell”.
To truly love people means that we care for them and when something we care about is in danger and is then rescued, there’s joy. This is what we see in the parable of the lost sheep. 1st theirs an indictment: “What man of you…wouldn’t go after the lost sheep?” But after the sheep has been found there’s great rejoicing, not only in the shepherds house but in heaven. God and the angels rejoice when the lost are found. We see God’s heart for His people in His rejoicing and we also see that a result, a reward of our obedience to “Go” is our joy.
II. How Should We Go?
Ok, now we know why we should “Go” but what do we do now? How should we “Go”? It’s not very often that an opportunity to share the gospel doesn’t take us out of our comfort zone or inconvenience us. And every encounter is different, so how do you know what to do? Even with these wonderful motivations of love, Evangelism is still hard, isn’t it?
What I want, what I want for you and what believe is the heart of God for us is that we would live with a Missional Mindset. Evangelism is challenging, so before we move on to any of the practical stuff, I want to encourage you with Jesus words from the Great Commission: “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
We can “Go” with confidence in the one who holds all authority; He’s sovereign over all things. We don’t have to fear man. And we “Go” with comfort knowing that He is always with us. We’re inadequate, but He’s not and He promises to be with us.
I’m going to be sharing some personal testimonies that we’ve had with people over the last few months but I want to be sensitive to these individuals so I’ll be changing their names. I don’t share these testimonies to toot my own horn. On the contrary, I want you see that God is at work in the hearts of men and women. People are open to talk about personal and spiritual things if we’re open to start the conversation.
How do we “Go”? First we have to GO. In his book titled, Tell it Often, Tell it Well, Mark McCloskey has this to say about the current state of evangelism in the church:
“After all is said and done, there’s usually more said than done. Evangelism is much discussed, encouraged and taught, but seldom demonstrated. The proof of our spiritual convictions is in the doing.” He goes on, “how does one become a builder…by building. The kind of convictions that translate into action aren’t lectured or discussed in our heads. They are hammered into our hearts on the forge of personal, front line experiences.”
How do you live with a Missional Mindset? By going and making disciples. We have to make a commitment to “Go”. If not, we don’t need to go any further the practical ideas. A determination to “Go” and live with a Missional Mindset takes faith, should be bathed in prayer and done in complete dependence on the Lord but it also takes action.
Once you’ve determined in your heart to “Go”, you can start looking. Be aware of your surroundings. Pay attention to the people that you regularly come in contact with. Be ready for the unexpected. People are all around us; if we see them through the eyes of a Missional Mindset we’ll be much less likely to miss opportunities. Every interaction isn’t necessarily a chance to share the gospel, but it’s building toward that opportunity.
I met Joe briefly as he was getting in and I was coming out of the whirlpool at the Y. Nothing unusual, but when I got Wegmans an hour later, he was sitting at the table next to me. So I asked him, “was that you at the Y?” he said yes, we had a short conversation about work.
Betty is in her 80’s. I met her at the Chamber of Commerce Holiday Outreach that we did back in November. When I offered her a free bible she said she wouldn’t read it. When I asked her why she said she was an agnostic. When I asked her why she said she had some bad experiences and was mad at God. I encouraged her to take the bible anyway and told her that the God of the bible is probably different than how she feels about God. I saw her a month later in Wegmans. She was very friendly, hadn’t read the bible yet but still had it.
Fred is in his 40’s. A simple hello and a question about his New Year’s resolutions opened up a 5 minute conversation where he very honestly shared his childhood family and church experience and why he hasn’t been to church since he was 8 years old.
These are a few examples of the potential for interaction with the lost if we just look. People are open and they will talk. Just look for the opportunities. And make opportunities: become a repeat customer.
Looking is necessary but without common ground we’ve got nothing to talk about. We have to connect with people. Look for entry points in the conversation. Avoid judgmentalism and moral corrections. Instead use the topics that might motivate these responses to enter their world.
Jimmy was young self proclaimed atheist who loved Screamo and Death Metal metal music. As we asked him about why, we soon realized that he didn’t know. Some of his answers seemed like he was repeating what he had heard someone else say and some seemed like he was just trying to get a reaction. When we didn’t react the conversation went on and we were able to find out that his relationship with his father was rocky, His dad made him go to church which he hated, but that he knew he should do something so he would go to youth group. We were able to share the gospel with him that night. 2 weeks ago, he was waiting tables a restaurant and we recognized him. He didn’t have a lot of time to talk but when we asked him if He remembered us and our conversation he said, Yeah, you’re the Christians and I’m the atheist” and he stopped at our table to say something to us each time he came by.
We need to follow the example of Paul: “I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some. 23 I do it all for the sake of the gospel, that I may share with them in its blessings.”
Caring might seem like a no brainer but it can be hard to do. Anytime our selfish desires are involved we’re going to encounter resistance-expect it. But without real care and concern for people we’re just salesmen and hypocrites.
People feel care and they know when we don’t care. Be willing to “waste” time, get your hands dirty, serve someone you barely know, let them serve you, be willing to talk to someone or about something that makes you uncomfortable. Sin is messy but it’s the sinner that needs the gospel-do you remember?
Jesus is our example of being Missional Minded. Go, look, connect and care. He did it all. Jesus’ “going” was from heaven to earth-the longest missionary journey ever. And then, after He lived a perfect life and died a sinner’s death, he rose from the dead and sought us out. And he met us where we were; in our sin and mess. And He loved us and continues to care for us
If you’ve never responded to the message of the gospel, I want to give you the opportunity today. None of us know what tomorrow holds, but we do know that it is appointed for every man to die once and then the judgment. If you have understood the gospel as I’ve shared it today and know that it’s true and if you’re aware of your sin and failure to please God and would like to repent today, I would just ask you to make your way to the front while we sing this song-we want to pray with you.
I want to have a heart with a Missional Mindset like Charles Spurgeon did. He says:
“If sinners be damned, at least let them leap to Hell over our dead bodies. And if they perish, let them perish with our arms wrapped about their knees, imploring them to stay. If Hell must be filled, let it be filled in the teeth of our exertions, and let not one go unwarned and unprayed for." — Charles Spurgeon
Our goal and vision is not to grow in number for the size sake. Our goal is to empty hell and fill heaven and to see the kingdom of God advance on the earth through the hearts of men.