Discipleship and Our Local Church Part 2
February 3, 2011 Series: Following Jesus
Topic: Evangelism Passage: Matthew 28:16–28:20
DISCIPLESHIP AND OUR LOCAL CHURCH-PART 2
This is the last message in our series on Following Jesus. 2 weeks ago Allen preached our vision for the local church; that Jesus disciples are intended to be added to the body of Christ, the church, in a real and tangible way, and that the church is the vehicle by which Jesus has chosen to spread his gospel and the context for Christians to walk out discipleship.
And then last week Allen personalized this message and preached part 1 of our vision for our local church, Grace Community Church. He shared our simplified mission statement: Loving God, Growing together, Serving one another and Going to the world. And then he expounded on the 1st three; Loving God, Growing together and Serving one another. This is going to have a significant impact on our ministry efforts this year and into the future and we want everyone to be on board. Our heart and desire is that these “statements of mission” will be more than words to us; we want them to define who we are and what we’re about.
Open to Matthew 28:16-20
Pray-not a distant God, walked in our shoes and given your example.
 Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them.  And when they saw him they worshiped him, but some doubted.  And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.  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,  teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
We’ve spent a lot of time in this passage in the past year-there’s a lot to cover in it. But today we’re going to focus on the fact that Christ has called us to go to the world with the gospel which is the 4th part of our mission together: Going to the world. I’m going to draw 2 simple but important points from this passage that we need to understand before we go and then in my 3rd point I’m going to share some of the practical ways that we plan to execute our mission to go together.
WE GO IN HIS AUTHORITY
1st, it’s important that when we go, we go in His authority. When we talk about Jesus authority, it’s different than what we’re used to with human authority. We all have a limit. Your parental authority doesn’t extend to the neighbors kids, a police officer’s authority ends at the city, county or state border, even the President’s authority is restricted and kept in check by the other 2 branches of government.
But Jesus authority isn’t like that. There are no restrictions. He has authority over all things; physical and spiritual, everything everywhere at all times and all at once at the same time. He has authority over things that we can’t see like electrons and neutrons, the weather and spiritual beings. And he has authority over things that we don’t even know about like…
•He upholds the universe by the word of his power-Hebrews 1:3
•You have given [Me] authority over all flesh, to give eternal life-John 17:2
Jesus authority is total and complete and most important for us is that He has authority over the rule of darkness, over powers and principalities and over sin which we were all bound to. So when we go in His authority, we go understanding that nothing is impossible and nothing is ultimately up to us to accomplish.
When, by faith, we go in His authority it produces confidence and rest; confidence to go knowing that He is with us, that it’s His power in us that enables us to be effective and it’s His power in others that changes the heart. We go as servants of the Most High God. We understand that we are to be faithful but it is Him who brings the fruit.
And it’s important that we go in His authority because we go with a message; a message that offends, a message that causes people to stumble and a message that requires a radical response.
WE GO WITH HIS MESSAGE
We go with His message: THE GOSPEL OF JESUS CHRIST. This message is non-negotiable. Without it no one will be saved. We must preach the gospel of Jesus Christ and no other. Most of us know the gospel but how comfortable are you explaining it? It’s very important that we’re familiar with the message that we’re going to communicate.
The Gospel can be summed up as simply as 2 Corinthians 5:21: “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” This is known as the Great Exchange-Our sin was transferred to the sinless One and His sinlessness (righteousness) was transferred to us. You can also use Ephesians 2:1-10. If you’re not familiar with the gospel, this might not make sense. It may even seem like a bunch of unnecessary nonsense. But let me explain-the bible tells us that:
•God is holy and created man in His image to know and worship Him.
•Man sinned and rebelled against God
•The result of man’s sin is enmity toward God and God’s righteous judgment of wrath toward man.
•Motivated by love, the Father sent Jesus to save mankind from judgment as a substitute.
•Jesus was born of a virgin; fully God and fully man and lived a perfect life (what we couldn’t do).
•Jesus died a substitutionary death on a cross of shame (what we deserve)
•Jesus rose from the dead defeating the power of sin and death.
•Jesus ascended to the right hand of the Father where He reigns until the day He returns to receive His bride, the church.
•And to be saved we must repent of our sinfulness and believe in Jesus Christ.
That is the gospel. That’s His message of good news and that’s our message-no more and no less. To some it will be foolishness; to some it will be a stumbling block but to some it will be the power of God to salvation. We GO trusting His authority through the Holy Spirit to work as he will and we GO with His message to everyone who will listen-which leads to my 3rd point: We go to the world.
WE GO TO THE WORLD
We take the gospel to the world, meaning, we go to all who have not yet responded to the call of the gospel. I want to break this point down into 2 sub-points:
1. What is your world?
Have you ever stopped to consider who you regularly come into contact with in any given week? Think about it in terms of spheres, at the center is you, then the next sphere closest to you is your family, extended family, your neighborhood, then your co-workers, and then social contacts. Who has God put in your life? I’m guessing that if most of us were to take a few minutes and write down everyone we can think of that falls into one of these categories we would be surprised at how many people we interact with in a given week. When I did this exercise the first thing that hit me was a realization of how many opportunities for the gospel I have simply overlooked.
Illustration: One of the many examples I have of not being aware of my world was when I was in my 1st semester of college. I had determined that I was going to be a witness for Christ on my campus. So I did what all young nervous evangelists did back in the 90’s-I wore a Lord’s Gym t-shirt. And every time I wore that shirt I was overcome with self-consciousness and fear. I can actually remember thinking, “I hope I can make it to my car without anyone asking me about this dumb shirt.”
But toward the end of the semester, one of the guys that I had begun to spend a little time with asked me about my shirt. Before I could answer he broke down crying. His mother was a Christian and had raised him to know the gospel but he had rejected it. And began to tell me how he wanted what I had, a boldness to proclaim the gospel. And shortly after that he did give His life to the Lord (authority of Christ). But for an entire semester I failed to notice that he was in my world.
2. How do we go to the world?
I’m going to share some of the plans and strategies that we have as a church to reach out to this local community with the gospel this year but first I want to make sure that we all understand that without your personal conviction, driven by faith and producing action in your own lives and families, these events and efforts will have a limited effect. Everything about the Christian life, including evangelism, starts in the heart and lives of the individual and overflows from there. Church wide outreach events provide opportunities for us to work together, they give us a greater reach, we can be equipped and grow together and as we serve together we use our gifts to spread the gospel.
But our definition of “going to the world” should never begin and end with Church outreach events. That being said, how do we start? How do we go to the world?
a.Start by knowing your world-make the list
b.Make a plan-When the UPS guy comes tomorrow…get his name and tell him yours
c.Invite them into your life-make time: coffee, racket ball, yard work, over for dinner
d.Invite to church-not very exciting?
i.Last week the Hinterberger family brought with them a guest from Japan who has never beenexposed to the idea of “God”. Not an atheist, just completely ignorant of God. When they got in the car he said the following: "I don't know how to find the words for what I am feeling. I see that God is real and that you truly believe in Him...I have never felt this before."
e.Preach the gospel
i.6 steps to talking about Jesus
1.Not exciting/doesn’t need to be. Scriptural, foundational, practical
2.Watching videos and going to group won’t change us-practice
1.Testimonies of the power of the gospel in the lives of women
2.Easy to invite people to
1.Get our name in the community, donations for youth
2.Opportunity to invite to church and other outreach events
1.Keeping our church in the community
2.Opportunity to serve community, opp. To invite…
iv.Exploring Christianity (type) class
1.Scheduled in the fall
2.Inviting people all year
3.Teach the gospel
v.Outreach Ministry Team
1.All this is a lot of work-big investment
2.We need your help
3.Meeting: Feb. 13th after the service
4.Not being on the team doesn’t mean we don’t need your help
b.Other ministries that preach the gospel
These are all very practical ways that we can be involved in the work of Going to the World with the Gospel like Jesus has commanded us to. And as we go, we do it together, as the body of Christ, and we learn and we grow as we serve those who need the good news of the Savior. Ultimately, success for this task isn’t found in numbers or in the perfect event. We’ll know success when we do these things motivated by Love for God and love for people.
In closing, I want to ask you to think about what your vision of this church is in 5 or 10 years. Does it look the same to you; same faces, same size, even the same problems? I want to encourage you to dream-big. Remember that with God nothing is impossible. Let me tell you what I envision: twice as many people in the seats, new faces everywhere, some of you aren’t hear because you’ve joined church planting teams, maybe we’ll even plant a church, our children are maturing and carrying the baton and the name of Jesus is becoming more and more known in this area because we’ve gone to the world with the gospel.
Let’s not limit God by our own fears and comfort zone-Let’s step out in radical faith and see what God will do.