Oct 2 2016 - Our Values - God/Grace/Growth/Gospel part 4b - Gospel
2nd October 2016
Lord, thank You for the opportunity to worship You – You know our hearts – You have heard us – you can speak into our lives – You know what we need today. You are able to meet that need – even if this sermon doesn’t. We don’t need a sermon or a person – but we need the Spirit of God living in us – You are attentive to our needs and hopes – You wish to speak.
We have been going through our standards – we began to look at the fourth one last week –
Gospel – we are sharing the truth of the Gospel with those we meet in our daily lives through word and actions.
Last week we looked at an opportunity for supporting mission work – Hannah going to Guatemala – and the shoeboxes which go throughout the world. Reaching children throughout the world. It is a simple way to get involved in that. It is exciting to see Hannah going to Guatemala – having grown up in our church – to be going as a missionary.
Today – we will be looking at individually how we can be sharing the gospel.
Matthew 28: 18 Then Jesus came up and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
So God, from the very beginning, has sent disciples out to preach the gospel to win the world for Him. Today – we will look at that on a personal level.
We are sharing the gospel. For most of us – this is a scary thought – sharing the gospel? Talking about religion? If that is your impression – throw it out the window. We are telling people a good story. The greatest story.
It is easy to feel like the sharing part is not for me. I am not the type of person who could talk to others about my faith. Some say – I have tried that and it didn’t work. We have all had negative experiences in our past – whether it was us or others who shared in such a way to turn us off from the gospel – it may have been us – at a time in our life.
We feel like we are invading people’s private space. It can feel like robocalls at dinnertime. We all hate those! Why are you calling me? Trying to sell me something! (For those few of us who still have home phones.)
There is another approach – so that this concept – which is really clear in the Bible – as something we can all be involved with.
Sharing the truth of the gospel with those we meet in our daily lives through word and actions.
Our communication of what Jesus does for us – must first be relational and personal. It isnot done in a vacuum. It is not a robocall. It is personal.
We are always the most influential with those we know who know us and who know that we love them. It is always the most powerful. As we went through this – we talked about everyone having intneional relationships with non-Christ-followers. It is crucial to have those types of relationships. Intentional. That is easy to misunderstand. It can come to mind – that a person becomes a project. No one wants to be your gospel project. We are not targeting someone. You don’t want to say that about anything today! But with intentional – we are intentionally loving and being compassionate and concerned for a person’s well-being both now and for eternity. Those are the kinds of relationships God wants us to have. In that sense – we can and should be intentional.
If someone is a project – it becomes forced and out of place. When you have a relationship where you are genuinely concerned about a person’s well-being – we will be given invitations to speak about our relationship with Jesus. It is not like they will say – How then can I be saved – but sometimes it happens – what do I need to do to get right with God?
Usually it comes up in the form of – I am having a problem… and they start sharing their life with you. People want to share their lives with those who love them. You know how people at work will come share their story? If that never happens to you – I’ll just let that sit.
When we genuinely engage because we are genuinely concerned for their welfare – they will trust you. It is through those things that God opens opportunities for God to use us.
Luke 10 – Jesus sent out the Seventy – When He sent them out – if you are welcomed into a village – stay there. If there is a person of peace…
Or, if they don’t like you – shake the dust off your feet… - go where you are welcomed and invited. Often, we don’t have the time or energy to be welcomed and invited into people’s lives. If you WANT to be welcomed into someone’s life – there are so many of them just out there waiting. That is not the problem.
2 words I use – proclaim and perform the gospel. I was talking to Pastor Dave at The Rock – I like the word, ADORN the gospel. It doesn’t mean to make it nice – but to live our lives in such a way that our lives back up the message – so it must be real and authentic.
The way we perform or adorn the gospel – learning to live as best we can the way Jesus lived in attitude and in relationship to people – the way we serve and sacrifice should be modeled after Jesus. How did He live when He was here? How did He treat people? What was His attitude? Go and do likewise! Simple! Be like Jesus! Easier said than done. But this does not mean that we will be perfect. You will blow it at work. People will not like some of the things you do – and it will irritate them – but where a genuine and authentic Christian comes in – they are the first to apologize and be honest about failures and to demonstrate humility. We have countless opportunities to perform the gospel. Every individual you encounter is an opportunity to live out the gospel.
We probably don’t have near as many opportunities to speak the gospel. You might not have had any this week. But you have had multiple opportunities to perform it – to live it. When we do that in our daily routines, which will, in time, open more opportunities to share. It puts us in the position to share our faith – it makes it acceptable. Some will reject it no matter what – that has nothing to do with us.
There are many bad examples – but I will talk about the best example – Jesus.
John 3:16 New English Translation (NET Bible)
16 For this is the way God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.
God is a missionary God. He sends. He goes. God left heaven and went to the world. He went to another land on mission. But in the same gospel – He says – as you have sent Me, I send them. We are on this same mission.
God is still on mission to the world. He wants us to learn to partner with Him.
“The missionary God who sends and participates in the world also sends the church into the world. The church is a living embodiment of this missionary God’s identity and intention. This means everything the congregation does is shaped by a missionary commitment to a local context.” – Alan Roxburgh
Everything we do should be on mission. To Summit county. To the neighbors across the street. To the people you work with and those who live in your neighborhood. Oftentimes, we don’t even think that way – we get so wrapped up in living. Living is hard. This doesn’t add anything onto your living. We think if we start doing this – we are done. But instead – it enhances life – gives it full meaning. You still have to live – to make it through – to go to work. But if you go to work and are on mission with God, that changes your perspective.
God is at work in all the places we already inhabit. He is bigger than…we must take the time to pay attention – listen and discern to what God is doing in the lives of those around us.
How much do you know? Pay attention to how God works in their lives. We think – if I do that, I’ll be helping people. EXACTLY!
John 1: 1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was fully God. 2 The Word was with God in the beginning. 3 All things were created by him, and apart from him not one thing was created that has been created.
God is the Word – one and the same –
John 1: 14 Now the Word became flesh and took up residence among us.
This tells how God became a missionary. This is what it looks like when God does the gospel – when He shares His faith. First – He becomes one with those He is on mission with. How much are you one with the people you live with or work with? Are you an incarnation of Jesus in that situation? What a radical way of doing this. Hannah shared this – they become a part of the community – they become Guatemalans – to the best extent they can – and that is what she will be doing.
Hudson Taylor opened up China to the gospel before communism. He threw the suit away and put on Chinese garb! But how many chances do we have to do the same thing? This has nothing to do with clothing – but we adorn ourselves with something different – without relating to those we are trying to reach.
Now the Word became flesh and dwelt among us.
Took up residence among us (settling permanently). The incarnation is still happening today. The body of Christ is walking this earth – it is us, the church... What we see – when God became a missionary – He got his hands dirty.
Made his home among us
Moved into the neighborhood.
It was local. God became a man – incarnation – big theological word – but God didn’t just become a man – but a specific man who was in a specific place in a specific time. He was local in his missionary work. We must do the same.
When the Word became flesh – specific place and time – localized – community we find ourselves in.
Jesus left a small footprint in a tiny nation in a small part of history – but it had global impact. We have to have a local focus. Going to Guatemala – they really zeroed in – trying to figure out as a team what their community needs. Our church has a very small footprint – and we have to discover – within that – how do we live and perform it, as a body?
That is going to require what is known as presence. Being there. Really being in the community God has placed you.
Listening. In each situation – “'Faithful presence' is a phrase that describes this relational view of the world. It means that in each situation we are listening for what our relationships require of us and responding according to our capacity.”
So when you are at work – something has gone wrong in someone’s life – your relationship requires something of you in that situation. If we are not paying attention – we will not know what is required of us – and we won’t be able to respond in the capacity of what we can do. We must do what we can do. Let’s pray: