"God's Mission Has a Way" Sermon, Part-1, Christ Compassion
[These sermon notes don't correspond well to the sermon audio. The Audio was essentially a Spirit led introduction to part-2 of this sermon to be delivered at Mt. Hope on May 26th, from these notes]
“God’s Mission Has a Way.” (Part-1) Mathew 22:38-40, 25:35-36
Life on Mission – 3
I remember a conversation I had while first living in Haiti. I was concerned about security because of some political instability we had heard about in another part of the country. I was talking to a Haitian man and he said, “You don’t have to be concerned. It’s far away and besides, you’re a Marine!” I said, well I am a pretty tough guy but, you know, I could only handle maybe 4 or 5 guys at once, (no doubt a real stretch for this old out of shape Marine but I always play up the Marine stuff when I’m scared…), to which he replied, “Yeah, but if there were too many, you could just call all those Marines that live and work at the U.S. Embassy right? I’m sure they’d come right away to help you.” I said, “Yeah… of course! They’d come right away with tanks!”
Very little of that conversation was true, but it pointed to a far greater truth. A Marine in uniform carries with him, not only his only weapons and strength. More importantly, their uniform carries the full weight and might of the U.S. Military. That Marine Corps logo on his chest says, “A greater power than me is behind me and has sent me and when called upon, will come to my aid.”
In Mathew 28:18, “Jesus came and told His disciples, ‘I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth.’” (NLT) Life on mission in the Kingdom of God is life as an emissary of the great King. As such, we have the full power, authority, and assurance of the Heavenly Kingdom of God on our side. Our calling is to all nations, all peoples, fearless because of His promises alone.
CIS: Preach the Gospel to all nations, trusting God alone with the results.
No strings. No expectations. Our calling as the Church of Jesus Christ, as ambassadors of the Heavenly Kingdom, is to put the sacred Body and Blood of Christ on display for the world to see and believe the promises of Christ.
In Matthew 16:18 Jesus says, “And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.” (NKJV) No gimmicks needed. Our only outreach strategy are to found in God’s blueprint for compassion and evangelism in Sacred Scripture.
It is not about building crowds. It is not about celebrity. It is not about money or fame. It is not about schemes or the latest model or campaign. The Lord has given us a clear and obvious blueprint for life on mission in the Bible.
Consider the instructions of Jesus in Luke 10 when Our Lord sent out the 72. There is a lot of overlapping instruction from Luke 9 where Jesus had sent out the Disciples, but we will focus on what we find in the sending of the 72.
“After this the Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them two by two ahead of him to every town and place where he was about to go. He told them, "The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field. Go! I am sending you out like lambs among wolves. Do not take a purse or bag or sandals; and do not greet anyone on the road. "When you enter a house, first say, 'Peace to this house.' If a man of peace is there, your peace will rest on him; if not, it will return to you. Stay in that house, eating and drinking whatever they give you, for the worker deserves his wages. Do not move around from house to house. "When you enter a town and are welcomed, eat what is set before you. Heal the sick who are there and tell them, 'The kingdom of God is near you.' But when you enter a town and are not welcomed, go into its streets and say, "Even the dust of your town that sticks to our feet we wipe off against you. Yet be sure of this: The kingdom of God is near.’” (Luke 10:1-11 NIV84)
· Two by Two: Covenant together for missions. The Congregational Way, is rooted in covenant. It is built upon the a conviction that it was and is better and more historically Christian to place the mantle of responsibility for the proclamation and living out of the Gospel in the Kingdom of God to place the mantle of responsibility not upon professional ministers, evangelists, and missionaries alone; but upon the shoulders of every follower of Christ. We reject the notion of hierarchy in church governance and cling to independence not for the sake of rebellion but freedom. We choose not to abandon individual responsibility as Christians to others. [Figure 1]
· Pray for Laborers: Use spiritual means to find the workers. Each one using his or her gifts in the kingdom. We have the freedom to work together. Historic Congregationalism empowered individual Christians. [Figure 2]
· Trust in God: Do not miss the blessing of God using you because of fear of the unknown. There are wolves out there, but our identity is Child of God! We must learn to allow of fear of God overpower every other fear.
[Illustration: Pen Jillette (Penn and Teller). He wasn’t defensive. Looked in the eyes. Truly complimentary. Kind. Nice. Sane. Gave this Bible. If you believe, there is a heaven and hell, its hatred not to proselytize.]
· Acceptance: When we make a convert spend time discipling them. Today we have a strange occurrence. We make converts not disciples. We need a far greater degree of discipleship if we are to be able to stand.
· Rejection: Decide in advance to accept rejection in a godly way. Again, trust the Lord and Him alone with the results. It is ultimately God who saves and our job, our way, is and ought to be about being a witness.
Share Compassion. Matthew 22, 25. Share Christ. Matthew 28. Be the covenant community of God and love and truth will flow out of it to all people we encounter, wherever we are, and whenever and wherever we go. Amen.
Dexter, Congregationalism, page 274-75