Pastor Dwane Parsons continues the sermon series on “The Way of Jesus” with Part 7 – Get out of this building. Worship with Carrie and her team. CCLI License number 1001973.
The Way of Jesus Part 7: Get Out Of This Building!
Way of Jesus Recap
#1. I have begun following Jesus, and am depending on the Spirit of Jesus in my journey.
We are Christ followers on a journey. We rely on the constant infilling of the Holy Spirit for supernatural power to be overcomers and servants of Christ.
#2. I have been sent by Jesus to bless others and to invite them to follow Him. We find our significance in obeying the Great Commandment – to love God and others. We define our success in fulfilling the Great Commission – to Go and make disciple-makers.
#3. I am learning to be like Jesus in my Attitudes, Behaviours, Character.
Developing Jesus’ attitude, behavior and character is a life-long journey between learning God’s word, listening to his Spirit, and trusting in His provision and work for our holiness.
#4. I am learning to love God and to love others.
We love God by obeying him and seeking his presence. We love others by choosing to seek their best interests as we would our own.
#5 I am learning the teachings of Jesus. Learning to trust and obey the “red letters” of the Bible are the foundation for your life as a Christ follower.
#6. I am helping someone and someone is helping me to be a growing follower of Jesus. Jesus was willing to enter into our mess and redeem mankind. We are called to enter into each other’s mess and redeem one another.
Step #7. I am participating in a community of followers of Jesus on mission to the world.
We participate in a community of followers called the church.
- Ephesians 1:5, ‘His unchanging plan has always been to adopt us into his family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. And this gave him great pleasure.’ – NLT
We are a church on mission together – called to serve.
- Ephesians 2:10, ‘For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.’
- II Timothy 1:9, ‘It is he who saved us and chose us for his holy work, not because we deserve it but because that was his plan.’ – LB
To fulfill our mission in today’s culture requires the church to move from being attractional and invitational to being incarnational and missional.
Let’s unpack some of those big loaded words…
Attractional means that expectation that people from outside the church and our influence will simply show up because we are attractive.
We expect they check us out because we have such great music, preaching or programming.
Invitational. An invitational approach says to the world, “Come check out our thing at our club. Move from your comfort zone into my comfort zone. Trust us!”
Do You Find Me Attractive?
Up until the last few years, the church mostly fulfilled its mission with an attractional invitational model.
We went out to the highways and byways and compelled them to come to our crusade or to our program.
That model sometimes worked in other generations because the culture was more positively disposed to religion and faith and belief in God.
It was easy for people to figure out church culture and fit in.
But there’s the big problem.
We felt we had to get people “in here” so they could experience God.
We have created a mindset in the church that everything happens “in here”
That staying “in here” protects us from the nasty world “out there.”
(Which is a deception, because if we remember the 9 deadly sins from last week, there’s plenty worldliness in the church, but not enough of the church in the world.)
But then our culture shifted.
Today we live in a post-Christian, maybe even anti-Christian culture.
Our culture became cynical and distrusting of institutions like the church, and especially Evangelical Christians.
Evangelicals have become heavily infiltrated with political agendas where we are more devoted to loving issues and winning arguments instead of loving our neighbors and winning souls. We worship being right instead of doing right.
Evangelicals are publicly disdained because of some church’s selfish response to the pandemic. Churches refused to think about their neighbors above themselves. On the news you’d see the stories of heroic health care workers followed by stories of churches and church leaders refusing to follow health mandates. Some of the richest, most protected, most privileged people in the world cried that they were oppressed because they were asked to wear a mask.
Evangelicals endured very public moral failings of high-profile Christian leaders. Our poster boys and Rockstar personalities got taken down by sexual immorality or for hoarding money or for literally being wicked to their staff and coworkers.
Our walk did not match our talk.
No one is attracted to us anymore because we have a huge image problem.
Our culture changed, but sadly the church’s approach did not.
A New Direction
Moving away from an attractional, invitational church to an incarnational, missional church follows the mission of Jesus for the church today.
Incarnational means you and I loving and acting like Jesus with skin on.
We help people experience God through their relationship with us as we journey through real life together.
John 1 says Jn 1:14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.“
The idea is that the message of God’s love in human form – Jesus – moves in next door. He sends his kids to the same school, mows his lawn on the weekend along with you.
In living out the incarnation, we move from our comfort zone and enter into the world of others, bringing the blessing and message of the Kingdom along with us.
Missional means we are sent out into the world to be the incarnation of Jesus.
Living missionally isn’t focused on self-advancement or staying comfortable.
It’s a place where we feel a holy discomfort at the state the world is in.
We love Jesus and the lost so much, that we are compelled to GO.
We move beyond our comfort zone and pitch our tents and our lives in the midst of the world’s mess and show them Jesus.
Col 1:27 To (the saints) God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.
Col 1:28 We proclaim him, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone perfect in Christ.
Col 1:29 To this end I labor, struggling with all his energy, which so powerfully works in me.
We are on a mission together with the Spirit of Christ working together powerfully to save the world.
The Mission has a Church
We say “the church has a mission,”
But missions or mission is not a program or single branch of the church.
A better way to put it is that “the mission has a church.”
A missional church sees the mission as both its heartbeat and its organizing
Being on a mission is our DNA. We exist to be on mission.
If we want to be an incarnational, missional church we must organize and direct our resources: people, time and money to be on mission.
A missional community is patterned after what God has done in Jesus Christ.
In the incarnation God sent his Son.
Similarly, to be missional means to be sent into the world; we do not expect people to come to us.
That’s the old way of thinking, the attractional model.
It’s time for you and I to embrace our sent-ness.
Look at the book of Luke.
You might think you’re not ready, or smart enough or equipped enough to be sent.
In Luke 10 Jesus sent 72 disciples out to their neighbourhoods and homes to preach the message of the kingdom.
“Take nothing for your journey…”
They didn’t have all kinds of fancy methods or data to pull from.
They didn’t have a big program or strategy.
They were told to go back to their neighbours, sit with them and minister out of the ordinary rhythms of life.
They had to rely on the Holy Spirit and live out the teachings of Jesus and walk in His attitude, behavior and character.
Look at the book of Acts.
You might feel uncomfortable stepping outside these 4 walls and worry it will be hard to see God at work where you are sent.
The early church lived in a culture that despised them and their message.
They took what they carried in here (Jesus in their hearts) out there (the world) anyway.
Life transforming interactions and intersections with God didn’t only happen in churches and synagogues.
It happened day or night.
It happened in homes, jail cells, marketplaces and street corners.
It was revolutionary, outside the box and blossoming all over the place.
The early saints were living out the mission outside the church walls.
What is our mission at Grace Church?
As the people of a missionary God, we ought to engage the world the same way he does—by going out rather than just reaching out.
We are all missionaries sent into an anti-Christian culture.
The Gospel is in you as you live your life incarnationally in your realm of influence.
What if we adopted the 5KM radius around Grace Church and declared it the Kingdom of God? A place where salvation, transformation, healing and deliverance happened? Where the poor are lifted up and the broken are healed?
What would it look like if we dedicated ourselves to stomping out the kingdom of darkness right where we are?
Who would we align ourselves with? Who would we partner with?
What would you give your time, money and heart to?
I challenge you to adopt the 1KM radius around your home and embraced your sent-ness to your neighbours.
Imagine Jesus lived in your house, and ministered to your neighbourhood.
Maybe you will take nothing with you for your journey but a plate of cookies or a rake to help rake some leaves.
From there friendships and Spirit-led conversations could blossom.
His Mission – Our Mission.
Get the point – we weren’t saved to huddle inside a church building until Jesus comes back.
When the church is comfortable and well fed, the building is nicely decorated and the constitution and bylaws are being obeyed, we are not fulfilling our mission.
We are fulfilling our mission when we are entering into the lost mess of this world with the light of Jesus Christ in our hearts.
We are fulfilling our mission when we are undoing the destructive works of sin and being a nightmare to the devil locally where we live.
Every disciple is to be an incarnation of Jesus’ love, and every disciple is to carry the mission of God into every sphere of life.
I am participating in a community of followers of Jesus on mission (with Jesus) to the world.
This isn’t some stuffy bible study or stale ritual.
It’s a journey, an adventure…
It’s the Way of Jesus.