September 6/7, 2014
Those that are in Christ, the Church, are a sent people. If you are a follower of Jesus, you are a part of the Church of Jesus, which is universal. The sent nature of the church is evidenced at the very heart of the church–its birth by Jesus’ commission and in its thrust into the world by the Holy Spirit’s power. We are missionaries sent to proclaim the truth of the Gospel and to display the power of the Gospel to transform lives through making disciples.
This series will be a thematic walk through the book of Acts and will highlight major portions of the narrative. The major theme of the truth of Acts is that you are sent. Our place in the Biblical story today is in what many call the mission period. We have been sent to make disciples under the power and authority of the Holy Spirit – the Spirit of Jesus.
The word “sent” describes a crucial and long lasting value here at Red Mountain Christian Center. We have discovered this and substantiated this truth over the past year. Our DNA as a church strongly embraces this concept. This congregation, at its core, has always held that it exists more for non-members than for members. We will minister to those that have never darkened the door of this place with the same passion and urgency as we would for a long-time member. If you need ministry, RMCC doesn’t care how long or how loosely you are connected, we will be there for you in your time of need.
We are diving into the book of Acts and its major themes, but we begin today with some words of Jesus to his disciples before His final ascension. He spoke these words to His disciples after His crucifixion and resurrection. He appeared to them many times over a forty-day period before His final ascension to heaven. He speaks regarding:
- the future,
- the plan He has for His followers,
- and what they are to do and where.
These words have become the foundation of the purpose of the Church – all Christ followers on this planet. The words in Matthew are often called “The Great Commission”. Jesus’ last words to us where simply – “Go!” This ushered in the mission era of God’s great story of redemption. This was the inauguration of the age where God’s kingdom would come to earth through the witness of His followers.
Jesus spoke these words to all believers
It is sometimes easy to tune out whatever you think doesn’t apply to you. We often filter information that is being said and determine that it isn’t necessary to listen. This Great Commission was not specific to the original disciples. It is understood that it is a commission to every believer until the end of time. This was not a great suggestion. The words were easy to understand. As we take our place in the Biblical story, our task is to
- make disciples,
- baptize them,
- and teach people.
There are no exemptions or exceptions.
- marital status,
- spiritual maturity/ immaturity,
- financial position, or
- “just not feeling it”
negates one’s responsibility to this task!
Once you are a follower of Christ, you share the responsibility of making disciples. This major thrust and task which includes going, teaching, baptizing, sending, reaching, feeding, witnessing, sharing, shining, sowing, giving, and praying. Here are some scriptures that support these actions:
- Isaiah 6:8
- Matthew 5:12-14
- John 21:15
- Luke 10:2
- Matthew 25:34-36
- 2 Chronicles 7:14
- Philippians 2:14-16
- 2 Corinthians 8:7
- 2 Corinthians 5:20
It is clear that we are not called to idleness with regard to the lost world around us. God’s love in us compels us to do something to spread this “Good News” that we have heard. We are to live productive lives saturated with rich relationships.
We are to make disciples
When Jesus called His disciples, He simply told them to follow him. We too should reflect to others what it is to be in relationship with Jesus and invite others to know Him. We must show others what it is to be a Christ follower. We reach people by living our lives in such a way that others will want to know why our lives are different (1 Peter 3:15-16).
Our own growth in spiritual disciplines is not for self help, but rather so that our lives may better reflect the greatness and hope of our God to those who are far from Him. God wants to use
- your story,
- your life experiences,
- your personality, and
- your words
to reach people with His love. Don’t underestimate the power of your influence with people. Since the Holy Spirit lives in you, you have the power to see anything happen if you just show up and listen to what God is saying.
Jesus declares that His disciples are to make more of what He has made of them. The missional strategy of God during our part of this ongoing story is simply disciples making disciples. You make disciples so that others make disciples.
He is with us
Jesus concludes the Great Commission by saying, “And behold, I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matthew 28:20). What a great promise! We are not alone in this great venture. He doesn’t leave us trying to figure it out. If He has promised to be with us, doesn’t it make sense that He would
- lead us,
- guide us,
- prompt us,
- counsel us, and
- speak to us?
In the coming weeks, we will explore Acts and read how the Holy Spirit was sent upon the early gathering of believers and gave them power to do what Jesus asked. This power is still available to every believer including you and me. In fact, the power of God in our lives is for the purpose of getting the attention of people who haven’t made a decision for Christ yet.
The Church is the Hope of the world. He has entrusted His plan for planet earth to the local church. He has entrusted his plan for the world to you and me. We must work together to bring God’s kingdom (His plan, His grace, His ways) to a lost and dying world (Luke 11:1-4). God has spoken and is still speaking.
We are sent by Jesus!
This week, as you reflect on the message, think of friends, co-workers, neighbors, family etc., that you could meet with to have a time of mutual sharing and fellowship as you open God’s Word together.
Read Matthew 28:19-20
When you think about the mission of the church, how does Jesus commission guide your thinking?
What does Jesus command us to do as His Church?
Take a moment to reflect on the ‘sent nature’ of who you are as a Christian and answer the following questions:
- What does it look like to neglect the understanding that we are a “sent people”?
- What aspect of being “sent” do you wrestle with the most?
How was Christ sent to us?
How do you reflect Christ’s action towards you in saving you to your attitude towards those who oppose you?