Friday, August 8, 2008

PRISM - August 3rd - Message Notes

I thought I would post my notes here from last Sunday's message at PRISM. I would love your feedback! Thanks!

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Matthew 28:16-20

16Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. 17And when they saw him [Jesus] they worshipped him, but some doubted. 18And Jesus came and said to them, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.’

A few things Jesus IS saying to those who call themselves “Christians”; His followers… and a few things Jesus IS NOT saying in this passage:


1 – We are called to sow the seeds of the Gospel broadly but not carelessly.

Matthew 13 – Parable of the sower

Broadly

Some of the seed falls on the road, some on hard ground, some among weeds. But the threat of some of the seed falling in bad places doesn’t keep the sower from sowing the seed.

Not Carelessly

There is a potential pitfall in an approach that throws out a simple Gospel and people might even respond… but they don’t become disciples, not because the message is insufficient but because the sower didn’t tend the seed that was growing or entrust it to another to help it grow. And we do an injustice to the Gospel and the seedling (new convert) by not doing the job with care.

2 - We are called to a simple Gospel but not a simplistic gospel

Simple

1 Tim 1:13 – “Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners, of which I am the worst.” It is a foolish and wonderful thing that Jesus’ death and resurrection is available to save my soul and bring me into communion with a Perfect and Holy God… But Jesus says, “teaching them to observe/obey everything that I have commanded you.” The depth and breadth of Jesus’ teaching is ESSENTIAL to one who would follow Jesus and become a disciple.

Simplistic

I pray a prayer or fill out a card and I am “IN” without true regard for the fullness of Jesus’ Gospel and words. It is not a free ticket… it is life transformation! Jesus Changes everything.


** a simplistic view of the Gospel feeds inaccurate understanding of salvation. I am a firm believer in the “Preservation of the saints” that means that once someone is truly saved… it is irrevocable! (Romans 8) The main argument is that someone can’t just sign their name on a card and then live life however they want… and I would agree with that statement 100% Salvation is simple in that the Gospel is simple and straightforward, and at the same time Salvation is HUGE because Jesus re-orders EVERYTHING about life.


3 – We are called to make them disciples of Jesus not disciples of anything else

Jesus

Jesus was the PRIME example of caring for another’s needs (Matthew 9:9-13) But, he saw their true need… (they were sick) and offered the solution… himself; in the midst of meeting their need.

Anything else

In caring for other’s needs we need to be careful to NOT make people disciples of comfort, or food, or shelter, or clean water, or medical care. To be MOST faithful to the Gospel we need to keep Jesus at the center.


**as a side note we see in Acts and in the history of the Church that the good works of caring for the poor and the helping of widows and orphans follows right behind the proclamation of the Gospel and the beginnings and growth of Christ’s Church as it is planted and as it multiplies.


4 – We are called and sent in the AUTHORITY of the risen and exalted Christ

“it was an unlikely thing that they should persuade people to become the disciples of a crucified Jesus…” but a RISEN Jesus… entirely different!

This is the bookend to the whole commission: He starts with, “All Authority” and ends with, “and behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.

It might go without saying, but I will say it,; the power of the Gospel, life change, wholeness, redemption is Inextricably bound to the death of Jesus on a cross, bearing our sin and shame and rising victoriously to put a finish to death and hell.

This generation is very friendly with the picture of Jesus in the gospels… the incarnate Jesus who hung out with sinners and prostitutes… and that is a beautiful picture of how to pattern our lives… but it must be in the power and authority of the risen Jesus who, right now, sits exalted in heaven and bears the scars on his hands and feet and will come, as Revelation describes, with fire in his eyes, a sword in his mouth, and a tattoo on his leg that says, “King of Kings and Lord of Lords”

We are called offered, by this risen Jesus, this great gospel and to those who receive him, to those who believe in his name, he gives the right to become children of God.”


Amen

2 comments:

Nathan said...

"...the good works of caring for the poor and the helping of widows and orphans follows right behind the proclamation of the Gospel and the beginnings and growth of Christ’s Church as it is planted and as it multiplies."

Great post, Jake. The above quotation is especially interesting to me because it raises the issue of sequence. Start with this: It's a given that Christ should properly be at the center of--motivating, if you will--all Christian acts of charity. But the question comes, I think, in the delivery of that "centeredness." Simply, should any act of charity, as the above quotation states, truly follow "right behind the proclamation of the Gospel and the beginnings and growth of Christ’s Church as it is planted and as it multiplies?" Or can an act of charity actually precede the proclamation? Should the proclamation set the stage for the act, or the act for the proclamation? Does it ultimately depend on the circumstance, i.e. how open the particular crowd may or may not naturally be to either?

Being particularly beholden to the Franciscan interpretation--"Preach the Gospel. If necessary use words."--I lean towards the idea that the acts should generally set the stage. And that sometimes acts of charity can actually BE the proclamation--not following or preceding--depending on the circumstance.

Of course, I feel the need to question that philosophy now and then as well :) Thoughts? Concerns?

Jake said...

Hey Nathan! Thanks for your reply!

I WHOLEHEARTEDLY believe that an act of True Christian Charity can indeed come before a word of the gospel is ever spoken! I have even read a good book on "Pre-evangelism" that talks about that very thing... Christians stepping into the lives of others with the purpose of showing Jesus' love in order to till the soil for the seeds of the Gospel, once spoken to them, to be planted deep and grow!

The core issue for me is the problem with substituting the Gospel with charity. There are SO many in our day (in the church) who are MORE concerned about a handful of externals and felt-needs, than the true spiritual condition of a person.

So, the statement I made about Charity/service following the Gospel and the planting of churches i think, does still ring true.

IF Jesus changes hearts, and empowers believers to live radically in service to the King of Kings and with a God-given love for lost AND hurting people, then, it would make sense that IF you multiply true followers of Jesus, by way of the Gospel, you have that many MORE people to continue the good work of charity, caring for those in need, etc.

I think we see that in Acts with the explosion (in a good way) of the Church... from those men and women who had been transformed by the Holy Spirit and followed Jesus came an overflow of good work.

Good work in-and-of-itself just doesn't cut it. I do not believe that is what you were purporting, i was just clarifying my thoughts!

Thanks!