Sunday Sermon: The Mission Of The Church

One of the greatest dangers for any organization, like the Church, is for it to lose sight of its mission. This lost focus will be seen in many ways. It’s seen when churches continue to do what they’ve always done, regardless of if it’s effective anymore, because they’ve always done it. It’s seen when a church refuses to try to do anything new because, “We’ve never done that before.” It’s seen when a church assigns something primary importance when it’s really only of secondary importance. It’s seen when a church only does what is comfortable instead of what is commanded. That’s why it’s important to answer and then keep coming back to the question, “What is the church’s mission? . Speaker: Stacy J Ross. Matthew 28:18-20. Series: The Church: Moving Forward Together.

Click Here–> The Mission Of The Church

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An Example Of An “I Can” Mindset

The three shifts I wrote about Wednesday are necessary for us to be the people Jesus intends for us to be. These three shifts are necessary for us to live as Jesus intends for us to live. What I want to do now is kinda walk you through how this works with holiness. You can take the principles I’m going to share with holiness and you can apply them to anything Scripture says we are to do, not do, be, or not be and it will be the same.

Now even a casual reading of Scripture reveals to us that there is a very real emphasis on holiness for the Christian life. One of the things I’ve seen about holiness through the years is that because of the way it’s presented it is often seen as a burden to be born. It’s almost as if holiness is the end of joy and pleasure. It’s almost as if we are given the choice between being holy or enjoying life. We have to choose one because we can’t do both. But what if that mindset is wrong?

This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth.” 1 John 1:5-6 (NKJV)

Light represents goodness, purity and holiness. Darkness represents evil, sin and wickedness. God is all light and there is no darkness in Him at all. The point of this passage is that we cannot live our lives, in the darkness of sin and maintain fellowship with God. John in his own tender way has some very specific words for those who say they can live in sin and maintain their fellowship with God. He says they are liars and do not practice the truth.

Now, whatever it means to experience an abundant life through Jesus surely we would all agree that it must at least mean that we live in fellowship with Jesus? I can’t experience life and life more abundantly through Jesus if I’m not walking with Jesus. Right? Scripture teaches that I can’t walk in sin and with Jesus at the same time. Holiness helps us experience life and life more abundantly because as we walk in holiness we are walking with Jesus.

It’s the same for joy.

You will show me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” Psalm 16:11 (NKJV)

Both joy and pleasure are tied to being in the presence of the Jesus. Only in following the Jesus do we experience the fullness of joy and pleasures that last forevermore. The fullness of joy implies that this isn’t a partial joy. It’s not an imperfect joy. It’s not a joy that lasts for a moment and is gone. It is a joy that satisfies the deepest desires for joy we have.

David also says that at the Lord’s right hand there are pleasures forevermore. Think about that for a second. At the Lord’s right hand there are pleasures forevermore. There is nowhere else can we find pleasures that last forevermore.  Scripture, and experience teach us that there is a temporary pleasure in sin (Heb 11:25). The only place we can find pleasures that last forever is in Jesus. Only Jesus can truly satisfy our longing for pleasure.

Go back to what John said in 1 John. Can I walk in sin and walk with Jesus at the same time? No, I can’t. So every time sin takes me away from Jesus, it takes away my joy. When Jesus calls us to come away from sin and live in holiness, He is calling us to experience life and life more abundantly. He calling us to experience the fullness of joy and pleasures that last forever. Remember that Jesus also said that Satan comes to steal, kill and destroy.

Sin steals the abundant life Jesus us to have.

Sin kills our joy.

Sin destroys our experience of pleasures forevermore.

Sin is not a good thing that Jesus is keeping from us. Sin is destructive and prevents us from experiencing the life that Jesus wants us to have. Jesus wants us to experience more life, more joy, and more pleasure than sin can offer. So He calls us to holiness.

But what about the I can do all things part?

Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord,  as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue,  by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.” 2 Peter 1:2-4 (NKJV)

What Peter describes here is available to everyone who genuinely believes in Jesus Christ. Every person who genuinely believes in Jesus Christ is given the same divine power to work in their lives to enable them to live a life of godliness. The word “godliness” basically means Christlikeness. It is living on this earth the way that Jesus lived and the way that Jesus would have us to live. This would be seen in our thinking, talking, actions, reactions, values, priorities, and attitudes. In other words, godliness and holiness are synonyms.

Every believer is given everything they need to grow in Christlikeness.

Every believer can be more like Jesus than they currently are.

Every believer has the same access to the same divine power that can produce the same results.

Every believer is given exceedingly great and precious promises that enable us to escape the corruption that is in the world through lust.

Every promise in the Bible is true for every believer.

Every believer has the same ability to escape the corruption in the world and live a holy life.

Every believer.

We receive all of this through the knowledge of Jesus. We can live godly, holy lives through our connection with Jesus.

Everything Jesus tells us not to do helps us experience life and life more abundant.

Every way Jesus tells us to live helps us experience life and life more abundant.

There is no aspect of following Jesus that doesn’t helps us experience life and life more abundant.

Everything Jesus tells us not to do helps us experience the fullness of joy.

Every way Jesus tells us to live helps us experience the fullness of joy.

There is no aspect of following Jesus that doesn’t helps us experience the fullness of joy.

With Jesus we can do everything Jesus says we are to do, and we can NOT do everything Jesus says we are not to do.

Moving From An I Can’t To I Can Mindset

To move from “I can’t” to “I can” mindset requires a fundamental shift in our thinking and our approach to Scripture. There are three concepts that we have to understand and embrace so that we can shift from “I Can’t” to “I Can”.

The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” John 10:10 (NKJV)

Jesus came to give us life, and life more abundantly.  Part of what this means for us is that everything that comes from Jesus is meant to give us life, and life more abundantly. This doesn’t just include like salvation, grace, and forgiveness. While salvation, grace, and forgiveness are certainly included in life and life more abundant, the teaching of Jesus would also be included. So in some way…

Everything that Jesus tells us to do helps us experience life and life more abundant.

Everything Jesus tells us not to do helps us experience life and life more abundant.

Every way Jesus tells us to live helps us experience life and life more abundant.

There is no aspect of following Jesus that doesn’t helps us experience life and life more abundant. Do you believe that everything Jesus says we are to be, do, and not do, will in some way enable you to experience life and life more abundantly? Do you believe that the Jesus way of life is a more abundant way of life than your way of life, or the world’s way of life? This is the first shift that must happen.

These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full.” John 15:11 (NKJV)

The “these things” that Jesus is talking about primarily refers to His teaching in John 15. However, it’s not a stretch at all to say that it also applies to the teaching of Jesus, and Scripture, as a whole.

I rejoice at Your word As one who finds great treasure.” Psalm 119:162 (NKJV)

Following Jesus isn’t meant to be a dull, dreary life that is devoid of joy. In fact, it’s meant to be just the opposite. Jesus offers us joy not drudgery. Not just a bit of joy but the fullness of joy! This joy is found in doing His will as revealed in Scripture. So in some way…

Everything that Jesus tells us to do helps us experience the fullness of joy.

Everything Jesus tells us not to do helps us experience the fullness of joy.

Every way Jesus tells us to live helps us experience the fullness of joy.

There is no aspect of following Jesus that doesn’t helps us experience the fullness of joy. Do you believe that everything Jesus says we are to be, do, and not do, will in some way enable you to experience the fullness of joy? Do you believe that the Jesus way of life will produce more joy than your way of life, or the world’s way of life? This is the second shift that must happen.

I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.” John 15:5 (NKJV)

Jesus says that without abiding in Him we can do nothing! We are totally dependent on our relationship to Jesus to do anything that needs to be done.

We can’t be holy without Jesus.

We can’t consistently turn the other cheek without Jesus.

We can’t deny ourselves so that we can take up our cross and follow Jesus without Jesus.

We can’t effectively share the Gospel much less lead anyone to Jesus without Jesus.

Our ability to do and be everything we are to do and be is dependent on our connection with Jesus.

Implicit with Jesus teaching here is the idea that what we can’t do without Jesus we can do with Jesus. Without Him we can do nothing, but with Jesus we can do all things.

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13 (NKJV)

All things refers to all the things that Jesus wants me to do. I can’t quote Philippians 4:13 and then go win the World’s Strongest Man Competition. But I can do all the things that Jesus wants me to do.

With Jesus I can live a holy life.

With Jesus I can turn the other cheek.

With Jesus I can deny myself, take up my cross, and follow Jesus.

With Jesus I can share the Gospel and even lead people to Jesus.

Do you believe that with Jesus you can do everything Jesus says we are to do, and you can NOT do everything Jesus says we are not to do? Do you believe that with Jesus you can be everything Jesus says you are to be? This is the third shift that must happen.

These three shifts are necessary for us to be the people Jesus intends for us to be. These three shifts are necessary for us to live as Jesus intends for us to live

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