Monthly Archives: April 2016

An I Exam_Main (1)

AN “I” EXAM: Restoring Our Vision for Christ’s Mission – The “I” Exam
1 Corinthians 11:17-30 (p. 799) April 24, 2016

Introduction:

It’s something I wasn’t aware of…and man! There are a lot of things I’m not aware of, but when I got back from Florida, after being out in the sun my scars were a lot more visible…evidently they don’t tan like the rest of my skin…so they were more and more visible because of what the sun had done to the rest of my face.

And I shared some of this at communion on that day, but it seemed a perfect fit for this study.

Spiritually speaking it’s even more true when it comes to my scars. The more time I spend in the sun (SON) the more clearly I can see my scars. The more time I spend in the presence of Jesus…the more time I spend in His Word the more clearly I can see my sin…my selfishness…my pride.

With the Son of God’s holiness as the radiant backdrop…my unholiness is clearly visible.

Have you ever had a white T shirt you thought was clean? Maybe you have 7 or 8 that you’ve had for a while…you wash them, fold them…keep them in the same drawer…and then for your birthday Aunt Patsy gives you a brand new 3 pack of undershirts…you pull them out…put them in the same drawer…and man!!! The old ones don’t look white…they don’t look new…they look old, grey and stained…compared to the new.

God’s Word says something humbling about every single one of us…It doesn’t matter who we are: men, women, Jew, Gentile, rich, poor, old, young…it says “All of us are old, grey and stained T shirts or at least that’s my translation of Romans 3.

“There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands; there is no one who seeks God. All have turned away, they have together become worthless. There is no one who does good, not even one.” (Romans 3:10-12)

No matter how clean and good we think we are…this truth from Isaiah remains “All our righteous acts are like filthy rags.” (Is. 64:6)

You see all “the good things” we do look like those old T shirts when held up next to Jesus…who is the only one who is really “good.”

It’s that “I” exam that God and His Word perform in believers lives…In this world we like to compare the “cleanliness” of our lives with others…usually finding someone with a lot more stains…so we can say “I” am good…but that’s not a comparison that helps us…in fact it hurts us…giving us a false impression our T shirt of righteousness is “pure.”

To refocus our vision so that we can restore the mission of the church…a mission of making disciples and teaching believers to obey Jesus’ commands…

I. WE MUST STOP CREATING US VERSUS THEM SITUATIONS

In the church at Corinth there was clearly a problem with this issue…Right after the Apostle Paul says in his opening of the letter: “God is faithful, who has called you into fellowship with His Son Jesus Christ our Lord.” He says this:

1 CORINTHIANS 1:10-13 (p. 792)

These early believers began to compare themselves to each other in regards to who was worth more…They began to form groups that separated themselves from the whole…Each group bragged about how spiritual they were…how clean their T shirts were…I follow Paul…I follow Apollos…I follow Peter!” Us versus them…I bet when they met together they felt so “spiritual” maybe they even gave their groups special names like “Paul’s Peeps” and “Apollos’ Apostles” or “Peter’s Rock Group” but the fruit that comes from these groups caused division instead of unity…They emptied the cross of it’s power.”

So when it came time for worship and for the assembly to remember the Lord during communion…their meetings did more harm than good…the divide got wider…Listen:

1 CORINTHIANS 11:17-22 (p. 799)

Each group…each person had forgotten that it took the power of the cross to make them clean…the attitude that permeated the spirits of people meeting together “in Christ’s name” was “I’m here for me and my group…I’m worth more…my preferences are paramount…I want nothing to do with those who aren’t part of my “clique.”

They had the cup and bread there…they did religious things…under the false belief, that it was “church” but division and differences, selfishness and self focus made Paul say, “This isn’t the Lord’s supper you’re eating!!!”

Those who claimed to follow Paul were probably the old guard…the charter group, after all Paul planted Corinth, those who followed Apollos, who assisted the apostles in Acts 19 here were probably younger since Apollos was younger…and those who claimed to follow Peter, the most popular and influential of the original 12, probably thought that way….like people who pull for New England in football or the Yankees in baseball.

The mission of the church died when each person and group made their part more important than God’s whole.

Verse 21 talks about “private suppers.’ That makes my stomach hurt after 37 years of ministry. These aren’t healthy intimate small groups or welcoming SS classes. They are closed groups…people are selected as worthy or wealthy enough to attend…like the mafia…“It’s our little thing.” Private suppers allow sin to be hidden (or so they think). You feel “special” if you’re invited…and like garbage when you’re left out. Us…and them…Paul says “these groups cause the church of God to be despised by humiliating those who are left out, because they have nothing.

This is exactly what Paul meant when he said:

II. IT’S ESSENTIAL WE DISCERN OURSELVES IF WE DON’T WANT TO COME UNDER JUDGMENT

Do mean people know they’re mean? Do self centered, selfish people know they’re self centered and selfish? What do you think?

[My wife loves shows like “American Idol” and “The Voice.” I sometimes watch them with her…or at least in the early stages of the competition when the coaches are first picking…or when the ticket to go forward is passed out. Those auditions crack me up…Like this guy

SHOW AMERICAN IDOL AUDITION VIDEO

I used to think…those folks have to know how horrible they sing, right? But I’ve changed my mind…I think many believe they’re the next Carrie Underwood…or Jordan Smith because all of us usually think “I’m awesome…I’m right…I’m good.” We don’t usually have much trouble loving ourselves…it’s loving our neighbor as much that we struggle with. When someone says, “singin’s not your thing, Dawg” we just brush it off…because we “know” it is! Discerning ourselves is one of the most difficult things we do…because we don’t want to see the truth if it hurts our pride.

The Corinth Church was just like Gardenside…It was filled with a lot of different people…Different personalities…different economic levels…different pasts…different attitudes…different Holy Spirit given gifts…to show God’s approval and fulfill God’s never changing mission. Different is essential for the body to be whole…many parts…one body…But division destroys the unity of God’s plan…When one part says it doesn’t need another part…or that other parts aren’t as necessary.

1 Corinthians 12:12 says “just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all it’s many parts form one body, so it is with Christ.”

The Lord’s Supper…or communion, isn’t just about remembering the body of Christ, which died upon the cross for our sins…it’s also about remembering how He made us one. How we also died to self so we could live for Him and others.

What I mean is you cannot be a divisive…me focused…others condemning person and partake of this unifying meal in a worthy manner.

1 CORINTHIANS 11:23-30 (p. 799)

When we examine ourselves…It’s essential we discern the truth about our relationship with “the body of Christ” the Church.

1. You and I will never do that if we only surround ourselves with people who tell us we’re awesome…because we’re just like them.

2. You and I will never do that if we hold on to hurts and an independent spirit.

3. You and I will never do that if we forget the mission of Christ…“Go make disciples and teach them to obey my commands.” It’s about others.

4. You and I will become spiritually weak and sick, even dead in our faith if we don’t deal with this truth.

Paul evaluates the spiritual condition of Corinth’s members and says “That is why many among you are weak and sick, and a number of you have fallen asleep.” (vs. 30)

If you think it’s hard to change a tire in the middle of a snowstorm…It’s even harder to change this issue in the body of Christ…Why? Because each of us has made it a habit…surrounded ourselves with people who tell us we “sing great” and affirmed how wrong all the other groups are…even as we press that cup to our lips and taste that unleavened bread.

There is a spiritual cure…something that really can be done to change our hearts and bring unity around the cross…and His table…something that will let the world look at the church with amazement and longing instead of judgment. Listen:

EPHESIANS 4:29-32 (p. 816)

1. You and I will have to make this a habit if we want to change…it won’t come naturally either…it will only come “supernaturally.”

2. You and I might have to change some relationships and friendships…because the group we associate with is unhealthy and makes us spiritually sick.

3. You and I will have to get rid of “gossip, grudges, slander, bitterness…every form of malice and start practicing “compassion” and “forgiveness” because it’s what God did for us in Christ…and makes His body healthy and mission focused…others focused.

Several years ago in Oshawa, Ontario, Canada, George and Vera Bajenksi’s lives were changed forever. February 16, 1989. A very normal Thursday morning. The phone rang at 9:15 a.m. “There’s been an accident…” It involved their son Ben.

As they approached the intersection of Adelaide and Simcoe Streets near the high school, they could see the flashing lights of the police cars and ambulance units. Vera noticed a photographer and followed the direction of his camera lens to the largest pool of blood she had ever seen.

All she could say was, “George, Ben went home—home to be with his Heavenly Father!”

Her first reaction was to jump out of the car, somehow collect the blood and put it back into her son. “That blood, for me, at that moment, became the most precious thing in the world because it was life. It was life-giving blood and it belonged in my son, my only son, the one I loved so much.” The road was dirty and the blood just didn’t belong there.

George noticed that cars were driving right through the intersection—right through the blood. His heart was smitten. He wanted to cover the blood with his coat and cry, “You will not drive over the blood of my son!” Then Vera understood for the first time in her life, one of God’s greatest and most beautiful truths…why blood? Because it was the strongest language God could have used. It was the most precious thing He could give—the highest price He could pay.

Communion is the intersection where we encounter Christ’s death…we proclaim it until He returns again…His body…His blood…given so a new covenant of grace and forgiveness could make us one with His father and each other. We’d better be aware of how we come through this intersection.

Let’s pray.

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An I Exam_Main (1)

AN “I” EXAM: Restoring Our Vision for Christ’s Mission – Without a Vision We Die
Proverbs 29:18 (p. 458) April 17, 2016

Introduction:

I took my 90 year old mom to the eye doctor a little while ago…she suffers with glaucoma…I won’t give you all the scientific definitions or symptoms but in a very simplistic way it’s been explained to me…that fluid gathers and builds up pressing against the optic nerve. If left untreated you go blind. It’s been nicknamed “The Sneaky Thief of Vision.”

Because the loss of vision happens gradually over a long period of time…because the pressure builds up slowly you might only recognize it when it’s quite advanced…worldwide it is the second leading cause of blindness.

My mom has to put drops in her eyes every morning and every evening so the pressure doesn’t build up.

I would share with you this morning that Proverbs 29:18 is a warning about spiritual glaucoma. I grew up where the KJV tells us “Where there is no vision the people perish.” The NIV translates it “Where there is no revelation people cast off restraint.”

The Message version says “If people can’t see what God is doing they stumble all over themselves.”

My simple definition is “If we lose sight of God’s purpose we’re spiritually blind.”

Without being too simplistic the Church exists to make disciples…we are to lead lost people into a saving relationship with Jesus…and we are to teach those who are saved how to be mature followers of Jesus. Go and grow.

Does anyone here disagree with that? Reach the lost, Disciple the saved…The Mission of Jesus’ church…and that mission never changes.

So if we can clearly see that this is what we are to be living our lives to accomplish…what clouds this vision in our lives? What pressures begin to build up so that many Christians begin to suffer from spiritual glaucoma?

I believe that Satan is “The Sneaky Thief” of spiritual vision. The Apostle Paul says, “The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so they cannot see the light of the gospel.” (2 Cor. 4:4)

Unbelievers are lost…living life in the darkness because of the Evil One. Stumbling through life a day at a time…but the real answers for hope and purpose are just beyond the top of their red tipped cane.

But God has provided an answer to Satan’s blinding schemes.

I. HIS PEOPLE SHINING IN THE DARKNESS

2 Cor. 4:4 finishes by saying “The light of the gospel displays the glory of Christ who is the image of God.”

How can people lost in the darkness experience the gospel light that penetrates the soul? Listen:

2 CORINTHIANS 4:5-6 (p. 804)

God’s answer for the spiritual darkness of a lost world is me and you…His answer is that those who have made Jesus Lord, the Church, become servants who reflect the Light of Christ…we show this world the Face of Christ.

1. The light doesn’t shine if we preach ourselves.

Paul says, “We don’t preach ourselves, but Christ Jesus as Lord.”

Selfishness and self focus can become some of the greatest reasons we start losing our vision.

[In 37 years of ministry I’ve never been with a group of Church people where someone wanted to argue about Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection. I’ve never had a ministry leader of staff person say “Heaven and Hell don’t matter.” I’ve never had a young believer say, “Old people aren’t important” or an older person say, “Young families don’t matter for our future.”

But in almost 4 decades I’ve experienced intense arguments over music styles, parking lots, color schemes and time changes for service. And instead of asking…what helps us accomplish our never changing mission better…selfishness and preference blind our vision…and while Satan gets us to fight about the color of the carpet lost people go to Hell and instead of preaching Christ, and growing in Him we draw up sides and criticize those who don’t see how important this is…Satan loves to blind unbelievers to the gospel but he also loves to cause believers to lose sight of what really matters too.]

You see anytime something becomes “ours” it stops being “His.”

And the light doesn’t shine.

2. If we become a bunch of flashlights in a well lit room.

God said, “Let light shine out of darkness.”

Do you know when He said that? It was during creation in Genesis 1:3. The earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of god was hovering over the waters…And God said,

“Let there be light, and there was light. God saw that the light was good, and He separated the light from the darkness.” (Genesis 1:4)

Light penetrates darkness…light reveals what is good…light is more powerful than darkness.

John’s gospel tells us that the Light of Creation came as the spiritual light that gives eternal life to a dark, dead world.

JOHN 1:1-5 & 9-14 (p. 739)

He didn’t stay in heaven…He came…and only by doing that could we receive Him and become God’s children.

This world cannot receive the light of Christ if we don’t live out His grace and truth in the darkness…Flashlights all gathered in a well lit room have no effect upon darkness.

Church should be a place we recharge our batteries so we can shine His glory in our everyday lives and relationships.

The book of Acts tells us “The Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.” (Acts 2:47)

If Christ doesn’t shine in your heart Monday through Saturday so that people trapped in darkness are saved, there’s no real reason to get your batteries charged on Sunday.

It’s why we were created anew! These are important questions: Does our life preach us…or Jesus? Are we servants for Jesus’ sake…or consumers for our own? Do we remember when we were lost in the darkness and share how God turned on the light for us to have hope…or do we just see evil people who should go to Hell? Does this world see our face or Jesus’ face?

[James (not his real name) came across the parking lot toward me saying “Preacher, how you doin’?” James was high and smelled like weed…but he was saying…“You remember me from the bank? You helped me out one day…you gave me $20 and bought me some milk and gave me a ride home” and he hugged me. Our ladies had been serving dinner to girls inside a gentleman’s club…and I was working security…I remember James’ face…and he remembered mine…I hope it looked a little like Jesus’ as he asked about where our church was when I said, “It’s right here.” Looking at the women getting in the car, but on Sundays we meet at 940 Holly Springs…it’s back in the neighborhood off Lane Allen and Beacon Hill.]

The reason God’s Word says, “Be in the world but not of the world” is simple…the World is lost…it’s trapped in darkness…our job isn’t to judge the world…It’s our mission to save it. Listen to what Paul writes to the Corinthians:

1 CORINTHIANS 5:9-13 (p. 795)

Godly Christian leaders are to judge…but it’s never those outside the Church…it’s those who claim to have vision…but don’t. They’re greedy…they’re gossips…they’re idolaters…they’re drunks and cheats…but they claim to be a brother or sister…Churches lose sight of their mission when they don’t deal with this blinding hypocrisy…It’s not normal…it’s not healthy…it’s leaven that rots the entire loaf of bread.

With a vision, God’s people die. It’s a vision that is revealed through the Spirit of Jesus living in us…It lets us see people like Jesus sees them. It makes us love the lost and hurting to seek them, like he did. Let me end with an example of a church that lost its vision and went spiritually blind. Jesus speaks to the Church at Laodicea in the book of Revelation Chapter 3

REVELATION 3:14-22 (p. 863)

Helen Keller was asked if there was anything worse than being blind and she responded “Yes, having sight but without vision.”

This scripture in Revelation is the only time Jesus describes people who make Him want to vomit. They’ve become stale…stagnant…independent…They think they’ve arrived and Jesus says “you’re oblivious to the fact that spiritually you’re a pitiful blind homeless man wearing threadbare clothes.”

They have physical sight…but have lost their vision…and they are about to die.

The cure?

Be earnest and repent. Stop pretending…Stop being so self sufficient and prideful and turn back to me with a broken and contrite heart.

It’s hard to rekindle lukewarm embers, but Jesus says, “Here I am…standing at your door knocking again…let me back in and I’ll have an intimate meal with you.”

“WHAT MAKES A GOOD CHURCH?”

If all the lazy folks will get up,
And all the sleeping folks will wake up,
And all the discouraged folks will cheer up,
And all gossiping folks will shut up,
And all the dishonest folks will confess up,
And all the estranged folks will make up,
And all the disgusted folks will sweeten up,
And all the lukewarm folks will fire up,
And all the dry bones will shape up,
And all the sanctified folks will show up,
And all the leading folks will pay up,
And all the true soldiers will stand up,
Then, and only then, will we have a good church!
We’re going to wake up, pray up, sing up, teach up, stay up, and
never give up, back up, or shut up until the cause of Christ is built up.

Our mission never changes…“Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.”

Only people who have had their spiritual vision restored can do this passionately.

The story is told of how William Carey, founder of the modern missionary movement came up with his “Rope Holder” philosophy for ministry…

India had horrible cases of blindness, some were treatable and other not…in one of the treatable cases an elderly Indian man with severe cataracts was healed almost miraculously through surgery…after his recovery he was released and he returned to his native village in a remote section of India.

After two weeks the staff at the medical clinic heard a knock on the door…and when they opened the door they were met with the sight of twenty blind men, standing in line, all holding onto a rope…they had walked from a remote village so that they too could have the cataract surgery…and at the front of the rope was the formerly blind man leading the way.

Our salvation is possible because someone extended to us the rope…our healing is possible because someone led us to a place of healing…

The question: Who held the rope for you? And now, who are you holding the rope for?

Let’s pray.

An I Exam_Main (1)

AN “I” EXAM: Restoring Our Vision for Christ’s Mission – Mission Possible
Matthew 28:16-20 (p. 698) April 10, 2016

Introduction:

Say this with me, ready? The Mission of the church never changes!!! One more time…The Mission of the church NEVER changes!!!

And that mission is pretty simple to explain…“Go make disciples who follow Jesus.” “And then teach them to obey His commands.”

Is this Mission possible? Absolutely…we have the authoritative power of Jesus and we have His word, we have the same resurrection, the same Holy Spirit, and His same family plan for the church…so why is a mission that is absolutely possible…in fact essential for our future being ignored? I think one person got it right when he assessed the condition of the visible body of Christ when he said,

“The Church today has raised a whole generation of mules.”

I love animals…and before you get too mad at me…I know we live in Kentucky and it’s “horse central” but most people would agree with these statements:

• Mules can endure extreme temperatures better than horses.
• Mules are by most accounts noticeably more intelligent than horses.
• Mules eat less and rarely have hoof problems, unlike horses.
• Mules live longer (18 years vs. 15 years) than horses.
• Mules are generally more productive when it comes to work than horses. A mule can carry a 50-60 pound pack up to 50 miles in one day!
• As a matter of fact, about the only problem with mules is that they are almost always sterile and therefore incapable of reproduction. Durable–yes! Smart–yes! Inexpensive to maintain–yes! Hard workers–yes! But unfortunately most mules are the end of the family line. Perhaps this is what is meant by this individual who claims that we’re raising a whole generation of mules!
The church is full of hard workers. We teach classes, serve the physical needs of others, clean up and mow the grass, cook, move tables, organize social activities, visit and even write letters and cards, and do a host of other things, the vast majority of which are good and helpful ministries. There is just one problem. We’re not very good at reproducing. For some obvious reasons, we don’t share what it means to be a disciple of Christ with others so that they can know Him and enlist in His work. Many are at the end of the line when it comes to spiritual reproduction. The mission of the church given to us by our Lord is to go into all the world and make disciples of others. It is entirely possible that we can work very hard at various activities and yet still fail to get the job done. Let me say it plainly. If we are not contributing to the Great Commission by making disciples, we are not doing the job completely. If we are nothing more than a generation of infertile mules, then at least from a human perspective, we are on the road to extinction.

So once again will you repeat this truth with me? “The Mission of the Church NEVER changes!!!”

“Go Make Disciples.”

So why does any church who claims Jesus as their authoritative leader become sterile?

I. ISSUES THAT PUT THE GREAT COMMISSION OUT OF COMMISSION

The Great Commission are some of Jesus’ final words here on earth…This commission is authorized by the power of Christ, accomplished by the plan of Christ, and assured by the presence of Christ.

If the command is so simple that my 8 year old grandson, The Peanut, gets it

SHOW PICTURE

“Jesus Loves Us…Tell this to everybody” why don’t adult followers get is…or have stopped getting it? Well, here’s a few I believe make us mules instead of multipliers.

1. It’s not my job.

I had a friend ask me how many baptisms we had last year…and I said 8…His response was like “that’s not very many.” I stayed quiet…which is hard for me to do…but I thought…what if every committed follower of Christ led 8 people into the waters of baptism this year? or 4…or even 1.

You see the Great Commission wasn’t fulfilled in the early days of the church after Pentecost because the Apostles baptized thousands and thousands. In fact they dedicated themselves to studying the Word of God and prayer…so they could make disciples who make disciples…the Apostle Paul would say:

1 CORINTHIANS 1:14-17 (p. 793)

What kind of idiot preacher would say something like that? LOL…I’ll tell you…an idiot preacher who knew it was about Christ and not him…an idiot preacher who knew people who argue about the number of baptisms and who did it…miss the point of discipleship…baptism is essential in fulfilling this commission or Jesus wouldn’t have included it.

But the people who came to know Christ daily in Jerusalem were made by individuals who knew it was their calling…and the mission field of Paul was to make disciples who make disciples so that when he wasn’t there…they’d still be making disciples…my dad used to say “it’s more productive for 10 people to do 10 jobs…than for 1 person to try and do 10 jobs.

The Commission of Christ is every believer’s job. You’re never too old…too shy…too ungifted…to tell people you love Jesus and lead them to love Him too.

The 2nd issue, in no particular order is…

2. We become protectors of territory instead of growers of the Kingdom.

One of our elders who I respect tremendously, put it this way… “We should have less territory protection and more encouragement for new people to become involved in the areas they’re gifted in or have special interest in.”

It seems to me the call of Jesus is “come follow me.” “Come with me.” “Let’s do this together.” Not…“Stay away, this is my area.”

Have you ever noticed…Paul took Barnabas and Silas with Him?

It wasn’t just Stephen who oversaw the first deacon ministry, by Philip and 5 others…the mark of a real disciple maker is always about growing people…sharing ministry… “Without a successor…you’ll never be successful…at least in fulfilling the Great Commission.

The third issue to put the Great Commission out of commission:

3. Leaders who don’t serve as examples to their flock.

Jesus modeled disciple making…so His followers could see it in action. It’s the very reason one of those lead disciples, Peter, wrote “We follow in His steps” and “To the elders among you I appeal as a fellow elder…be examples to the flock.” (1 Peter 5:3)

The reason not many people should become teachers…is that we’re under a stricter judgment (James 3:1). If your words and life don’t match…you are much more like the Pharisees than like Jesus. If you have never, or have no real desire, to live out the mission of the church…why should you in any way be influencing others with your teaching? You’ll create a group of people who meet only to get information that’s never used. You’ll become mules that work hard at activities but never reproduce Jesus followers or desire to.

[I’ve never served in the military…one of my deepest regrets…but I understand it’s chain of command…authority comes from higher up…and then is passed down “the chain.” It’s not a request or a suggestion…They call them “orders.” But what if that order arrived at a sergeant…and the sergeant then determined…This isn’t really important…I’ll give them my own.

Jesus said “All authority in heaven and earth has been given to me…go and make disciples.

These are the highest orders from the greatest authority, but what if a leader in the chain of command disregards them and tells immature privates it’s not that important?

Do you remember this story in Matthew chapter 8?

MATTHEW 8:5-9 (p. 680)

This leader understood the chain of command…He took orders and he gave orders…He understood obedience to the one in authority.

Jesus response to this was “I’ve not even found in Israel faith like this.”

These are our marching orders in the Great Commission: “Go make disciples,” the question is do we respect his authority…and do we put people in leadership places that don’t break the chain of command?

And my experience is it’s a lot easier to put people who understand the authority of Jesus in these places than to try and remove them after the chain is broken.

As another one of our elders said, “leaders must be people “committed to the cause, with high moral character, and a compassion for people.” “They must believe in what they’re doing. They prove it by the way they live, and they encourage others with love and patience to do the same.”

The final issue…

4. You don’t really love Christ or His Bride, the Church.

[I love my wife Kari…I think you know that’s clearly evident…that I married waaay above my pay grade!!! I love introducing her to people…I’m proud she’s my wife and I want people to know it…she’s my bride.]

But I’ve met people who have never told people they love Jesus…when they talk about His bride all they can mention are the things they don’t like…and yes I understand your preferences and your disappointments…but if you really love the bridegroom, shouldn’t you look at His bride the way he does instead of how jealous ex-lovers do?

You see Christianity is about loving Jesus…It’s not only the characteristic that identifies true disciples…They’ll know you’re my disciples by the way you love one another.” It’s also the motivation that propels us to share the Great Commission…“For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for Him who died for them and was raised again.” (2 Corinthians 5:14-15)

You see the Great Commission is never done affectively unless

II. WE LIVE IN HIS PRESENCE AS WE GO INTO THE WORLD

Jesus promised, “I’ll be with you always to the very end of the age.” (Matt. 28:20)

Those who are in Christ…have Christ in them…We are never alone…He promises to give us the words we need to say…He promises when the storms of life blow to be our “Prince of Peace.”

Our baptism brings the forgiveness of our sins and the gift of His Holy Spirit…as the song says…from this day forward “We will never walk alone!!!”

On Sundays this Spirit unites us in worship…which is extremely important…because it’s in His worship and praise that we proclaim His glory…so that Monday through Saturday we remember why we live, breathe and have our being…We remember our mission…The one that never changes…

Conclusion:

In 1933 Dawson Trotman, founder of the Navigators, began teaching sailor Les Spencer how to grow in his relationship with Jesus Christ. They spent many hours together in Bible study, scripture memorization and prayer. Soon a shipmate of Les Spencer asked him about the reason for his changed life. Les brought him to Daws and said, “Teach him what you taught me.” Dawson’s answer — “You teach him” — was the beginning of the Navigators. Les Spencer did help that sailor and the two in turn began to help others. Thus was born a simple model of discipleship or spiritual reproduction, a process whereby one person helps another, who in turn helps another, and on and on. Eventually the Navigators became a worldwide ministry organization committed to carrying out this multiplying process in over 1000 countries. When Dawson Trotman passed away he left a legacy of discipleship on this earth, the likes of which is seldom seen. Oh, by the way, he died the same way he lived…laying down his life for others. In 1956 at a place called Schroon Lake in the state of New York, Dawson drowned while trying to save the lives of two young ladies, He jumped into the lake when he saw them struggling to stay afloat. He managed to lift one girl out of the water. He returned for the other and rescued her as well. By the will of God, however, it was the last time anyone ever saw Dawson Trotman alive. His body was not seen again until the dragnet found him a few hours later. A man named Larsen, who was on that boat when Trotman died, later said, “The entire United States Navy couldn’t have saved Trotman that day — it was God’s time.” Time Magazine ran an article on his life the next week, and put a caption beneath his name that read, “Always Holding Somebody Up.” This one sentence summed up Trotman’s life – invested in people, spent on helping many find life, then holding them up so that they might be able to do the same for still others. What will the caption beneath your name read when God calls you home?

Let’s Pray.