This week we wrapped up our series-within-a-series on True Christianity as depicted in Acts 2:40-47. So far we’ve seen that true Christianity results in a redeemed community, with an immovable commitment to truth, and is marked by joyous worship. Lastly, today, true Christianity embraces everyday mission. Amazingly, he uses redeemed sinners to point sinners-in-need-of-redemption to the Redeemer.
We have spent the last four weeks answering the question “What is true Christianity?” We’ll wrap-up this short series-within-a-series today. One of the reasons we took additional time to unpack this section is because Christianity is often misunderstood. This, of course, is a tragedy. What everyone in Seattle needs is Jesus and the problem is they do not know this. One of the reasons for this is that popular ideas of and experiences with Christianity are often as far from the real thing as possible. Therefore, its crucial we understand what Christianity is and what it means to be a Christian, particularly as a newly forming church in the heart of our great city.
So far we’ve seen that true Christianity results in a redeemed community, with an immovable commitment to truth that is marked by joyous worship. But, it doesn’t end there. Today we see that all of these attributes are anchored in everyday mission. “Mission” can be a hard word and concept to get a hold of because its usage varies so widely. Biblically, “mission” is intentionally building relationships with those who don’t follow Jesus for the purposes of the gospel. The word “mission” comes from the Latin word for “sent”. Therefore to be on mission with Jesus, means to be sent by Jesus for Jesus.
Jn 20:21 “As the father sent me…so I am sending you”
1 Peter 2:9-10 “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.”
In other words, the church is God’s mission strategy. The church is not a proud, formal institution; nor a shallow, nice group sharing muffins and coffee. Rather, the church is made up of simple, diverse, unknown people who have been radically loved and entirely forgiven by God and sent to proclaim Him. So, the big idea today is that true Christianity embraces everyday mission.
“The church is the only cooperative society in the world which exists for the benefit of its non-members” – Archbishop William Temple (1881-1944, Archbishop of Church of England)
The Bible is a huge, epic story that runs from the Garden of Eden to the New Jerusalem (Rev21). It is the story we are all a part of. In fact, the reason we love stories (movies, good fiction, art, drama) is because we’re created to live in one. You were created to live for a story bigger than your own story: the story of God.
- Story of how God is RESCUING creation from its rebellion, brokenness corruption and death.
- Story of how he ACCOMPLISHED this through life, death + resurrection of Jesus Christ
- Story of how he is REDEEMING people from all tribes, nations to be his own.
- Story of how he SENDS his people, the church, into the world as ambassadors and agents of renewal
- Story continues to UNFOLD today, this morning, downtown Seattle.
This morning we’re going to look at the who, what, where, when, why and how of God’s story and its primary theme: MISSION.
First, the “WHY” of mission? “those who were being saved” vs47
Luke 19:10 “For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” – Jesus
Mt 9:13 “For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.” – Jesus
Jn 9:39 “I came into the world, that those who do not see may see…” – Jesus
The terms “Lost”, “sinner”, “blind” all speak to the condition of separation, rebellion, and alienation from God due to sin. All humanity, by nature and choice, is in this condition and thus under the curse and just displeasure of God. It’s not that we have just broken rules, we are broken. Broken people do broken things. We’re not sinners because we sin. We sin because we’re sinners. We are totally depraved and, thus, unplugged from God.
Eph 4:18,19 “darkened in [our] understanding, alienated from the life of God b/c of the hardness of heart. [We] have become callous and have given [ourselves] up to sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity.”
Rom 1:21-25 “although [we] knew God, [we] did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but [we] became futile in [our] thinking, and [our] foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, [we] became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images…therefore God gave [us] up in the lusts of [our] hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of [our] bodies among [ourselves] b/c [we] exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator…”
Jesus, as the Good Shepherd, is out looking for “lost” sheep. That is the reason he came: MISSION. God intends to put the world back together and he has dramatically launched that project thru person and work of Jesus. He came to “seek and save the lost”, make them worshippers, and SEND out as missionaries. Because this was central to Jesus’ purposes, and since we are his people, mission must be central to our purposes.
XN: Do you realize the extent to which God has gone to save you? Has this hit home for you?
NonXN: XN’s are not saying they’re better, just found. What do you do with your guilt?
Second, the “WHO” of mission? “And the Lord added to their number” vs 47
God Does It.
Eph 1:4 “he chose us in him before the foundation of the world” (cf Eph 2:10; 2Thess 2:13)
Acts 13:48 “as many as were appointed to eternal life believed”
We Do It.
Mt 28:19-20 “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations…”
Rom 10:14,17 “And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching…how beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!”
2 Cor 5:20 “We are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us…”
We’re all missionaries, the question is what message is our life spreading. (Ex. good news about our career, ourselves, family, bank accounts, causes…or primarily good news RE: Jesus?) Every believer is a full time paid missionary and God funds us through different sources. Literally, “God makes his appeal through us” (2 Cor 5:20) at school, work, in our apartment complex, and with our neighbors. We are there on behalf of God. God is carrying out his plan, but he uses means to do so. WE ARE HIS MEANS. GOD DOES IT THRU US.
Don’t miss how astonishing this is! God uses redeemed sinners as his primary agents of his mission. Says that the “Lord added” us, so there’s no room for boasting. We are saved by God, FOR others. He uses FOUND ones to SEEK out LOST ones that they too may be FOUND. He uses REDEEMED sinners to point sinners-in-need-of-redemption to the REDEEMER.
Q: What message is your life spreading? All of our lives are declaring the good news of something.
Q: Are you living out your identity as missionary and ambassador for Christ?
Q: Are you actively pursuing others for the sake of the gospel while trusting the outcome to God?
Third, the “HOW” of mission?
Declare. “with many words he bore witness…” 2:40
Display. “And the Lord added to their number” vs 47
Jesus said the world would know Him by our love for one another. (Jn 17:20-23) It is through the quality of our loving unity that God makes himself visible to the city around us.
This is why people are often attracted to Christian community before they are attracted to the Christian message. When non-Christians come to check out DCC they should have two thoughts. First, these people are like me. They understand my thoughts, concerns, fears, and world. I can see becoming part. Second, these people are not like me. Something about way they life, love and serve that’s different.
Declaration + displaying go together.
Declaration w/out Display = hypocrisy
Display w/out Declaration = signs to nowhere
Q: Are you declaring and displaying the gospel?
Q: Do you love people who are far from God? Do you want them to come to a saving knowledge of Jesus?
Q: Do you care enough to make the gospel clear in your words and your actions?
Fourth, the “WHERE” of mission?
Where did all of this start? At home. In Jerusalem. There has been a false notion has crept into the church that mission is something that happens overseas, not at home. Biblically, mission starts at home and moves overseas. We go across the street, then across the world. For us, that means the mission starts here in Seattle. The next time you go to work, to school, or pull into your garage remember that God has sovereignly placed you among people that He wants to know Him.
Fifth, the “WHEN” of mission? “day by day” vs47
Did you catch that? Every day. This doesn’t mean they threw evangelistic rallies every day. It means they were living every day, ordinary life with gospel intentionality. It wasn’t an event, but a lifestyle. Living on mission is not another thing you do, but how you do all things. Sometimes we want a form of evangelism we can stick in our schedules and turn on/off, but Jesus calls us to live a lifestyle of love. This should cause us to rethink evangelism as relationships vs events.
Eight Easy Ways to Be Missional
Be relational. Build friends, not targets.
Be available. God moments are unexpected + inconvenient
Be a blessing. Blessed to be a blessing.
Be generous. As God, in Christ, has been to us.
Be hospitable. As God, in Christ, has welcomed us home.
Be patient. As God, in Christ, has been with us.
Start by identifying 3-5 people to intentionally love, pray for, get time with.
Jesus’ mission involves ordinary people doing ordinary things with gospel intentionality. True Christianity embraces every day mission.
- Why? Because God wants life for us. Life comes through worship of him. To worship, we must be “found”
- Who? God carries out his mission through us.
- How? As we declare the gospel with our words and display the implications of the gospel w/ our lives.
- Where? We’ll start in this city, from here to the cities of the world.
- When? Every day.
“Evangelism is one poor beggar telling another poor beggar where to find bread.” – D.T. Niles
“Many Christians fail to share their faith because they are trying to do it perfectly, and since they cannot do it perfectly, they remain silent…what really convinces others of the truth of the Christian message is not our perfection or our rational arguments, but our willingness to love them where they are and to introduce them to our community of faith.”
– John Miller, A Faith Worth Sharing, 44
“[Christianity] isn’t so much a matter of you figuring it all out and deciding to take a step, or a stand. It’s a matter of Someone calling you, calling with a voice you dimly recognize, calling with a message that is simultaneously an invitation of love and a summons to obedience. The call to faith is both of these. It is the call to believe that the true God, the world’s creator, has loved the whole world so much, you and me included, that he has come himself in the person of his Son and has died and risen again to exhaust the power of evil and create a new world in which everything will be put to rights and joy will replace sorrow.” – NT Wright, Simply Christian, 207
“Made for spirituality, we wallow in introspection. Made for joy, we settle for pleasure. Made for justice, we clamor for vengeance. Made for relationship, we insist on our own way. Made for beauty, we are satisfied w/ sentiment….that is quite simply what it means to be a Christian: to follow Jesus Christ into the new world, God’s new world, which he has thrown open before us.” – NT Wright, Simply Christian, 237
“The invisible God, who once made himself visible in Christ, now makes himself visible in Christians, if we love one another…God is love in his essential being, and has revealed his love in the gift of his Son to life and die for us. Now he calls us to be a community of love, loving each other in the intimacy of his family – especially across the barriers of age and sex, race and rank – loving the world in its alienation, hunger, poverty and pain. it is through the quality of our loving that God makes himself visible today.” John Stott, The Living Church, 69
Total Church, Steve Timmis & Tim Chester
Tangible Kingdom, Hugh Halter & Matt Smay
Simply Christian, NT Wright