Monday, March 30, 2009

The Church Should Breathe the Breath of God

Yesterday I preached a message that challenged NGWC once again to be a missional church. Here are my sermon notes:

Let’s do an exercise – breathe in and hold it. You can’t hold it in but so long before you have to exhale.

This illustrates the life and flow of the church (both in and out). We bring ourselves to church on Sunday and we bring the church to others every day. We come to church asking God to bless and help us; then we leave asking God to bless others and to make us a blessing.

Scripture: John 20:21-23

Again Jesus said, "Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you." And with that he breathed on them and said, "Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive anyone his sins, they are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven."

Before we can be sent out we must breathe in the breath of God (H.S.) Before we can go out into the world we need to come near to God and each other to form a community of faith. But if all we ever do is come in then we will just inflate ourselves until we explode.

The church has done a pretty good job of gathering; so good that we have become very inwardly focused in everything we do. Our Lord said that we should pray for laborers to go out into the harvest field yet most of our labor is expended on ourselves.

Dare I say that we have become more interested in the barn than in the harvest? Have we become consumed with the operation of the machinery around the barn to the neglect of going out into the harvest?

This dominant inward focus can be seen in our church scorecards (attendance, offerings, membership, value of our buildings). When will we develop a scorecard that measures our impact on the community around us?

An outwardly focused church still comes in and meets together. But their reasons are different from those of an inwardly focused church. Ask yourself: Why did I come to church today?

Reasons for The Church To Come In While We Also Go Out:

Rejoice – Psalm 68:26 > Praise God in the great congregation; praise the LORD in the assembly of Israel.

Repent – James 5:16 > Confess your sins to each other.

Request – Matthew 21:13 > My house will be called a house of prayer.

Recharge – Ephesians 4:11-12 > It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God's people for works of service.

Once we have done these things together each of us goes out to serve on mission with God in the same way that Jesus was sent by God from heaven to this earth.

“As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.”

John 3:17 > For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.

The Mission of Jesus is the Mission of His Followers:

1) To serve and sacrifice

Mark 10:45 > The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.

2) To seek and save

Luke 19:10 > For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost.

The Message of Jesus is the Message of His Followers:

Luke 4:18-19 > He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor.

It does not matter the style of worship, theological doctrines, size of the building, or denominational labels all followers of Jesus are called to go on mission in the power of the Holy Spirit with His message.

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