The Call to the Great Community 10

 

 

We Pray as Jesus Taught us to Pray!

Matthew 6:5-13

 

“Rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation, devoted to prayer” (Romans 12:12).

 

“So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives; and he who seeks, finds; and to him who knocks, it will be opened” (Luke 11:9-10).

 

APPROACH PRAYER WITH THE RIGHT ATTITUDE.

                                                                                                                

  • Be real

 

“When you pray, you are not to be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on the street corners so that they may be seen by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full” (Matthew 6:5).

 

                       – Don’t try to impress others (or yourself!)

                       – Don’t try to impress God (for He knows you already, and He loves you!)

 

  • Be relaxed

 

“But you, when you pray, go into your inner room, close your door and pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you” (Matthew 6:6).

 

  • Be revealing

 

 “And when you are praying, do not use meaningless repetition as the Gentiles do, for they suppose that they will be heard for their many words. So do not be like them; for your Father knows what you need before you ask Him”                                                                   

(Matthew 6:7-8).

 

USE THE MODEL JESUS GAVE US

 

Matthew 6:9-13 “Pray, then, in this way…”

 

  1. PRAISE: I begin by expressing my love and adoration to God. Start by anchoring yourself in who He is and who you are in relationship to Him.

 

“Our Father who is in heaven, hallowed be Your name…” (v. 9b).

 

  1. PURPOSE: I commit myself to living a life of devotion to God’s will.

 

“Your kingdom come. Your will be done, On earth as it is in heaven …” (v. 10).

 

Pray for God’s will to be done… in me… in my family… my church… my ministry… my job… my future… my city… the nation… the world.

 

“And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect”            (Romans 12:2).

 

  1. PROVISION: I ask God to provide for needs.

 

“Give us this day our daily bread…” (v. 11).

“And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19).

 

“He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things?” (Romans 8:32)

 

You lust and do not have; so you commit murder. You are envious and cannot obtain; so you fight and quarrel. You do not have because you do not ask” (James 4:2).

 

“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God” (Philippians 4:6).

 

  1. PARDON: I ask God to forgive my sins

 

“And forgive us our debts …” (v. 12a).

 

“Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me and know my anxious thoughts; and see if there be any hurtful way in me, and lead me in the everlasting way” (Psalm 139:23-24).

 

“He who conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will find compassion” (Proverbs 28:13).

 

“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).

 

  1. PEOPLE: I pray for other people.

 

“…as we also have forgiven our debtors” (v. 12b).

 

“Therefore if you are presenting your offering at the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your offering there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and present your offering” (Matthew 5:23-24).

 

 “First of all, then, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men” (1 Timothy 2:1).

 

  1. PROTECTION: I ask for spiritual protection.

 

“And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil” (v. 13a).

 

Believers face a spiritual battle every day! Satan wants to defeat you through temptation and fear. By praying for protection, you will have the confidence to face every situation during the day.

 

“You are from God, little children, and have overcome them; because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world” (1 John 4:4).

 

  1. PRIORITIZATION: I recommit myself and my work to God.

 

“For yours is the kingdom and power and the glory forever. Amen” (v. 13b).

 

“Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship” (Romans 12:1).

 

HOW TO BEGIN A DAILY DEVOTION TIME (QUIET TIME)

 

The Important Factors:

 

In the early morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house, and went away to a secluded place, and was praying there.” (Mark 1:35)

 

  1. SELECT A SPECIFIC TIME

 

The best time to have a quiet time is when I am at my best! Whatever time you set, be consistent!

 

  1. CHOOSE A SPECIAL PLACE

 

And He came out and proceeded as was His custom to the Mount of Olives; and the disciples also followed Him” (Luke 22:39).

 

  1. GATHER THE RESOURCES YOU’LL NEED

 

  1. A Bible – a good translation you can read and understand.
  2. A notebook or journal – to write down what the Lord speaks to you about, and to keep your prayer list. It is also good to keep you focused when other things come to your mind.
  1. Memory Cards for Scripture memorization.
  2. A Songbook – if you want to sing.
  3. Study tools that you helps you understand and apply what you are learning.

 

  1. BEGIN WITH THE RIGHT ATTITUDES

 

  • Reverence

“Cease striving and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth” (Psalm 46:10).

 

  • Expectancy

“Open my eyes, that I may behold; Wonderful things from Your law” (Psalm 119:18).

 

  • Willingness to Obey

“If anyone is willing to do His will, he will know of the teaching, whether it is of God or whether I speak from Myself” (John 7:17).

 

“Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary” (Galatians 6:9).

 

 

A PRAYER OF COMMITMENT

 

“Father, I realize that I was created to have fellowship with You. Thank you for making this privilege possible through Jesus’ death and resurrection. I know that daily fellowship with You is to be the most important thing in my life. I now want to commit myself to spending time every day with You in a set apart quiet time of Bible intake and prayer. I’m trusting in Your strength to help me be consistent and for my whole life to be in devotion to You. In Jesus’ name, Amen.”

 

RESOURCES:

 
For a PDF version of these notes, click HERE.
 
You can watch the entire service including music by clicking HERE.
 
You can watch the message by clicking HERE.
 

 

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The Call to the Great Community 9

Lesson #9:

Build the Body of Christ by using your Spiritual Gifts!  (Pt 2)

Romans 12:1-8 

(with supporting verses 1 Corinthians 12:1-11, 27-31; Ephesians 4:11-12; and 1 Peter 4:9-11)

 

Today, we are focusing on how you can build the body of Christ by using your spiritual gifts. Last week we laid a good foundation that every Christian is called to live the life of devotion, which we call ministry (Ephesians 2:8-10; 4:11-16 and 2 Corinthians 5:17-20). We learned the 5-step process of discovering your ministry from Romans 12:1-8, which is the foundation of your daily devotional life, ensuring you’re living a life of devotion and not just checking a box. Today, we are going deeper on the spiritual gifts themselves (as described in Romans 12:6-8), but the big point we all need to remember is that God wants to build the body of Christ in and through each of our lives. God chose you on purpose because you have good works to walk in with your life! We are better together in Christ because each of us has an important SHAPE for ministry: God has given you spiritual gifts, a heart or passions for certain people or issues, abilities to meet those needs, personality to effectively work with others, and life experiences that uniquely equip you.

 

A spiritual gift is one aspect to how God has shaped you for ministry; it is a special ability, given by the Holy Spirit to every believer upon being saved, to be used to minister to others and therefore build up the body of Christ. All gifts are given to help the church fulfill its purposes to the glory of God. The spiritual gifts are related to, but are distinctively different from, the fruit of the Spirit. Whereas gifts are given to equip you for your life of ministry, the fruit of the Spirit are the maturity of your personhood as a minister of the gospel. It is the Spirit of God at work in you that defines both your person as a Christian – “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control” – and your work as a Christian, empowered through your spiritual gifts. In Paul’s discussion about spiritual gifts, he stated in 1 Corinthians 12:1-11:

 

Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I do not want you to be unaware. You know that when you were pagans, you were led astray to the mute idols, however you were led. Therefore I make known to you that no one speaking by the Spirit of God says, “Jesus is accursed”; and no one can say, “Jesus is Lord,” except by the Holy Spirit. Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are varieties of ministries, and the same Lord. There are varieties of effects, but the same God who works all things in all persons. But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. For to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, and to another the word of knowledge according to the same Spirit; to another faith by the same Spirit, and to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, and to another the effecting of miracles, and to another prophecy, and to another the distinguishing of spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, and to another the interpretation of tongues. But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually just as He wills.

 

The Bible does not lock us into tight restrictions as to the number of spiritual gifts, or even their definitions. The four major lists of gifts are found in Romans 12:6-8 and 1 Corinthians 12:1-11, both of which I have already read to you, and the list continues in verses 27-31:

 

Now you are Christ’s body, and individually members of it. And God has appointed in the church, first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, various kinds of tongues. All are not apostles, are they? All are not prophets, are they? All are not teachers, are they? All are not workers of miracles, are they? All do not have gifts of healings, do they? All do not speak with tongues, do they? All do not interpret, do they? But earnestly desire the greater gifts. And I show you a still more excellent way.

 

The next passage of spiritual gifts is found in Ephesians 4:11-12, which I read to you last week; it covers the five-fold ministry of spiritual gifted leaders to equip the local congregations in their unique ministries; and finally, the last one is 1 Peter 4:9-11:

 

Be hospitable to one another without complaint. As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. Whoever speaks, is to do so as one who is speaking the utterances of God; whoever serves is to do so as one who is serving by the strength which God supplies; so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belongs the glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.

 

Here’s the bottom line about spiritual gifts and why they are important to the building of the body of Christ: spiritual gifts are the temporary to build the eternal, so don’t worship the gifts (nor those who are working more maturely in their gifts), but only worship the Gift-giver! Remember the admonition of James 1:14-17:

 

But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust. Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death. Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren. Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow.

 

You don’t need a separate “baptism of the Spirit” or a “second movement of grace” to manifest the fruit of the Spirit or use your spiritual gifts in and through your Christian life. These are your birth rite as a Christian, so learn how to grow strong in God’s grace as a Christian disciple, as Paul exhorted his protégé in 2 Timothy 2:1-6:

 

You therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. The things which you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, entrust these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also. Suffer hardship with me, as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No soldier in active service entangles himself in the affairs of everyday life, so that he may please the one who enlisted him as a soldier. Also if anyone competes as an athlete, he does not win the prize unless he competes according to the rules. The hard-working farmer ought to be the first to receive his share of the crops.

 

At conversion, you were already given everything in Christ through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. Through God’s grace, you have everything you need for life and godliness (2 Peter 1).  You are not lacking in any way, except maybe in willingness, motivation, or obedience, but that is between you and God, and that brings us back to where we began this sermon last week, with the five-step process to mature in Christ and go forth to minister in His name.

 

Step 1: Dedicate your life to God!

 

“Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship” (Romans 12:1).

 

Step 2: Eliminate competing distractions!

 

“And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect” (Romans 12:2).

 

Step 3: Find your identity in God!

 

“For through the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith” (Romans 12:3).

 

Step 4: Gather with the Body of Christ as a healthy, functioning member!

 

“For just as we have many members in one body and all the members do not have the same function, so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another” (Romans 12:4-5).

 

Step 5: Live a life of wholehearted devotion by using your spiritual gifts to build the body of Christ to the glory of God – Live on Mission Today! CM! Live like a Champion Today! Live Strong in God’s Grace Today! This is what I’ve bene teaching you for years because this the life of discipleship, practically lived out in your life and through community!

 

“Since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, each of us is to exercise them accordingly: if prophecy, according to the proportion of his faith; if service, in his serving; or he who teaches, in his teaching; or he who exhorts, in his exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness” (Romans 12:6-8).

 

In conclusion, and to illustrate this, we are now going to call forward the 15-person short-term mission team going to the Dominican Republic in support of Jim & Teresa White and Sharing the Vision. While they are coming up to be commissioned, I also want to invite you to join me in prayer for Nathan & Ethan Hughes, the sons of Jeff & Michelle. The twins traveled to Honduras on Monday and will be serving on a short-term mission team there until June 29. I encourage all of you to look for the ways you are being called to build the body of Christ.
 
 

Available Materials:

 
If you would like a printable PDF file of the message, click HERE.
 
If you would like to watch this lesson on YouTube, click HERE.
 
If you would like to view the entire service including music, etc. click HERE.

 
 
 

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The Call to the Great Community 8

Discover Your Ministry! (Pt 1)

Romans 12:1-8

 

Being involved in ministry is a fulfillment of Ephesians 2:8-10, “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.” Ministry is anytime you work unto the Lord. It is an outward expression of God’s grace at work through you. I would argue that it’s impossible to do ministry apart from Christ or for any motive other than Christ. It may be called a ministry, but it’s not! Just like we may not call it ministry when you go about your day, doing whatever it is you do unto the Lord, but it is!

Every single person, called by God and chosen to receive saving faith by grace, is called to live by the anointing of the Holy Spirit as a minister of the gospel of Jesus Christ, as taught by 2 Corinthians 5:17-20:

Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation, namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.

Ministry is not for an exclusive group, such as pastors and missionaries, and, if we were to define ministry as something for an “exclusive group” of people, then the simple fact that you are a Christian puts you in that exclusive group. With that said, how do you discover your ministry? That is a similar question to the philosophical one, “Why do I exist?” or “What on earth did God put me on this planet to do?” Discovering your ministry helps you find your place in the body of Christ because we are called to be members of the one body of Christ. According to Ephesians 4:11-16, the body of Christ is built up when each of us uniquely finds our ministry:

And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ; until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ. As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming; but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ, from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by what every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love.

 

You were chosen by God and called to be a member of the body of Christ on purpose! That purpose is to be build the body of Christ because we are the closest thing to the incarnation the world has after Jesus’ ascended to the right hand of the Father. If people are going to see Jesus, it’s through the church, the people of God who bear His image and manifest His fruit! Discovering that purpose invites you to take a 5-step process of discovering your ministry from Romans 12:1-8:

Step 1: Dedicate your life to God!

Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship” (Romans 12:1).

Step 2: Eliminate competing distractions!

And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect” (Romans 12:2).

These first two steps are summarized with a military image from 2 Timothy 2:4, “No soldier in active service entangles himself in the affairs of everyday life, so that he may please the one who enlisted him as a soldier.” The focus of a Christian soldier is what it means to the fear the Lord, or to “seek first His Kingdom and His righteousness” (Matthew 6:33).

Step 3: Find your identity in God!

For through the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith” (Romans 12:3).

Step 4: Gather with the Body of Christ as a healthy, functioning member!

For just as we have many members in one body and all the members do not have the same function, so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another” (Romans 12:4-5).

Step 5: Live a life of wholehearted devotion!        

Since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, each of us is to exercise them accordingly: if prophecy, according to the proportion of his faith; if service, in his serving; or he who teaches, in his teaching; or he who exhorts, in his exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness” (Romans 12:6-8).

This is the biblical, five-step process to discover your ministry, but there is a significant issue that I must help you with if this is going to be of practical assistance to us as the Great Community of God! Jesus taught in Matthew 7:24-26:

“Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them, may be compared to a wise man who built his house on the rock. “And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and yet it did not fall, for it had been founded on the rock. “Everyone who hears these words of Mine and does not act on them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. “The rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and it fell—and great was its fall.”

You must now go and do what you have learned! And not just once and done, but every day of your life. We work unto the Lord six days per week, and we dedicate one full day per week to cease from our unfinished works to rest in His finished work – to delight in God!

 

Discovering your life of ministry is truly about living a life of devotion to the beliefs and values you hold true in your heart; it’s about being a person of integrity. You must figure out how to align your heart and mind so that you speak and act in agreement with who you say you are in Christ. A life of devotion must include a devotional life because it is in our time with God that we hear from Him and dedicate our day to walking in the Way with Him. When done properly, your devotional life fuels your life of devotion, just like your Christian discipleship fuels our community life as the Great Community. What we do personally informs what we do corporately, and what we do together gives direction and boundary to what you do alone. This is how God designed it: for us to be totally dependent on Jesus, who is the head, and mutually dependent on one another, the unique members of His body.

 

We are designed by God to be better together in Christ!
 
 
 

Resources:

If you would like a printable PDF of the sermon notes, click HERE.

If you would like to watch this message, click HERE.

If you would like to watch the entire service, including music, click HERE.

 
 
 

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The Call to the Great Community 7

 

REST: The Invitation of the Easy Yoke of Jesus Christ.

 
 
 
(Send off for Pastor Ken & Tina sabbatical)
 

You can watch the message by clicking HERE.

 

You can watch the entire service by clicking HERE.

 
 
 
 
 

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The Call to the Great Community 6

Lesson #5:

The Engine of the Church is Multigenerational Discipleship!

 

Why did Jesus take three years to do what he could have done in three months, maybe even three weeks? Jesus came to not only die on the Cross for our sins, which He could have accomplished quite quickly in the powder-keg political and religious environment of His time, but He also came from Heaven to Earth to show us the Way to live the Spirit-led life. One of the lessons Jesus taught His disciples came through a practical illustration, found in Matthew 19:13-14, “Then some children were brought to Him so that He might lay His hands on them and pray; and the disciples rebuked them. But Jesus said, “Let the children alone, and do not hinder them from coming to Me; for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” The Spirit-led life emphasizes the importance of children, giving value to most vulnerable in our midst.

Later, when Jesus restored Peter to his position of leadership in John 21:15-17, He passed on His responsibilities as a shepherd to His sheep, which included the lambs:

So when they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me more than these?” He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.” He said to him, “Tend My lambs.” He said to him again a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me?” He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.” He said to him, “Shepherd My sheep.” He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me?” Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, “Do you love Me?” And he said to Him, “Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You.” Jesus said to him, “Tend My sheep.

 

The resurrected Jesus commanded Peter that the right response to loving him was caring for and tending to His sheep, including the most vulnerable lambs. You see, Jesus the Good Shepherd, was raising up disciples who could properly care for and feed the next generation of disciples. This was effectively done by the apostles, as they passed on to others what was fist given to them, often through women, children, and households. Paul said to the next generation of the faith in 2 Timothy 2:2, “The things which you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, entrust these to faithful [people] who will be able to teach others also.”

In the same way that Jesus walked with His disciples to show them the Way, we are to do life with others. Timothy learned how to live the life of discipleship by being a first-hand witness of Paul’s ministry. Paul expressed this point to him in 2 Timothy 3:10-11: “Now you followed my teaching, conduct, purpose, faith, patience, love, perseverance, persecutions, and sufferings, such as happened to me at Antioch, at Iconium and at Lystra; what persecutions I endured, and out of them all the Lord rescued me!”

Timothy learned directly from Paul in real everyday life, on the mission field. He learned not only through words, but through actions. Timothy was more than an eyewitness; he partook of Paul’s words and deeds, and He adopted Paul’s unwavering missional focus through demanding circumstances, including suffering and persecution. Here are three passages that demonstrate how Paul and Timothy became yoked together:

1) Acts 19:21-22. Now after these things were finished, Paul purposed in the Spirit to go to Jerusalem after he had passed through Macedonia and Achaia, saying, “After I have been there, I must also see Rome.” And having sent into Macedonia two of those who ministered to him, Timothy and Erastus, he himself stayed in Asia for a while.

2) 1 Corinthians 4:15-17. For if you were to have countless tutors in Christ, yet you would not have many fathers, for in Christ Jesus I became your father through the gospel. Therefore I exhort you, be imitators of me. For this reason I have sent to you Timothy, who is my beloved and faithful child in the Lord, and he will remind you of my ways which are in Christ, just as I teach everywhere in every church.

3) 1 Thessalonians 3:1-3. Therefore when we could endure it no longer, we thought it best to be left behind at Athens alone, and we sent Timothy, our brother and God’s fellow worker in the gospel of Christ, to strengthen and encourage you as to your faith, so that no one would be disturbed by these afflictions; for you yourselves know that we have been destined for this.

To pass on your faith to the next generation is to entrust something precious to you. Never forget that you can only entrust to others what you yourself first have obtained for yourself. Paul used the same word, “entrust,” in a special admonition to his protege in 1 Timothy 1:18-19, “This command I entrust to you, Timothy, my son, in accordance with the prophecies previously made concerning you, that by them you fight the good fight, keeping faith and a good conscience, which some have rejected and suffered shipwreck in regard to their faith.” Paul taught the next generation how to walk in the Way of Jesus, in word and deed – when you remain focused on the task of multigenerational discipleship, you are protecting your life from getting shipwrecked! This principle can be applied to marriage and raising children.

The final part of 2 Timothy 2:2 emphasizes the entire point, Paul expressed that the faith must be passed on to those who will be able to teach others also. There must be a multiplication of laborers for the harvest, as Jesus said to His disciples in Matthew 9:37-38, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Therefore beseech the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into His harvest.” This is for you and me, all of us – men, women, and children – the whole family. You are called by God, and it is His grace which qualifies the called. It is the Spirit at work in you. Listen to Paul teach the church this in 2 Corinthians 3:2-6:

You are our letter, written in our hearts, known and read by all men; being manifested that you are a letter of Christ, cared for by us, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts. Such confidence we have through Christ toward God. Not that we are adequate in ourselves to consider anything as coming from ourselves, but our adequacy is from God, who also made us adequate as servants of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.

Think of your life, your marriage, and your household as a small group, an outpost of the Kingdom of God to your neighborhood. Jesus Christ calls every believer to live on mission for Him in Matthew 28:18-20, the Great Commission: 

And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

Once again, the emphasis is on passing on to others about what you first received yourself! Just like with Paul and Timothy, this is a call to discipleship relationships between the generations like a teacher to a student, a parent to a child, a master to an apprentice. Multigenerational discipleship involves entering relationships with others to learn and to teach, to share life while living on mission for Jesus. We are to yoke with Jesus, then with one another as the one body of Christ. We are to pass it on, this is the engine of the church, fueled by the Holy Spirit; it’s what keeps us going from generation to generation.

Who, what, when, where, and why? I just gave you the why? Are you aligned with the mission of God? Now, you need to prayerfully determine the who, what, when and where. I want every individual, couple, and family unit to pray about it this summer. In the same way that two dozen adults are investing time and energy into 29 children over the next week, intentionally doing intergenerational discipleship at our Next Gen summer camp, how are you intentionally investing your time and energy into multigenerational discipleship? Think of one practical thing you can do today.

 
 
 

Resources:

 
You can download these notes in PDF format by clicking HERE.
 
You can watch this message by clicking HERE
 
You can watch the entire service including music by clicking HERE
 
 
 
 

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The Call to the Great Community 5

Lesson #5

The Church was Born on Pentecost!

Acts 2

 

It’s Pentecost Sunday and today we are going to learn about the importance of not only the historical event of Pentecost as read in Acts 2:1-13 earlier in the service, but also of the ongoing promise of the Holy Spirit that Jesus Christ gave us. Before I share this teaching with you, I want to share a personal word that God admonished me with in 2015, based on Galatians 3:1-3, “You foolish Galatians, who has bewitched you, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified? This is the only thing I want to find out from you: did you receive the Spirit by the works of the Law, or by hearing with faith? Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?” Let us learn from today’s teaching how to be wise when it comes to the things of the Spirit and why learning about the Spirit is important. Do you see how Paul connected the receiving of the Spirit and salvation through faith, as well as the ongoing sanctification of your life unto the glory of God? Just as the church was born by the Spirit, so it grows in its maturity and unity as witnesses of the gospel by the power of the Spirit.

 

Listen to Jesus’ clear teaching on the Holy Spirit so that you can hear this promise in the fullness of Jesus’ teaching. From John 14:16-31 Jesus taught, “I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. After a little while the world will no longer see Me, but you will see Me; because I live, you will live also. In that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you. He who has My commandments and keeps them is the one who loves Me; and he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and will disclose Myself to him.” Judas (not Iscariot) said to Him, “Lord, what then has happened that You are going to disclose Yourself to us and not to the world?” Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our abode with him. He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine, but the Father’s who sent Me. These things I have spoken to you while abiding with you. But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you. Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful. You heard that I said to you, ‘I go away, and I will come to you.’ If you loved Me, you would have rejoiced because I go to the Father, for the Father is greater than I. Now I have told you before it happens, so that when it happens, you may believe. I will not speak much more with you, for the ruler of the world is coming, and he has nothing in Me; but so that the world may know that I love the Father, I do exactly as the Father commanded Me. Get up, let us go from here.”

 

Jesus gave us this clear teaching, along with other teachings, on the Holy Spirit. From Acts 1:4-5, immediately before His ascension to the right hand of the Father (please listen to last week’s sermon if you have not yet listened to that important teaching on the Ascension of Jesus Christ), Jesus promised that His followers would be baptized in the Spirit: “Gathering them together, [Jesus] commanded them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait for what the Father had promised, ‘Which,’ He said, ‘you heard of from Me; for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.’”

 

This is not the first time the followers of Jesus heard this invitation to be baptized in the Spirit because the baptism of the Spirit is not a secondary event to salvation itself, it is the very nature of salvation itself – the Spirit of God is our inheritance – the presence and power of God dwelling in us, the Giver of new life transforming us into a Temple of the Holy Spirit and inviting us into the eternal fellowship of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit by allowing us to participate in His divine nature, as Peter taught in 2 Peter 1:2-4, “Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord; seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence. For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust.” This is what it means to have salvation and being baptized in the Spirit should never be reduced to some secondary work of sanctification in our lives. The Son removed our sins from us through His sacrificial death on the Cross so that God could live in us through His Spirit!

 

From the beginning of the New Testament, the baptism of the Holy Spirit was distinguished apart from the baptism of John. John the Baptist’s baptism was a means of preparation for the coming of the Lord, a purification of oneself in preparation for the coming of the Lord in Christ Jesus. Listen to John the Baptist make this distinction in Matthew 3:11, “As for me, I baptize you with water for repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, and I am not fit to remove His sandals; He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire” (cf. Mark 1:7-8 & Luke 3:16).

 

The baptism of the Holy Spirit is the baptism of Jesus, which is the only form of New Covenant baptism that Jesus commanded His disciples to conduct immediately before His ascension to the right hand of the Father when He gave us the Great Commission of Matthew 28:18-20, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” This is how we are born again; at the moment of our salvation we participate in the event that birthed the church in the first place.

 

This issue is often confused by people misapplying the early church history book of Acts. The early church leaders dealt with this confusion, making a distinction between the baptism of John and the baptism in Jesus’ name. Acts 11:15-18 is a powerful illustration of the importance of understanding how yoked our justification in Christ is with the baptism of the Spirit. Listen to Peter give a first-hand witness of the work of the Spirit after Pentecost and in the early church among non-Jewish people, called Gentiles, “And as I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell upon them just as He did upon us at the beginning. And I remembered the word of the Lord, how He used to say, ‘John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’ Therefore if God gave to them the same gift as He gave to us also after believing in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I that I could stand in God’s way?” When they heard this, they quieted down and glorified God, saying, “Well then, God has granted to the Gentiles also the repentance that leads to life.”

 

Why am I talk about all this? Because Pentecost is both a one-time historical event recorded in Acts 2 and the birth of the church – the promised fulfillment of Jesus Christ who ushered in the New Covenant. For which the baptism of the Spirit is a fulfillment of God’s promise to His people from Joel 2:28-32, “It will come about after this That I will pour out My Spirit on all mankind; and your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions. Even on the male and female servants I will pour out My Spirit in those days. I will display wonders in the sky and on the earth, Blood, fire and columns of smoke. The sun will be turned into darkness and the moon into blood before the great and awesome day of the Lord comes. And it will come about that whoever calls on the name of the Lord will be delivered; for on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there will be those who escape, as the Lord has said, even among the survivors whom the Lord calls.”

 

We will be in the age of Pentecost until we experience the fulfillment of God’s Word and the return of Jesus. Until that Day, we are to walk by the Spirit. As we learned last week, the ministry of the ascended Lord Jesus Christ, right now, is to intercede for us at the right hand of the Father until He returns. Simultaneously, the Father and Son have baptized us with the Spirit so that our eternity would be secure in His covenant faithfulness, and we would carry in our very person the same anointing that the Messiah Himself had: the Spirit of the Living God! The same power that rose Jesus from the grave lives in you and me – the resurrection power of God is in us!

 

Paul teaches us in Galatians 5:16-26 what it means to live our lives in the Spirit, “But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law. Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit. Let us not become boastful, challenging one another, envying one another.”

 

When the power of the risen Christ comes upon the members of His body through the promised coming of the Holy Spirit, Jesus is keeping His promise to His followers that He will always be with us and that we will become like Him. Jesus’ ascension did not leave us alone in this world. He promised to not leave us as orphans, and He kept His word! God came upon His church at Pentecost in a new and different way than Jesus’ incarnation at Christmas. We don’t live in the age of Christmas where Jesus’ uniquely incarnated God’s presence on earth; rather, we live in the age of Pentecost where God now incarnates (I’m using this word figuratively) in each of us through His Spirit living in us. Jesus has ascended and will come again, but until that time, the Spirit of the Living God indwells the Church of Jesus Christ in fulfillment of the words of John the Baptist and Jesus Christ and the earliest church teachings. Just as Acts 2:32-33 taught us, “This Jesus God raised up again, to which we are all witnesses. Therefore having been exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He has poured forth this which you both see and hear.”

 

God is with us through His presence and power living in us. May God be exalted in and through His church. Let us never forget that this only can happen through the Spirit. I close with the same admonishment to you that God has given me, from Galatians 3:1-3, “You foolish Galatians, who has bewitched you, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified? This is the only thing I want to find out from you: did you receive the Spirit by the works of the Law, or by hearing with faith? Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?”

 
 

Resources:

 
You can download these notes in PDF format by clicking HERE.
 
You can watch this message by clicking HERE
 
You can watch the entire service including music by clicking HERE
 

 

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The Call to the Great Community 4

Lesson #4

Join in the Eternal Conversation of God!

 

 

Right now, Jesus is at the right hand of God, in the throne room of Heaven, praying for you! Romans 8:34b teaches, “Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us.” Ascension Day, which was on Thursday, forty days after Easter, is the crowning event of the ministry of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ but is often hidden in the shadow of our proclamation of His crucifixion and resurrection.

 

We skip over the triumphant reality of Jesus’ ascension to the right hand of the Father, yet we declare His imminent return in the second coming of Jesus Christ. We leave the “where is He now” and “what is He doing in this present age” kind of ambiguous. Let’s be clear, right now, at the right hand of God, Jesus is praying for you! Amazing, the Holy Spirit, who dwells in you, and Jesus, who is at the right of the Father in Heaven, are speaking with one another and with the Father about you. God exists in a perfect relationship with perfect communication for His glory and our good, for eternity.

 

Today, I want to teach you the importance of Jesus’ ascension so that you can live with even greater confidence in your daily prayer life as a member of His body. We are held together by prayer because prayer is one of the few things we do that will stand for eternity. Revelation 8:3-4 teaches us this truth, “Another angel came and stood at the altar, holding a golden censer; and much incense was given to him, so that he might add it to the prayers of all the saints on the golden altar which was before the throne. And the smoke of the incense, with the prayers of the saints, went up before God out of the angel’s hand.”

 

This is what the scripture reading was about from Acts 1:1-11. That is not the only place we saw the ascension recorded. Listen to the following passages:

 

    • Luke 24:50-53, “And He led them out as far as Bethany, and He lifted up His hands and blessed them. While He was blessing them, He parted from them and was carried up into heaven. And they, after worshiping Him, returned to Jerusalem with great joy, and were continually in the temple praising God.”
    • Mark 16:19, “So then, when the Lord Jesus had spoken to them, He was received up into heaven and sat down at the right hand of God.” We also hear it recorded in the ancient creeds of the Bible.
    • 1 Timothy 3:16, “By common confession, great is the mystery of godliness: He who was revealed in the flesh, was vindicated in the Spirit, seen by angels, proclaimed among the nations, believed on in the world, taken up in glory.”

 

On the fortieth day after Easter, concluding the church calendar season of Eastertide, Jesus ascended (bodily rose, “taken up in glory”) to heaven before His disciples’ eyes. Jesus did not leave behind his physical body, resurrected in the flesh, glorified in the Spirit, so that He could take His place at the right hand of the Father. No, very importantly, giving us hope for the New Heaven and New Earth, Jesus in His glorified and resurrected body, is now at the right hand of God, praying for us!

 

The ascension is filled with theological significance and practical implications for our faith and practice.
 
First, for our faith in Jesus and His Kingdom rule, Jesus’ ascension demonstrates the fulfillment of the messianic prophecy – Jesus’ rule will never end.
 
Listen to the ancient prophecy of Daniel 7:13-14, “I kept looking in the night visions, and behold, with the clouds of heaven One like a Son of Man was coming, and He came up to the Ancient of Days and was presented before Him. And to Him was given dominion, Glory and a kingdom, that all the peoples, nations and men of every language might serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion which will not pass away; and His kingdom is one which will not be destroyed.”

 

Furthermore, Hebrews 1:1-4 affirms Jesus’ fulfillment of this prophecy, “God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world. And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power. When He had made purification of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, having become as much better than the angels, as He has inherited a more excellent name than they.”

 

What does it mean that Jesus “sat down at the right hand”? It means that Jesus has the respect and authority of the Sovereign! To be at the right hand is to be the trusted agent of the will of the King. Heaven is the control room of creation from which the Sovereign Creator rules over all things in heaven and earth. Do you know the awesome news? God’s control room is one day coming to earth in the New Heaven & Earth.

 

Jesus has the authority of Heaven in earthly and heavenly affairs. From 1 Peter 3:22, Peter declares that Jesus “is at the right hand of God, having gone into heaven, after angels and authorities and powers had been subjected to Him” (cf. Ephesians 1:18-23; Philippians 2:9-11).

 

Jesus declared this authority before His ascension as He gave the Church the Great Commission in Matthew 28:18-20, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

 

Our relationship with God and our work for Jesus in His Church rest in His rightful authority, not in the authority of any man or denomination. Living and working under rightful authority (headship) is an essential reality and one that God cares very deeply about—not just for His Son, but for all of His children and all of creation, for all time. Are you living under the authority of Jesus Christ and His Word? How far reaching are the implications to your answer?

 

Second, Jesus’s ascension to the right hand of God is a guarantee of our own bodily resurrection.
 
Our hope is not simply in this life, but for eternal life; Jesus’ resurrection and ascension are essential to our hope and critical to our understanding of this body and its future, along with all creation, in the New Heaven & Earth.

 

All who are in Christ Jesus are promised participants in His ascension. Paul states this in Ephesians 2:4-7, “But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.”

 

This event in Jesus’ ministry invites us to live faithfully and to keep our focus on Jesus and the Kingdom of God. Paul taught us this in Colossians 3:1-2, “Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth.” Our work in this life is now informed by the promises of God and His rightful rule over all creation.

 

We are no longer bound to this earth, our place in Heaven is already being prepared for us. Speaking of His own future ascension in John 14:1-3, Jesus taught us how this is important for all those who follow Him, “Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also.”

 

These are the comforting words of Jesus Christ, made possible through His ascension. We can share these words with others because we know Jesus is alive, ascended to the right hand of God, in a place of authority.

 

Third, Jesus’ ascension means that the One who rules with such great authority from Heaven, prays for us based on His firsthand human experience of temptation and suffering upon the earth.
 
We don’t have a distant God, but a personal One. The Bible teaches us this in Hebrews 4:14-16, “Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”

 

Jesus prays for us continually and His prayers are effective, not only because of Jesus’ authority, but also because of the intimate knowledge of Jesus’ experiences as a person who walked on the earth! So don’t feel guilty and heavy-burdened if your prayer life is lacking, just remember to never stop starting in your conversation with Jesus, who is already praying for you.

 

What a powerful truth that fuels my prayer life with desire to be with this God who loves me and gave Himself for me. In fact, our very prayer lives are empowered by the presence of God in us, through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. We are joining in the conversation between Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Prayer is sharing in God’s eternal community; this is what it means to be called to the Great Community – you have joined the eternal conversation of God!

Paul teaches us about the ministry of the Holy Spirit in Romans 8:26-27, “In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words; and He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.”

 

In conclusion and in preparation for next Sunday’s celebration of Pentecost Sunday, with the ascension of Jesus Christ, the stage is set for the miracle of Pentecost, when the power of the risen Christ comes upon the disciples of Jesus to birth His church, through the fulfillment of the promise of the Helper, the Holy Spirit.
 
Jesus is keeping His promise to His followers that He will always be with us. Jesus’ ascension does not leave us alone in this world, but leads to the fulfillment of His prayer for His body in John 17:20-26, “I do not ask on behalf of these alone, but for those also who believe in Me through their word; that they may all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me. The glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one, just as We are one; I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, so that the world may know that You sent Me, and loved them, even as You have loved Me. Father, I desire that they also, whom You have given Me, be with Me where I am, so that they may see My glory which You have given Me, for You loved Me before the foundation of the world. O righteous Father, although the world has not known You, yet I have known You; and these have known that You sent Me; and I have made Your name known to them, and will make it known, so that the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them.”

 

God is with us, and He will never leave us nor forsake us – He will see us through to the completion of His Plan A! God is with us through His presence and power living in us! May God be exalted in and through you – a fellow member of the Great Community where the eternal conversation of God is bearing good fruit in our everyday lives. Join the conversation and pray John 17 every day, continue to pray through the Psalms each and every day, joining with Jesus under His headship so that we, each and every one of us, may walk in the unity of the Spirit, so that the world may see us as one mature body, in synch with God and coordinated together. We can do more together than we can do apart.

 

Resources:

 
You can download these notes in PDF format by clicking HERE.
 
You can watch this message by clicking HERE
 
You can watch the entire service including music by clicking HERE
 

 

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The Call to the Great Community 3

Lesson #3

Communion Celebrates Christ While Declaring our Unity as His Church!

 

Our current sermon series, “The Call to the Great Community,” is a series of discipleship teachings about the body of Christ and our call to be fellow members of the body of Christ. This is an important call to answer for us individually and corporately for the sake of the mission of Jesus Christ (why He came!) for the glory of God. You have a purpose for belonging!

 

The church is God’s idea; not mine nor yours! The church is the body of Christ because we exist to embody the mission of Jesus to the glory of the Father. The mission of Jesus is the great rescue mission; He came from Heaven to Earth to show us the way to the Father; this has always been God’s Plan A; therefore, the church exists for the mission – to walk in the way of Jesus as His body, making Him known and continuing His mission for the glory of God. We have a purpose for belonging!

 

We are to be one in Christ as His church! In order to express our oneness in Christ we must have unity within our diverse functionality. Just like how God designed and intended men and women to complement, and not compete with, one another. We must treat one another with humility and gentleness, and we must pray for the the Spirit to give us a true John 17 unity. We must practice our belonging on purpose!

 

Today’s big idea: Communion celebrates Christ while declaring our unity as His church!
 

+ Read Luke 22:14-20

+ Watch educational video: https://www.gotquestions.org/communion-Christian.html

+ Read 1 Corinthians 11:23-34

 
What is Communion (i.e. the Lord’s Supper)?
 
  1. It is an ordinance of remembrance, commemorating the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross.

 

“… and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, ‘This is My body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of Me..’” (v. 24)
 

 

  1. It is a sign and signifier of the New Covenant, which was sealed through the body and blood of Jesus Christ.

 

“In the same way He took the cup also after supper, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in My blood; do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.’” (v. 25)
 

 

  1. It is a proclamation of your statement of faith – Christ crucified, risen, and coming again.

 

For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes.” (v. 26)

 

How Do I Prepare Myself for the Lord’s Supper? Through faith, confessing, and repenting of all known sin. It is ONLY by God’s grace you can be worthy.

 

“Therefore whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner, shall be guilty of the body and the blood of the Lord. But a man must examine himself, and in so doing he is to eat of the bread and drink of the cup.” (vv. 27-28)
 

 

Who Should Take the Lord’s Supper?

Only those who are believers/disciples of Jesus Christ.

 

“For he who eats and drinks, eats and drinks judgment to himself if he does not judge the body rightly.” (v. 29)

 

When we participate together we declare our unity in anticipation of the Wedding Feast to come (vv. 30-34)! Listen to Jesus in Matthew 22:1-14 (cf. Luke 14:15-24).
 
 
 
 

RESOURCES:

 
For notes in PDF form, click HERE.
 

In order to watch the message click HERE.

 

In order to watch the entire service with music, click HERE.

 
 
 

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The Call to the Great Community 2

Lesson #2:

The Church is One in Christ!

 

 

Our new sermon series, “The Call to the Great Community,” is a series of discipleship teachings about the body of Christ and our call to be fellow members of the body of Christ. This is an important call to answer for us individually and corporately for the sake of the mission of Jesus Christ (why He came!) for the glory of God. You have a purpose for belonging!

 

The big idea from the first teaching last week was that the church is God’s idea; not mine nor yours! From the Scriptures, we learned that the church is the Body of Christ because we exist for the mission of Jesus to the glory of God. The mission of Jesus is the great rescue mission; He came from Heaven to Earth to show us the way to the Father; this has always been God’s Plan A; therefore, the church exists for the mission – to make Jesus known and to continue His mission, as His body for the glory of God. We have a purpose for belonging!

 

Finally, last week you were invited to find unity with your fellow member by participating in the 150-day Pray the Psalms Discipleship Challenge. Today is Day #7, which means we are praying through Psalm 7. I pray you are finding it meaningful to do this just as you found it meaningful to read through the New Testament together. Belonging doesn’t happen by accident!

 

Today’s big idea: The Church is One in Christ!

 

There are three Scriptures we are going to walk through together so that we can anchor today’s big idea in God’s Word and work out its implications in our everyday discipleship: Truth + Application = Transformation!
 

Romans 12:4-5, “For just as we have many members in one body and all the members do not have the same function, so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.”

 

+ How can we demonstrate our unity within our diverse functionality?

 

Ephesians 4:1-6, “Therefore I, the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love, being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as also you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all.”

 

+ How should we treat one another to preserve the unity of the Spirit?

 

John 17:20-26, “I do not ask on behalf of these alone, but for those also who believe in Me through their word; that they may all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me. The glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one, just as We are one; I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, so that the world may know that You sent Me, and loved them, even as You have loved Me. Father, I desire that they also, whom You have given Me, be with Me where I am, so that they may see My glory which You have given Me, for You loved Me before the foundation of the world. O righteous Father, although the world has not known You, yet I have known You; and these have known that You sent Me; and I have made Your name known to them, and will make it known, so that the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them.”

 

+ How do we pray for one another to see the fulfillment of John 17 in us?

 

We are one in Christ! Keep praying through the Psalms so that we experience unity in prayer. There is so much more to learn.
 
 
 

RESOURCES:

 

You can download this week’s notes in a PDF format by clicking HERE.

 

You can watch the message by clicking HERE.

 

If you would like to view the entire broadcast including music, click HERE.

 
 
 

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The Call to the Great Community 1

Lesson #1:

The Church is God’s Idea!

 

+ INTRO: “The Call to the Great Community” is a series of messages about the body of Christ and our call to be fellow members of the body of Christ and why that is an important call to answer for us individually and corporately for the sake of the mission of Jesus Christ (why He came!) and the glory of God. 

 

+ The Great Community is the “church” (ekklesia in Acts 11:26), which literally means, “the called out gathering or assembly.” While it can be used to describe any assembly of people, in the New Testament it is the work of the Holy Spirit to ingather those who have been called in Christ for God’s will.

 

+ BODY: The BIG IDEA for today is THE CHURCH IS GOD’S IDEA; NOT MINE OR YOURS!

 

+ Today’s reading from God’s Word comes from Ephesians 1:18-23, where Paul teaches,
 
“I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe. These are in accordance with the working of the strength of His might which He brought about in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. And He put all things in subjection under His feet, and gave Him as head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.”

 

1) THE CHURCH is the BODY OF CHRIST!

 

+ The church is an intentional community of disciples who are called in love, gathered for love, and sent on the mission of love. We carry on the great rescue effort of Jesus Christ (Luke 19:10).

 

+ Read short story from LOMT, page 97.

 

+ As we just read, Ephesians 1:22-23. Let us continue to see how this idea is developed in Ephesians 4:11-16; Romans 12:4-8; and 1 Corinthians 12:12-27.
 
 

2) BECAUSE THE CHURCH EXISTS FOR THE MISSION OF JESUS TO THE GLORY OF GOD

 

+ The Great Commission was given to the church before Jesus’ ascension in Matthew 28:18-20 and then empowered by the Holy Spirit to fulfill it at Pentecost in Acts 2.

 

+ We must remember WHY the CHURCH exists or we will get off mission and go in maintenance mode – We are called to the Rescue Mission of Jesus Christ (John 3:16-17)!

 

+ We are redeemed to fulfill the Genesis Commission (Genesis 1:26-27) as the heirs of the Abrahamic Promise (Genesis 12:1-3). To bless all things as Ephesians 1:19b-21 proclaims.

 
 

3) THIS IS GOD’S PLAN A!

 

+ Paul started our lesson in Ephesians 1:18-19a.

 

+ Let me remind you of the “so that’s” of Jesus’ prayer in John 17:22-23 (“By this all men will know that you are My disciples”) and His new commandment in John 13:34-35 (“so that the world may know that You sent Me”)? This is the ultimate purpose of all that we do as the church and as a local assembly of believers.

 

+ This is why we gather as the church – to remember and practice that this is God’s BIG IDEA! Read Hebrews 10:19-25.
 
 
CONCLUSION: We have so much to learn together over the course of this sermon series. We are going to pray Jesus’ prayer book together as we study, so I invite you to join me in the 150-Day Pray the Psalms Discipleship Challenge, which starts tomorrow with Psalm 1. Finish your NT and pray in unity.
 
 
 

RESOURCES:

 

You can download this week’s notes in PDF format by clicking HERE.

 

To view the video for this message, click HERE.

 

If you would like to view the entire broadcast including music, click HERE.

 
 
 
 

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