Sermon Follow Up - Week 36, 2022
Sovereign Grace Church Dayton Mission Statement
Our mission statement serves the purpose of reminding us why we are here as a church and why we choose to do what we do. This mission statement isn't exhaustive but it encapsulates what it means for us to be joining God's mission for the world as described by his Word through the prophets, through Jesus and through the apostles:
1. Who enjoy, declare, and displaye the good news of Jesus Christ...
- The good news of Jesus Christ
The good news about Jesus begins in Genesis and end in Revelation. The whole story of the Bible tells us of God's plan to redeem a people to dwell with forever, and how he chose to make it possible was through sending Jesus, the Messiah, who would save his people and mend the whole creation which has been been broken by sin. So as you seek to enjoy, declare, and display the good news, consider the fact that places like the gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, John) aren't the only places where you'll find it.
That said, God graciously gives us summaries of the good news. Like John 3:16, "For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life."
Every declaration of the good news involves some mention of its important pieces. This list is from Greb Gilbert's "What is the Gospel?":
1. GOD THE RIGHTEOUS CREATOR (Who made us/Who are we accountable to?)
2. MAN THE SINNER (What’s the problem?)
3. JESUS CHRIST THE SAVIOR (What’s God’s solution?)
4. RESPONDING IN REPENTANCE AND FAITH (How do I get included in that solution?)
5. THE KINGDOM (the future of those included in God's solution)
- Disciples who ENJOY the good news of Jesus Christ
You will never hear the Bible say, “enjoy the gospel” or “enjoy the good news”. Should that concern us? Or should we take note that the term good news implies that “a person’s heart is made glad such that he or she would sing and dance and leap for joy” (paraphrasing William Tyndale). We should take note that the Bible gives numerous examples and exhortations to enjoy and revel in this news that we who were sinners have been sent a Savior. For example,
You enter and become part the kingdom of God when you believe in Jesus as told to you in the good news. There’s a reason why Jesus compares the kingdom of God to a treasure hidden in a field and a pearl of great price. Because when you find it, you are in such shock and awe that everything pales in comparison to the worth of what you just found. You quite literally treasure what the Spirit has brought you to discover. You take drastic actions to make sure it’s yours just because it’s THAT valuable to you.
David in Psalm 63:3-5 talks about the love of God towards him like this, “Because your steadfast love (as proved to us through Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection) is better than life, my lips will praise you. So I will bless you as long as I live; in your name I will lift up my hands. My soul will be satisfied as with fat and rich food, and my mouth will praise you with joyful lips…”
How do we enjoy the good news? Here are a few of many ways: We invite opportunities to recall it (hearing testimonies of God's love and faithfulness, reading of it in Scripture, etc.). We experience it (confessing our wrongs to a brother or sister and experiencing Christlike forgiveness). We sing it (you sing about what you love!). We retell it (again, because we love it!).
- Disciples who DECLARE the good news of Jesus Christ
Whether or not we declare the good news and that it makes it up out of our hearts and past our lips in a lot of ways depends on whether we are enjoying and depending on Christ. We declare because we have known the worth of Jesus. We want to see dead people raised to life. Remember that picture last week of people drowning in an angry sea, we go to them and we make every effort to rescue them by telling them the truth about themselves, about God and about his rescue plan. We want to see our brothers and sisters built up and sustained by us proclaiming God’s word to them in fitting ways. We want new and long-time Christians to declare this good news increasingly. Both to one another, and to those who have never heard this before…
Evangelism is the process of doing this, sharing the good news. In other words, it’s “good newsing” with someone. You have the news which they need to hear. And how will they believe if they have never heard. It’s good news for their sin, their souls, their bodies, their broken world, their certain judgment, their separation from God, their lostness.
“How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!” But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed what he has heard from us?” So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.” (Romans 10:14-17 ESV)
Two helpful definitions of evangelism:
Evangelism is “The compassionate sharing of the Good News of Jesus Christ with lost people, in the power of the Holy Spirit, for the purpose of bringing them to Christ as Savior and Lord, that they in turn might share Him with others.” (Timothy Beougher).
“Evangelism is witness. It is one beggar telling another beggar where to get food.” (D.T. Niles).
- Disciples who DISPLAY the good news of Jesus Christ
Displaying the good news is us consciously doing things that commend and point to and represent Christ clearly and accurately. If we don’t and are acting or speaking or not acting or not speaking in ways that run contrary to what we’ve been called to as Christians, maybe we’re misunderstanding something of that good news ourselves. That’s what James is getting at in James 2:
“What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.
But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder!” (James 2:14-19 ESV)
Though we firmly believe that we are saved by grace through faith alone and apart from works (Eph 2:8-9), we want to be careful to not downplay the reality that our works does in fact verify and confirm our faith. To the point where Paul says that doing those good works is one of the purposes Jesus set out to save us.
“Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, dignity, and sound speech that cannot be condemned, so that an opponent may be put to shame, having nothing evil to say about us. Bondservants are to be submissive to their own masters in everything; they are to be well-pleasing, not argumentative, not pilfering, but showing all good faith, so that in everything they may adorn the doctrine of God our Savior. For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works.” (Titus 2:7-14 ESV)
Tim Keller writes, "When a city perceives a church as existing strictly and only for itself and its own members, the preaching of that church will not resonate with outsiders. But if neighbors see church members loving their city through astonishing, sacrificial deeds of compassion, they will be much more open to the church’s message. Deeds of mercy and justice should be done out of love, not simply as a means to the end of evangelism. And yet there is no better way for Christians to lay a foundation for evangelism…”
2. For the joy of all peoples.
One Day, Jesus' Church will be in the same place, worshipping him. It will look like this:
"After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!” (Rev 7:9-10 ESV)
We want all peoples, great and small, here or there, those whow speak differently, who have lived in different cultures and have different experiences to get in on the joy of knowing Jesus.
Wouldn’t you admit that our world can shrink so fast to me and my life. I don’t have the bandwidth to think about the nations! I don’t even know where to start. Thankfully, this is God’s mission and he has his sights set on all peoples.
We have the privilege of taking part in a global harvest. A harvest that God has made ready.
“When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.” (Matthew 9:36-38 ESV)
Will you commit to praying for laborers? Both those who come out of this church and those who are sent to us?
- What are some ways that you can consciously take time and effort to enjoy Christ and his good news?
- What stirs you up to greater love and a desire for doing good? (Heb. 10:24 ESV). How can you stir up others towards those things?
- Who is one person that you could take a step in declaring the good news to?
- What comes to mind when you think about the task of taking the gospel to the nations? (Impossible? I want to but don't know where to start? I have enough to worry about in my own sphere?) How can we grow in faith to pursue this grand task as a church?
- What are ways we can further support Mark and Becca Waite or have an eye towards reaching the nations?
Songs to Encourage