Thursday, September 25, 2014

Who can teach?

18 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” 

One of the things that really struck me in our recent sermon series came in the text from the final sermon. In it, we explored the question and answer: “Who needs the gospel? The world does.” The text was Matthew’s Great Commission passage, Matthew 28:16-20.

Here’s what smacked me right between the eyes: every disciple can teach.

It needs to be said that some disciples are gifted to teach in a way that others are not (elders, for example in 1 Tim. 3:2).

But every disciple can teach in some way. Otherwise, it makes little sense that Jesus would give the Great Commission to all (not some of) his disciples, and then call them to teach the new disciples. If all are called, then all can teach.

And in the sermon, I argued that “teaching” has to do with the simple idea of handing over something (the act of teaching), and then receiving that something (the act of learning). This comes from the root of the Greek word for “teaching” used in the passage. Part of the stem of that word is the word for reaching out and receiving something.

So I concluded: “Don’t we hand over our ideas on politics? Sports? Hobbies? Certainly we should all hand over the truths of the gospel to other Christians.”

I plan to write a couple of more posts on this in the days/weeks ahead. For now, I simply reiterate that every disciple can teach.

Do you know Jesus? Are you getting to know him better? Then share what you’ve learned with another Christian, and watch as teaching happens!

"The Trellis and the Vine" is my go to book for thinking about discipling. Click here to check it out.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Outline of the four sermons in the series "who needs the gospel?"

Who Needs the Gospel?
Seeking to make the gospel central in our lives, in our church,
and in our mission to the world

1. I do—1 Corinthians 15:1-5
        *Big idea: Each one of us has a personal, daily, ongoing need for the gospel
        A. Old news, but not dead news (1-2)
·      The word for “gospel” simply means good news. A message that is proclaimed. News of victory in war or something like that.
·      Confusion in the church at Corinth means Paul needs to clarify what the right gospel actually is. He goes on to do this in verses 3-5
·      The Corinthians received this gospel, stand in this gospel, are being saved by this gospel. In other words, it’s still relevant. It’s not dead.
·      They must keep on believing, and never give up the hope this gospel offers
        B. Old news, but still critical news (3-5)
·      Critical because it’s the same news taught by Jesus, and it’s the same news taught by all the other Apostles
·      Critical because the news that Jesus died means that our sins are all atoned for; we are forgiven because Christ was forsaken for us
·      Critical because the news that Jesus was resurrected means our forgiveness is certain, and the risen Jesus lives for us
·      Critical because Paul says this is the most important news ever: “of first importance” (v. 3).
C. Application: Beware of at least four ways in which we say “Not me. I don’t need the gospel” when we should be saying, “I do! I need the gospel every day!”
·      Negligence: we fail to rehearse the basic facts of God, Man, Christ, Response
·      Emotions: we let fear or sadness or shame proclaim their bad news to the point that we can’t hear the good news
·      Condemnation: we turn criticisms or failures into news that is more important than the good news. Christ took all our sins and failures on himself on the cross and atoned for every one of them.
·      Legalism: C.J. Mahaney’s definition of legalism: “Legalism is seeking to achieve forgiveness from God and acceptance by God through my obedience to God.” Legalism makes our good works into the good news that saves us, rather than letting Christ’s good work on the cross save us.

2. The Church does—1 Cor. 15:1-5; Rom. 8:29; John 15:12
*Big idea: The church needs the gospel because the church
only makes sense because of the gospel
        A. Remember the basics: God, Man, Christ, Response
·      The basic message is for individuals for sure
·      But as 1 Cor. 15:3 made clear, the gospel has a community element: Christ died for our sins
B. Question: What does the church have to do with the gospel? Answer: everything.
·      “Brothers” in 1 Cor. 15:1 is a theological word: the church at Corinth exists because God has taken isolated spiritual orphans and brought them together into God’s new family
·      God’s plan has always been to create a new people for himself through his Word
·      God in his wisdom has not left each of us to be lone ranger Christians
·      Mark Dever has said, “Christian proclamation might make the gospel audible, but Christians living together in local congregations make the gospel visible.”
C. Gospel-neediness within the local church is reflected in the “one-anothers”
·      John 15:12 is a foundational one-another statement: “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.”
·      It’s foundational because it shows that the gospel is to drive the way we treat one another; we are to love in the way that Jesus has loved us
·      Love, humility, and unity are three categories that can be given to summarize many of the 50+ one-another statements in the New Testament (see appendix to this outline for a listing of nearly all of the one-another statements)

3. My Neighbors do—Luke 10:25-37
*Big idea: When you love God, you will love like God,
because you know how you have been loved by God
        A. Follow Jesus
·      Loving God means following Jesus, and submitting to his authority in your life
B. Love fulfills the Law
·      True love for God always results in loving neighbor. A good root bears good fruit.
C. Love is not limited
·      True love for God and neighbor never asks the question “Who is my neighbor?” To ask that question is to look for an out, a loophole in finding out who I must love. Love is not limited.
·      Love does not “pass by on the other side.”
·      Love happily embraces needy, messy people wherever they may be found.
D. Love is detailed
·      Love is detailed and thorough because it is marked by compassion
·      The compassion shown by the Samaritan reminds us of God’s love for us demonstrated in the Gospel
E. Love asks the right question
·      The right question to ask is “Am I a neighbor?”
·      The person who asks that “right question” is willing to love needy, messy people
F. Application questions
·      “Am I a neighbor?” Is there anyone in my life who is not a Christian who would call me their friend? In other words, they sense that I love them and I am committed to them as the Samaritan was to the needy, messy man in the story that Jesus told
·      “Am I too busy to be a neighbor?” In my list of priorities for my life, do I include time in my schedule to love my neighbors?
·      “Is our church a neighbor to our community?”

4. The World does—Matthew 28:16-20
*Big idea: Every follower of Christ is part of the Great Commission
        A. The greatness of the risen Jesus
·      Jesus comes near and speaks to his disciples who had abandoned him, showing his mercy and willingness to forgive
·      Jesus makes clear that he is the long awaited Son of Man prophesied in Daniel 7. Thus, all authority in heaven and on earth belongs to him
B. The mission given by the risen Jesus
·      The mission is to make disciples
·      The people who carry out the mission are all those who follow Jesus as his disciples, not merely a special group of people
·      The mission is carried out wherever disciples go, by baptizing new disciples into the community of disciples, and by teaching them to obey all the Jesus has commanded
·      No individual follower of Christ is exempt from the call to make disciples, even though every individual disciple will play a different role in the process
C. The presence of the risen Jesus
·      The task would truly be impossible without God’s help
·      Disciples have God’s power present with them in the person of the Holy Spirit

Links to "Who needs the gospel?" Recommended Reading

In the following post I'm going to give an outline of the four sermons we just heard at our church. The hope of these sermons was to draw our attention to the importance of a gospel-centered life as individuals, and a gospel-centered mission for our local church.

Also, I’ve compiled a series of links to all the books that were recommended over the past month as part of the series. I mentioned in one sermon that C.J.’s book is a must-read for every Christian, and I reiterate that here.

Who Needs the Gospel? Recommended Reading

I do

The Church does

My Neighbors do

Mission Minded, by Peter Bolt

The Art of Neighboring, by Jay Pathak and Dave Runyon
*Note: this book is light on the gospel. However, it’s full of great ideas for connecting with neighbors. Try to read it alongside these other books

The World does

To the Golden Shore, by Courtney Anderson
*This is an absorbing biography of early American Baptist missionary, Adoniram Judson.