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Notes on sermon preached 28 June 2009: “The Church – a Mission Community”
A couple of weeks ago we considered what church is all about. We considered four aspects of church: a building (the people of God), a family, a body and a mission community. Today we explore further the idea of church as a mission community by asking three questions:
1. What is our Mission?
Our mission is defined in John 20 v 21 “As the Father sent me , I am sending you”. It is re-stated in different words in the gospels and Acts: Make disciples (Matthew 28 v 19,20),Preach the gospel (Mark 16v.15),Be Jesus’ witnesses (Acts 1 v 8). This is enlarged upon in 2 Corinthians 5:
“God…reconciled us to himself to Christ, and gave us the ministry of reconciliation….we are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God was making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf. Be reconciled to God”.
Our mission therefore is to be the means by which God spreads his message of reconciliation throughout the world
2. What is Our Message?
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his one and only son, so that whoever believes in him shall not perish, but have eternal life” (John 3 v 16)
This famous verse from John’s gospel describes the Father sending the Son, the deliverance he has gained for us and the prospect of eternal life that we have. We therefore need to understand that:
- Jesus has done a complete work
- We have deliverance from Hell
- We have the prospect of Heaven.
Both heaven and hell are realities and without them our Christianity is in danger of becoming simply a way to have a better life. There is a reality of eternal torment from which believers are delivered (hell), and eternal and boundless joy which believers look forward to(heaven). We “sell short” the gospel if we understate either of these
3. What is our Method?
It is one thing to understand our mission and to embrace our message, but we need to have a plan to communicate it to a dying world. The following may help
Contact – we have to be in contact with unbelievers in order to share our lives with them. Where do you touch the world?
Connection – we have to find a connection with unbelievers if we are to communicate with them
Community – we have a ready made community to introduce people into, the local church, the family of God.
Christ – a goal must always be to present Christ. Friendship, food and coffee all have their place – but if someone is to be saved they have to respond to Christ.
Confrontation – there is a point at which confrontation is inevitable. The gospel challenges and confronts people – are we prepared to be the instruments for that?
Conversion – only an encounter with God and a new birth will ultimately change people
Church – all believers become a part of the church. There is no place for the lone ranger believer
Commission – the new Christian then becomes a part of the solution for the rest of the world.
Questions for Discussion:
- How would you describe our mission as a church?
- How do you understand heaven and hell?
- Does our view of heaven and hell make a difference to the way in which we share our faith with other?
- What practical steps can your housegroup take in relation to the first three of the “C”s above?