Monthly Archives: May 2015

2 Corinthians 10.1-11

Title: A Random Check: Scan your files!

Text: 2 Corinthians 10.1-11

CIT: Paul is giving them ample warning: He is coming so they need to deal with these problems.

CIS: Church discipline is a necessary tool to keep the church pure in it’s doctrine.

Introduction: We’re in 2 Corinthians 10.1-11

John Huffman, Jr. tells the following story: Over lunch, several friends were discussing a church that had been so decimated by internal strife that it had become common knowledge in that community. Some members had no stomach for the fight and were drifting into neighboring churches. Those who remained were being pushed by the opposing groups to take sides. The whole affair was becoming very unpleasant.

What was the issue that had precipitated such a furor? Believe it or not, the whole upheaval was over the changing of the job description of the organist. She had been there for years and had built a small empire in her area. She had developed great skill in using a loyal following as a power base for budget, program and calendar advantages. So when a special Lay committee brought a report to the congregation suggesting a slight change in her duties, she took it as a personal rebuke and declared war.

None of the friends who were discussing this at lunch were members of that church. Therefore, they didn’t have to deal with the situation. They quickly agreed with one who said, “That doesn’t sound like a big enough problem over which to split a church!” Then one of the group reminded the others of a truth that is too easily forgotten, “Any problem that has to be dealt with by people who are spiritually immature can divide a church, no matter how small a matter it may appear to be.”

Think back to the issues you have experienced that have torn apart brothers and sisters in Jesus Christ. It’s often the little matters that divide-issues over the color of the walls or the carpet in the sanctuary. I knew a church that split over the size of a door being put into the fellowship hall. The lady leading the fight won and got her 4-foot door. Her reason was so that her daughter, who was getting married soon after the fellowship hall was finished, would be able to wear her wedding dress out of the door when she and her new husband left. What’s more is that when the day of her reception came, the young bride chose to use a different exit! Added to this, the mother quit coming to church after her daughter’s wedding.

So, what actually divides churches? I think the lady in the conversation mentioned above got it right: Spiritual immaturity divides churches.

In Corinth, we find a church that is divided: 12 What I mean is that each one of you says, “I follow Paul,” or “I follow Apollos,” or “I follow Cephas,” or “I follow Christ.” That’s a bad split. Now, it appears, as we get to our text today (2 Cor 10.1), that Paul is still dealing with the issues of Corinth that divide them.

So, Paul issues a warning to them: our text illustrates this with bookends. Rd v 2; I beg of you that when I am present I may not have to show boldness with such confidence as I count on showing against some who suspect us of walking according to the flesh. And again at the end; read v 11; Let such a person understand that what we say by letter when absent, we do when present.

There are two words that appear in both v 2 and in v 11; the 1st is translated count on and understand; the 2nd word is translated when I am present and again, when present. So, the emphasis here being made by Paul is: count on my action when I am present.

In the rest of the text, Paul will make this plea while explaining the reality of the situation to the Corinthians and issuing them a stern warning.

  1. The Plea
  2. The Reality
  3. The Warning

1.     The Plea: Deal with this matter before I come. (1)

exp.: rd v 1-2a; I, Paul, myself entreat you, by the meekness and gentleness of Christ—I who am humble when face to face with you, but bold toward you when I am away!— and again in v 2 – I beg of you;

  • His Authority: 4x’s when you consider the vb, too. I, Paul, myself I encourage;
  • His Humility: His power is presented in meekness and gentleness; his speech isn’t harsh and the volume of his voice isn’t loud. The tone is even: the meekness and gentleness of Christ.

Q.: Why? Why is Paul using his Apostolic Authority to warn the Corinthians? Because their regard for Paul had been undermined by those who twisted his words and made wrongful comparisons of Paul to themselves. They need to take care of their church body. They need to protect the body from those who would lead them astray.

app.: It’s called Church Discipline; Really, for us – you trust the elders to take care of you in spiritual matters. To ensure that false doctrine isn’t being spread; that people aren’t trying to worm their way into positions of power or prestige. And we take that calling serious.

t.s.: So, just how is that done;

2.     The Reality: We walk in the flesh, but we wage a spiritual war. (2-6)

exp.: Paul is distressed at their disregard of the Truth. They’ve cast it aside to follow these ‘super-apostles’ who have wowed them with clever and articulate speech. They appear so strong:

  • Handsome
  • Intelligent
  • Clever
  • Witty
  • Their sermons entertain
  • The numbers are there to support their success.

ill.: While on the other hand, Paul isn’t much to look at and not very articulate like some other polished orators. He’s already said as much in his letters to them: And I, when I came to you, brothers, did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God with lofty speech or wisdom. For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. And I was with you in weakness and in fear and much trembling, and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God. As for his appearance…

I’m not sure how accurate it is, nor the extent to which the NT played in the following writing; but, there is a 2nd Century apocryphal text entitled: The Acts of Paul and Thecla. 1:4 And a certain man named Onesiphorus, hearing that Paul was come to Iconium, went out speedily to meet him, together with his wife Lectra, and his sons Simmia and Xeno, to invite him to their house. 1:5 For Titus had given them a description of Paul’s personage, they as yet not knowing him in person, but only being acquainted with his character. 1:6 They went in the king’s highway to Lystra, and stood there waiting for him, comparing all who passed by, with that description which Titus had given them. 1:7 At length they saw a man coming (namely Paul), of a low stature, bald on the head, crooked thighs, handsome legs, hollow-eyed; had a crooked nose; full of grace; for sometimes he appeared as a man, sometimes he had the countenance of an angel. And Paul saw Onesiphorus, and was glad. I think a more modern translation might read: He was short, bald, bow-legged, hollowed eyes and a crooked nose. I get the idea he wasn’t much to look at!

app.: but Paul’s argument is quite simply that these folks are not seeing reality. For, the reality of the situation is that, as preachers, we don’t do what we do in the flesh. Oh, sure (rd v 3); though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. rd v 4 – For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power… It’s a spiritual battle. Look at his remarks in v 4ff: For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power

  1. to destroy strongholds – Now, this word only appears here in the NT; however, appears 69x’s in the OT! A stronghold is:

1: a fortified place

2a: a place of security or survival

2b: a place dominated by a particular group or marked by a particular characteristic; I think this is the closest definition to the context of v4;

  1. 5to destroy arguments – the word used here means reasoning powers – that is what people are thinking. Which, then, matches this next phrase…
  2. every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God – This deals with reasoning thoughts; All of these working and running together, look at the rest of v 5;
  3. take every thought captive to obey Christ, look at v 6;
  4. being ready to punish every disobedience, when your obedience is complete.

exp.: many think that Paul is going to go off on these people – Like Nehemiah who in chapter 13 goes all Chuck Norris on the people – 25 And I confronted them and cursed them and beat some of them and pulled out their hair. And I made them take an oath in the name of God, saying, “You shall not give your daughters to their sons, or take their daughters for your sons or for yourselves.

app.: But I don’t think Paul is threatening like that. No, the texts makes it clear that it has to do with thoughts and reasoning.

t.s.: it really becomes clearer as he continues in his warning…

3.     The Warning: Take care of this now, or I’ll deal with it when I come. (7-11)

exp.: rd v 7a; I love the Gk; it’s more descriptive, like: Watch out for what’s in your face. Rd 7; And then, Paul identifies for us just what’s at stake: rd v 8; Barrett, in his commentary on 2 Corinthians writes: It is the nature of the apostolic Gospel, and the apostolic authority behind it, that are at stake. Paul can’t let this slide, and he must confront the church on this issue. I think he’s meek and gentle still as we read v 9-10;

app.: who can understand the passion a pastor has for his congregation? How can anyone other than a pastor comprehend this great calling and the earnest desire to keep the church he’s planted remain pure and unmolested? He let’s them know in v 11 11 Let such a person understand that what we say by letter when absent, we do when present.

Conclusion: Now you might be wondering to yourself if there is trouble at Calvary. Not that I know of! I’ve just been making my way through 2 Corinthians and have come to this passage. What a great reminder for us to visit this practice of church discipline. We must be diligent to keep the doctrines of the church strong and healthy.

So, how does this apply to us? Application:

  1. If someone has hurt you – go talk to that person.
  • Most grievances are unintended. That’s what is so beautiful about the model in Matthew 18. So many misunderstandings have gone unchecked and people get hurt. Most of the time that’s all it is: a misunderstanding. Most brothers and sisters just want to serve – they’re not out to hurt anyone. If they knew they had hurt you, they would do anything they could to fix it. That wasn’t their intent.
  • One on one protects the person from embarrassment. When we’re caught in our sin, we’re embarrassed! To save face, we get defensive; we try getting the attention off of us and on to someone else. The fight or flight instinct kicks in and neither one are beneficial for the church.
  • Some grievances are intentional. When a person has been hurt they will begin to find validation for their hurt. Hurt comes in so many ways. The best way to fix this is to go talk with the person who has hurt you. Someone can’t fix what they don’t know is wrong.
  • Trust – Trust is foundational to the church. It’s how we become believers. It’s how we work and do ministry. Some people feel like you don’t trust them or maybe they don’t trust you. No ministry can flourish without trust.

Think about the implications here. A church is only as strong as it’s weakest link. We could have dozens of trusted ministries; however, if we are found negligible in one area, we lose trust. And, the whole body suffers.

If trust is lost between members of a team, a breakdown will occur – that ministry within the church suffers. Let me just say we’ve got to build trust between members and teams. Anyone who refuses to confront this hurts the whole body. We could stay here, but let’s move on.

  1. Often times, the reason people are fighting isn’t the real reason. There’s an issue deeper down that isn’t being discussed.
  2. If you see a brother or sister in sin – confront them. The road that leads to destruction is smooth, paved and downhill. Sinking deep into sin is a quick, easy process. The sooner you deal with sin, the quicker a person can be restored. Again – ALONE!
    1. Don’t go to the pastor – go to that person!
    2. Don’t go to the elders – go to that person!
    3. Don’t go seek counsel from a friend – go to that person!

Why can’t we learn this one? Do you not comprehend that he who brings back a sinner from his wandering will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins.

  1. Let’s take a personal inventory. Pretty much across the board, most of us feel we’re in the right and others are in the wrong. But that isn’t always the case. Is the ministry you’re involved in becoming too much of you? Is it your puppy, your pet? Do you have too much responsibility for money and budget and people? Would you pray about giving that ministry to someone else? Would you step down and let someone else do that ministry or lead that ministry. If the answer is, “no,” then you need to do a personal inventory.

I wonder what would have happened to that church I was talking about in the beginning – the story from that pastor – I wonder what would have happened if those folks would have practiced some of these principles. What could have saved that church? Maybe someone should have approached that organist a long time ago? It sounds like she was in sin. Maybe, not. Why didn’t one of her friends talk to her in private as she began to wage this war on those who sought to get the ministry under control.

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Faith Path: An Overview

faithpathTitle: Faith Path: An Overview

Text: Ephesians 5.1-17

CIT: A call to imitate God in love and life.

CIS: I will attempt to give an adequate overview of the Faith Path initiative.

Introduction: Faith Overview: to 2:12

We asked Wendy and Phil to coordinate our Family Life ministries 4 years ago. Since that time we watched as the ministry in their area has flourished. Their goal when they came was to help us build strong families. We’ve had marriage conferences, schools begun; Speech and Debate tournaments and what I’ve been most excited about is a focused initiative that we call Calvary Cornerstone. Cornerstone is located at the back of the worship center and is an attractive center designed with you in mind. We’ve attempted to provide resources to equip you for just about every major struggle we face: for those with a concern for aging parents to becoming new parents.

Today, I’m excited to tell you about new initiative to equip our families for life: Faith Path.

Play video: from 2:12 to 6:18

Open your Bibles to Ephesians 5.

I had a professor in Seminary who told us as students a story about walking with his daughter Amy. They were out in the woods, walking along when he turned and didn’t see Amy anywhere. He called out and heard her nearby. He went to her and brought her back to the path. He scolded her sharply because his heart skipped a beat at the thought of losing his daughter out there in the woods.

Amy, stay on the path.

Yes, Daddy.

They walked along a little further when he realized he had lost her again. It only took a second to find her, and bring her back to the path. He gave her a good swat and told her to stay on the path.

Do you understand?

Yes, Daddy.

Daddy, what’s a path?

App.: I think it’s one thing for us to encourage you with our sermons and programs to keep your children on the path, but it’s another thing for you to teach them to stay on the path. Deut 5.32-33 says: 32 You shall be careful therefore to do as the Lord your God has commanded you. You shall not turn aside to the right hand or to the left. 33 You shall walk in all the way that the Lord your God has commanded you, that you may live, and that it may go well with you, and that you may live long in the land that you shall possess.

Imperfect parents often make mistakes like that: assuming our children know and understand when they don’t. I guess that’s why Paul told the Ephesians to: rd 5.1; rd 5.1a; be imitators of God; He’s the perfect parent – the exact opposite of: 4.17-32; and concludes with 5.1 – as beloved children; then he gives a list. A simple list really. I’ve identified them in this way:

  1. Walk in Love
  2. Teach in Love
  3. Redeem the Time

Transition: let’s begin with

1.     Walk in Love (1-2)

exp.: rd v 2a; I think it’s interesting that Paul says to imitate God, mimic God as beloved Children. God has given us a paradigm, a pattern to be followed: Him. How many times does he call us to be like him? Be Holy as I am holy; God made man in his image, in the image of God he created him. He is our Father. We are his children and he loves us perfectly. BTW: the words be imitators of God is an imperative – it’s a command. So then, we are commanded to be like Him when we love, when we parent, when we teach. Then, Paul gives us an example: Christ. Rd the rest of v2;

  • As Christ
    • Loved
    • Gave
      • A fragrant offering
      • A Sacrifice

app.: I was thinking that sometimes it feels like a sacrifice; however, when it’s all said and done – we don’t really feel like we’ve sacrificed at all. We’ve only loved.

t.s.: So be the example to your kids: walk in love – as God is an example to us, 2nd,

2.     Teach in Love (6)

exp.: rd v 6; Let no one deceive you; you could leave this task to someone else, but do you really want to? I’m not saying you have to homeschool your kids. That’s not the message. But you still have the responsibility to protect them from those that would deceive them.

I saw this in the news on Friday and it pertains to the Public School System (Thank God for Christian Teachers who work with our children in the Public and Private Schools):

From: Todd Starnes, Fox News: The Fairfax County Public Schools School Board voted Thursday night to add “gender identity” to its nondiscrimination policy in spite of massive opposition from parents and the area’s religious community.

Police were summoned to control a standing-room-only crowd as board members approved the controversial measure.

Critics argued it would allow boys who identify as girls to use the bathrooms and locker rooms of their choice — and vice versa. Parents also had concerns about the possibility of transgender teachers.

School Board Chair Tamara Derenak Kaufax issued a statement calling the measure a way to “provide an environment which promotes equality where every student and employee is treated with dignity and respect.”

“The School Board has taken this proactive step to protect our students and staff from discrimination,” she wrote.

The district said they were mandated by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights to add “gender identity” to the policy — or else risk losing federal funding.

Here’s the point: If you choose to let someone else chart their path, your kids might be deceived; you teach your children, first by example in love and 2ndly, with words;

Here’s how we’re committed to help you accomplish this: There are 13 steps on this Faith Path…

Parent Dedication (Birth-2)

Blessing (3+)

Family Time (4+)

Prepare to Lead your Child to Christ (5+)

Prayer (6+)

Bible (7+)

Worship (8+)

Giving & Serving (9+)

Preparing for Adolescence (11+)

Purity (13+)

Rite of Passage (16+)

Launch (18+)

There is one more: Salvation and Baptism. This decision isn’t really attached to a certain age. It happens when it happens. So there is no age assigned to this stepping-stone.

ill.: here’s more of an explanation: play the video from 6.18 – 8.57;

t.s.: In the video you saw a dvd and audio cd in the packet? Well, we’ve posted them on line, so that you can access them through our website. So, model the model of love you’ve learned from Christ and teach Biblical principles that come from Christ. And 3rd,

3.     Redeem the Time (15-17)

exp.: rd v 15-17; As a parent of three adult children I can say with authority: you don’t have much time. It feels like it when you’re in it, that you’ve got plenty of time. But, you don’t. You will be amazed at how the time passes so quickly.

CALL: I’m wondering this morning if you’re willing to surrender that to the Lord this morning. Would you pray a simple prayer: Lord, help me live the life you’ve called me to live – a life that demonstrates your love, that teaches your love, that doesn’t waste today. Lord, help me live a life that calls for followers – that I would live my life in such a way that I can say – follow me, do as I do.

Pause… Lord, bless our prayers with your structure for our lives. Give us a passion to know you more and to be more like you in every way. Conform us to the image of your son, carving and chiseling away the parts that you don’t want, until all that is left is a beautiful reflection of you. In Jesus name, Amen.

ill.: play the video from 12:08 and stop at 14:07

t.s.: Regrets you’ll never have.

Conclusion: Paul says elsewhere:

1 Corinthians 4.16: 14 I do not write these things to make you ashamed, but to admonish you as my beloved children. 15 For though you have countless guides in Christ, you do not have many fathers. For I became your father in Christ Jesus through the gospel. 16 I urge you, then, be imitators of me. 17 That is why I sent you Timothy, my beloved and faithful child in the Lord, to remind you of my ways in Christ, as I teach them everywhere in every church.

He repeats it in 11.1: Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.

And in Philippians 3.12 and following he writes:

12 Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. 13 Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. 15 Let those of us who are mature think this way, and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal that also to you. 16 Only let us hold true to what we have attained.

17 Brothers, join in imitating me, and keep your eyes on those who walk according to the example you have in us. 18 For many, of whom I have often told you and now tell you even with tears, walk as enemies of the cross of Christ. 19 Their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things. 20 But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21 who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.

Therefore, my brothers, whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm thus in the Lord, my beloved.

Application: Parent, Grandparent, Disciple-maker, teacher, Uncle, Aunt, Christian Leader

We have an overview packet for you today – with that overview packet, we have a video accessible on our website.

Wendy, KK, Phil, Tracy, will you guys come forward and be available to hand these out?

Play video as these people get in place from 14.07 to the end.

So, here’s the call: Mimic God, for the benefit of those who follow you – mimic God.

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Filed under Ephesians, Scripture, Sermon

Discipleship: DNA

Title: Discipleship: Getting the Job Done

Text: Acts 11.19-30

CIT: The Church at Antioch had been Evangelized and Discipled so well, that they naturally wanted to serve when the time came.

CIS: that we as a congregation, and as individuals would be looking for that one person to ‘disciple’

Introduction: A Marine recruiter took the stage in front of a high school assembly after the other service recruiters had given long-winded speeches about why the students should join their respective branches.

The Marine recruiter simply looked out over the audience for a few seconds and said:

“I don’t think I see anyone in this room that has what it takes to be a United States Marine. But if any of you think you can prove me wrong, I’ll be at that table over there.”

The Marines got more recruits that day than all other branches combined.

There is something about a challenge – Or should I say there is something to being challenged. Most people want to do better than others. We want to feel that we’re above average when we’re compared with others. It doesn’t stop as individuals. We do this as members of teams and owners of businesses. We do this as churches.

Ill.: It seems to me that when I’m asked about Calvary, the question that is asked most is: how big is your church? Translation: how many people come to your church? Well, I’m not convinced that numbers alone is the measure of a healthy church.

Today we’ll look at a church and how it found success. And, to be quite honest, I was surprised at what I found:

Turn to Acts 11.19-30; In this text we’ll find three parts to an healthy, active church;

  1. Evangelism (19-21)
  2. Discipleship (22-26)
  3. Mission/Ministry (27-30)

This is the outline, but I’ve structured it differently… evangelism and evidence. 1st,

1.     Evangelism (19-20)

exp.: rd v 19a; A persecution arises and forces many believers to flee. I like the Greek – it paints a picture with the words; the word translated scattered is a farming word. It is what farmers would do when sowing their seed. It’s as if the writer is letting us in on what God is up to behind the scene. You can almost picture God’s hand sowing the seeds of faith in broader strokes. Rd 19b; These persecuted believers were at first sharing only with Jews, but something cool happens in the next verse; rd v 20; for the 1st time, we see a concentrated effort in sharing Christ with non-Jews;

1st, let’s look at this word: Hellenist. It’s found in 6.1, in reference to the Greek speaking Jewish widows being overlooked in the daily distribution of food. The 2nd time we see it is in 9.29, when Paul comes to Jerusalem after his conversion and preaches Christ to Jews who are only Greek speaking. The context gives us a clear understanding of this. But when we come to Hellenists in 11.20, we see the context leads us to understand that for the 1st time, someone other than Jews is being targeted with the Gospel. There is greater emphasis placed on this with the word εὐαγγελίζω – preaching boldly in the name of Jesus. If you transliterate that word, εὐαγγελίζω, you get Evangelism;

ill.: C.H. Spurgeon is credited with saying: In the Roman Empire, all roads led to Rome. In the Bible, all texts lead to Christ. No matter what Scripture you’re reading, there is a message of hope and something that points us back or toward Christ. And so when reading Scripture – What a great opportunity to εὐαγγελίζω!

app.: Here is a simple reason to commit to reading the Bible with someone: Evangelism. Sharing the good news. Did you know that many people don’t want to go to a church. They’re uncomfortable with it. However, many people wish they knew the Bible better. Believers and non-believers alike.

t.s.: now, there a second part to this and it really runs inside this first point; however, for the sake of simplicity, I’m going to make this point #2 and it is:

2.     Evidence (22-26)

exp.: rd v 21; note the two parts: 1st, God’s favor is upon them and 2nd their numbers show that! The 1st part of this echoes my verse for this year: Ps 90.17: Let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us, and establish the work of our hands upon us; yes, establish the work of our hands! That has been my prayer since I came across it on Sabbatical. I pray it almost every day. Will you pray that with me? …that God’s hand would be with us and that we would begin to see people committing their lives to Christ? We can do our part, but if God doesn’t bless – it’s all for naught. Pray: Indeed, Lord, Let your favor be upon us, and establish the work of our hands upon us; yes, establish the work of our hands! And 2ndly, Let this evidence be found in us! May we see untold numbers of people committing their lives to you!

Look at v22; in v 22 we find set of words most common to the LXX; you get the idea of what this means when you read Mt 10.27: 27 What I tell you in the dark, say in the light, and what you hear whispered, proclaim on the housetops. Jesus is of course speaking there. But here, there is this idea of whispers about the church at Antioch coming to the ears of the church in Jerusalem – Did you hear that Believers are sharing Christ with Gentiles – and some of them are actually getting saved? “Whispers in dark”; this adds weight to our thought about these Hellenists being non-Jews, that is Gentiles. This is something new, something different.

So, what do they do? They send Barnabas – good, ole Barnabas – Son of Encouragement – to check things out. Why? Who are they? There is some wording here that doesn’t really translate into English. It’s the idea that this church in Jerusalem, being what it was at that time, when they heard of this, sent Barnabas. I think that’s an interesting statement by Dr. Luke. How would that apply to us?

Well, 1st off: we have a responsibility to check on those who are coming to faith through our ministry. Ladies and Gentlemen, that’s a huge responsibility. We’re recording this, so I want to be careful. But let me ask: how are we following up on the people who get saved through our ministry. From Pine Cove to the Pacific Rim, how are we actively following up on reports that someone has accepted Christ? I’ve heard some reports about people being saved. You have, too. Let’s ponder that for a while – while I push on into verse 23.

Rd v 23; What did he find? Evidence!

  • He saw the grace of God! He saw God’s favor had been poured out on these people. Which of course, echoes the above statement that God’s hand was with them. Next,
  • He rejoiced! He was glad.
  • He encouraged them to remain faithful to the Lord w/ steadfast purpose.

Ill.: Ed Stetzer, executive director of LifeWay Research, tells the story of a church being revitalized. It was during his tenure teaching at a seminary. He was asked to step in and fill the pulpit. So, he did. It was a hard experience, but it was well worth it as many people were reached.

On my last day at the church, Harold, the over 80 year old deacon chairman poked me in the chest and said, “Preacher, I still don’t like the music and the kids are breaking everything.” And he was right. The more activity you have in a church, the more likely things are going to be broken.

Any disconnected church that seeks to reengage with their community will find the experience to be messy. There may be mud on the carpet, smudges on the walls, dirty bathrooms, or broken vases. The way of church life to which your people had grown accustomed will suddenly change.

So there we were, Harold with his finger in my chest and me looking at him trying to figure out this confrontation. Still making eye contact, he teared up and said, “I still don’t like the music and the kids are breaking everything, but it was worth it.

App.: a church that chooses to reach out to its community and to the world needs to know that this work is messy. It is. But like Harold said – It’s worth it.

I think Harold is a bit like Barnabas – able to see the good in things. I made a few notes about Barnabas, that I felt like each person who chooses to disciple others, should emulate:

  1. His Character: Wisdom, joy, encouragement – that is, an encourager of others. 2nd, his…
  2. His Attributes: rd v 24; good; full of the Holy Spirit; Full of Faith – faithful, yeah, but I like full of faith; rd v 24; another attribute – discernment: seeing what is needed; and having the wisdom to act on that. His Character, His Attributes, His Sacrifice. Rd v 25-26a;
  3. His Sacrifice: Invest in the lives of others…
    1. Yourself – What I mean by this is: it takes someone – why not you? Most of us like the group setting; probably because we don’t have to go very deep – just let others do the talking. Consider one to one.
    2. Your time – rd v 26; a whole year; ;
    3. Meet together – this isn’t a fb Bible study; sorry ladies, I mean no offense; but, I’m asking you to do more than ‘friend’ someone. I’m asking you to sacrifice yourself on the behalf of another; sacrifice your time; give of yourself – be vulnerable, be transparent;

Here is an area I think we’ve failed at as believers. We’ve tried to make people think that being a Christian means everything perfect. It is not. Indeed, my guess is that we have just as many problems, concerns and issues as the rest of the world. The difference comes in how we handle those problems, concerns and issues. We don’t respond like the world does. And, that’s part of what you’re teaching when you meet with someone. And that’s the next area where sacrifice is made.

  1. Teaching – Specifically, God’s Word; As I’ve repeated over the past couple of weeks: this is our standard – the measurement by which we measure our lives.

ill.: We’ll delve more into this on May 17th for those that are interested, but for the moment let me just add what it means to meet and teach someone.

  1. Read the text – This is what it says.
  2. Discuss the text – This is what it means.
  3. Apply the text – this is what it means to me.

app.: There are believers out there who would like to grow in Christ, but don’t know how. Spending time reading God’s Word with them will open doors for you to teach, share and invest in their lives. Discipleship; this is our main area of focus this morning – investing our lives in someone else.

t.s.: this text concludes with one last section – mission/ministry

3.     Mission/Ministry (27-30)

exp.: rd v 27-30; Maybe this is another area of evidence? I think Calvary is doing this well. Sunday night, May 17th, I’m going to invite you to the church to talk about reading the Bible one-to-one. I want to challenge you now to find someone and invite them to meet with you regualarly – one a week, once every two weeks, at lunch, on Saturdays for brunch, just whenever you can make the time. The goal isn’t to meet with someone to encourage you and then to meet with someone who needs your encouragement. We’re just trying to start something here. I’m calling it DNA (Discipleship and Accountability) Sunday night May 17th, we’ll meet to talk about all of this. To conclude, I want to give you 4 reason to consider DNA.

Conclusion: let me ask: Why participate in DNA?

  1. Salvation: each of us knows someone who is lost and needs to be reached. This just might be a way to present the gospel.
  2. Sanctification: no doubt each of us needs to grow. None of us has arrived.
  3. Service: Right now, would you think of one person you are pouring your life into? Maybe it’s your kid. Maybe it’s your sibling. If there isn’t someone you’re meeting with regularly, will you begin to pray about doing just that?
  4. Substance: This comes back to the issue of a superficial church. How involved are we in the lives of others? Who are you meeting with regularly to share life with – as it pertains to Scripture? I basically want to challenge you to begin praying about developing a relationship that takes you beyond the superficial. Our Church is only as strong as a weakest link.

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