Monthly Archives: September 2015

Developing Passionate Followers of Christ…

Title: Developing Passionate Followers of Christ

Text: Deuteronomy 6.1-9

Introduction: Ecc. 1.9-10: What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun. 10 Is there a thing of which it is said, “See, this is new”? It has been already in the ages before us.

C.S. Lewis is noted as calling this Chronological Snobbery in his book, Surprised by Joy. Chronological snobbery represents the idea that what has happened in our lifetime is better than what happened in previous generations or eras. We simply cast it aside because it is ‘medieval’ or from ‘the dark ages.’ We simply assume that we know better than Calvin or Augustine or Aquinas. It is arrogance on my part to think that my thought is better simply because I live in a technically advanced age.

So what is the remedy for this? Lewis recommends that every third book you read be from outside your own century. Interesting advice. You might consider it.

A Philosophy of Ministry:

When Michael Wright was pastor of Calvary, I’m assuming before you guys ever moved to South Tyler, he led the church to adopt the following Mission Statement: developing passionate followers of Christ. Calvary exists to develop passionate followers of Christ. I took the liberty of breaking this down into three segments: Worship, Discipleship, and Ministry. Worship: One Passion; Discipleship: One Mission; Ministry: One Body. This philosophy of ministry states that we exist as a church to fulfill three priorities. We exist:

  1. To reflect the grace of God upward in Worship,
  2. To apply the grace of God inward through Discipleship (evangelism and training)
  3. To extend the grace of God outward through ministry and mission.

This is why I ask you as members to participate in the Body through 1+2. 1 is Worship. Every week you should be involved in worship. it’s the only time we meet together. If you miss a week, it’s 14 days since you were last with the body. Then I ask you to participate in Discipleship and Ministry. If your ministry is being a Bible Study leader and discipling others, then find another time when you’re being fed – when you’re being discipled.

The truth is that this isn’t new. I know a lot of folks think that Rick Warren invented it (or at least they act like he did), but listen to Hezekiah Harvey in his book The Church.

Membership, therefore, involves a personal obligation to promote the objects of the body as expressed in the covenant. These objects are three:

  1. The social, united worship of God . . .
  2. The perpetuation and diffusion of the gospel . . .
  3. The sanctification of its own members . . .

The church, thus comprehensive in its scope, looks upward to God, outward upon the needs of a lost world, and inward to the processes of sanctification in the souls of its own members; the neglect of any one of these grand objects of its organization imperils its whole design. Upward, inward, outward…

  • One Passion: Worship
  • One Mission: The Great Commission – Discipleship
  • One Body: Serving through ministry and mission.

The Church was written in 1879. So, where does this come from? Truth is I could pick one of a dozen passages to preach from. This topic flows from and indeed, I have preached, from many similar passages. Today, I’m going to the OT in Deuteronomy. Turn there with me. Deut. 6.1-9

Here is the flow of the passage.

  • 1-3: Introduction – statement of purpose/goal
  • 4: A statement
  • 5-9: multiple commands; let’s begin with v. 1;

“Now this is the commandment—the statutes and the rules—that the Lord your God commanded me to teach you (Knowing), that you may do (Doing) them in the land to which you are going over, to possess it(Being),

A great introduction: knowing, doing, and being. I like what Moses is doing here. For many, there is an assumption that knowledge is the key. But the truth is that many know what they should do, but don’t. The Bible calls this foolishness. Think about this: when you and I do what you and I know is wrong – we are fools. Period. The key here is to not miss any of these three:

  • Foolishness: Knowing and not doing.
  • Pharisee: Knows and does, but it never becomes part of his being.
  • The wise man: Knows and does because of his who he is – being.

that you may fear the Lord your God, you and your son and your son’s son, by keeping all his statutes and his commandments, which I command you, all the days of your life, and that your days may be long. Hear therefore, O Israel, and be careful to do them, that it may go well with you, and that you may multiply greatly, as the Lord, the God of your fathers, has promised you, in a land flowing with milk and honey.

Now, from this introduction, Moses issues a statement. This statement is rudimentary in Jewish Theology, but is magnified for us in the New Testament: rd v 4, where the famous Shema statement is made:

6.4-9: Commands

4: Statement:  “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.” This is the foundation. This is what everything else rest upon. There is no other person, place or thing in all of creation that deserves our devotion. Who is this God – known as Yahweh?

  1. He is our teacher (5)
  2. He is to be feared (13)
  3. He is to be followed (10)
  4. He is our provider (10)
  5. He alone is God – there is no other. (14)
  6. He is to be preeminent in our lives. (13)
  7. He is to be served (13)
  8. He is to be shared with others (20)
  9. He is Jealous for his people (16)
  10. He makes us righteous through our obedience to his commands (25)

5: Command #1: Love the LORD your God – with all of your:

  1. Heart:
  2. Soul:
  3. Mind:

These three represent the totality of the human. There is no part of our being that isn’t committed to Him. From who we are branching out to all we do and all we have – it all is surrendered to Him. Our families, Our finances, Our futures, Our Health, Our Homes, Our smallest worries, Our children, Our church, fill in the blank – it’s his! Command #2

6.6f: Commands: These words shall be on your heart. – that is the cognitive part of our lives.

  1. You Shall Think (6)
  2. You Shall Teach (7)
  3. You Shall Talk (7)
    1. When you sit
    2. When you walk
    3. When you lie down
    4. When you rise; Command #3

6.8f: Command: Bind them as a sign

  1. On your hand
  2. On your forehead
  3. On your doorposts
  4. On your gates

God wants there to be external reminders of Him in our lives. It’s amazing what we can do when we serve what or who we love. That could be God – or – that could be someone else – or – even something else.

ill.: Have you heard about seventy-eight-year-old Aleida Huissen of Rotterdam, who had been smoking for the better part of fifty years. For most of that time she had been trying to give up the habit, and at last at the age of 78 she succeeded. The secret? Seventy-nine-year-old Leo Jansen proposed marriage but refused to go through with the wedding until Aleida gave up smoking. Aleida said, “Will power never was enough to get me off the habit. Love made me do it.”

ill: A statement my kids will make about their father: He loved God. He loved my momma. He loved me. What or who do you love more than God? Because, 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

Transition: In this passage, we learn of God’s commands to us concerning our relationship with him. This is another great passage to use for our mission statement – developing passionate followers of Christ. Let’s look closer at our statement, one word at a time.

I.     Developing (5-9)

exp.: Some people ask why evangelism isn’t listed here among this trilogy. That’s a good question. My answer is that I’ve felt for some years now that evangelism is the 1st step in discipleship. Jesus said: “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 verb, three participles telling how.

So, how do you make disciples:

  1. In the process of life – While or as you are going. Having Gone: aorist pass ptc
  2. By Genuine Conversion – That’s the baptism part. A person who claims to be a Christian and hasn’t been baptized is walking in disobedience. And, how can you claim Jesus is your Lord, when he commands you to be baptized as a public confession on your faith and you refuse because of your pride? Baptism is our first step in obedience.
  3. By Studying God’s WordBy Learning about all of Christ’s Commands. If you’re a Christian, and if you’ve been baptized, but you’re not in a discipleship program of some sort – you’re living in disobedience. If you’re a Christian and you’re not getting into God’s Word daily, then I would venture to guess you’re living in disobedience. There should be some systematic, regular and routine practice to getting in God’s Word and being discipled.

Make Disciples!

Transition: You should be developing… 2nd word:

II.    Passionate (4-5)

exp.: rd v 4-5; This past week I was reading in my daily readings Isaiah 43-45 (Selected Readings). He is God! He deserves our passion – our following him as closely as possible – to worship him with our lives. How can I describe God to you? He’s indescribable. He is worthy of the worship he commands of us. He is good and he is kind. He is patient and loving toward us. He always wants what is best for us – He always knows what is best for us. His glory is his own and it is to be shared with no one. “Play recording of Dr. Lockridge”

His love for us is expressed in the cross of Calvary, where he sent his own son to die in our place. And his desire is that none should perish, but that all might come to repentance and find forgiveness.

His promise is to cleanse the sinner at the moment of repentance. Confession brings a cleansed soul and a purified heart. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

App.: Our passion is expressed in and through our worship. It is expressed in our discipleship. It is expressed in our ministry and mission.

Transition: Developing, Passionate – and last…

III.   Followers of Christ (3)

exp.: What does it mean to follow? Jesus says to “follow him”

English Standard Version 56 results in 25 verses
Matt 4:19 And he said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.”
Matt 8:22 And Jesus said to him, “Follow me, and leave the dead to bury their own dead.”
Matt 9:9 As Jesus passed on from there, he saw a man called Matthew sitting at the tax booth, and he said to him, “Follow me.” And he rose and followed him.
Matt 10:38 And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me.
Matt 16:24 Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.
Matt 19:21 Jesus said to him, “If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.”
Mark 1:17 And Jesus said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you become fishers of men.”
Mark 2:14 And as he passed by, he saw Levi the son of Alphaeus sitting at the tax booth, and he said to him, “Follow me.” And he rose and followed him.
Mark 8:34 And calling the crowd to him with his disciples, he said to them, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.
Mark 10:21 And Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, “You lack one thing: go, sell all that you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.”
Luke 5:27 After this he went out and saw a tax collector named Levi, sitting at the tax booth. And he said to him, “Follow me.”
Luke 9:23 And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.
Luke 9:59 To another he said, “Follow me.” But he said, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.”
Luke 18:22 When Jesus heard this, he said to him, “One thing you still lack. Sell all that you have and distribute to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.”
John 1:43 The next day Jesus decided to go to Galilee. He found Philip and said to him, “Follow me.”
John 8:12 Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
John 10:27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.
John 12:26 If anyone serves me, he must follow me; and where I am, there will my servant be also. If anyone serves me, the Father will honor him.
John 21:19 (This he said to show by what kind of death he was to glorify God.) And after saying this he said to him, “Follow me.”
John 21:22 Jesus said to him, “If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you? You follow me!”

In his most recent address to some missionaries being Commissioned by the IMB of the SBC, David Platt said to follow Christ means:

  1. To live with radical abandonment for His glory. “Leaving behind, laying down, abandoning everything in your life doesn’t make sense until you realize who Jesus is,” Platt said. “But when you realize who He is, when you realize who Christ the King is — laying, leaving, abandoning all these things is the only thing that makes sense.”
  2. To live with total dependence on Him.“Who among us wants our lives to be summed up by what we can accomplish on our own?” he asked. “Don’t we want to be used by our King to do things that we could never do on our own?”
  3. To live with faithful adherence to His person.“Followers of Jesus are those for whom Christ is their life.” Your job is not your life. Your children are not your life. Your life is in Christ.
  4. To be “fishers of men.”To be a disciple is to be disciple-maker. All Christians are called to tell people how they can know Jesus as Savior. “This is not an extraordinary picture, this is an ordinary Christian picture — to say ‘I’ll go wherever You want me to go,’” Platt said.

With 4.5 billion people in the world without Christ and several billion who have never even heard how they can go to heaven, “we don’t have time to waste living out a nice comfortable, Christian spin on the American dream. It makes no sense whatsoever,” Platt said.

“To follow this King in this world, it means total abandonment, dependence on His grace, adherence to His person and urgent obedience to His mission.”

This isn’t just for missionaries! This is for everyone who calls Christ his Lord!

This is the God who deserves our total abandonment to what’s here on earth and total allegiance to him!

Invitation –

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Filed under Deuteronomy, Mission Statement, Purpose

Follow Me: A Commissioning Service

Title: Follow Me – A Commissioning Service

Text: Acts 13.1-12

Introduction: Ladies and Gentlemen, we’re at T-minus and counting! There is excitement in the air. I’m pumped. If you’re not, we need to pray for you. This small congregation has surrendered itself to the Lord in the area of missions and God is doing mighty things! What, you say? Some of you don’t know what I’m talking about? Let ‘splain!

In Early August of 2011, I saw that the Executive Director of the SBTC was planning on issuing a challenge to Texas Baptist. Here’s what the Article read: Grapevine, August 9, 2011.

GRAPEVINE: The Executive Board of the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention granted $1 million from reserve funds to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for International Missions and encouraged churches in Texas to “embrace” 1,000 of the 3,800 unengaged people groups identified by Southern Baptist’s International Mission Board.

With over half of the world’s 7 billion people having little or no access to the gospel and the 3,800 unengaged, unreached people groups having no one telling them about Jesus, the IMB encourages local churches to begin with church-wide focused prayer.

This challenge would be for churches in Texas to embrace 1000 UUPG: Unreached, Unengaged People Groups. I had no idea what this was. So I had to do a little research. I called the convention headquarters in Dallas and ask them what this challenge was all about. I found it interesting that the folks there new very little of what the challenge was going to be. They could only tell me that we would hear more about this in the coming days.

Here’s what I eventually found out: A UUPG is an unreached, unengaged people group. There were at that time over 3800 UUPG’s in the world. The Classification of a PG or A people group: is a group of people bound together by a common Language and culture. What makes them common is that the gospel can move within this group unhindered. However, when the gospel encounters boundaries and barriers that hinder its transmission – then evangelism stops. The people within the boundaries would be called a people group. Now, when less than 2% of a population within a specific people group are Christians, then they are considered unreached. As of yesterday, according to the Joshua Project, there are 6564 unreached people groups. They may have churches, pastors, missionaries, Bible studies–but there is less than 2% of that population is considered Christian–then these people are unreached.

A population is considered unengaged when within that people group there is no pastor, there are no churches, there is no Bible study, they have no missionaries working among them. So A UUPG is a people group that has no missionaries – no Bible studies – no pastor and less than 2% of the population is considered Christian. The latest number I could find on Unreached, Unengaged People Groups is that the # has dropped over the last 4 years from 3800 UUPG’s to 1,568 people groups.

Well, a presentation was made to the church–and it appeared to me that the church embraced this challenge. We set our sights on keeping this before the Lord in prayer. Where would he have us go? Who would he have us Focus on? We began by looking at three areas of the world where our current missionaries were serving: Africa, Southeast Asia, and East Asia. One by one we were able too narrow the field down to a focus on East Asia. Then, we looked at three UUPG’s located near some missionaries we know. After nearly a year of prayer, we found our people.

In October 2013 we sent a vision team to look for this UUPG. It was a long journey, but very rewarding. After three days of travel as we pulled into a local village in the mountains, we saw with our own eyes the people you are looking at in pictures on the screen.

This vision team came back and reported to the church that it just isn’t practical to send teams each year. What we need is “boots on the ground” there, to coordinate our efforts – to be there to receive our people on short-term mission trips. Let me show you something cool.

What you are looking at is inside a brochure entitled The Top 31 UUPG’s ***** ***** *****. Go down a few pages to our UUPG. That picture and that information is accurate with what we found and saw.

Today that brochure becomes inaccurate! Because, listed in this group is our people. The people group we’ve chosen. Today we are going to commission two of our very own people to go as missionaries to this UUPG. Indeed, they are no longer called an un-reached, Unengaged people group. Today they’ve become a UPG – simply an unreached people group. And with the blessing and favor of our God, in the coming months and years, we will remove that final U. They’ll simply become another People Group of the world.

Transition: And this brings me to why we’re here today – to commission this couple that we’ve asked to serve on the mission field to help us engage and reach our UUPG. Let’s open our Bibles to Acts and take a look at what a commission service is all about.

In Acts 13, we see a church being successful – we see a church doing and being what a church is supposed to be doing and being. We see it from the inside and we see it from the outside. How do I know it was successful? How can that be measured?

We find these people were so Christ-like in their deportment that the community around them called them Christians, or Little Christs. I’m sure they heard: they’re just like their Lord.

Then, in our passage, we see them doing the work that a church has been called to do.

Observe the church at Antioch. You’ll find two areas of work:

  1. The Work of the Church in obedience to the Great Commission.
  2. The Work of the Holy Spirit in light of the Great Commission.

Transition: Let’s look first at the Work of the Church. Allow me to put it in the form of a question:

What precedes going on mission?

  1. The Work of the Church in obedience to the Great Commission.

Let’s look at their Spiritual Leadership: rd v. 1; note: names; Barnabas, Simeon, Lucius, Manaen, Saul (Paul); What are they doing? We find 4 actions on the part of the Leadership: Worshipping & Fasting, then, Laying on of hands and sending them out.

  • Worshipping – there are 4 words in the NT translated worship
    • προσκυνέω: to kiss the hand; meaning to bow;
    • σέβω: this deals more with attitude toward someone; As in to ‘revere’ someone or something; This is something that happens to me when I hear a testimony. I’m moved inside, at the greatness and kindness of God. He amazes me.
    • θρῆσκος: Thray-skos; It’s like three in spanish w/ kos on the end; Col 2.18; every other time this word is used, it is translated It has the connatation of ceremonies;
    • λατρεύω: Eng.: liturgy or liturgical; it mean service and is used to describe the work of the priest in the Temple. In other words, worship is an action – it’s not passive. I could lead you in a responsive reading time. Give thanks to the Lord our God and King. His love endures forever. For he is good he is above all things. His love endures forever. This is the word being used here. These men were leading their congregation to Worship the Lord.

app.: we often think of worship in the 1st two manners: bowing, reverence; but we don’t think of our worship in terms of our service. These leaders were worshipping the Lord in their service to him; Cont. reading v 2-3;

  • Fasting & Prayer: I have asked the elders to join with me in fasting and praying for you today. I think most people consider our work to be done in the office or in meetings and in planning things, etc. Acts 6.1-4: But we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word.” This should be our priority.
    • According to A Concise Dictionary of the Words in the Greek Testament and Hebrew Bible, the word ‘prayer’ in Acts 6 can also be translated ‘worship’. It is a picture of someone bowing on their face before God and offering supplication. That same word is used in our passage in v 3;
    • Ministry of the Word is preaching and teaching. Paul warns Timothy time and again to keep a close eye on his doctrine, making sure his preaching and teaching is sound and healthy.

I have two reason for placing an emphasis on this today.

  1. It is a reminder to the church of what the elders are called to do.
  2. It is a lesson of what you’ll be doing.

exp.: your basic function is to serve as a church planter – the Bible calls this an Apostle. We’re commissioning you today to go to our UUPG and ultimately, plant a church. Our hopes and dreams are that you’ll share the gospel; people will be saved under the gospel; they will be discipled under the gospel and they’ll be obedient to the gospel and serve faithfully the gospel; leading many to Christ. Wah-Lah, that’s a church! You’re doing the work of Paul. You’re being sent out to plant churches in the midst of our UUPG. And on the Great Day as we’re gathered around the throne, we will see members of our UUPG there next to us worshipping God. Many of them your friends – people you’ve prayed with and taught.

Look back at v3; here’s a third action

  • Laying on of hands: BTW: this is a participle also. Lit.: fasting and praying and laying their hands on them. According to Hebrews 6.2, this was an elementary doctrine in the early church; it basically conveys the idea of blessing and commission. It was seen in Scripture when Jesus was healing people and when people were receiving the Holy Spirit. Paul experienced both when Ananias laid his hands on Paul – his sight returned and he was saved. Not only that, but he received his commission at the same moment. He was told he would be Christ’s witness to the Gentiles and kings and to the children of Israel.

Transition: Leadership is seen in their worship, or service, their fasting and prayer, their laying on of hands and then sending them off.

  • They sent them off. Breaking this down grammatically, this is the verb. The work this leadership group did was they sent them off on a mission. They way they did this is described in their worshipping and praying and laying on of hands. The word here in the Gk isn’t your typical word for sent them on their way. You see that in v 4. The Holy Spirit is actually doing the sending in this passage. The literal translation, the literal wording for what they did is they released them or they set them free.

App.: Mom and Dad, in your position as leaders, this is what you’re supposed to do: set them free. Like doves in your hands, throw them up to the Lord and let Him send them.

– Now, we’ve seen the work of the church, mainly through the leadership at Antioch. I’m sure others were there participating, worship, praying. But now, I want to focus in on the most important part of what is being done. And in doing so, I’m going to turn my attention to this young couple. I’ve asked the question: What precedes going? The answer is the work of the church through its leadership. 2nd, question…

What involves going? The Work of the Holy Spirit in light of your calling. You experienced this in His calling you to this service. In this section I’ve outline three actions on the part of the Holy Spirit. Rd v 2; #1…

  1. The Holy Spirit Calls – here’s a tip: Don’t go if you’re not called. Because if you do, you’ll go alone. (Those who went up to Ai in Joshua ) v. 2
    1. The Calling is the only thing that sustains you when:
      1. The Journey is long; v. 6; 1st they traveled by boat. Then they crossed the whole island (which is 100 miles long and some 60 miles wide).
      2. Facing opposition v. 8; you’re headed to a place you’re not wanted by some people; You’re sure to face opposition. Without the Holy Spirit’s call, you won’t make it.
  • Some will abandon you; v. 13; you know the story… this damaged the relationship John Mark had with Paul for many years.

Ill.: My prayer chair: I’ve have felt the struggle of those who hate me even from within the church. I’ve been asked to consider leaving: You sing well, you lead worship well and you’re a great preacher, so why don’t you grab your guitar and hit the road. The funny part of that story is that woman became one of my biggest supporters and loved me like a mom loves her son. At the end of my ministry there I would drive out to her house and drink coffee with her, while watching the sun come up.

App.: at those times, when people abandon you, when they insult you – even from within the church – you’ve got to go back to your call. I suggest you get a prayer chair – or something that takes you back to that calling. When you feel unsuccessful, that’s ok – you weren’t called to be ‘successful’ – go back to your calling. I could go on and on; however, let’s move on… #2

  1. The Holy Spirit Commissions – v. 4; the word here is accurate; whereas the church released them or set them free, here the Holy Spirit does the sending. A couple of notes:
    1. I think its interesting that they went to Cyprus because that is where Barnabas was from (Acts 4.36). I’m sure he had a desire to see his people saved. He was also familiar with the Island and the people.

I’m glad you served here first. Your ministries at Calvary and the ***** ***** has demonstrated your passion for ministry. Many people just want to go, but don’t serve where they are first.

  1. Sent w/ a mission; a task to do on behalf of the Holy Spirit. This is vitally important: you cannot go where the Holy Spirit doesn’t lead; you must be sensitive to the Holy Spirit’s leading. Acts 16.6-10

He will protect you. He will open doors for you. He will close doors for you. He will go before you. This is a 3rd time we see the Holy Spirit in this passage; look at verse 9

  1. The Holy Spirit Empowers – v. 9; understand that your work, what you do – must be empowered by the Holy Spirit. Look at a couple of different areas:
    1. For Preaching – v. 5; proclaiming the Word of God – taking the Gospel of Jesus Christ to these lost people. You need the empowerment of the Holy Spirit. No matter how smart you are, no matter how eloquent you become in their language, no matter how gifted and talented – if the Holy Spirit doesn’t empower you then you’re just bring them your best dog and pony show. You might as well take your unicycle and bowling pins to juggle. But, if the Holy Spirit of God empowers you, then the powers of darkness will be defeated.
    2. For Teaching – v. 12; people will get saved as you teach in the power of the Holy Spirit. You must pray that God will take your limited human teaching and exalt it to a place that can be used by you. Don’t worry so much about being creative. Do worry so much about being witty and cute. Concern yourself with the written word of God.
      1. 1 Timothy 3.16 – 16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.
      2. Once you’ve led some people to Christ, they must be discipled. Dallas Willard, author of the Divine Conspiracy and Hearing God has said that success in ministry is having a vital relationship with God and the capacity to pass it on to others. That capacity comes from the Holy Spirit.

Church – give me your attention for a moment. Pay careful attention to what I’m about to declare, because I’m going to ask you to affirm it with your voices and with your bodies when I’m done.

Commissioning Service for Our missionaries

Minister:  Beloved, today we recognize the ministries of this couple and consecrate them to a special task in the service of Jesus Christ. Hear the words of our Lord Jesus Christ:

“You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit shall abide; so that whatever you ask of the Father in my name, he may give it to you.” (John 15:16)

“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, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always to the end of the age.” (Matt. 28:19-20)

Missionaries, please stand.

Minister: In humble reliance upon divine grace, do you make it the supreme purpose of your lives to give of yourselves unreservedly over the course of the next two years to the work of Christ in your appointed field among this People Group?

Missionaries: We do.

Minister: Missionaries, in the name of this congregation, Calvary Baptist Church of Tyler, TX, I commend you to this work and pledge to you our prayers, our encouragement, and our support. May the Holy Spirit guide and strengthen you, that in this and in all things you may do God’s will in the service of Jesus Christ.

****Bring up two chairs: have the couple stand and face the congregation.****

Minister: Beloved, I commend to you this couple whom we this day have commissioned to be God’s servants as a part of the continual sharing of Christ’s great commission on Earth. If you agree with what I’ve said – if you promise to regularly pray for this couple, to encourage through letters, emails, gifts at times of birthdays, anniversaries and holidays, to continue to support them through giving and even going to be with them when possible – will you signify your pledge by standing to your feet.

Missionaries,  Look at that support for you.

Church, you may be seated.

Minister:            Prayer of commissioning (Elders, other missionaries, the church)

**the names and the places and the people of our UUPG has been removed for security reasons.**

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Jude 17-25

JudeTitle: Keep on Keeping on!

Text: Jude 17-25

Introduction: Dr. Paul Cedar, author of the commentary on Jude in the Preacher’s Commentary Series writes:

When I was a college student, my home town of Pollock, South Dakota, was moved from a beautiful valley to a lovely hillside some one and a half miles away. The little town of 350 people had to be moved for the building of the large Oahe Dam on the Missouri River. The reservoir, which was to become Oahe Lake, would flow into the valley where the old town was situated and would form a smaller lake to be named Lake Poccasse.

I had the privilege of being involved in the construction of the new town. And, subsequently, I also was a participant in the destruction of the old town. The demolition of many of the old buildings I had come to cherish, including the gymnasium where I had played basketball, was a very emotional experience for me.

Through that experience, I learned a lesson that will be helpful to me as long as I live. It is simply this: one can destroy in just a few hours that which has taken years to construct. But then he adds this: However, to be a builder is much more fulfilling than being a destroyer!

You know, he could have just ended it with: one can destroy in just a few hours that which has taken years to construct. But he didn’t, he added something very special to his statement. And how insightful it is: when one looks upon their work, it is so much more fulfilling to be able to look at what you’ve created.

I think that is the melodic line of this little epistle: one can destroy in just a few hours that which has taken years to construct.

  • People, I wanted to write to you about our common salvation. But, I don’t have time for that, something greater needs to be addressed. We have a problem.
  • You must contend for the faith! To underscore the problem, there is a bit of history from Scripture and extra-biblical material you need to bone up on. There is a history here that is repeating itself and you should be aware of it. Let me remind you; here are a few details about those stories.
  • Now in light all that, here is what I want to tell you:

So a basic outline of Jude is:

  1. Contend for the Faith (1-4)
  2. Consider the Past – Learn from the past (these things took place… that we might learn; 1 Cor 10) – (5-16)
  3. Command to Follow Closely: Keep on Keeping on (17-25)

Pause…

ill.: Last week there were more people who got up to leave at one time than I can ever remember. Even for those going to warm up the fellowship dinner! I’ve wondered why all week. I think it is because these stories are hard; even tedious. They’re sad.

Douglas Moo writes: Jude is known for his denunciation of false teachers. Because of this, many students of the Bible immediately think of this letter as bearing an essentially negative message – and one not very applicable to any Christian who is not engaged in false teaching.

app.: Jude, which of course wasn’t his original intent, had to get negative about these false teachers. It’s like, why? And we want to say to Jude something like: Hey Jude, don’t make it bad. Take a sad song and make it better! Well, he does so here…

He does get more positive here as he addresses these believers. This passage mirrors his introduction in 4 ways:

  1. 1st, he uses the word: (agapetoi) Q.: Do you love those you serve? I love it when Johnny Beard uses it. I don’t think it’s a title alone – I think he really loves us.
  2. He uses the term “ungodly’ to refer to these certain men and their actions
  3. Both appeal to teaching in the past: 4 – who long ago were designated for this condemnation; προγράφω; Written before; V 17 – the predictions of the apostles;
  4. In v 3 he called them to contend for the faith; Here, he will command them to keep themselves in the love of the lord by building themselves up and praying.

In this last section, Jude gives them an action plan with three steps:

  1. Be Cognizant – You must remember the predictions of the apostles (17-19)
  2. Be Careful – You must remain in the love of God (20-21)
  3. Be Compassionate – You must rescue others who are lost (22-23)

t.s.: Let’s begin with the first step in this action plan

1 – Be Cognizant – You must remember (17-19)

exp.: rd v 17-19; You must remember – remember, when used in the Bible, is not just a mental reflection of something past. This isn’t just a mental exercise. To remember the prophets and the apostles is to take to heart what they said.

app.: The predictions of the Apostles of the Lord: Like when Paul said told the Elders from Ephesus: Acts 20.29 I know that after my departure fierce wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; or when he told Timothy: Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons, through the insincerity of liars whose consciences are seared, who forbid marriage and require abstinence from foods that God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth. and again But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people. For among them are those who creep into households and capture weak women, burdened with sins and led astray by various passions, always learning and never able to arrive at a knowledge of the truth.

exp.: Jude isn’t saying he’s not one of those apostles; Remember what they told you; Interesting, these people are eyewitnesses to these Apostles.

t.s.: So as to review, Remember, be cognizant of what the Apostles have warned you about. 2nd step:

2 – Be Careful – You must remain in the Love of God (20-21)

exp.: two triads here: rd v 20-21

  1. The Trinity: Holy Spirit, Father, Jesus Christ
  2. Virtues: Faith Love and Hope

Textually, grammatically, there is one command, with three descriptions to help keep that command. The verb is “keep” – it means to guard (i.e., keeping watch); three participles then, describing just how you are to remain in the Love of the Lord. Keep yourselves in the love of the Lord has a ‘staying put’ kind of ring to it. However, these participles display action and involvement.

  1. Building yourselves up! – This is active discipleship. Do you realize that you are responsible for you? You and I are commanded to build upon or build up; to lay down a solid foundation and build upon it; Somewhere along the way, this becomes your responsibility. How do you build upon this “most holy faith”? I think the answer goes back to our 1st point – Remember. Turn to Deut. 8 for just a second.

I swiped this from Crawford Loritts and he swiped it from Moses. I’ve altered it a little bit, but the basic ideas come from him. Listen to what Crawford says. This story picks up at the end of the 40 years of wandering. I believe most everyone at this stage, 20 years and older have passed away. Everyone here is 59 years old and younger. But, they’ve been walking, literally, with God for 40 years (or so). I wish I had thought of this concept when I was working on my doctorate. Most of you know my doctoral work was in establishing turnaround churches. Anyway, Moses here has a ‘turnaround’ people. Those who rebelled are gone and Moses is trying to help them in ‘building themselves up’ so that they might ‘keep themselves’ in the Love of the Lord. Let’s look at what he tells them: Rd v 1; So the theme is obedience – careful to do. That they can go in and posses the land… and just how? Rd v 2a;

  1. Remember God’s Leading: how God has been faithful to lead you to this point. Don’t forget the answered prayer. Don’t forget the protection. Don’t forget the times He has been faithful. Remember He has led you faithfully to this point. Rd 2b;
  2. Remember God’s Testing: How God has tested you. Listen to Crawford Loritts, author of Unshaken: Real Faith in our Faithful God. Just before they were to march into the Promised Land, God reminded his people that they didn’t have a good record when it came to passing tests. But, you ask, how did that build their confidence? Look at the phrase “that he mighthumble ” The message was that failure should have taught them that they were inadequate and that they didn’t have what it took to consistently obey God and do his will. Wow! Great point! We are weak and feeble. We need God to take us through. We need to stay in him. Humble people do just that.

ill.: So many people live with regret and wish they could change things. Don’t. Remember God’s Testing. Understand that your failures compose who you are. Remember your failings and that you’re human and you need God. #3; rd v 3-4;

  1. Remember God’s Provision: how he provided manna and water and quail and everything they needed on their 40 year journey. I find this interesting; he humbled you and let you hunger. Note how God’s working: Obedience out of God’s leading; Humility out of God’s testing; Now, he let them hunger and then provided. Do you realize that your struggle may very well be what God is doing to build you up! I wonder if they cried out and grumbled when they were hungry? Exodus 16 – yes, they did! Aren’t we that way, too? But we don’t have to be – Moses is saying here – remember how God provided in the past? He will provide again. Rd v 5-6
  2. Remember God’s Discipline: This one is a no brainer. I feel confident that anyone who has walked with the Lord for any length of time can say they have experienced the Lord’s discipline. And through that, you know he loves you. Rd Deu. 8.7-11a; Now we go back to Jude…and the 2nd participle…
  1. Praying yourselves up! Rd v20b; and praying in the Holy Spirit; Jude is echoing Paul’s words in his segment on the Armor of God: praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. Plus, I think Paul gives us a little commentary on just what this means: He says in Romans 8.26 – 26 Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. 27 And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. It means praying according to the will of God. This is when the believer’s prayers are stimulated by, guided by and infused by the Holy Spirit (Michael Green, p. 184). Lightner says: It means that we pray in His strength and wisdom: He moves our hearts and directs our petitions.

20 But you, beloved, building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, 21 keep yourselves in the love of God, and number three: waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life.

  1. Waiting on the Lord’s return – How do we describe waiting? It’s not patience, though patience is a part of it. Schreiner says it’s an eschatological term, focusing on the return of Christ. Like Simeon and Anna in Luke, who were watching and waiting for the birth of the Messiah. We get a sense that waiting for the mercy of the Lord is in the future (that is, eschatological). In v 2, Jude prayed that mercy would be multiplied to them – a very present experience. So, mercy isn’t a one-time deal. Jeremiah tells us that God’s mercies never end; they are new every morning. We were shown mercy when we repented that very 1st We are shown mercy every time we’ve repented since then. We’ve experienced it at various times when we needed it in the past. We are receiving God’s mercy in the present. And, we will be shown his mercy when he returns. And that mercy is what will usher us into eternal life.

app.: Can I add one final thought: I don’t think Jude is pushing a salvation by works theology here. We must remember that there isn’t any work we can do to save ourselves, but we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works. So, let your light shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify God who is in heaven.

t.s.: And that’s his last point to his epistle…Be Cognizant and remember, Be Careful and remain, and

3 – Be Compassionate – You must rescue others by the mercy and compassion of God

exp.: rd v 22-23; a simple way of looking at this is to understand that v17-19 were addressing the false teachers and v20-21 were addressing the readers. In light of these two, Jude now encourages these readers to reach out to those affected by the false teaching and maybe even to the false teachers themselves.

  1. To those who doubt (waiver) – those who are being led astray by the false teachers
  2. To those who’ve been led astray – and their standing in the trap, ready to be captured.
  3. To those who lives are defiled by the false teachers – Their garments are stained. But don’t be turned off by the filthy garments. Show them mercy and love them back into the fold. This could be meaning the false teachers themselves.

ill.: here’s the simple message; we’ve been shown great mercy in a most undeserving times. We’re called to be like Christ and show that mercy toward others in need.

God forgave my sin in Jesus’ name.

I’ve been born again in Jesus’ name,

And in Jesus name I come to you

To share his love as he told me to.

He said, Freely, freely you have received;

Freely, freely give.

Go in my name and because you believe,

Others will know that I live.

t.s.: I think that’s the message of Jude.

Conclusion:

this is a great example of what Jude is asking of his readers here:

  • Be Cognizant and remember the Apostles warned us of these false teachers.
  • Be Careful and remain in the love of the Lord, building yourselves up and praying in the Holy Spirit. Then,
  • Be Compassionate and rescue those who have been led astray.

These things take time. Be patient and keep your eyes on Jesus. Finally,

Application: So, let’s mark a few take-a-ways…

  1. Keep yourselves from sin – unstained by the world. If you’re wondering should I participate, don’t.

Ill.: I’m reading a wonderful book by Tim Coody: Meaningless words & Broken Covenants. In his book he talks about how people don’t keep their words – and so their words become meaningless: First to themselves and then to others. It starts with lying to ourselves about when we’re going to get up (but we sleep in) that we’re not going to eat the piece of pie (and then we do). Then we lie to our family (we tell our kids one thing and do another). If you do that I’m going to spank you. I’m counting to three. One two three. I mean it this time. Just wait til your father gets home. Etc.

App.: where has the conscience gone? Why don’t our words mean anything anymore? In keeping yourselves from sin – start with being honest with yourself. Stop lying to yourself.

  1. Men, stop with the Internet porn. Stop with going to those pages where the women are scantily clad.
  2. Women, move out from the day dreaming about what could be. Plant yourself where you are and be honest with yourselves.
  3. We’re just lying to ourselves if we say one thing and do another when no one is looking. Be sure a double standard is going to destroy you.

Ill.: I’m sure you’ve read about Josh Duggar and Ashley Morgan by now. There is a great illustration of someone who has been lying to himself. #1 Keep yourselves from sin.

  1. Keep yourselves in the fellowship – you need accountability. Meeting here for worship isn’t enough. This relationship is too shallow. Get involved. Get more involved. Let people get to know you – there is accountability in numbers. Remember, you are too weak to make it on your own.
  2. Keep yourselves in the presence of God. I think what I’m trying to say here is: don’t forget who you are. You’re a slave of the King. Indebted to his majesty. When you remove yourself from his presence, you begin to think more of yourself than you ought. Oh, I know He is omni-present. But how quickly we forget when we’re out there. Like the KVNE sign up the road said: take Jesus with you.

Let’s pray.

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