Made for Mission: Week 1
We are all Called!
We are all Called!
Not in his worst nightmares could he have ever envisioned that he would end up here. If you could go back in time and make different decisions he would do it in a second. His parents had turned his back on him. His friends wanted nothing to do with him. How could he blame them, all he saw was disgust when he looked at himself in the mirror. He knew what was in every person’s mind as they would pass him by each day. “Sell Out.” “Contempt.” In fact they had made a special classification for guys like him. He wasn’t worthy to be thrown in with all the other “sinners.” Instead, guys like Matthew were one step worse, “Tax Collectors.”
On one day Matthew was sitting at his post a crowd of people surrounded a man teaching just a few feet away. Matthew inquired from a few nearby that is was Jesus of Nazereth, a man he had heard about but never seen. Matthew leaned in to try and hear what the popular teacher had to say. A group of men interrupted Jesus mid sentence and brought a paralyzed man right to his feet. Instead of being annoyed, Jesus immediately looked at the man and simply said “Your sins are forgiven.”
Matthew was so shocked by the simple words that he instinctively laughed out loud. Too loud. A number of people looked over at him with an irritated glare. Jesus also looked over and Matthew slumped down in his chair. Then Jesus turned back to the man and said, “Just to show you that I can forgive sins, Get up and walk.” At once the man jumped up and the whole crowd stood in amazement. Matthew had seen nothing like this before. Then Matthew looked up and Jesus was walking directly towards his table. If Matthew didn’t know better, the teacher was looking right at him. Matthew glanced over his shoulder to see who else Jesus might be looking at but there was no one there. Jesus stopped at the table, leaned in, and whispered to Matthew just loud enough to hear. “Follow me.”
Not knowing hardly anything about this Jesus. Not knowing where he was going. What he was calling Matthew to or why in the world he’d selected Matthew in the first place. Matthew found himself immediately standing up and leaving his life of tax collecting behind. Somewhere in the deep part of his soul he knew that this was the most important decisions he’s ever made in his life.
Good morning, today we are starting a new series titled Made for Mission. I believe the invitation that God is going to give us equally has the potential to be transforming for our lives.
Object Lesson (Place a sturdy box on the stage with the word “Mission” written on it) We believe that God has a mission for your life but we all have decisions of what we want to do about it. We can ignore it (kick it to the other side of the stage) We can flirt with it (occasionally put one foot on it) and sometimes temporarily join God in what he’s made us to be. We call also LIVE ON MISSION (stand on the box) and live our lives in connection with how God made us and how He’s already working.
People are seeking a purpose to their lives that is part of something bigger. This is way bigger than a Christian thing, people will work for a lot less if they really believe in what they are doing. Wealth does not always equal happiness. People also want their life to be about something good.
Stanford University did a study recently to find out if people truly desired happiness or meaningfulness. They found there was a total connect but ultimately what people really want is a life of meaning. We were made for a Mission. Over the next 6 weeks we are going to spend some time figuring that out for your life. If you have a Bible or Bible App then turn to . We are going to read about Jesus calling on Matthew’s life and believe it has incredible significance for our lives today.
Read (NKJV) Matthew is Called ; ,
Matthew is Called
9 As Jesus passed on from there, He saw a man named Matthew sitting at the tax office. And He said to him, “Follow Me.” So he arose and followed Him.
that Jesus approached Matthew says so much. Tax collectors were seen in that culture as the worst of the worst. Tax collectors were Jews that had sold out their own people in order to become wealthy. People hated them. If we could go back in time and freeze frame this scene and then pick out of the hundreds of people there who would be the last person Jesus would pick to train up and send out to change the world it would be Matthew. Think Fantasy football first pick first round, nobody uses their pick for a backup punter. That’s Matthew, the backup punter.
This is incredible significant for us? If Matthew is called than that means we are all called. JD Greer in his book Gaining by Losing says, “There is a widespread myth in the church that “calling into ministry” is a secondary experience that happens to only a few Christians. Their job is to do the ministry and everyone elses job is to just show up and foot the bill. Few lies cripple the mission more than that one. Each believer is called to leverage his or her life for the spread of the gospel. The question is no longer whether we are called, only where and how.”
You are called by God! He has chosen you to be an active part of his mission. Since your called, you need to start asking some big questions.
Those in the business world—why did God make me good @ business? Surely not just to fill up your life w/ all kinds of comforts so you can spend the last twenty years of your life on vacation. He has given you your talents as a means of blessing others and as a platform to spread the mission.
If you’re a stay-at-home mom, ask yourself: What role do I play in the advance of the mission as I raise my kids? The same question applies if you’re in the military, fire department, teacher or student. God may have not put you in a vocational pastor position but He has put you on the front lines for mission. The word “vocation” actually comes from the Latin word voca, which means “to call.” What if you started seeing your job as an actual calling from God.
In the morning you could get up and take a shower, get dressed, help the kids get ready for school, go to work, and come home to prepare to do it like everybody else. OR you could like you were MADE FOR A MISSION. (Cue Mission Impossible Theme Song) You wake up expectant of what God has in store for you today. You spend time with God through prayer and reading His word before you do anything to listen in for his instructions he has for you that day. You prepare your kids to live on mission to. Then you go to work with your eyes open looking for opportunities to join God in where He’s already at work.
Now it would be awesome if God called you in morning—“What’s up God? Ok talk to that person and encourage this coworker. Got it.” JD Greer says, “You don’t need a voice when you got a verse.” Scripture makes it abundantly clear that God wants to work through us to share his love with others.
Look at Jesus’ invitation to Matthew. He doesn’t say, “get in line” or “do what I do.” He simply says, “Follow Me.” Jesus invites Matthew first and foremost into a relationship with him. The relationship was not the by product of them doing ministry together, the relationship was the assignment. The ministry is what would come from them spending time together. The Christian life is not about doing stuff for God but being with God.
From Matthew’s point of view he’s obviously shocked that Jesus approached him, but it’s also remarkable how Matthew got up immediately with no questions asked. Why drop everything? He had a good paying job, 90% of Israel was living underneath the poverty line at this point. He seemingly didn’t have to work hard. (He’s just sitting there) He was a part of something bigger. (the Roman Empire probably had a good retirement plan) On top of that—Jesus’ invitation was a bit vague. He just said, “Follow me.” He didn’t say his name. Where they would be going. What they would be doing? Not even what would be in it for Matthew.
If you look at the first words of verse 9 it says, “As he was going from there…” That this was written by Matthew himself those words are hugely significant. Whatever had just happened before Matthew would have most likely have seen. So what had he just seen? He’d watched Jesus heal a paralyzed man. Even more importantly he’d just seen Jesus forgive that man of his sins. The question that must have been racing through Matthew’s mind was “Could Jesus forgive me of my shame?”
Jesus invitation is from sitting to following. Replay scene for a moment. Matthew is just sitting there. (sit down on a stool) Then Jesus walks up. (Get up and play role of Jesus before sitting back down) What does Jesus call on Matthew’s life require of Matthew? Movement! He must get up!
He had to get up. He had to make a conscience decision to make a move. He couldn’t just stay in his seat and follow. The moment he took a step he was on mission but a step of faith was required.
For us, God is calling us to get off the sidelines and get in the game of being made for a mission. It will require you to consciously get up even if it may be a bit uncomfortable. That is where we are going the next six weeks.
Do you know significance of the number 3900-4000? That’s the estimated numbers of weeks you will spend on planet earth. Don’t you think it may be worth taking 6 of those weeks to figure out if you were made for a mission? If I do that, what might happen? Check out what takes place next.
Read While Jesus was having dinner at Matthew’s house, many tax collectors and sinners came and ate with him and his disciples.
While Jesus was having dinner at Matthew’s house, many tax collectors and sinners came and ate with him and his disciples.
Matthew: Jesus, where are we going? Jesus: Your house. What’s your address again? I’ll put it in my GPS.
There is this fear that if I put my Yes on Table, (def. Phrase meaning you are all in) then Jesus may move me to Africa or Antarctica. That could happen so often God says, “let’s just start with where I have you now.”
This next scene takes place at Matthew’s house. Who probably provided/cooked the meal they were eating? Matthew. Had Matthew probably had friends over to his house before? Yep, but this dinner would have felt different. Before he was Matthew the tax collector but now he’s Matthew the missionary. His ability to BBQ is now being used for the mission of God. When I go from sitting to following God is going to internally start changing the way I start seeing things in my life.
God will transform how I use my resources. God has blessed me w/ stuff that can be used for mission. Matthew used his house and food to be on mission. The same is true for us. It You’ll look at your finances differently. You’ll look at your posessions differently.
Illustration: This is a perfect place to give examples of how some people in your church have used their resources to join God in His mission. (For example, donating their home to house a missionary, lending a truck or donating an ability they have to bless others)
God will transform how I see my relationships. Matthew would have had many meals together with his tax collector buddies before but this is the first time they had religious leaders join them. How do you think Matthew introduced these two groups? Maybe, “My sins were forgiven today—you could have that happen too.” What do you think the conversations looked like between the two groups? What did Matthew hope hope would happen? He was faced with the reality that he was probably the best chance his friends would ever have in meeting Jesus and would not waste this opportunity.
When you join God in a life on mission you begin to realize that none of your friendships or even acquaintances are coincidental. God has placed them in your life and you desperately want what happened to you to happen to them. At some point all of us had someone tell us about God—we realize that we get to do the same thing for others.
If you thought of your life as a party, for whom would you be throwing it? Are you investing your time and resources into who can pay you back or are your eyes on a reward not found in this world? That we were made for a mission is bigger than Christian thing. Everyone is seeking purpose.
When the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?”
It’s crazy to realize that the Pharisees are in his home. I bet they are thinking, “what the heck are we doing in tax collectors home.” They must be blown away by what they see. Here is a third way God begins to transform us when we move from sitting to following.
God will transform how I respond to ridicule. The Pharisees were the rule keepers. They were also kind of like the cool kids at school. The tax collectors knew that they were the bottom of the totem pole but it still didn’t change fact that they wanted to be in good standing with the popular Pharisees. But one afternoon of following Jesus and it all changes. Now they didn’t care about approval of the Pharisees because they were too busy toasting their new friendships with Jesus.
You were not made to fit in, you were made to stand out. When you’re on mission you’re not living for the approval of man but for God.
Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.
Jesus faced all kinds of ridicule so wouldn’t you expect that if you’re following him you’d experience persecution too. Listen to Jesus’ words in .
Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
“Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me.
For Matthew, maybe some of his tax collector friends had no interest in Jesus and that stung a little. Imagine if one of his friends stayed after their party to share that he wanted to have what Matthew had? Had awesome would that be? Check out how the passage ends.
On hearing this, Jesus said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick.
What is Jesus’ mission? He’s a spiritual doctor recusing physically and spiritually wounded and sick people. That means He came for you and me. He didn’t come to judge or pile on rules we could never attain. You know who wrote book the book of Matthew? This guy! He was sick and God saved him. How many millions have been saved through his writings. You have no idea the impact God might want to make through your life. There is no greater joy in the journey of figuring it all out.
To close I want to show you one of the most impactful clips from a movie I’ve ever seen. This comes from a movie called Hacksaw Ridge that takes place during World War II. The main character is a medic who refuses to carry a weapon because of his spiritual beliefs. His battalion is pretty much left for dead up on a ridge. Everyone else retreats except this one medic. He stays behind throughout the night. Check it out.
Hacksaw Ridge Clip -
You’ve been called by God and made for a mission. What if every one of us simply had the attitude of “one more.” Jesus would you use me to reach just one more person. If we all did that we’d double as a church immediately and so many lives would be impacted. Next week we are going to talk more about the mission that God has specifically and uniquely invited each of us into. I can’t wait!