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We Are Witnesses

Baptismal Identity  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  35:40
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Introduction

He was a recluse; always hiding in his apartment alone and depressed due to half a lifetime of trying to find satisfaction in anything but Jesus. His parents brought him up to trust in, believe in, and run to Jesus, but it just became lost over time as he ran after other things. The depression and isolation was weighing him down and after years of broken relationship, broken dreams, and a broken body he assumed it was best for him to stay in his apartment and just live there; alone.
Mike, a friend, kept bothering him and inviting him to come hang out with a certain group of friends from church, who he called his community group. Mike kept telling him he wouldn’t be sorry and that it was like being a part of a family. But, he’d spent years now running from that; hiding away so others wouldn’t see the hurt and the struggle inside. He had spent year after year keeping distant enough that there wasn’t any danger of him having to deal with the past and the pain that lived there. Despite his best efforts, Mike eventually won and he gave in and said he’d show up for a bbq with Mike and his “family”.
He walked through the door that day at Kenny and Katie’s house, nervous and trying to be polite while remaining closed and safe. But there was something different going on here that he couldn’t shake. There were people from different backgrounds together. Single, Married, Black, White, Young, Old, Mature Believers, Baby Christians. All together. The group seemed to have a love for one another and there was a real and true care for one another. People seemed to understand that they were all as imperfect as the next person. There was a comfort there when no one treated him differently. It was like he walked through the door and was instantly, without work, without telling his whole painful story, without anything being done on his part…he was in. He had walked into a family and instantly become a part of that family.
Throughout the next couple of years he grew closer to those in this community and to God. For the most part he had shed his fear of being known. He truly was able to forgive himself and know beyond doubt that he was forgiven for those years of running. He was no longer absorbed in the struggles of his past but began to forget about himself over time and look naturally for ways to serve others. He was impacted by the way the people in this community would drop everything to come help him no matter how small the issue or large the task.
In just two years he went from a lonely recluse, hiding in his apartment, dwelling on the shame of past failures; to a humble, vibrant man of God who was the brain and inspiration for two Dickinson-Wide evangelistic movie nights and is one of the most loving servants of Jesus I know.
Troy Van went from hiding from interaction in his apartment to celebrating his 1 year wedding anniversary with a wonderful, sweet, godly woman just last week. Not because these people were theologically sound or good at debating, or even good…Rather it was the mission they were engaged in and allowing the Spirit to empower them and use them that caused this transformation and freedom in his life.
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Greeting

Good Morning Family
Welcome
Glad you’re here
My name is Rob - Elder/Pastor here.
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For the better part of a year we’ve been talking as a family about three areas in which we believe God wants us to focus for our growth.
Culture of Prayer, Culture of Stewardship, Missional Culture
Week 1 of this 3-week-series we understood that as part of the push for us to grow in these areas we have to begin by understanding and believing the truth about who we are.
That what we do is decided by who we believe we are.
That’s the foundation. Our Identity.
That’s what will allow us to move forward with the right motives and a driving force.
As a result of that we decided to work through a brief series on the identity that is pictured in our Baptism. Our Baptismal Identity. As you saw in the video.
In the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
We Are Family
We are children of God who love one another like Family.
We Are Servants
We are servants of King Jesus who serve him by serving others.
WE ARE MISSIONARIES

We are witnesses, empowered by the Spirit to show and share Jesus to others.

This is a non-negotiable part of our identity.
As much a part of who believers and disciples are, as Family and Servants.
It’s who God has made us to be, because of what he’s done in the Gospel.

Go Make Disciples

Habakkuk 2:14 NASB95
“For the earth will be filled With the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, As the waters cover the sea.
Hab. 2:14 gives us this vision that was first given in creation, Made in his image, Be fruitful, multiply, fill earth
His image was to fill the Earth.
This was a major part of the initial identity of mankind.
To fill the Earth with the image and knowledge of the glory of God, the creator.
And in this verse in Habakkuk, we’re reminded that this was still the goal long after the creation.
And that’s still the vision today.

Explanation

Please stand - If you don’t have a Bible the words will be on the screen.
Matthew 4:18–22 NASB95
Now as Jesus was walking by the Sea of Galilee, He saw two brothers, Simon who was called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea; for they were fishermen. And He said to them, “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.” Immediately they left their nets and followed Him. Going on from there He saw two other brothers, James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, in the boat with Zebedee their father, mending their nets; and He called them. Immediately they left the boat and their father, and followed Him.
Pray - You may be seated
Set the scene - What’s happened so far in Matthew? Bible Section Titles.
Matthew 4:17 NASB95
From that time Jesus began to preach and say, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”
This would be the main thrust of the message of his entire time here on Earth.
Matthew 4:18 NASB95
Now as Jesus was walking by the Sea of Galilee, He saw two brothers, Simon who was called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea; for they were fishermen.

They were just fishermen.

They were fishermen - regular joe’s - Didn’t do anything to earn this spot.
Same picture as Genesis series - Adam - Noah - Abraham - Isaac - Jacob
It’s amazing how afraid of this part of our identity we can be.
Moses - Burning Bush - Go tell pharoah - Woah woah, You’ve got the wrong guy.
Moses was just a regular guy - Peter and Andrew were just regular guys.
No training - No seminary - No public speaking experience or ability - No discipleship training already in the bag.
Just like you and me.

Follow Me.

Jesus says follow me
Same call for each of us. Follow me.

I Will Make You...

Why it’s nuts to be afraid of this part of our identity...
I will make you - It’s still not about performance
Jesus is the one that’s making us into what we are being made into.
It’s not on you or me to do the transforming of ourselves or anyone else.
Jesus does the work of creating. It’s been that way from the beginning.

Fishers of Men

Notice the call. The end product. Notice what Jesus’ intentions are with them. He will make them fishers of men. His goal was always to make disciples who would make disciples who would make disciples…etc. The same goal thousands of years later was still that the image bearers of God would multiply over the face of the Earth. That the glory of the creator would flood the creation.

Making

Spent 3 years methodically teaching them, showing them with his actions, sending them out to try themselves.

Sending

Matthew 28:18–20 NASB95
And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
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John 20:21 NASB95
So Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you; as the Father has sent Me, I also send you.”
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Acts 1:8 NASB95
but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.”

Application

Family,
we have the same Spirit,
the same mission,
to speak the same Gospel,
into the same needs,
with the same conviction as they did then.
over 21,000 people in Dickinson, ND.
over 21,000 different sets of needs.
hundreds or even thousands of marriages in pain.
thousands of children that are not being discipled.
thousands of single people who believe that a mate will fill that void.
thousands of people who believe
money
status
career
or a host of other things will fill them.
thousands of people who believe that simple church affiliation means they’re good to go.
There are hungry, broke, widowed, fatherless, motherless, women who’ve had abortions, addicted, angry, struggling…people.
They’re your coworkers, your neighbors.
You pass them in Family Fare.
They ring you up in Walmart.
They are sinking, drowning, perishing, and have no hope.

Conclusion

Join or start a missional community and go on this journey with us. Come next week to Sunday School. Learn how.
Dickinson doesn’t need another place to worship. Dickinson needs to be invaded with love and service of those who’ve been loved and served by Jesus. Dickinson needs to be saturated with the Gospel of Jesus.
We’re going to do communion.

We are witnesses, empowered by the Spirit to show and share Jesus to others.

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