“ON MISSION FOR THE KINGDOM”
(First Steps Sermon Series)
Westgate Chapel 12/16/01 a.m. Matthew 28:18-19
- IN the first session of this discipleship series we talked about stepping into the Kingdom of God, crossing through faith over the bridge provided by the person of Jesus Christ.
- IN the second session we talked about the first two steps inside the Kingdom of God…water baptism (of allegiance to God’s kingdom) and Holy Spirit baptism (for power to live in God’s Kingdom).
- THE third session was about walking out the day-to-day life of God’s Kingdom on that narrow path (the disciplines) where God pours out life-transforming grace.
- LET’S face it, since you have stepped out of the kingdom of this world, and into God’s Kingdom there has been a total change take place in your life.
- IN fact, you are living a totally new life now in God’s Kingdom.
* You have turned your back on your old life and ways (repentance).
* You have become a new creation in Christ Jesus (2 Corinthians 5:17).
* God has removed the guilt of your past (Romans 8:1).
* You are free from the power of sin (Romans 8:2).
* You have been reconciled to God through Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 5:18).
* You are being changed from glory to glory (2 Corinthians 3:18).
* Your desire is now to live in such a way as to please the Lord, out of a sense of profound gratitude for all He has done for you.
* The life of God’s Kingdom is now going to be lived out through you in the power of the Holy Spirit.
* You are now a disciple of Jesus, an apprentice of His. For the rest of your life you are going to learn His ways and live in His power.
- WITH all of these amazing changes going on in your life you have likely already experienced a desire to tell your friends and family about what the Lord has done for you.
- THIS is exactly what you should expect.
- TELLING others about what the Lord has done for you is as natural as breathing.
- ACTUALLY it is also was one of the last commands that Jesus gave His 1st Century disciples.
- IN Matthew 28:18-20, right before Jesus left this earth to be with His Father, He said to His followers,
“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. (19) Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, (20) and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
- THIS is the mission of the people of God’s Kingdom.
ii. MAKING DISCIPLES
- YOU will never be in a better position than you are right now to tell others about what the Lord has done for you.
- YOU have personally experienced forgiveness of sins, cleansing from the contamination of your past, and reconciliation with God.
- THE first thing that Jesus told His followers to do was to go.
- WHILE God’s work in your life is still fresh in your heart, and you have friends and family who have known the “old” you, Jesus asks you to “go” to them with the good news of your experience with God.
- THAT is the “going” part of the action of Matthew 28:19.
- JESUS’ disciples had been with Him night and day for three years.
- WHEN He left He knew it would be a natural reaction for His disciples to cling to each other and stay in a perpetual huddle.
- IF they had stayed in the huddle the 120 disciples in Matthew 28 would have had Bible studies and prayer meetings together for the next fifty years in a closed group and then just quietly died out.
- JESUS knew they needed encouragement to break out of their prayer meetings, their close fellowship, and Bible studies with a command to “go outside of their church circle.”
- THIS is the encouragement He is giving you right now.
- BEING together with other Christians in Bible study, and prayer, and fellowship is needed and great. It is what the early church devoted themselves to in Acts 2:42.
- BUT the time together is for strengthening and encouragement SO THAT you can go out and make disciples of Jesus.
- IN John 20:21 in another one of Jesus’ last sessions with His disciples before He left them, He said,
“Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.”
- THE Father sent His Son to earth on the mission of the Kingdom…to provide a way to reconcile sinners to God.
- THE Son (Jesus) sent the Holy Spirit on the ,mission of the Kingdom…to live in us and equip and empower us for godly living (Luke 24:49).
- WE are now being sent by Jesus, His disciples, to demonstrate and announce the life of that Kingdom to all the earth.
- IN 2 Corinthians 5:20 the apostle Paul says,
“We are therefore Christ's ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us.”
- AN ambassador is a representative of his/her sending government, sent by that government, with all the authority of that government, to conduct the agenda of his/her government on foreign soil.
- WHY don’t you pray about who it is, in your circle of friends and family, that He wants you to go to right now?
- YOU already have a relationship with them. They know you and trust you.
- WHY not write their names down right now and start praying for the Lord to prepare their hearts and give you the strategy for how and when to go to them?
B. MAKING DISCIPLES
- JESUS’ objective of getting His disciples to go outside of their church circle was for them to make disciples of their friends, family, or anyone to whom He would send them.
- THE purpose of going to them is to make them disciples of Jesus.
- THIS is much more than just getting someone to decide to become a Christians.
- MAKING a disciple is getting someone to become an apprentice (disciples), along with you, of Jesus. An apprentice who will….
#1 Step into the kingdom of God, just like you did.
C. BAPTIZING THEM
#2 Take those first steps in the Kingdom of God, just like you have.
D. TEACHING THEM TO OBEY
#3 Start walking out the life of the Kingdom of God through the disciplines of the faith, just like you have started to do.
#4 Go, themselves, on the mission of making disciples of Jesus.
- YOU are a natural candidate to lead these people to Jesus and help them in their new journey of faith.
- YOU have already been equipped by God to lead others through the very steps you are taking yourself….to disciple others in the way of the Lord.
iii. your story
- WHERE do I start Pastor?
- WITH prayer. Ask the Lord to lead you and then listen for the prompting of the Holy Spirit concerning where, how, and with whom He would have you share.
- WE start with prayer because only God can do in the heart of that other person the preparation necessary before you say the first word.
- The Bible says that the eyes of unbelievers have been blinded to truth and to their need for Jesus by Satan (2 Corinthians 4:4).
- ONLY prayer can open their eyes.
- THEN, the next best place to start would be with your own story.
- JUST spend time with them and ask the Lord to show you when the right time would be for you to tell them your story.
- WHAT has God done for you? Get ready to tell it in your own words.
- Let me make some suggestions to assist you in preparing to tell your story:
1. Write it out so that you are forced to process and develop a sequence for the main points of your story.
2. Use an outline that will help you remember the main points of your story, so you can share it spontaneously. May I suggest…
Pique the interest of your listener by starting with some element of your story that takes them by surprise.
• Growing up in church but never having a relationship with Christ.
• Having everything you dreamed of in life and still feeling empty.
• Being a confirmed atheist most of your life.
b) The Why
When you have the attention of the listener, develop this “element” of your story by exploring why you found yourself in this situation.
• Think this part of your story through carefully. You don’t want it to sound glib or predictable.
• You may want to explore some of the dead-end streets you went down trying to fix your life.
• You are preparing your listener for the “solution,” so don’t give it away yet.
c) The First Clue
Describe the first hint you had that there was a solution to life’s problems that lay outside all the dead-end streets you had tried.
• This is the “aha” right before you found the answer.
d) The Gospel
Describe how God’s initiative of grace uniquely found you.
• You come full circle to share how God’s grace was the cure to the “dis-ease” you described in the introduction.
e) The Closure
Describe the new life you are experiencing living in the Kingdom of God.
• What differences have been made possible by the grace of God at work in your life?
iV. the bridge
- AFTER you have shared your story you may want to ask your friend or family member if they would like you to share a simple diagram with them that might describe their relationship with God.
- IF they invite you to continue, we suggest that you learn to use the Gospel presentation designed by The Navigators, called The Bridge.
- THE steps are as follows:
1. On a plain piece of paper, write the word, US on the left of center, mid-way down the page, and GOD on the right of center.
• God wants to be in personal relationship with us.
• We were created for intimacy and fellowship with God.
2. Draw a line from the mid-way point on left of the paper that drops down around the word, US, and drops off the bottom of the page, forming a cliff.
3. Draw a similar line from the mid-way point on he right of the paper that drops around the word, GOD, and drops off the bottom of the page, so that there is a bottomless chasm between US and GOD.
• This graphically describes what our rebellion and sin has done, They have forever separated us from a holy God.
4. Draw some arrows off the “US” cliff that fall off down into the chasm (Romans 3:23).
• Most of us are aware of this separation from God and do all kinds of things to get back to God, only to fall into the chasm.
5. Write the word, DEATH, at the bottom of the chasm (Romans 6:23).
• The sins we have all committed have to be punished by a holy God. His justice prohibits Him from just overlooking any sin.
• The sentence against the sinner is death, which is eternal separation from God….forever sealed when we die a physical death.
6. Draw a bridge across the chasm that separates US from GOD, in the form of a cross…and X out the word, death.
• God did for us what we could not do for ourselves.
• Jesus came to build a bridge for US to be reconciled to GOD.
• He paid our penalty of death when He died on the cross (I Peter 3:18).
7. Then explain to them…
• It is not enough to just know all this.
• You have to act on it by…
* Admitting that you have sinned against God.
* Turning your back on your sinful past.
* Turn to God through faith in what Jesus did for you on the cross.
* Walk across that bridge to receive Jesus as the Lord and Savior of your life.
* Receive by faith Jesus’ forgiveness and be reconciled to God.
8. Draw a stick figure on the US side of the chasm, and an arrow across the bridge, with another stick figure on the GOD side of the chasm and ask…
• Does this make sense to you?
• Where do you think you are?
* Is there any reason why you wouldn’t want to cross over to the other side right now?
- IF the friend or family member you share with is ready to receive Christ, lead them in a simple prayer right then.
“Lord Jesus, I confess today that I am separated from God by my sins. I repent of all my sins and by faith I receive Jesus as the Lord and Savior of my life. I believe that He died and rose for me. By faith I cross the bridge into fellowship with God. By faith I receive forgiveness of my sins, the gift of eternal life, and life in the Kingdom of God. Amen.”
- WHEN they have prayed this prayer…
1. Welcome them into the family of God.
2. Ask them to read Romans 10:9-10, and ask them if they are “saved.”
3. If they say, “Yes,” ask them how they know. The answer is faith in God and the promises of His Word….regardless of feelings or emotions.
- THEN we strongly recommend that you then bring them and even accompany them to church.
* Get them immediately into a First Steps discipleship group.
* Encourage them to walk with you in your new journey of faith in Jesus.