GOSPEL COMMUNITY: FAMILY GATHERING
What does it mean to be a part? What does it look like? To be a people a spiritual family a community that is rooted and grounded supported and driven fed by I am encouraged by the gospel.
This morning. I don't I don't think I'm going to tell you anything new in this sermon anything that's not almost Common Sense anything. That's not just simple truth for many of you. It's going to be just a reminder. Of the goodness of being a part of God's family. The Beauty and the privilege that it is to be an adopted and accepted son or daughter a child of God to be grafted into his people. We giving up future and an inheritance not because of what we've done or what we haven't done. But because of all the Jesus is and all that Jesus has so perfectly done.
It is a beautiful privilege to be a part of the church. It is a great privilege. A beautiful experience to be a par not just of The Universal Church, though. But to be a part of an intimate committed vulnerable transparent authentic community of people. That are committing themselves not just to the Lord but to each other and to a greater purpose and Mission than just narcissistic self-fulfillment or living out the American dream. We have the opportunity to live our lives in a much greater fashion than that we get. To do we get to be a part of gospel Community when I think about gospel Community? There's a text that comes to my mind instantly first. And it's found in Acts chapter 2 well-known text Acts chapter 2. This is description really of the birth of the church after the death burial and resurrection of Jesus. Jesus commands his disciples and followers to wait in Jerusalem where they will receive the promised Holy Spirit. The spirit comes the church is Born the gospel is proclaimed people respond in faith, and the church the spiritual family the new community in Christ. Begins to take its form and its shape on this world. Next chapter 2 verse 42 it says this it says and they devoted themselves to the apostles teaching and to the fellowship to the breaking of bread and the prayers and came upon every soul and Many Wonders being done through the apostles. And all who believed were together and had all things in common. They were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all as any had need and day by attending the temple together breaking bread in their homes. They receive their food with glad and generous Hearts praising God and having favor with all the people and the Lord added to their number day by day those who are being safe. If you love Jesus if you put your faith in him, if you've received his adoption accepted if the spirit of God is within you you you read that description. You read those verses I don't care who you are where you come from. Something should stir within you something to say. Yes. That's what I want to be. That's what it looks like. That's what Jesus came and died and rose again to create this this new man this new people this new identity new way of life.
Gospel community that looks like that United committed.
God exalting and the kind of community that displays and declares the gospel in such a way.
The power of the Gospel manifest and people are being brought home. People are being rescued. People are being saved. People are being set free don't you want to be a part of that?
And isn't that? so different from what we commonly think of as Church in America isn't that different than what we're doing right now, and it's Sunday morning service. I'm not saying that what we're doing right now is bad. Please don't hear that. It's not bad, but it's not that it's a part of that. So much. American Christian culture is stagnating and it stunted because we've exchanged gospel Community for a worship service. We've exchanged communal interdependence relational discipleship for an event or classroom for information Exchange.
When I think about gospel Community, it's ultimately a new family and it's a family gathering. Your families gather is often. Very messy. It's it's it's it's not it doesn't it rarely goes as planned. Let's be honest. There's love there's forgiveness. There's conflict. There's resolution. There's process. It's about something bigger than an event.
Look at these versus again. They devoted themselves to the apostles teaching of the fellowship in the breaking of bread and the prayer. voted themselves
Are you devoted?
The way that they were devoted. We changed it in America. We individualized and privatized religion and personalized Faith. You have your personal relationship with Jesus the weirdo about being devoted to Jesus, and these people were absolutely devoted to Jesus, but that's not all they were devoted the message. They were devoted to the mission. devotion Devotion to funny thing isn't it devotion is? Here's my formula for devotion commitment. What's consistency? What's a little bit of crazy? That's what the Ocean looks like people that are devoted to some sports. The Arts and business if you're really devoted to something you're committed to it. When opportunity comes to engagement, it's not a question of what am I going to do? What you going to do it? There's consistency right absolute consistency. A little bit crazy right now. I love riding my motorcycle, but not right now. I'm not devoted to it. I've just not I love it, but I'm not devoted girl right over there devoted.
Still Ridin in this crazy insane. He's consistent and crazy my friend.
Are we devoted not just to Jesus not just to getting out of hell and getting into heaven. Are we devoted not just to what God gives us. But who God is are we committed to the mission and a mandate that God has given to us as a people. Are we devoted to it?
What committed and were consistent?
one of the things that I do
regularly try to keep up on statistics of
church attendance in specially how children are growing up in the church. The mass Exodus that she keeps happening. When when children become adults and it's 17 18 19 go out to College of the mass Exodus. There's been a lot of work done recently as to why that happens. And what are the key factors that make a difference? What are the factors that took place in the lives of kids that stay in the church versus those that don't end in one of the key factors is simply devotion. Of their parents. It's got to be more than a religious ritual or an optional opportunity. I will go to church if it's convenient. We'll be apart as long as there's not a football game on or as long as there's not this sport or this activity or that will be like this when I was a youth pastor never forget. I'm not sure if I've ever shared this story before but I was doing a retreat with a bunch of high school students send the emphasis of the retreat was try to have encounter with God how to be in the word how to be in prayer on a regular basis. Just trying to lay out the importance of that and help them understand how to do that how to incorporate that into their lives on a daily basis and I'll never forget a conversation that I had with a young girl. She was 16 years old. She came up to me afterwards. She said thank you for the treat Retreat. I had a lot of fun, but I want you to know. How about kids like this? I want you to know I don't have to do any of that stuff you were talking about.
And now this point on the tree, what do you mean? What why would you say that what what's going on? And she says she looks at me like dead on and she says well, my dad is a deacon at the church and my daddy doesn't do any of that. So I don't need to do it either. I realized in that moment.
the absolute weakness of my ability as a youth pastor to lay out truth in the face of a parental unit that had the trappings of religion had the position of Deacon showed up on Sunday, but had absolutely no devotion.
As far as I know that girl is not in the church and not walking with Jesus at all. Are we devoted? Is it is it something that is a part of us not just when we're here on Sunday that we were just gathered for an event. But is it part of Who We Are
let my son a couple years ago. We were getting ready for small group. He had a bad day. He's like can't we just not have small group? Did it snow? He looks at me why cuz it's a part of Who You Are. It's not an event. It's not an activity. This is who we are as a family. This is what we do. This is how we're building. Our life is not optional that yeah, there's times and season all that sort of stuff, but we are committed and we are considering that makes us a little bit crazy sometime. Because that's what the Ocean looks like. I read these first two verses they were they were devoted themselves to the apostles teaching the fellowship breaking of bread and the prayers and off Came Upon every soul and Many Wonders and signs were being done through the apostles.
And if you're honest. and where paying attention you read that verse and you got what I don't see that why don't I see that? Why don't we see that we go there and there's some sort of problem. We think the problem is inverse 43. We think the problem is we don't have the signs and wonders that are happening through the apostles. I want to see way more of that. I don't believe the gods lost its power. I don't believe in the gospels become less effective. I don't believe the gods doesn't want to work any less today than he did. Then the problem is not in verse 43 the problems in horse 42. We don't see those miraculous works of guts cuz we don't have the devotion.
You don't get the treat Jesus and his mission and his people as an option and then when the wheels fall off come to Jesus and expect him to work exactly the way you want to know where
retrieve the thing that Jesus died for and rose again for the church the new family of God retreated with complacency. We treated as an option we treated as an ad and I'm not talking about Sunday morning that your Department's I'm talking about the church.
Because the church is a family not a facility. If you look at the service go out and ask people what is the church the number one answer they're going to say is a building. The church is not a facility. It's a family. We are the church.
So we're not it's not about being devoted. Geographical location or material building or facility. It's about being devoted to the people that make up the church because of who Jesus is.
Church is not a family or facility. The church is not the Church of the participation. Not a performance. We turned our worship Services. We turn our structures we turned our events into into where the church is the dispenser of spiritual goods and services and US consumers comp and you take what you want and you ignore what you don't want and you do that whole thing and you don't have to do anything.
The parents if if that's how you want to do. If you bring your kids and drop them off in the nursery you bring your kids and taking the kids chores and you bring your kids and take them to ignite and you just get ready for them to walk away from Jesus later in life.
Just get ready for.
It's not an event of performance that we watch it's a life that we participate in the churches engagement not events. process not product
iflyswa Best Is Yet To Come somebody say Amen church is shared life not shared space.
Church is shared life not shared space. Are you ready for my Denny ISM of the sermon? You ready Danny? shared life only happens when life is shared
I literally wrote the commuter yesterday is in my head. Only when life is Cher. I hear it all the time people show up at church. They don't open up. They don't reach out. They don't make connections and they're like, there's no community.
Community doesn't happen to proximity It takes engagement. It takes intentionality. It takes Choice. It takes effort and energy. It takes sacrifice to two way street. It's not simply being in the same place. It's sharing our life and I don't know of anything scarier than sharing our lives. I also don't know of anything more rewarding. and sharing our life
Churches shared life not sure if they took to be the church is to know and be known to love me. Love to serve and Beast.
I just asked you this morning. Are you devoted to that? Not casually committed to not a Believer intellectually an are you devoted to that to know and be known?
To love and be loved to sir. And be sir. That's what that early church shows us. They show us what gospel Community looks like it's relational of interdependence is communal sharing its share.
Order to have shared life. You have to share your life that requires devotion.
You can send you this as an all who believe we're together and they had all things in common. They're selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all as any had knees.
This is not incipient communism or socialism.
I say that intensely because often people turn inside look see this is this is not that they own private property. It is chosen. Forest is not mandated. It doesn't belong to the state and everybody has to share. This is so much better than that. They have their own stuff, but they don't consider their own stuff something that should be kept for themselves. They choose intentionally to share if they have generosity there set free from greed in the desire to hoard their set free to give
what love looks like
Day by day attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes. They received their food with glad and generous hearts. praising God having favor with all the people and the Lord added to their number day by day.
Those who are being saved. gospel Community breeds gospel community When it's live out it Bears fruits. When gospel Community is live out. It bears fruit. I'm about you. I want to see the boots. I live in this community like you I drive these streets. I have shot the same shots. I hear the same restaurant. I see the people that don't know they were made by God for God. They don't know the great and amazing scandalous. Love of Jesus. I want them to know that
fruit of the gospel and it's the fruit of gospel Community when the gospel is not just proclaimed but when the gospel is displayed gospel is incarnated when I can steer the gospel and I can see the gospel. The fruit of the Gospel is coming right behind it.
So simply put gospel Community is life shared. together
I told you I was going to tell you anything new or anything particularly profound.
That didn't mean I was going to tell you anything easy either. That this simple statement gospel Community is life shared together is antithetical. The American culture that we all live in. Is antithetical we have been raised.
I just invented something. We've been raised in toxic individualism. Copyright Jeremy are alright. We know we have been all your life. All the superhero stories all the movies all the literary Secrets all of us political speech to all the everything's been here to tell you that you're the most important thing in the universe and it's all about you and be your own person and not don't let anybody else to find you and make yourself the center of everything. Quite frankly. We brought way too much of that into the church. So many of us are living as more American people than Christian people. Is it the ungodly syncretism? capitalistic greed Cheetah Mystic narcissism with the gospel. And the gospel listen to me the gospel came to set us free from capitalistic greed. And the gospel came to set us free from hedonistic narcissism. You can't merge the gospel with the things that the gospel came to set us free from what you did is an aberration.
What you get is a fruitless Church. What you get is people saying the name of Jesus, but denying the power there in.
Gospel Community is life shared together. It's messy. It takes so much it. It takes one to take a choice. Doesn't you have to choose to live your life that way. And that is a choice to go countercultural to everything this world to say, I'm not going to live just for myself. I'm going to live for God's people. I'm not going to Define Myself by my possessions. I'm going to find myself by what Jesus has given me. I'm not going to find myself requires a choice. I'm going to go against the grain of my culture and I'm going to leave out the reality of what Jesus called the kingdom of God because of the power of the Gospel. Chrysler Choice requires it requires time That's a challenge because our culture is getting busier and busier and busier and busier shared life requires time.
Doesn't happen in an event doesn't happen in a performance. It happens in the daily rub of life. Fix proximity God be with each other near each other around so you got to see each other at the good times against each other the bad times.
Get to know you got to be engaged going to be above that means going to get messy. It's going to get really really awkward sometimes conversation. You don't want to have you don't have to go to places. You don't want to go.
Daniel Sharon Young Jenna was in the hospital last weekend. I hate going to the hospital. I know it's not very pastoral of me and in general. You got a pretty much be dying for me to go. But I'm in deep intentional Community with Anna Jenna. She's in the hospital. I got to go. I want to go. I have to and it's not it's not your beauty. It's actually like I get to my love of Jenna overpowers. My love of self Community looks like sacrifice surrender submission of our own stuff to the good of others.
Gospel Community is life shared together.
It's absolutely possible. The show up here for worship service every Sunday and never experience gospel community.
You with me. It's equally possible to never show up here for a Sunday morning service and live out and experience deep gospel Community. I'm not saying quick, That's not what I said, but I need you to see I need you to understand. But you can you can go through the motions. You can check off the events. You can come to the the participation, but if you don't share if you don't engage, you don't have gospel Community, you might be near it.
You might have pseudo gospel. You might have enough of it to fool other people. The gospel Community requires the intentional volitional sacrificial sharing of your life with the lives of others that know and follow Jesus.
I want to read to you. a lengthy passage from Ephesians 4 and I just want you to let the words of scripture watch over you. I do my best not to like interject my own thoughts. I just want you to hear the word of scripture. Helps you close your eyes and just listen.
Apostle Paul write I therefore a prisoner for the Lord. Urge you to walk to live. In a manner worthy of the calling.
To which you have been call.
with all humility gentleness With patience bearing with one another in love eager to maintain. the unity of the spirit in the bonds of peace For there is one body. One Spirit just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call one Lord One Faith one baptism one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all?
but Gray was given to each one of us.
according to the measure of Christ's gift
Universe 11. It says he gave some to be Apostles and the prophets and the Evangelist and the Shepherds and the teachers to equip the Saints for the work of Ministry for the building up of the body of Christ until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God to mature manhood to the measure of a stature of the fullness of Christ so that we may no longer be children tossed to and fro by the waves and carried away by every wind of Doctrine and human cunning by craftiness and deceitful schemes rather speaking the truth in love.
We are to grow up in every way into him who is the head into Christ from whom the whole body joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped when each part is working properly makes the body grow so that it builds itself in.
Want to challenges? One of the greatest challenges in the American Church. Is that we've adopted a model from the world of professionalism? and specialization
you want a mechanic nowadays? You can't just find a mechanic. You got to find the particular mechanic for your particular model and brand of vehicle. I mean everything is becoming so special and the reality of the culture in which we live we have we have specialized professionals that we go to for our problems are challenges and they provide us what we need in those speciality and the church this blows my mind as a as a student of history as Heirs of the Reformation where we fought and bled for the reality of the priesthood of all believers.
The church has become everything that it fought against we have a specialized priesthood Pastor Hood professionals who do the work of the ministry and everybody else. Just receive it.
And then we wonder why the church doesn't see signs and wonders in the power of the spirit being released and manifest. It's because the church is the church.
We are the church. Everyone is needed.
The default is a will at the pastor to that will let the elders do that all that my small group leader do that.
Pass the buck. We're good at that as Americans are only as nothing can ever be our fault. We mastered the art of not taking responsibility.
How about we take responsibility for our spiritual health and growth for participating in the life of the Body for doing our part where we're only as strong as our weakest link? will only grow at the pace of our
we need everybody.
We want to grow we only grow together.
Means you've got something to offer the body. You've got something to encourage and strengthen the family. You've got a role and a part to play in the community of God being the true community of God's and reflecting the kingdoms in this place in this time in this day.
Can't be done by professional that can't be done by vocational Minister that has to be done by the body.
laughing Go back to ex.
Does day-by-day attending the temple together? And breaking bread in their homes. They received their food was glad and generous hearts That breaking bread. Is more than just sharing a meal? A bite to eat. It's it's a clear reference. The act of communion the remembrance that Jesus instituted and told his disciples to continue to do in remembrance of him. This is not just a social club. It's not just a supper club. It's not just hanging out for entertainment and relaxation and enjoyment. This is this is a community rooted and grounded in the Gospel of Jesus Christ in an order to do that in order to maintain plum in order to stay centered and true. They gathered together daily in the temple in home and they broke bread. They remembered the sacrifice of Jesus. They spoke the gospel to themselves and to each other.
in the breaking of bread and in the sharing of a cop
we're going to do that together right now. Is a physical demonstration a display a proclamation in itself of the Gospel? When I take the bread in the cup when you take the bread in the cup, we are publicly proclaiming that our hope our faith is found in the same place that we not only belong to Jesus, but we belong to each other.
This is a communal Act of remembrance and Proclamation that the Gospel of Jesus Christ Define Who We Are. And how we live it draws us back to the center of it all it grounds Us in Jesus. And the gospel.