Faithlife Sermons

A Missional Church

Who Are We?  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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A missional church fulfills the Great Commision (Both Evangelism and Cultural Mandates), but also mobilizes people of service to the Kingdom of God

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Introduction

This mornign, we continue our series entitled, “Who are We?” As we prepare for life on the other side of COVID-19, it would be wise for to understand the core values of the Church and renew our commitment to live out these core values. As a reminder:
We are Spirit Filled Church
We are a Dynamic Church
We are a Missional Church
We are a Christ Following Church
We are a Communal Church
We have one thing in common. We have all come to faith because someone was faithful to Great Commission of Jesus Christ. Someone told us about Jesus and we believed. Someone did something in the power of the Holy Spirit to stir our hearts to repent and believe. We have all been impacted eternally by a missional church.
This morning, we are looking at the missional Church. We are a missional church. It think we will all see that before the end of our service today. I pray we will all remain motivated to share the Good News of Jesus with a world that desperately needs him.
If you have your bibles, turn to Acts chapter 13 beginning with verse 1 (Acts 13:1-13). Let’s pray.

Sermon Body

Our passage today serves as a transition between the two major sections of the Book of Acts. The first section that runs from chapter through chapter 12 primarily involves the Church of Jesus in Jerusalem. It follows the story of the Church from Christ’s ascension to the early persecutions at the hands of Jewish authorities in and around Judea. One could say that the Apostle Peter was the main human character of this section of the book (The true main character for Acts is the Holy Spirit)
The second section of Acts runs from chapter 13 through the end of the book. It tells the early story fo the expansion of the Church in the world; the expansion of the Church outside of Jerusalem with Antioch in present day Syria serving as the hub of action. It introduces the idea that anyone can come to Christ Jesus, not just the Jewish. Although this section doesn’t have as many fantastical stories of miracles, it tells a powerful narrative of God’s grace through Christ to people desperate for forgiveness and liberation from death. With all of that, the attention turns from Peter, who becomes a minor character in the second section of the book, to Paul the most influential Christian of all time.
Even though Saul/Paul, the great persecutor has been a follower of Jesus for some time, our reading today serves as the beginning of his story of ministry and influence. IN our reading, a group of Spirit filled people meet in Antioch for a prayer meeting. These faithful people were worshiping and fasting, which were common components of first century prayer meetings, as they should still be today. Somehow, we are not told specifically how, the Holy Spirit speaks to those gathered. The Spirit instructs them to set apart Saul, later known as Paul, and Barnabas for the work to which the LORD called them. Now, we don’t have Barnabas’ call narrative in Acts, but we do have Paul’s. Jesus declares himself about Paul in Acts 9:15:
The New International Version Chapter 9

This man is my chosen instrumentv to proclaim my name to the Gentilesw and their kingsx and to the people of Israel. 16 I will show him how much he must suffer for my name.”

Jesus himself called Paul to carry out his mission and proclaim the salvation of the LORD to Gentiles. Gentile is a word of Latin origin, but the Greek word translated Gentiles is εθνος, which means “nations.” This does not mean nations in a politico-economic sense. This is a reference to the people groups of the world This is basically a reference to all people outside of Judaism. Paul and Barnabas, will be the instruments through which Christ is revealed to the nations of the earth.
After praying, the brothers and sisters gathered in that prayer meeting in Antioch placed their hands on the Paul and Barnabas and commissioned them to proclaim Jesus wherever the Spirit of God led them. Within a short amount of time, Paul and Barnabas are on their way to the island of Cyprus it what would the first of Paul’s three missionary journeys.
This story illustrates a missional church. A missional church is not just cool sounding term or a catch phrase to sell Christian books. A missional church is committed to fulfilling the mission of Christ as revealed in the Great Commission. In Matthew 28:18-20, Jesus said:
The New International Version Chapter 28

All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.e 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations,f baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,g 20 and teachingh them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with youi always, to the very end of the age.”

This passage is traditionally identified as the Great Commission because in it Jesus commissions his followers to continue his mission in the world. We do not have a unique mission. We may have a unique mission field, but we don’t have a unique mission. We continue Christ’s mission in the world proclaiming the coming of the Kingdom of God through Christ, the forgiveness of sins, the baptism of the Holy Spirit, and the promise of eternal life. That is the mission of the Church Universal. Ultimately, that is the mission of DCNaz in Dodge City and Southwest Kansas.
What does that look like? Theologically, when we talk about the Great Commission, we recognize two aspects of it. The first aspect is the Evangelistic Mandate. In this Mandate, we are to call Jesus in such a way as to call sinners to repentance. Remember, the essential component of Jesus message was recorded in his first words in the Gospel of Mark 1:15:
The New International Version Chapter 1

The time has come,”u he said. “The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believev the good news!”w

That is the essence of Christ message. The is the primary goal of the Evangelistic Mandate. The church will continue that proclamation. We at Dodge City Church of the Nazarene, in our efforts to be a missional church, will proclaim “The Kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!” We may use creative techniques to fulfill that mandate. We may use diverse methodology to get that message out there like streaming online, radio broadcasts, small group ministry, and outreach events. In the end, our message to our mission field is “The Kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!”
The second aspect of the Great Commission is called the Cultural Mandate. The Cultural Mandate calls the Church to try and make the world a better place. We realize the depths of corruption that exist in our world because of pervasive sin. Although we don’t like to talk about sin, the simple truth is sin remains the primary problem for humanity. Most, and some would argue, all of the challenges we face in the world are the result of human selfishness and rebellion against God. The Cultural Mandate is our attempt to alleviate some of those sinfully systemic problems. Jesus himself healed the sick, raised the dead, forgave the sinner, elevated the status of women and children, exposed oppression and abuse, and called out the selfish agendas of worldly leaders. Jesus tried to change the worlds conditions as much as possible during his short ministry as a foreshadow for the final reconciliation of world that will take place at his return.
In the meantime, the Church must do what it can to avoid collapsing into worldly values, which has proved very difficult during the history of Christianity, and accomplish what it can to break up the patterns of worldly culture and replace it with images of life in the Kingdom. As part of Paul’s call, he valued the Cultural Mandate. We remember his evangelistic efforts with a sense of awe, and we should, but Paul also cared about the marginalized. In Galatians 2:9-10, Paul said:
The New International Version Chapter 2

James,p Cephasc q and John, those esteemed as pillars,r gave me and Barnabass the right hand of fellowship when they recognized the grace given to me.t They agreed that we should go to the Gentiles,u and they to the circumcised. 10 All they asked was that we should continue to remember the poor,v the very thing I had been eager to do all along.

Pillars of the Church, James, Peter, and John recognized Paul’s ministry to the Gentiles as fully legitimate, but they encouraged him to remember the poor in his service. Paul said that was the very thing he was eager to accomplish. Paul was not all about evangelism to fulfill the Great Commission. Impacting the culture. Was important to him also.
We are a missional church. We take seriously the Evangelistic Mandate tor proclaim Christ and his saving grace in Dodge City and Southwest Kansas. We are constantly looking for ways to share Jesus with our neighbors. That is the primary motivator to start campus churches in Dodge City and our surrounding communities. We have started two to our Hispanic and Congolese brothers and sisters. We still hope to start works in the small towns around Dodge. If you live in a small community around Dodge and would like to see a mission of DCNaz in your community, we want to talk to you and pray with your about starting a work where people live and proclaim Jesus in their neighborhoods.
More than that, we support the mission of the church around the world. We have people in our congregation who are passionate about world missions. Some go on mission trips. Others organize events to promote awareness of the global mission of making Christ-like disciples in the nations. We all support the global mission financially. If you didn’t know, DCNaz gave over $60,000 to advance the mission of Jesus. $32,000 to global missions, and $29,000 to the mission in Kansas, in support of the proclamation of Jesus around the world. We support the Evangelistic Mandate globally.
I don’t know about you, but I want to see lost people hear about Jesus, believe in him, and experience the life change that leads us to celebrate and rejoice daily. Let’s remain focused on and motivated the Evangelistic Mandate.
We are a missional church. We take seriously the Cultural Mandate. We hope to change things for people who suffer. We have started ministries to help people overcome a myriad of issues like divorce, grief, addiction, and emotional challenge. This past year, we started care counseling to assist individuals overcome personal obstacles. We had two people feel called to that ministry, go through a prescribe course of study, and begin care counseling practices. Dozens of people have already seen one of our care counselors. We have members serving on significant boards and commissions in Dodge City fighting the suicide and substance abuse challenges our community faces. Soon, under the leadership of Todd Boyd, we will be sending a mission formally into the prisons and jails to minister to the incarcerated and their families. We have assisted hundreds of people with emergency support. We give away thousands of dollars every year to people in need. Our only agenda is to love these people and honor Jesus through generosity. We don’t us support to coerce people into joining DCNaz. Internally, we are always looking for ways to make the world a better place. We take seriously the Cultural Mandate.
There is one other feature that demonstrates us a missional church. God keeps raising up people to serve his Kingdom through DCNaz. We have seen a bunch of people answer calls to vocational ministry. It was privilege to watch four of them receive their district minister’s licenses in April. Pastor David will have his ordination recognized by the Church of the Nazarene. We recruited neither of our care counselors. Both answered calls of God to this ministry area. We have people coming forward all the time saying God is encouraging them to serve in this capacity and in that. Just like the Holy Spirit calling Paul and Barnabas, God is calling people in our church all the time. It is exciting to see. Wonderful to be a part of. Really, it is something that should motivate us more and more as we follow Christ. It’s amazing.
We are missional Church. We are driven to fulfill the Great Commission in Dodge City, Southwest Kansas, and really the whole world. We are faithful to the Evangelistic Mandate to share Jesus and call sinners to repentance. We are faithful to the Cultural Mandate looking for ways to make life better for our neighbors. Daily, we continue to pray God will raise up servants. As Jesus said in Luke 10:2:
The New International Version Chapter 10

The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.

We are a missional church. We will continue to be a missional church. Find your place in it. Help us proclaim Jesus. Help us make the world better. Listen for the voice of the Holy Spirit who may be calling you to step out of the normalcy of life and make a difference for the Kingdom of God.
Let’s pray
May the mission of Jesus Christ be fulfilled by the faithful people of Dodge City Church of the Nazarene. May we see hundreds of people come to the grace and knowledge of Jesus and experience life changing salvation. May we listen intently to the voice of the Holy Spirit who calls men and women to serve him.
The Lord bless you
and keep you;
25 the Lord make his face shine on youg
and be gracious to you;h
26 the Lord turn his face toward you
and give you peace.
May his favor be upon you, and a thousand generations; your family and children and their children and their children.
May his presence go before you, behind you, beside you, all around you, and within you.
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