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Joining Jesus

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Mercy peace be to each of you from God our Father through Jesus Christ his only son and I were only Lord and Savior I'm in Like to begin today and not with a joke or jokes for humor, but with some profound words from Martin Luther. That someone sent me these are some of the words that you wrote as he was dealing with the Bubonic plague that was running across Europe in the 1500s during his lifetime. So this is what he said and it's obviously very applicable to us in our day and age as well. I shall ask God mercifully to protect us and then I will fumigate purify the air administer medicine and take medicine. I shall avoid places in persons where my presence is not needed in order to not become contaminated and does perchance inflict and pollute others. And so cause their death as a result of my negligence. If God should wish to take me he will surely find me but I have done what he has expected of me. And so I am not responsible for either my own desk or the death of others if my neighbor needs me. However, I shall not avoid that place or person but I will go freely. This is a God-fearing face because it is neither Brash nor foolhardy and does not tempt God.

so Let those words apply to us. All right. Let's just quickly review from last week a little bit. We celebrated today Pentecost when the Holy Spirit was poured out from Heaven on the disciples and gave birth to the church Pentecost is the birthday of the church the one birthday in the course of the year the hardly anybody celebrates but it isn't important birthday none the less because the church came into being and the church biblically is the Gathering of people who are called out by God. That's what the word Ecclesia means in Greek to be called out and they are cold out there for God's people from among others all around the world. And the reason why God calls out certain people to be his and to be get out is because he intends for them to become like Jesus. That's why he doesn't want to accomplish that he then gathers them around word and Sacrament that's what the church is gathered around and then after the Gathering he scatters them. Into the world so that they may grow his kingdom so that they may be the the the heart in the voice sending feet and the hands of himself. That's the biblical understanding the church is not a charitable religious organization with a membership list. That's how we have redefined it into our day and age and maybe that's how we need to Define it in order to maintain 501 c 3 not-for-profit Corporation status in our state, but that is not the church. The church is the global invisible communion of saints which that manifest itself locally in communities in a Community of Faith K communion of saints globally Community of Faith locally. Those are the only two biblical meanings of church Body of Christ congregation any other meaning of the word church or any other use of the word church is not from the Bible. It's just human manufactured. And it also last week we describe delivered my Phase 1 of a possible reopening of Good Shepherd might look like according to president steinborn of our district. There was a meeting of all the well, I don't know all the other 75 religious leaders in New Jersey on Friday afternoon with one of the governor's staffers and apparently sometime mid-week how you'll have some sort of indication or proper pronouncement of what phase reopening might look like, so we'll listen and see what happens to that. In the meantime, I'm going to mention this again during the announcements but in case something gets cut off in the meantime what I'd like to do cuz I understand we can right now I'd like to begin an outdoor service at 11 on Sundays. So we'll do this one at 9:30 with live stream. It will wait to see how many of us can gather at 9:30, but there should be no problem with at least 25 of us gathering at the cross. That'll be our service at the cross. Meet me at the cross at 11 in your lawn chairs or or a blanket. If you want to sit on the grass, do you know whatever you're comfortable with a can of raid in a can of off, you know, just to make yourself comfortable there and will be a very abbreviated No Frills service K spoken order of service starting next Sunday by the weather permitting, of course by the grace of God. All right. So then now let's move onto today. And and today then of course, like I said is the celebration the Festival of the Holy Trinity and the reason why it's today is because last Sunday then after the pouring out of the spirit on Pentecost now the church celebrates the full revelation of God as the Holy Trinity as they try Unity as the three in one and one in three that is today. It is traditional on this Sunday to use the athanasian Creed. You know, the big long one. It's a Livin On feasible right now. So we just use the Apostles Creed it is also true to Terry and not to worry and so today then forced us an opportunity to delve a little bit into this mystery. And nobody can comprehend and nobody can explain trust me. If you've heard it explained. It's been explained wrong. Okay, nobody understands the mystery of the Trinity, but there are some things that we can't apprehend. There are some things that we can believe because the Bible does tell us. And that's good. We should do that. I'd like to do something else. However today I'd like to delve a little bit deeper into the last words of Jesus before he ascended. I want to focus on those last words of Jesus to his disciples at the very end of the Gospel of Matthew that were the Gospel reading today knows very last words of Jesus have a name. We've given them names. We call it the Great Commission. It is that it is the purpose of the church the best in the mission of the church, but let me translate it for you more properly. Okay, Columbus every Bible has this Great Commission mistranslated. Almost every Bible has Jesus say go and make disciples. No, nobody said in the Greek what he said was by going. Make Disciples of all Nations baptizing them teaching them. Okay, there's only one imperative in there. If anybody remembers that are middle school or high school is only one imperative one command and that is to make disciples. There are three adverbs going making I need to be baptizing and teaching. But because the Great Commission has been mistranslated in almost every single translation for fur for decades. This Great Commission scares the pants off of most church members.

What do you mean go?

And so just as we have read the fine church over the years to make it an organization with a membership list. We have Rewritten the Great Commission. Also just shoot our own Comfort level if you will and so instead of by going make disciples what we really have reinterpreted to mean is by sending. Make Disciples of all Nations baptizing and teaching

We're not really up to going but we are up to sending somebody to go. Okay. So so for most church people in most churches we have become like Moses when God had that burning bush and up there on I'm on Mount Sinai and Moses went up to see this site why the the bush Barnes and are consumed and so that's when God told him that you're going to go to Egypt. I've seen the Affliction of my people you're going to bring them out. And Moses and God have this conversation. Where Moses comes up with five excuses why he is not the man she is not the person to do this and finally the fifth one. He says, oh Lord, please send someone else to do it.

And so we look at the Great Commission most church people in most churches and that's what we say. Oh Lord, please send someone else to do. It. Don't make me go don't make me and that's why many churches many church members will fill the Great Commission in their own minds by paying missionaries. By paying someone else to go somewhere else and make disciples, but they're not going to do this. The missionaries that the church supports those are the sent ones. Our job is to sit and support the church.

So that we can send someone else. And so many church members in many churches do not see themselves as missionaries. They don't see themselves as being sent to their neighbors to their colleagues to their friends through their families.

I kind of see you the Great Commission is being rather coercive because it says go and make disciples. They perceive it. It's what it kind of forcing them to do what they don't want to do.

I'd like to try to change that perception today. Give me the next few minutes. If you want to talk to me, if you're kind of work with me and go along with me. I'm trying to check the change. Coerce their perception of the Great Commission, which we have re-written as a bite by sending rather than by going.

Our district is promoting a little book in the last couple of months. It's called joining Jesus on his mission. In the subtitle is how to be an everyday missionary. During the quarantine. I read it. I'd like to explore in some more detail in the fall when we are hopefully together again. Then asks a very important question. And it makes a very important point something. I hadn't thought of before myself. The important question is when Jesus says make disciples by going. Where is he? Where is he in that sentence in that command if you will where is Jesus in his Great Commission? Any important point that this book makes is he is already there. He has gone ahead of us. He has gone ahead of you. He is leading you from the front. He is not pushing you from behind to go. Is the Good Shepherd what does a Shepherd do the shepherd leaves the sheet? It is the butcher who drives the Sheep as somebody wants explain to me. If you see somebody that's involved with sheep and they are driving the sheep from behind. That's the butcher. That's not the shepherd the Shepherds in front. So in other words wherever you go, whatever it is, Jesus sends you he is there ahead of you? He is preparing that person for you. He is preparing that situation for you. He's going on ahead of you as the Shepherd that she is because the mission of Jesus in this world has not changed. He is still on his mission. He's not just sitting up there. We talked a couple of weeks ago bodies how he's praying for you. He's not just it and he is he's not just sitting up there somewhere praying for you.

He is still in this world. He is on his mission. He is going on ahead of you and he invites you to join him. That's what's happening.

He is still. God the son. in the flesh Part of the mystery of the Trinity. He is the full revelation of God. He told the disciples and on the night. He was betrayed that whoever has seen me has seen the father. When we look at Jesus we see God and its fullness. So what is it that God can Sheezus reveals about God why lots of things but for today's conversation, but Jesus reveals about God is that God is a missionary God.

He is on a mission to save people. And always has been you can see that in Genesis chapter 3 shortly after the Old Testament reading that was read. Everything was perfect for 2 chapters and then chapter 3. Henderson. We fall and after Adam and Eve had seemed who was it that when looking for a home. It was God who went searching for Adam and Eve and he was asking Adam. Where are you? Adam where are you? God was on a mission already God began his missionary activities. Why did Jesus come to Earth?

In his own words. I have come to seek and to save the Lost. Don't need to make up an answer for that question. What is the point of the Prodigal Son parable of the prodigal son? What's the point of it? Most people get this wrong? The point of the parable is not that the younger son came to his senses. Okay, that is a really institutional church bias. The point of the parable of the Prodigal Son which is Miss names not about the Prodigal Son cuz they were two of them, right? The point of the parable is that the father ran out to meet the younger son when he had come to his senses and was coming home. And then after you walk him to his younger son home the weather at to go out of the house again, try to talk to his older son into coming into the house and joining the party.

Is the parable of the forgiving father who was on a mission? To reunite and reconcile his family the younger son while still a long way off the oldest son while being stubborn up in the house. I'm not going in there with a squanderer my brother. Why is it that Jesus suffered? Why is it that Jesus died? Why is it that he rose again?

The Bible tells us that God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself. That was the mission not counting their sins against them. That was the mission. That's what he had to go through to accomplish it. And then after he rose from the dead just before he ascended Jesus then said these words by growing. Make Disciples of all Nations baptizing them teaching them something we call the Great Commission, but you know, what what a better title for that thing with me the great invitation. This is the great invitation because he wants you to participate in his work of seeking and saving the Lost.

And the more time goes on in this world and in this country the lost our next door. The Lost go to work with you. The Lost are in your family. Because they don't know Jesus they don't. Have a relationship doodle believe him.

So yes, he does send you into the world as a missionary that goes back to the whole idea of church. He gathers. He feeds he scatters so he can grow. He sends you into the world as a missionary, but he goes on ahead of you at Shepherd. And prepares the person and the situation. I thought to give you some Assurance into give you some comfort in to give you some strength. He's also Dan says he said to his disciples I am with you always.

I am with you always. Can other people see those words after they see that coercive go and make disciples then they see those words get those words. I Am With You Always what they translate that to mean. Is you go on ahead. I'll catch up with you. No. That's not what it means. What it means is he is there already? I Am With You Always meaning I got on ahead of you and I just invite you to come and catch up to me and to follow me. So yes, is he behind you? Of course he is but he is also ahead of you. And he is beside you and he is within you by his holy spirit so that you are really and truly not alone. And when Jesus says to you go. What he really means is follow me. Which is exactly what he told his disciples when he called them. Follow me. when you hear Jesus say go what you need to interpret that as meaning is follow me. So I hope the in these moments in these few minutes, then I have maybe changed your view of the Great Commission that he gave us or maybe enhance your view of the Great Commission. Maybe you've always seen it this way. God bless you good for you. I hope for all of us now. It is a little less threatening. It is a little more inviting because it comes to us as our purpose in life and it comes to us from missionary God. Which Jesus has fully revealed when he was Among Us in this world Godfather? Is a missionary God because he's the one who went seeking after Adam and Eve after they sinned so that he can reconcile them to himself and and to each other. Jesus is a missionary God because he is the one who came into this world seeking and saving the Lost. By his death and by his resurrection, and now he is inviting you. to join him in a continuing effort in a continuing work and the spirit of God is a missionary God also. Because he is feeding you the words of life and then he is giving you those words of life that you can share with the hurting people around you. And our country is a lot of hurting people. especially right now so I going brothers and sisters. What makes some Disciples of all Nations beginning with our neighbors and our co-workers and our families? So that God's kingdom egg roll and increase and many I come to know the Lord as we have been privileged to do because of his work in our lives. Amen. Amen. When I continue with the the offering we would normally do in church, of course, so I would invite you to do that at home either online on our website or writing a check and sending it and snail mail. That's fine. And as we do that, let's watch this.

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