Faithlife Sermons

#8 - God's Gospel compels us to Christ-like living and witness to the world

Big Idea: What we hold to be true!   •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  33:58
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Introduction

This morning we are continuing in our series of the Big Idea: Looking through our 10 articles of faith and applying them to our daily lives.
We are taking head knowledge and applying that knowledge to our hearts.
This weeks big idea is

Article 8: God’s gospel compels us to Christ-like living and witness to the world.

I love the word Compels.
When I read this word it reminds me of rushing water.
Have you ever been to Niagara Falls?
If you ever have the chance, and are in the area, it is worth the trip. For the USA folks in our midst, the Canadian side is much better than the your side.
But if you go, there is a walkway along the river leading up to the falls. If you take that path, you see the water flowing down a river and it is not compelling. But as you make your way back to the falls, you come to a point where you are near the point where the water is about to fall over the falls. It seems to be going faster and it almost makes you want to jump in,
It compels you, draws you near. It’s mesmerizing.
Another rushing water is just around the corner.
I often walk to the church building from home and cross over the bridge. Right now the water is getting higher, it is rushing past the bridge.
Folks, to be honest it compels me to want to get my kayak and be a part of the water.
I love to kayak in rivers, not downstream, but up. It is a challenge to see how far one can make it.
Rushing water compels some of us to be a part of the movement.
It’s a drawing in, not only looking in, but wanting to be a part of the action. Your desire is to be on the field not just a spectator.
These last couple of weeks we took the youth through a series called, “I’m not a fan”
The lesson was that as followers of Jesus Christ, as disciples of Jesus Christ it is far more to be in the game than just a fan.
Folks it is one thing to know the scriptures, memorize the scriptures, it is another to apply them
James 1:23–24 ESV
23 For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. 24 For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like.
Folks looking at these statements and knowing them should draw us in to be a true follower of Christ.
We define a disciple of Christ as one who is
Seeking to know God, while being transformed into the image of Christ, empowered by the Holy Spirit in the context of community.
This morning’s Big Idea focuses in on the transformational part of Christ like living and then because we are transformed, we then are compelled to share that with the world.
Let’s begin by looking into How the Bible describes transformational Christ likeness.

Grace & Godliness

Grace is that action of God to take the place of sin for us.
Sin, that once separated us from God has now been removed so that we can stand before a Holy God.
It is nothing that we have done by ourselves, it is a gift of God.
If you read through the book of Romans, Paul addressing the believers in Rome outlines that the breadth and depth of Sin of sin is great, but the power of God’s grace is far greater.
But, there is a danger if we only stay with Grace.
Grace and Godliness go hand and hand.
They co-exist in the followers of Christ.
There is freedom in Grace, but accountability in godliness.
Romans 8:1 ESV
1 There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.
We are justified by God’s grace alone by faith alone and as this verse says we are not condemned when we stand in Christ.
Yet we are not limited by Grace alone. This power that is in at work within us is sanctifying us, purifying us to be transformed into the image of Christ.
Romans 8:29–30 ESV
29 For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30 And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.
Justification and sanctification:
Both big words for those who sit among us and are new to the faith.
Justification is the understanding that we have been rescued from our broken relationship with God.
We have been bought with a price.
Sanctification is the process where by we are coming more and more like Christ.
The Gospel truth outlines both Grace and Godliness this way:
“A proper understanding of the gospel leaves no room for nominal Christianity (Disciple of Christ)- being a Christian in name only. Without some evidence of God’s sanctifying work in a person’s life, without a concern for godliness, we have no reason to believe that a person who makes a Christian profession has, in fact, been truly justified by God’s grace.” pg 188
Ephesians 2:8–10 ESV
8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
We cannot separate God’s Grace and God’s Godliness in our lives.
It is summed up in this way:
We have been saved from the penalty of sin,
We are being saved from the power of sin,
We will be saved from the presence of sin.
So we understand that Grace save us and we are to be transformed into the image of Christ, the Godliness in our lives. How is this accomplished.
Well, its accomplished by the Good Works created in Christ.
Good works of the Great Commandment, Great Commission, Great Battle

The Great Commandment

When we begin to look for a great commandment we need to look no further than the days Jesus walked here on this earth.
For a First Century Jew, this was a burning question on their mind as they approached Jesus.
Mark 12:28–31 ESV
28 And one of the scribes came up and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that he answered them well, asked him, “Which commandment is the most important of all?” 29 Jesus answered, “The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 30 And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ 31 The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”
Love God and Love others
This is not only the cry of the Jewish faith, but it is also a summation of the 10 Commandments.
Love God- The first four commandments,
Love Others- the last six

Love God

It is right to begin the great commandment with the idea of loving God.
This is the first and primary command that we should follow as disciples of Christ.
it’s been written this way
What does it look like to love God with our hear, soul, mind and strength? Loving God means, first, that he is the supreme object of our worship. In loving him, we declare his worth about all else. Worship is not only an expression of our live for God’ it is also a means of loving him more… Our worship is an act of love. pg 191
I wonder how many of us wake up in the morning and our first thought is not what needs to be done today, but do we ask ourselves the questions, How may I worship God this morning.
Folks, live gets busy and that doesn’t take away from us loving God, but that should always be on our mind.
How can I love God more.
How can I love God with all my heart, All my soul, all my strength and loving God with my mind.
When we orientate our lives first and foremost to Love God, the rest of the next things covered will come easily.

Love Others

Love others or love others as ourselves.
I am reminded of another interaction with Jesus and people, specifically a person found in the gospel of Luke.
Luke 10:25–29 ESV
25 And behold, a lawyer stood up to put him to the test, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” 26 He said to him, “What is written in the Law? How do you read it?” 27 And he answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.” 28 And he said to him, “You have answered correctly; do this, and you will live.” 29 But he, desiring to justify himself, said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”
You will notice first off that the Lawyer was a good lawyer, He knew the answer to the question but was attempting to trip Jesus up.
The lawyer also did not have a clear understanding of Grace in the questions. What must I do to receive something that is free.
But the follow up question, “Who is my neighbor?”, lead Jesus to give one of the famous well known parable of the Good Samaritan.
The parable showed how we are to act to others. The Good Samaritian, the outcast, acted sacrificially, showed Care and compassion and brought about justice to the one who was attacked.
Before we look into love others like ourselves let me leave you with a bit of a warning.
That is the worldly concept of self love
This commandment is not about self love. It’s not about taking care of ourselves first, then we will be able to care for others.
Taking care of one self is important, but the concept of Self love can be a dangerous road to walk.
Our human nature is that what is contrary to God’s nature.
We are if left to ourselves can be very selfish.
This is not what Jesus is saying when He describes loving others as we love ourselves.

Sacrificially

The First part of loving others comes with a sacrifice.
John 13:34 ESV
34 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.
Jesus sacrificially loved us by giving up of His will, his desire and died on a cross for us that we might have redemption of our sin.
When we have the mindset of sacrificially loving others as Christ did loving others comes easier.

Caring for One another

Caring for one another first begins in the fellowship of other believers. Like other areas, there is also a concern or a caution used here. If you come into the fellowship of believers and expect you should receive care or that is you intent be cautious.
Love comes from a sincere heart and you come to love and be loved.
John 13:35 ESV
35 By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
Caring for one another is a key aspect of the context of community. Care shown for one another marking of believers.
Care for believers even though they may not hold the same conviction of a secondary belief.
The Motto in the Free church is

IN ESSENTIALS, UNITY. IN NON-ESSENTIALS, CHARITY. IN ALL THINGS, JESUS CHRIST

If you take the time to look through scripture there are many verses outlining how we can show love and care for one another.
Romans 12:10 NIV84
10 Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves.
Romans 12:16 ESV
16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight.
Galatians 5:13 ESV
13 For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.
We show care for one another when we submit to one another
Ephesians 5:21 ESV
21 submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ.
The list will go on and on. The great commandment of loving one another is a strong emphasis for us as followers of Christ
The second way in which Christ asks us to show care for others is our view of the poor.
We are to show compassion for them.
Included in this would be those who are in need.
The powerless, the vulnerable, the widows and orphans, the elderly the disabled the unborn, the people of this world who are cast aside for various reasons.
It could really be sum up this way
Matthew 25:40 ESV
40 And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’
fortunately the church has always shinned in this area. Many organizations have begun because of the church’s love and compassion for those who are in need.
Our church here is very open to helping those in need. Showing care doesn’t always come with a dollar value and I get countless letters given to the church office thanking those from the church who on our behalf have cared for those in need.
It is such a blessing to read the heartfelt gratitude on the people when they are recipients to from you the church.

Seeking Justice

The final way in which we can show care of disciples of Christ is seeking Justice.
similar to the needy, seeking justice is standing in the place and defending one that by some means or another cannot defend themselves.
We have missionaries who are in countries that are serving God by way of seeking justice for those who are misfortune.
We are so blessed in this land of Canada, I know we are struggling with the current restrictions, yet it is such a wonderful place to live in our Canada.
Loving others by sacrificially giving of ourselves to care for one another, out of compassion and seeking justice is the first part of the great commandment.
This leads us to the Great Commission
Matthew 28:18–20 ESV
18 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

The Great Commission: Making Disciples

We are in the disciple making business. If we were to miss this in our purpose or mission statement we would cease to function as a healthy church.
We have been given an assignment that has eternal significance.
The other day I was talking with someone and our desire to bring onto our staff here at the church an associate pastor who will help to shepherd the flock and to along with all of us reach out to the youth and young families within our church and the community at large.
This person’s response made my heart leap.
I must pray, for this person coming will affect lives. Lives are at stake.

Making Disciples of all peoples

Notice the verse also outlines that we are to make disciples of all peoples.
If you have a chance to look on our mission board of our church we have divided them into local, national, and international groups.
All people groups, not just those who think like we do or act like we do, but All people
Crossing social economical and cultural lines to reach people.
That means to gain an understanding of the people and reaching them not only with the gospel of Christ but also making them disciples of Christ as well.

Making Disciples by Bearing Witness to the Gospel in Word and Deed

The second is how we can reach the lost.
We need to bear witness. Evangelize the lost.
Notice it says in word and in deed.
Does our lifestyle match that of what is outlined in the Word.
Francis of Assisi a famous monk who is often quoted as say thing.
“You need to Preach the Gospel at all times; if necessary, use words.
Friendship evangelism teaching that you develop the friendship first and then when you have that friendship, you share Christ.
Street evangelism is more forthright. You are intentionally sharing Christ as the first or near to the first topic in your discussion.
Both are effective, both are planting the seeds.
Sharing the Gospel to those who are lost needs to be on our minds
But we also need then to take those who have made the decision to follow Christ and make them disciples
As many of you know, we are disciples when we
Seek to know God, while being transformed into the image of Christ, empowered by the Holy Spirit in the context of community.
A disciple is a life long process. It never stops. It’s life changing. It’s transformational.
If you walk with God hasn’t changed or grown in the last few years, what are you doing to develop life changing patterns.
Disciples are being made by our relationships. One with God, One with a few and one with many.
Have you developed disciplining relationships in your life?
How is your walk with God, your reading of God’s Word, your studying of God’s Word
How is your walk with a few. Are you in a small accountability and support group that will hold you accountable for the way you are living. We have developed cord of three groups within our context of community. They are they to support and pray for one another but they should also be there to tell us when we have gone off track.
How is your walk with many.
Are you connected with a group of fellow believers.
Yes Covid has done a number on all of us, but what have you done to adjust to this. Meeting together, connecting with one another is a critical part of being a disciple of Christ.
As we fulfill the great commandment and work on the great commission let us not forget that we are striving to be and to reproduce fellow disciples.
In order to accomplish this, the last great is the battle we face as disciples of Christ.

Great Battle

The great battle I am taking about is a spiritual battle.
This is not a physical battle or a political battle but the battlefield is in the spiritual realm.
Ephesians 6:12 ESV
12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.
The first two Great’s are outward acts, but this is one is done on our knees.
It comes with a willingness to acknowledge that we cannot do this alone.
The great battle is fought when we recognize that this is our duty, the weapons we have available for us and finally that in the end, we follow a King who has already stated victory has been declared.
1 Peter 5:8–9 ESV
8 Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. 9 Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world.

Our Duty

Peter reminds us that our duty as followers and disciples of Christ that we are to ready to combat the spiritual forces that are around us.
Watch
Resist
Stand arm in arm with fellow believers in the context of community as we face these foes.

Our Weapons

When David went out to meet Goliath, Saul attempted to arm him with armor that was not suited. We need to take hold of the armor that has been placed out there for us.
Ephesians 6:11 ESV
11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil.
The first and most logical start in our weaponry is God’s Word.
Jesus when faced with temptations from the Devil combated with words from Scripture. We too need to read, study, and hid God’s Word in our hearts
The second weapon is relying upon the spirit of God to direct, guide, comfort and act both in us and through us.
The Holy Spirit living in us, dwelling in us is our strength to face any battle brought on by those unseen forces.
The final weapon that we turn to is communication or prayer with God.
Ephesians 6:18 ESV
18 praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints,
The good news is that we do not pray alone. We can band together and uphold one another in our prayers as we face this Battle as fellow believers.

Our Victory

Folks we can be assured that the victory belongs to the Lord.
We do not enter this battle knowing its a lost cause.
David knew that when he entered the battle with Goliath, that the victory belongs to the Lord.
Colossians 2:15 ESV
15 He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him.
1 John 4:4 ESV
4 Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.
Scripture speaks for itself.
The battle is a battle but the outcome when we are on the side of Christ will end in victory

Conclusion

Respond in Worship

God’s Gospel compels us
Compels us to follow work out the great commandment as we love God and love others.
Compels us to Make new disciples that will in turn Love God and Love others.
And do all of this as we battle along side our risen saviour in the realms of the spiritual world.
With this in mind and as the worship team makes its way up here let’s enter enter into a time of prayer as we solider on as followers of Christ.
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