Faithlife Sermons

Vision pt 1

Vision   •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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We seek to know Jesus and unite our neighbors with Him.
For years, we have had as our 4 cornerstones the words Jesus, Mercy, Family, and Authenticity. And those words have served as the touchstones of who we are and what West Metro is about. Bart put it very well a couple of weeks ago- they can’t ever change, we attached them to the wall.
But what do they mean? What are we seeking to do and who are those words calling us to be as a church? Over the next few weeks, I want to walk us through a time of refocusing and returning to those four words, that have guided us for so long. To really think about the implications of what we want t be as a church and as individual followers of Jesus. Because, when you just have a word, you can make it mean almost anything you want to, but we don’t want that as a church. We want to all be heading the same direction, so we can become, fully, the church God is calling us to be.
We start today with Jesus, because it ALL starts with Jesus. So open your Bibles with me to 2 Corinthians 5:16-21. (read passage here)
“We seek to know Jesus, and unite our neighbors with Him.”
Look at what Paul says in this passage.
First, we have a different way of looking at everyone- including ourselves- because of Jesus. (v16-18a)
Paul says we see people not by their flesh (their sins) but by what Jesus could make them to be. And that starts with who Jesus could make YOU to be.
2 Corinthians: An Introduction and Commentary (2nd Ed.) b. God’s Reconciling Act in Christ (5:16–21)

He confesses that we once regarded Christ in this way. In his pre-conversion days he judged Christ using worldly criteria and came to the wrong conclusion, but after God revealed his Son to him, he had to say, we do so no longer. Prior to his conversion, like many of his fellow Jews, Paul would have dismissed claims that Jesus was the Messiah, because he, like them, would have regarded it as unthinkable that God’s Messiah could be crucified like a criminal

Paul sees others differently—that is, as persons in Christ. And the same reevaluation applies to the Lord himself. Formerly, as a Pharisee, Paul saw Jesus as a messianic pretender or false Messiah. Now he views him as King of creation and Redeemer from sin.

I think many of us struggle to share the Gospel with other people, because we are not so sure it applies to us. We know the depth of our sins and we see how holy Jesus is, and we are not quite sure we are worthy of that holiness. But you are, not because of anything you have done, but because of Jesus.
Look at what Paul says about you:
The old is gone- he says “passed away”- dead, buried, forgotten- you are no longer having to wake up every day and confront your past- Jesus has killed it. (Look at someone and say “your past is dead”)
There are new things arriving- in place of old sins, you are getting new righteousness- God is doing things in you and thru you that you could not do apart from Him!-
The result is a new CREATION!- you are not the same anymore! Stop and think about that. You are brand new. You have been remade- like Lego bricks that were once a house and are now a dragon…God has taken the worst of what you were and reshaped it into the best of what you could be!
The Message of 2 Corinthians a. Radical Reorientation

Christ, not Paul, is the new centre of Paul’s universe; egocentricity has given way to Christocentricity

Love was now the controlling motive (verse 14) in place of hate. Serving the one who died for him had taken the place of selfishness (verse 15). True understanding of Jesus, his identity and achievement, have replaced ignorance and error (verse 16).

That is part of the statement- ‘We seek to know Jesus...” We need to know Him as Savior but also know who He is making us into- we are never done knowing more about Him.
But there is a second part of this statement. And it is just as important. Because at West Metro, we are not just looking inward, we are also looking outward. And what we see when we look outward are our neighbors. Jesus said that all people are our neighbors. Whoever we lay our eyes on, that is someone Jesus calls our neighbor. And our neighbors need to know Jesus too.
And Paul emphasizes this in this passage as well. (Vs 18b-20)
Look at the end of verse 18- we have the “ministry of reconciliation.” So many of us are looking around for “what has God called me to?” And the answer, no matter who you are, is the the ministry of reconciliation. You are called to help unite your neighbors with Jesus. It is your calling and your job- above all others!
2 Corinthians A Ministry of Reconciliation (5:18–21)

The verb committed (themenos) denotes a divine appointment (Maurer 1972:157). This was a deliberate and carefully considered action on God’s part.

Reconciliation” may be the key word in Paul’s gospel, as I have argued elsewhere (see R. Martin 1989:3–6, 235–242). Paul used the term “reconciliation” (katallassō [2644, 2904]) to sum up the message he declared. This is essentially a term of relationships. It denotes the repairing of the broken relationship between God and humankind caused by human sin. Separation between God and humanity forms Paul’s backdrop against which his Good News shines brightly, since God has in Christ taken steps to restore the fractured relationship. This event is centered in the death of his Son, who took the sinner’s place and died to bring men and women back to God

2 Corinthians: An Introduction and Commentary (2nd Ed.) b. God’s Reconciling Act in Christ (5:16–21)

The preaching of reconciliation has to be carried out and people must hear the call to be reconciled to God. Unless they respond to that call, they cannot actually experience reconciliation.

What does this mean? It means we are not focusing on all the “wrongs” people do, but on how badly we all need to be united with Jesus. Because He is the solution to sin. He and He alone can deal with the temporal and eternals effects of sin, but people meet Him as a result of our words! Look at verse 20:
We are ambassadors- God’s representatives, His Kingdom emissaries to a foreign land
Who make an appeal- that is a calling, an invitation
And our appeal is singular in nature- be reconciled (united) to God
And we make this appeal on behalf of Jesus…as His mouthpiece
2 Corinthians A Ministry of Reconciliation (5:18–21)

Reconciliation is both an accomplished fact (v. 18) and a continuing process (v. 19). Although it is a done deed as a result of Christ’s work on the cross, it nonetheless must be personally appropriated. This is where Paul and the gospel ministry fit into the picture. He, and those like him, function as God’s agents in proclaiming what has been accomplished. To use Paul’s language, God has appointed them to preach the word of reconciliation (v. 19) and so they proclaim: Be reconciled to God

2 Corinthians A Ministry of Reconciliation (5:18–21)

the gospel minister’s job is not to bring about reconciliation but to announce what has already occurred. In a real sense, he or she is the town crier or herald proclaiming a news item of earth-shaking significance. In fact we take on the role of the herald each Christmas when we sing the well-known lines by Charles Wesley: “Hark! The herald angels sing, ‘Glory to the newborn king, / Peace on earth and mercy mild, God and sinners reconciled!

Why? Because of vs21
We appeal on behalf of Jesus, because of what He did for us- He became sin, so we could become righteous. That’s the Gospel.
2 Corinthians (6) Persuading Others to Be Reconciled (5:11–21)

God’s purpose in sending Christ and his envoys has the same end—to put an end to hostilities and to bring about a reconciliation. God sends out envoys to continue to announce that now is the day of salvation and reconciliation.

So what must we do to accomplish this statement? To live out the calling to know Jesus and unite our neighbors with Him? We must embrace a singular mission- and it is what is now the mission statement of this church. 5 simple words- “Love Jesus and people passionately.”
When we love Jesus, we seek to know Him more, and when we love people, we seek to unite them with Jesus.
What will it take today for your to accomplish this mission?
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