"Showing the way, Teaching the truth,
Experiencing the life in Christ"
The LORD said,
"For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them."
(Matthew 18:20 NIV).
There is absolutely no substitute for regularly attending your local home church. However, we know that sometimes circumstances prevent you from making it to church on Sunday morning. Don't worry - we've got you covered. If you have to miss a Sunday, just check back here later in the week to watch a video of the lesson. This won't get you the fellowship that you need, but at least you won't miss out on the WORD!
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Throughout history some words have inspired hope, comforted the grieving, and motivated others to reach new heights of acheivement. You may recall the opening words of the U.S. Declaration of Independence—“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” Wow, what at statement!
Martin Luther ignited the Protestant Reformation with his famous declaration “Here I stand.” Jonathon Edwards lit the revival fires of the Great Awakening in Colonial America with his sermon, "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God."
Before boarding a PT boat to escape the Japanese invasion of the Philippines, General Douglas McArthur made a statement that endeared him to the Filipino people when he said, “I shall return!” Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. launched the American Civil Rights Movement with his famous “I Have a Dream” speech.
But of all the statements ever made, none have echoed through the ages and changed the world as much as the words spoken by an angel at an empty grave just outside the walls of the ancient city of Jerusalem: “He is not here. He has risen, just as he said” (Matthew 28:6a, NIV).
One of the last things Jesus said to His disciples was, “Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them… and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you” (Matthew 28:19a…20a, NIV). The fact that Jesus commanded His disciples to “make disciples” by “teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you” is a strong indication that identifying and teaching new believers the commands of Christ is a fundamental part of discipleship. So in this sermon we will examine one of His commands. Jesus commanded His followers to “repent.”
The Biblical words that are translated “repent”—which refer to a change of mind that results in a change of life—reveal that there are three aspects of repentance: 1) a change of mind about our sins; 2) a change in our emotions regarding our sin; and 3) a change in our will so that we choose to run away from sin. So then, because the soul is composed of our mind, emotions, and will—repentance is primarily a function of the soul! Unless we identify and understand these three aspects of genuine repentance, we will not understand Christ’s command, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near” (Matthew 4:17b, NIV).
The fact that Jesus commanded His disciples to baptize converts in the process of making new disciples strongly indicates that God wants every believer to be baptized. Jesus said, “Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matthew 28:19-20, NIV). One may be a believer without baptism, but he cannot be a disciple without baptism!
Matthew described a scene during which Jesus was baptized. He wrote, “Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to be baptized by John. But John tried to deter him, saying, ‘I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?’ Jesus replied, ‘Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness.’ Then John consented. As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. And a voice from heaven said, ‘This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased’” (Matthew 3:13-17, NIV). Let’s apply a little logic to this scene: Jesus was baptized. In order to “follow” Him, you must be baptized. Therefore, in order to be a “disciple”—a follower of Jesus—you must be baptized! You can be a believer without baptism, but you can’t be a “disciple” without baptism!
Luke’s description of the events that took place in “a city in Samaria” clearly indicates that one of the first results of authentic faith is a willingness to be baptized. He wrote, “Philip went down to a city in Samaria and proclaimed the Messiah there…when they believed Philip as he proclaimed the good news of the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women” (Acts 8:5…12, NIV). First these Samaritans “believed Philip as he proclaimed the good news.” Then “they were baptized.”
Luke’s description of the events that took place in “Corinth” also strongly indicates that baptism is the natural result of genuine faith. He wrote, “Paul left Athens and went to Corinth…and many of the Corinthians who heard Paul believed and were baptized” (Acts 18:1…8b, NIV). First, “many of the Corinthians who heard Paul believed.” Then they “were baptized.”
As a result of Peter’s preaching, a crowd of Jews in Jerusalem believed that Jesus was the Messiah and that they were guilty of His execution. When they asked Peter what they should do, he said that “every one” of them should repent and be baptized. Luke recorded the scene when he wrote, “When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, ‘Brothers, what shall we do?’ Peter replied, ‘Repent and be baptized, every one of you’” (Acts 2:37-38a, NIV).
Last week in our 2017 quest to see what practical discipleship should look like in this generation, we talked about how every member of the church should be consistently involved in some capacity of ministry. But in order to achieve that worthy goal, we must clearly understand God’s mission for His church. In order to be valid, every ministry must contribute to the fulfillment of God’s mission for His church.
A wonderfully profound statement made by Jesus more than 2,000 years ago forms the basis of the mission of His church. He said, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6, NIV). Notice the mission blue print contained in this verse—“Showing the way, Teaching the truth, and Experiencing the life in Christ.”
This sermon will be a challenge to identify 2017 as a year during which we will focus on the development of a practical discipleship strategy to accomplish the three primary objectives Jesus outlined in John 14:6…
This three-point mission is really quite simple—and we should keep it simple! That’s why the philosophy of our elders is: “If it does not result in evangelism, or discipleship, or worship, we don’t do it!”
The church is a marvelous masterpiece from the mind of God. It is the only organization on earth commissioned by God Himself to do the work of the Kingdom of God. It is the only organization in the world about which Jesus said, “He purchased [it] with his own blood” (Acts 20:28, NKJV). It is the only organization to which Jesus made the promise, “You shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you” (Acts 1:8, NKJV). The church is the only organization in the world to which our Lord said, “I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:20, NKJV).
What I am trying to say is that in the mind of God, His church is the most important organization on earth…more important than softball leagues or little league…more important than baseball teams or basketball teams or cheerleading squads…more important than a hot date or a weekend at the lake!
The reason I am starting this sermon like this is that the members of the church will never be motivated to become actively involved in the ministries of the church until the church becomes as important in their minds as it is in the mind of Christ. That’s why Paul wrote, “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 2:5, NKJV).
God knew that living a Christian life in a sinful world would not be easy. He also knows that His people will be more successful in their effort to live for Him if they spend time “meeting together” to love one another and encourage one another to do good deeds for Him. So He inspired the author of the Book of Hebrews to write, “Let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing” (Hebrews 10:24-25a, NIV). For our spiritual well being, God commands us to meet together with other believers to be loved and encouraged!
These words were written to people who were dangerously close to rejecting their faith in Christ. That’s why the author wrote, “Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess” (Hebrews 10:23a, NIV).
Something had to be done. Some of the recipients of this letter had given up on meeting together with the other believers in the local church. So the Hebrew writer came right to the point when he wrote, “Let us…not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing” (Hebrews 10:24-25a, NIV).
Look closely at the verses—“Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching” (Hebrews 10:23-25, NIV). Notice that church attendance has to do with holding unswervingly to our hope and spurring one another on toward love and good deeds.
Church attendance is good for us because it is God’s method of motivating us to “hold unswervingly to the hope we profess.” Your grip on “hope” is more secure when you attend church regularly.
Church attendance is good for the other believers in your church when you attend church services on a mission to “spur one another on toward love and good deeds.” We all need to be motivated from time to time, and the best place to find motivation should be our local church.
Everyone also needs regular doses of encouragement. So when we attend a church service one of our primary goals should be “encouraging one another.”
To “spur one another on” is to say, “You should!”
“Encouraging one another” means to say, “You can!”
Sunday Service Times
Morning Worship: 10:00 a.m.
M*PACT Kidz: 10:00 a.m.
Helping Hands: 6:00 p.m.
ONE WAY Youth: 6:00 p.m.