Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Last Post (here)

This is officially the final post for Cup of Coffee Talk on Blogger. We are moving to a new home, with some nice new features. You can now visit Cup of Coffee Talk's New Home. Please do not forget to change your bookmarks to the new address.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

The Mission of the Church

*this is an excerpt of a sermon preached at the GBCB Youth Camp this Summer*

Matthew 28:18-20

b. The World-Wide Mission

There is more to this mission than just making disciples of the people that are around you. Look ay what Christ says, “make disciples of all nations.” When Christ says go it applies to your everyday sphere of influence, but it also applies to “all nations.” Since Christ used the terms “nations” I think that it is appropriate to distinguish these two different areas of our mission as “foreign” and “domestic.” The goal of the foreign mission is to transport and adapt the domestic mission (which we already talked about) to people groups who are not disciples of Christ. This is what they are doing at The Master’s Mission. They have a passion to see disciples in every nation. I hope that this week some of that passion rubs of on us. John Piper said this about our Lord’s great commission to the Church: “There are three possibilities with the Great Commission. You can go. You can send. Or you can be disobedient. Ignoring the cause is not a Christian option.” Whether you go back to Brandon, FL and never leave again, or go to Kenya and plant churches there you are a part of the Church and you have a mission.

In Matthew 24:14 we see Christ talking about this mission. Our job is to proclaim the Gospel to the entire world so that the nations my know King Jesus and submit to Him, and honor Him. As we saw earlier this week God is committed to His own name, and His reputation in the world. We must have this same commitment to see God glorified world-wide through nations of people trusting Him with all their affections. Let me point out something to you about this Matthew 24:14 passage. Let me do so by starting with this question, “how many of you have looked at the Mission of the Church outlined in Matthew 24:14 and been overwhelmed.” Maybe you thought, “how can every person in the world hear the Gospel?” This is an understandable feeling, but it is unnecessary for two reasons. First, Christ promises that the “gospel… will be proclaimed,” and that “the end will come.” It is a done deal. We can be confident in the sovereignty of God to do what He has promised. Remember, “All authority in heaven and on earth” has been given to Christ to complete this mission. If we are disobedient to Christ's command then it will not be the mission that looses. The mission is a done deal, Christ has accomplished it. Ultimately we will be the one’s who lose if we are disobedient to Christ’s command. God has given us an opportunity to be a part of his world-wide cause, and if we do not take advantage of that then God will still accomplish His purpose but we will not get to be a part of it. God will simply pass over us and do his supernatural work without us.
The Second reason that you should not feel overwhelmed with the mission of the Church is less obvious. Christ says that the “gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.” Look at that word “nations.” When the bible talks about nations it is not usually talking about nations as we might think (i.e. geo-political nations like the U.S., Argentina, China, etc.). Nations usually means ethnic groups with distinct cultures, and languages. It makes a lot of sense for Christ to command us to reach these different groups. The cultural, and language differences that exist between these groups makes it hard for the gospel to spread from group to group. When we think of the mission in these terms Revelation 5:9 becomes and important text, “And they sang a new song, saying, are you to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation.” This means that the mission is able to be finished. If the mission were to reach every single person in the entire work then how would we ever finish. Because the number of people groups, or nations, does not change all that much we can “see the finish line.”

With the finish line in sight I want to point one more aspect of this text out to you. Look at what v. 9 says. Here we see the price of the mission. We will have to suffer to complete the mission. The people that we are rubbing elbows with at the Master's Mission understand what this verse means. They understand the tribulation, and suffering, and even death is the price of the mission. The apostle Paul understood this when he penned Romans 8:18, “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.” You have a choice. You can be radical about the mission that Christ has given the Church, or you can pursue a nice comfortable life. You cannot do both. The price of completing the mission will be suffering. The choice is yours. You can go; you can send; or you can be disobedient.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Do you smell smoke?

Have you ever been awakened in the middle of the night to the sound of fire alarms going off, and wondered how you are going to get you pregnant wife out of a burning building. I have; last night in fact. Come to find out we had some type of problem with the alarm system and so it went of continually for an hour and a half. It stoped when I ripped some wires out of a smoke detector. Anyways there is a pretty good conversation going on between myself and Christopher Cuddy in the comments section of the blog. If you want to ring in on RCC vs. Protestant issues jump in!

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

The Mission of the Church

*this is an excerpt of a sermon preached at the GBCB Youth Camp this Summer*

Matthew 28:18-20

Yesterday we spoke quite a bit about what the Church is; today I want to talk about the work of the Church. You may think that the work of the Church is not all that important to you. You are not one of the pastors, you’re just one the youth. But the fact of the matter is that this is important for you. Remember, the Church is not a building, or localized to just one group of believers. The Church consists of everyone who is a follower of Jesus. If you would consider yourself a follower of Jesus then the work of the Church is important to you, because you are part of the Church.
There have been countless causes taken up those claiming to be the church. Some were noble, some were not so noble. Take for instance the Crusades. For those of you who are not brushed up on your history, the Crusades were a serious of wars fought between the Ottoman Muslims and the European Christians. These wars were fought over land in the Middle East, not the least of which was the city of Jerusalem. As is the case in war thousands died. What makes this relevant to our subject is that the claim that these wars were fought by the church for God. In fact, many soldiers were recruited through an appeal to religion. In some cases individuals were told that if they went and fought for the “Holy Land” and died they would receive penance and go straight to heaven. The question that we are left with as we look back at history is, “were the crusades a legitimate work of the church?” Are wars, political agendas, and social causes what the church has been called to labor at? As we look at what Scripture has to say I think that we can definitively answer, no. The Church has been called to a much higher purpose than this. The church, which is Christ body, has been left a mission. In His last words on this earth Christ left us with a mission, and He left us with the tools that we need to accomplish this mission. What is this Mission? We find the answer to that question in Matthew 28:18-20.

And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority
has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. “Go therefore and bmake
disciples of call the nations, dbaptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, aI am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

I. The Work of the Church.

a. The Local Mission

Do you see what the mission is? There is a lot there, but to begin lets boil down to one thing, make disciples. Our Lord’s mission for His people is to make disciples. I think that we can all agree that it is important for us, as the Church, to follow Christ command, but what does it mean to make disciples? The force of this command is for the believer, who is a disciple of Christ, to duplicate himself wherever he may be. The term disciple means pupil, or follower, or even apprentice. With all of these words in mind I think that it is best to think of a disciple of Christ as a student learner submitted to his Teacher. This is the work. I think that it is worth pointing out that to become a student learner of Christ takes more than just a profession of faith. Let me explain what I mean by this. In order to be faithful to this mission we must do the work of evangelism, but it does not stop there. Jesus is commanding his own disciples to invest their lives in others with the purpose of making others disciples. In other words, Jesus commanded His disciples to do what He had done for them. Are you fulfilling your commission? Are you living your life in such a way that disciples are being made? These are question that we must constantly be asking. Whether or not you tell someone, “hey I am discipling you” does not matter. The goal is to get to know them, and to love them in a distinctively Christian way by doing them good spiritually. This could mean sharing what Christ has done in your life with someone who has never known Christ. This could also mean helping your Christian friends understand why you choose not to do some of the things that they choose to do. This is all a part of being the one body, a community of believers helping each other to glorify God.

to be continued...

(by the way blogger has not been publishing my pictures and I cannot figure out why, if anyone has an answer I would love to see it)