Matt Miller is preaching through Luke.
We recently came to ch. 5, when Jesus calls his first disciples to follow Him on mission, and thought it would be good to do a short series to remind the church regarding the mission in which Jesus has called us.
Preached a general sermon on the Great Commission from Matt. 28.
In light of that, was asked to expand on the points that were being made.
During the series, I kept stressing that I wasn’t going to be giving personal application because faithfulness to the Great Commission will look different in every person’s life.
The underlying principle was that the Great Commission was not merely given to the 11, but to every future disciple of Christ.
So every Christian is a missionary in some capacity within their own context.
But what it looks like for a person going to into an office will look different than what a stay-at-home mom does in her context (and her mission).
What is a non-negotiable, though, is that every Christian must put on the hat of a missionary because it is what they are.
Either they are a faithful missionary, or an unfaithful one, but they are still a missionary.
In light of being asked to expand, thought it would be helpful to devote a sermon to each principle of the great commission.
We make disciples by: (1) going (2) baptizing (3) teaching.
Just finished preaching on “going.”
Made some pretty radical statements.
Example) What if you were asked to go with a church-planter to plant a church?
Quit our job.
Sell your house.
Pack up your family.
Find a new job.
Get to work bring the Gospel in a context that desperately needs it.
In light of that, there were some initial questions about what was meant, or what this might look like.
A mixed response.
Some loved the idea, and got excited.
Others felt it needed to be nuanced; and that not all need to be “goers,” but some should be “senders." Our basic response to that is basically, “no.”
It is a valid distinction when it comes to global mission (e.g., Paul gathering collections to go to Spain in Rom. 15), but it’s important to understand that it is a valid distinction when it comes to global missions.
But having said that, we’re finding that many don’t think about the Great Commission in terms of local mission-- esp. in the U.S. It is a phenomenally ripe field for mission right now.
So much so, many foregin countries are now sending their missionary to the U.S.
The U.S. now contains an enormous amount of unevangelized (i.e., they have never heard the Gospel).
But in light of some of the questions that have arisen, we’d thought we’d just have a conversation on this to expand what we mean when we talk like this.
What do we mean that every Chrstian is a missionary?
We mean just that.
Most churches have “Missions pastors” or a “Missions committee,” which is not inherently bad, but it does communicate something to the people about the nature of mission --
Missions is something somebody else does.
Mission is a certain category of Christian, or somebody who has a unique evangelistic burden (i.e., there are foreign missionaries).
And so here is where we’ve created a distinction between “goers” and “senders."
The net result is a certain kind of mindset toward the idea of “mission” or “missionaries.”
But biblically, what it means to be a follower of Jesus, is that you’re now a missionary. God is a missionary God. So if you follow Him, by definition, you are now a missionary.
So it’s a non-negotiable.
So the question becomes; so what does this looks like in every Christian’s life. And that’s where the questions start to become uncomfortable for some.
What is meant by “go” in Matt. 28?
Again, in global mission, this is somewhat obvious.
Some will have to go in order to reach the unreached nations.
The point brought out on Sunday was what does this look like, though, in terms of doing local mission. The Great Commission is most often thought about in terms of global mission, but it’s something that must happen locally as well.
Again, the U.S. is now a large importer of foreign missionaries. What’s the reason for this? They understand the ripeness of our land (missiologist calling the U.S. the New Roman Empire).
We belong to a church-planting church.
Seeking to strategically plant smaller churches in strategic locations to better reach the unreached.
In order to do this, though, some have to be willing to move to that context.
A consumeristic (vs. sacrificial) mentality is what drives many American church-goers - Even ones who attend churches that are well taught.
It’s easy to speak against consumer Christianity when you’re in a well taught church.
It’s easy to talk about how people simply need a Word-centered Church.
But what many may miss who are part of a Word-centered church is that they also are consumeristic. The only difference is the Word of God is their comodedy, as opposed to some program.
I would say people in well-taught churches will be held to a higher standard by the Lord (e.g., parable of the talents). To those that much has been given, much will be expected.
So in light of what people are being taught from the Word of God, it’s important they think about how the Word is working out in their lives.
We are equipped, but to be sent.
If churches just keep gathering unto themselves, how is faithfulness to the mission being realized among them?
So we would argue that radical decisions can be made (and ought to be made), if you’re understanding the promises of the Great Commission right. They should fuel sacrifice and risk.
Example) Long Hollow Baptist in Nashville seeking to plant a church in every Send City in the next 10 years (32). They’ve already planted in 5 or 6.
I was shocked when I heard this, but also very intrigued.
Frankly, I didn’t think it was possible. How do you change the culture of your church, and get that kind of buy-in.
He started systematically preaching on discipleship and creating “D-groups.”
The people were shocked at first, but now it’s part of their culture and language at the church.
They equip to send. So much so, people are willing to quit their jobs, sell their houses, move with their families, and plant a church.
This happens by every person understanding they are a missionary, providentially placed in North America.
So at our church, it seems the Lord is giving us men who want to plant churches. We’ve been praying for this. But now that we’re starting to have them, we’re running into the issue of how do we now mobilize the people to catch the vision and support this, not in word, but in deed.
Certainly this implies a giving of finances, but it will require a lot more:
It will require a biblical conviction that mission is their calling, because it is the call of every Christian.
Prayer: How is the church praying toward the advancement of the Gospel at a local level?
Practically: A willingness to move, and potentially suffer loss.