Mission, Fellowship, Local Church

Mission of TRCC, Fellowship, and the Local Church
1 John 1:1-4
Verse 3 “…that which we have seen and heard we proclaim to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us;…”

Mission, Fellowship and the Local Church all go hand in hand. In that order.

We have been given a mission. We come together in fellowship around that mission and that is what makes the local church.

However, if there is no commitment to the local church then there is no fellowship. If there is no fellowship then the mission suffers (not eternally but in our joy in our sanctification as we engage the super-natural mission of God).

Today we are going to talk about the mission of TRCC.

Over the next few months (beginning February) we will be studying fellowship as we study through 1 John.

In order to talk about mission and fellowship we need to talk about the local church first.

I hope to come back to my introduction throughout our time in 1 John. I’m not sure what comes first here, the chicken or the egg, but mission, fellowship and the local church suffer here in the west.

Is that because the local church as lost focus on the mission (Great Commission)?

Is that because we are so individualistic that we can’t bind together on the mission and thus don’t have real fellowship?

Is that because we, in our individualism, won’t commit to the local church and therefore have no fellowship and no mission?

Probably, yes.

So, lets take a look at the importance of the local church by way of introduction and then review our mission together this morning in order to get ourselves set up for 2013 and the pursuit of koinonia, fellowship.

1 Timothy 3:15 (“…if I delay, you may know how one ought to behave in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, a pillar and buttress of the truth.”) clearly establishes the local assembly as the centerpiece of God’s work in this dispensation.
We know that Paul is referring to the local assembly because of how this verse relates to its surrounding context. What Paul has written in chapters two and three deals with matters of how the local church functions—the place of prayer, the role of women, and the qualifications for the offices of overseer and deacon. Verse 15 then states his purpose for writing these things: “so that you will know how one ought to conduct himself in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and support of the truth.”
The local assembly is the place where God has assigned responsibility for upholding His truth. This truth has implications both regarding the relationship of the local church to other ministries and the place of the local church in the life of individual believers.
Although we live in a day that focuses almost exclusively on the believer’s personal relationship with God (while neglecting the corporate necessity of our individual relationship with God), we cannot forget that every genuine believer has been saved and placed into the Body of Christ.
It may seem radical, but I would like to suggest that service to God in the local assembly is every believer’s primary obligation in life. Clearly, we have other responsibilities entrusted to us by God (family, civic, vocational) and these must be executed by the church member through the local church and with the local church’s affirmation for the mission of the local church which is the mission of God, but my contention is that the centrality of the local assembly in God’s program gives it the place of priority. There are several reasons why this is so.
First, God saves and gifts believers for the purpose of good works, and those are to be done through the local assembly (Eph 2:10; 4:7, 12-16). It is common to view the concept of “good works” from a purely individual perspective, but the instruction found in Ephesians 4 will not allow this. The context and purpose of our service is within the Body of Christ.
Second, a proper relationship to the local assembly is essential to fulfilling all other God-given responsibilities. This is clearly true of parenting duties. You cannot bring your children up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord (Eph 6:4) apart from the local assembly. Their own spiritual growth depends on a proper relationship to the ministry of the local assembly (Eph 4:12-16). The goal of bringing them to spiritual maturity is undercut by neglect or indifference to the local assembly (Heb 10:25).
Your work is subservient to your walk with the Lord (Eph 6:5-9; Col 3:23) and your witness for Christ (Titus 2:9-10; 1 Thess 4:11-12). Both your walk and your witness are integrally related to the local assembly.
It is the place where you are taught the Word, built up in your faith by mutual ministry of the Body, and enjoy the purifying effects of worship and service. Your witness for Christ is limited and incomplete if it is disconnected from the Body of Christ.
Your marriage was designed by God to reflect the relationship between Christ and the church, which means the marriage serves that picture (not vice versa, Eph 5:31- 32). Even Paul says this is a mystery, but the principle is that marriage was instituted with the advanced knowledge of the relationship between Christ and the church and in order to replicate it and provide a picture of it. In other words, marriage, in God’s economy, is to display Christ and the church. So if the church is neglected our marriages are not showing forth Gospel reality.
And what was said about raising children applies equally to marriage—you cannot build a marriage that is truly pleasing to God apart from the local assembly. Your ability to be a God-honoring spouse grows out of your walk with God in obedience to His Word and Spirit, and that is fueled in the fellowship of the local church.
Third, the call of Christian discipleship clearly places following Christ above all human relationships (Luke 14:26; Acts 5:29). It is clear that Christ has commissioned His disciples to carry out the Great Commission, so everything else in life is subservient to that God-given responsibility. The Great Commission is fulfilled through the work of the local church in making disciples, baptizing them, and teaching them to observe all that Christ commands. The outgrowth of each local church obeying this commission is the extension of local churches among all the nations and I would argue the fuel and goal of church ministries.
Please do not conclude that serving God in the local church is justification for neglecting our other God-given responsibilities. Righteousness will not allow us to selectively choose obedience to God—we must fulfill all of His will. The case that I am making is that a proper relationship to the local church provides a unifying center and focus for all other responsibilities.
Therefore, I would argue, that our fellowship, because of the Gospel, must be through the local church.
Our mission as a church is what unifies us as a local church.
Our mission as a local church is what gives direction to our work.
Our mission as a local church must be understood and spoken and returned to so that we don’t lose focus on the mission.
If fellowship is going to be our greatest challenge in the next 10 years together, then we need to learn fellowship in the local church and understand our mission as a local church.
Today we will look at our mission as a local church.
In February we will begin our study through 1 John to unpack fellowship, life together under the word.
So, lets visit our mission as a local church.

1. The Mission
For the glory of God we will build the church, both local and global, by being and producing radical followers of Jesus Christ.
(restatement of the Great Commission)
A. Glory of God
1. Gospel – good news of Father, sending Son to die for rebels
to reconcile rebels back to Father and rising for their full salvation
and sending Spirit to indwell faithful repentant recovering rebels as
a deposit guaranteeing their full inheritance in the Kingdom…
a. Simple enough to teach children (creation, fall, redemption,
restoration)
b. Deep enough to keep the most accomplished scholar busy
for eternity (1 Peter 1:10-12; 1 Cor 2:1-2 [for three years Paul
preached Jesus and the cross])

B. Build the Church
1. Matthew 16:18 “On this rock” – the rock of Peter’s confession that
Jesus is the Christ, the Son, the good news that Father has sent the
Son…
a. Great Commission – Church building is an outworking of the
great commission. Make disciples by going, baptizing, teaching.
This is establishing the church.

b. Evangelism – Church building is an outworking of the
established church to make more disciples and bring them into
the fellowship of the church.

C. Local and Global
1. Acts 1:8 “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”

a. Local and global at the same time.

2. Ministry must be both/and not either/or

D. Being and Producing Radical Followers of Jesus Christ
1. John 15

2. Radical Life
Radical living, described in John 15 as rising from and being connected to the root source of life, Jesus, looks like this circular process seen in Acts as the Spirit indwells Christians.

A. Communion with God
1. Trinitarian Fellowship
2. Prayer
3. Bible Study
B. Community
1. Fluid (looks like whatever it needs to look like)
a. Affinity (all like same stuff and enjoy hanging out and discipleship
breaks out)
b. Bible Study (all study bible and affinity breaks out)
c. Open Groups and (Short-term and Long-term)
d. Closed Groups (Short-term and Long-term)
e. Mission Groups (do ministry projects Short-term and Long-term)

C. Collision with Culture
1. Gospel impact as salt and light locally and globally
a. Engagement with sin issues in our culture with practical help and
communication of the Gospel

Jesus Has Come and Jesus Shepherds His Church

Advent Week 4

Jesus has come and Jesus shepherds his church

Micah 5:2-5a

The theme of the book of Micah:

Judgment and forgiveness. The Lord, the Judge who scatters his people for their sins, is also the Shepherd-King who in covenant faithfulness gathers, protects and forgives his people.

(there is a historical reality and an eschatological reality to these texts)

 

The Lord has brought his case against Israel for their idolatry and the prophet’s preaching of lies and the people’s willingness to listen to preachers of lies.

 

Then the Lord transitions to chapter 4. Chapter 4 takes up a wonderful new theme: one day there will be peace on earth and righteousness will reign. Mt. Zion will become the capital of the world; all the armies will be dismissed and the weapons destroyed. How can this happen? Through the promise in chapter 5: The Deliverer will come.

 

 

‘Now’ (unfortunately omitted by the NIV) links this oracle (chapter 5) with the preceding verses (9, 11); all of them begin with the present distress (1) and move to salvation (2–6). To fortify spiritually the blockaded city Micah commands: Marshal your troops, O city of troops. The siegelaid against us is Sennacherib’s blockade in 701 bc (1:9, 12; 2:12–13; 4:11). They [the Assyrian horde] strike Israel’s ruler [Hezekiah] on the cheek with a rod (‘sceptre’), showing that he has no defences of his own, even as God’s enemies later struck the greater Son of David to humiliate him (Mt. 26:67; 27:26, 30).

 

There is a sharp contrast between the weak “judge” of Israel (verse 1) that is struck on the cheek by the invading King of the North (Sennacherib in 701 BC) and the strong King who would rule his people well (v 2-5a).

 

This King, who is the one who will do the chapter 4 peacemaking, is none other than the longed for Messiah who would come and that is none other than Jesus who would be born in Bethlehem.

 

How does Micah describe the King who will make peace for the nations and gather them to himself?

 

1. The Eternal Bread of Life  v. 2

 

A. He comes from Bethlehem (house of bread; John 6:33, 35, 48, 51)

“Bethlehem (house of bread/food) Ephrathah (fruitfulness)

 

1. “…too little to be among the clans of Judah…”

a. The Lord delights in doing large work from small sources

1. David (smallest / youngest brother)

2. Bethlehem (least / not mentioned in Joshua 15)

3. Jesus (born of a virgin, suspect by others,

from Bethlehem)

4. You, me, us (Rome, TRCC…)

 

B. He comes from the small for the purpose of the Father, not his own

“shall come forth for me”

1. To the extent that Jesus comes to save me it is first for the

Father, meaning that Father loves us and our salvation is on his

mind. So in our salvation Father is exalted.

 

C. He is ruler in Israel

 

D. He is eternal and historical

“…whose coming forth is from of old, from ancient days…”

Jesus is not just a man who told us what is right.

 

Jesus is not just God so as to not be a merciful and faithful high priest.

 

Jesus is the eternal Second Person of the Trinity who takes on flesh and enters

time and space to teach, save and be known.

 

There is a dual phrase that has historical and eternal implications. “From of old,

from ancient days” has historical roots and eternal roots. In this passage the

immediate reference is from Jesse and the promise made to David. In the

light of the whole counsel of Scripture and the words of Jesus the implications

are that this one rooted in history is eternal as the God / Man.

 

1. The Tri-une God of the universe entered time and space and has

come near to man as the true food for the soul of man

(eternal and historical)

a. Father is near

b. Father is knowable

c. Father is experiencable

 

2. Jesus Grows His Church From all Nations v. 3 (Romans 11:25-29)

 

A. There is a dynamic nature to this text, historical and eschatological

 

From the promise that Zion’s new age will be inaugurated with the birth of the Messiah in Bethlehem, Micah concludes that Israel will be abandoned without a human king until she who is in labour gives birth (see 4:9–10) to the Messiah. The prophecy found fulfilment about 700 years later through the faithful Zechariah and Elizabeth, Simeon and Anna, Joseph and, above all, Mary (Lk. 1:5–2:40;

 Is. 7:14). The nucleus of Zion’s new kingdom centring on the Messiah consists of the rest of his brothers, who are related to him not only by blood and history but also in spirit. They return (a word that signifies conversion) from their captivity to sin and judgment to join the true Israelites (a term that has a religious meaning). Having gathered the elect remnant, Christ inaugurated his kingdom from heavenly Zion when he sent the Holy Spirit on the brothers gathered in the upper room, and they turned the world upside-down (Lk. 3:16; Acts 2).

 

 

1. Jesus who comes will not only be faithful to complete his promise to Abraham but he will save a number of Gentiles from all nations.

2. Jesus will grow his church from all nations.

 

3. Jesus Shepherds His Church with Strength v. 4

A. “stand” – Jesus will endure forever (Psalm 33:11; Isaiah 14:24)

B. “shepherd his flock” – Jesus will provide for his church’s every need including

their spiritual nourishment and he will protect them (John 10; Heb 13:20; 1 Pet

5:4)

C. “in the strength of the LORD” – Jesus will rule not through human

engineering and manipulation but in the supernatural strength of Trinity

D. “they will dwell secure” – Jesus will keep his people from the evil one

E. “to the ends of the earth” – Jesus will shepherd his church from all nations with

no glitches

 

4. Jesus Is Our Peace v. 5a

Jesus has reconciled us to Father and has made us not only acceptable but adoptable to become children of God.

 

Because Jesus has made peace and brought us back to Father we have a new identity.

 

Some Gospel affirmations (taken from Neil T. Anderson, see footnote), because Jesus is our peace, to send you out for Christmas:

 

1. I have been justified: completely forgiven and justified Rom 5:1

2. I died with Christ and have died to the power of sin’s rule over my life

Rom 6:1-6

3. I am free forever from condemnation Rom 8:1

4. I have been placed into Christ Jesus by Father’s own doing 1 Cor 1:30

5. I have received the Spirit of God into my life that I might know the things freely

given to me by God 1 Cor 2:12

6. I have been given the mind of Christ 1 Cor 2:16

7. I have been bought with a price. I am not my own. I belong to Father 1 Cor

6:19, 20

8. I have been established, anointed and sealed by Father in Jesus Christ, and I

have been given the Holy Spirit as a pledge guaranteeing my inheritance to

come 2 Cor 1:21; Eph 1:13, 14

9. Since I have died, I no longer live for myself, but for Christ 2 Cor 5:14, 15

10. I have been made righteous 2 Cor 5:21

11. I have been crucified with Christ and it is no longer I who live, but Christ who

lives in me. The life I am now living is Christ’s life Gal 2:20

12. I have been blessed with every spiritual blessing Eph 1:3

13. I was chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world to be holy and

blameless before Father Eph 1:4

14. I was predestined to be adopted as Father’s son Eph 1:5

15. I have been made alive together with Christ Eph 2:5

16. I have been raised up and seated with Christ in heaven Eph 2:6

17. I have direct access to Father through the Spirit Eph 2:18

18. I may approach Father with boldness, freedom and confidence Eph 3:12

19. I have been rescued from the domain of Satan’s rule and transferred to the

kingdom of Christ Col 1:13

20. I have been redeemed and forgiven of all my sins. The debt against me has

been canceled Col 1:14

21. Jesus Christ himself is in me Col 1:27

22. I am firmly rooted in Christ and am now being built-in him Col 2:7

23. I have been spiritually circumcised Col 2:11

24. I have been made complete in Christ Col 2:10

25. I have been buried, raised and made alive with Christ Col 2:12, 13

26. I died with Christ and I have been raised up with Christ. My life is now hidden

with Christ in God. Christ is now my life Col 3:1-4

27. I have been given a spirit of power, love and self-control 2 Tim 1:7

28. I have been saved and set apart according to God’s doing 2 Tim 1:9; Titus

3:5

29. Because I am sanctified and am one with the Sanctifier, He is not ashamed

to call me brother Heb 2:11

30. I have the right to come boldly before the throne of God to find mercy and

grace in time of need Heb 4:16

31. I have been given exceedingly great and precious promises by God by which

I am a partaker of God’s divine nature 2 Peter 1:4

 

 

 

Glad we can have this kind of hope with our great God

One of my favorite times of the year is when, in my systematic theology class, we cover chapter 24 and deal with the issue of sin. In this chapter we cover infants and the death of infants and their salvation. How? Why? What is our hope? Is there hope?

Grudem does a nice job introducing why I hold the position I do hold, but this article does the position the most justice I’ve ever read and I’ll just let Dr. Mohler and Dr. Akin say it. They say it better than me, so, take great hope in the great mercy of God in the glory of the Gospel. This provides me with great hope…

http://www.albertmohler.com/2009/07/16/the-salvation-of-the-little-ones-do-infants-who-die-go-to-heaven/

 

http://www.albertmohler.com/2012/12/14/the-briefing-special-edition-connecticut-shooting/

Advent Message 2: Luke 2:1-20

Advent: Week 2

Jesus’ Birth, The First Advent

 

Luke 2:1-21

John 1:1-5

John 3:16

 

Theme: Peace

 

The theme of the second week of Advent is “peace”.

 

As a side note, verse 21 of Luke 2 tell us that, as instructed, they called his name “Jesus”. Jesus is the Greek translation of the Hebrew Yehoshua and the Aramaic Yeshua (Joshua) that means, “Yahweh saves” or “the Lord saves”.

 

Jesus is the saving work of the Father to come and make peace between fallen man and holy and Triune God.

 

Also, when we come to any topic of Scripture or season of the year that is celebrated because of the work of Father in history its vital to place the topic or season in the proper setting and not isolate it from the whole.

 

For example, Christmas. If we simply focus on the birth of a baby in a manger without understanding who the baby is and why he came then its just another event and excuse to do something, who knows what or who cares what.

 

But when we come to the Advent season we must remember that the Christ took on flesh and was born of a virgin (in order to take on flesh without inheriting corruption from Adam) in order to take on the rebellion of his fallen creatures and die at the hands of the Father (remember, Jesus means “Yahweh saves”) in just punishment for the creature’s sin in order to grant adoption as sons to all the creatures who would repent and believe.

 

Jesus came and brought peace not simply by being born but by taking on flesh as the eternal Son of God, living the perfect life and dying for sin.

 

Jesus came to die for the purpose of making peace.

 

Our passage is a classic Christmas passage, but take note of verse 14:

“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased.”

 

In keeping with the theme of “peace” for this week of Advent lets take a look at the word “peace”.

The word “peace” has some implications. Peace implies that there was / is an absence of peace that makes peace desirable. Peace implies that there was disturbance. Peace can imply that there was war.

 

The word “peace” shows up 340 times in the ESV’s translation of Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek.

 

“Peace” shows up more times in Leviticus than any other book of the Bible.

 

29 of the 31 times “peace” is mentioned in Leviticus are in regard to the people’s “peace offerings” to the Lord.

 

The “peace offering” was a reminder to the people of the communion made between the people and the Lord because of the Lord’s covenant with them and the “peace offering” was a reaffirmation of this covenant between the Lord and his people.

 

Well, lets answer three questions this morning: 1. what is covenant and 2. why was covenant needed? 3. what did covenant accomplish?

 

1. What is covenant?

 

“A bond in blood that is sovereignly administered.” – O. Palmer Robertson

A bond / relationship created through death that made peace between two parties and brought them together to be one.

 

“A life and death relationship with God on his terms.” – Driscoll

A relationship that brought life due to being initiated by God and without which there would be no relationship and death that is completely dependant on God for the terms. The reason the terms are on God alone is that he alone can keep the terms.

 

“An unchangeable, divinely imposed legal agreement between God and man that stipulates the conditions of their relationship.” – Grudem

 

Father made multiple covenants with man in redemptive history and each building on the other in order to reveal himself to them, write the story of redemptive history, be merciful to and save his people and expand the scope of his revealing and redemptive mission:

 

1. Adamic Covenant

2. Noahic Covenant

3. Abrahamic Covenant

4. Mosaic Covenant

5. Davidic Covenant

6. New Covenant (Jesus and his Church)

 

The purpose of these covenants was to address the problem of humanity.

 

What problem? The fall.

Our parents sinned and brought death and destruction on us all.

 

The covenants are the story of Father’s uncaused, gracious and generous love.

 

Father is under no obligation to rescue humans and the world from their state of sin, but he chooses to do so and takes the initiative to do it.

 

Christmas is the opening shot across the bow of Satan and sin that the final saving work in redemptive history, the New Covenant, is being established and that death and sin will not hold sway any longer!

 

As the story of Father’s redemptive love develops through the Old Testament, this covenant love is referred to with the main word “hesed”.

 

Vines Expository Dictionary defines “hesed” like this: (“hesed” is covenant love)

“God’s loving kindness, consistent, ever-faithful, relentless, constantly pursuing, lavish extravagant, unrestrained, one-way love.”

 

2. Why was covenant needed?

1. The rebellion brought war

A. Man inherited guilt from Adam

1. Romans 5:12-21

B. Man inherited corruption from Adam

1. Psalm 51:1-5

a. Our natures lack any spiritual good before God

b. In our actions we are not able to do spiritual good before God

C. Man, because of the fall was at war with God and could not win.

 

3. What did covenant accomplish?

 

1. The Lord established the New Covenant to bring peace

Covenant was made in the first place because it was the way to pursue and redeem back to himself his image bearing creatures from the fall who were not opposed to him.

 

In covenant the Lord made “peace” between fallen man and holy God.

 

 

 

Because of the fall “hesed” was spurned in favor of rebellion and death began to spoil all of creation and Father began the pursuit of his people and the restoration of peace with them through covenant.

 

A. The New Covenant made peace between God and his people

1. Reconciled

Colossians 1:15-20

He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, wether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.

 

2. Justified

Romans 5:1

Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.

 

B. The New Covenant made Father pleased with his people

1. Hebrews 10:19-12:11

 

The writer of Hebrews makes mention that if one shrinks back Father has no pleasure in them then comments that they are not of those who shrink back rather they are chapter 11 type people, people who have faith and persevere because Jesus is better than life. Then he transitions to chapter 12 where he reminds them that these the Father takes pleasure in are disciplined because Fathers discipline their children. Meaning, only a father who delights in his kids treats them like children, and that is exactly what the New Covenant of peace has done for us. Not only has peace been made, but we have been brought near and made children of God in whom he takes pleasure.

 

C. The New Covenant has made my standing with God to remain solidly in place 

even when I sin.

1. Romans 8:1

There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.

 

 

D. The New Covenant brought me to worship

1. “Glory to God in the highest!”

a. Isaiah 43:1-7

 

 

Christmas is the opening shot across the bow of Satan and sin that the final saving work in redemptive history, the New Covenant, is being established and that death and sin will not hold sway much longer and peace would again be the status quo between God and man.