Ephesians 3:1-13, The Mystery of the Gospel and it’s Work

The Mystery of the Gospel and it’s Work

Ephesians 3:1-13

In our last look into Ephesians, Josh was preaching to us from chapter 2 and we have been observing what Paul will describe in Chapter 3 as a “mystery”.

This word in English gives us a wrong impression of how it is used in the New Testament.

In the NT the word “mystery” means something that is beyond natural knowledge but has been opened to us by revelation through the Spirit and through the word. It is something that was previously unknown and now has been made known to God’s people. It’s now free information available to all who will see it.

Paul has been hinting at this mystery in chapter 2 that he is about to unfold for us in chapter 3:1-13.

Take a look at the “hints”:

2:10

For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

2:13

But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.

2:14-16

For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility.

2:19-22

So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members (members is supplied in English to make sense of the lone word “house”) of the household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.

So, what is this mystery?

Mystery of the gospel 3:1-6

Paul begins chapter 3 with the intent to pray and he digresses back to chapter 2 and this glorious  and mysterious work of the gospel to be clearer in his writing about the gospel’s work in the Ephesians.

We know this because he picks up his prayer in verse 14 that he begins in verse 1. Verse 2-13 is Paul’s digression back to chapter 2 and it’s hinting at the gospel’s mystery. Paul wants to further explain it.

As a side note, this not-so-smooth writing, is a built-in indicator of the letter-nature of this work as the authentic work of Paul because it’s not a stylized and smooth theological treatise produced by later authors attributing the work to Paul.

Paul is writing the letter in real-time and needs to further explain what he has just written before going on to the prayer he is praying for them.

Paul begins his digression in 3:2-5 by explaining how the revelation of this mystery came to him.

So, what is this mystery of the gospel?

Let me summarize it with the “hints” from chapter 2: We, God’s people, are his workmanship (2:10), having been brought near (2:13), and the two divided people he has re-created into one new man in himself (2:15), and we (all those in Christ “him”) are not strangers and aliens but fellow citizens, members of the household of God, with Jesus himself the cornerstone, and we are growing into a holy temple in the Lord and being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit (2:19-22).

This mystery is that Father, in Christ Jesus, has made a new people in unity out of what used to be separate people. This is called the church.

At the fall all things fractured and broke. Eventually at Babel, the nations were separated and segregated due to the fall and their continuing rebellion.

In redemption, the Lord Jesus chose Abraham to be a blessing to all the families of the earth that were just divided so that there would be one family again like the beginning.

In the fullness of time, Jesus comes to die, secure salvation for those the Father has given him from all the families of the earth and to rise in order to secure their salvation from all the families of the earth and unite them in one people, one nation, one community, the community of the Kingdom of God, the church.

In verse 6 there are 3 words that describe what those who were outside are now. In each of Paul’s descriptions of how gentiles are now part of the new people of God, he uses a compound word. Each share the same particle “sun”. Literally it means “with” or “together with”. Typically it is translated as “fellow”.

1. In this mystery gentiles are fellow heirs

sukleronoma” – fellow-heirs

2. In this mystery gentiles are members of the same body

susoma” – fellow-members of the body

This is the only place in the bible where this word is used and has not precedent for being used outside of here. Paul had to make up a word to communicate this glory of outsiders now being insiders together with the insiders.

3. In this mystery gentiles are partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus

sumetocha” – fellow-partakers

What do we take from this truth?

1. There is no segregation of race in the church, so we work for reconciliation.

2. There is no segregation of age in the church, so we work for unity.

3. There is no segregation of economic disparity in the church, so we work for equality.

This has effect on how we do ministry.

1. We don’t seek to segregate our RL Groups by age or any other demographic.

2. We don’t seek to provide ministry that allows people to disengage from their responsibility. (parents from their children         in RK; in a growing student ministry we won’t provide what it is the parent’s job to provide thus segregating the family)

Paul does not end by simply telling us what the mystery is. Paul now points us to the ministry of the mystery of the gospel. This ministry is our application of the mystery of the gospel.

Ministry of the mystery of the gospel 3:7-13

1. Preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable (literally, riches that cannot be tracked) riches of Christ v. 8

1. Our scope is the “Gentiles” (all nations)

2. Our message is that Jesus always enriches life, never subtracts from life

3. We are to proclaim the message of the enriching work of Jesus in all of life and all domains of society.

There is no domain where Jesus does not enrich all of life.

1. Jesus supplies relational riches in all domains

2. Jesus supplies saving riches in all domains

3. Jesus supplies sanctifying riches in all domains

4. Jesus supplies practical riches in all domains

5. Jesus supplies eternal riches in all domains

4. We must know experientially that Jesus is better if we are to really make this known.

2. Tell the world about Jesus’ church v. 9

We are to bring to light the plan of the mystery (to create a new people from all nations, called the church) hidden for ages in God who created all things.

The God who chose to create all things chose to create a new people comprised of Jew and Gentile in one body with one leader, the church. Kent Hughes, in his commentary on this passage, calls the people of God made up of many nations the “third race”. Meaning that the people of God are no longer just their ethnic background, but their ethnic distinction is now subject to the identity of the kingdom of God and now the many are one.

We don’t loose distinction, but my distinction does not trump my identity as citizen of the kingdom first.

This mystery, now revealed, is to be told far and wide.

1. Invite people to church

No, “church” won’t save the rebel, but there is no better community where the gospel is being spoken of or adhered to than the community of the kingdom.

3. Be aware that our ministry proclaims the wisdom of God to the spiritual authorities v. 10

“Here it will help us to imagine a cosmic drama. The theatre is history. The stage is the world. The actors are the church. The writer is God, who also directs and produces the drama. And the audience? Cosmic beings.” – Kent Hughes

“The history of the Christian Church is the graduate school for angels. It is through the old creation (the universe) that God reveals his glory to humans; it is through the new creation (the church) that he reveals his wisdom to angels.” – John R.W. Stott, God’s New Society

1 Peter 1:10-12 tells us that angels long to look into this glorious mystery (literally, angels long to stoop). Angels are stooped over in their realm looking into the glorious work of Father to make a new mankind out of his people under the headship of the Son.

1. The church is central to history

2. The church is central to the gospel

3. The church is central to Christian living

This reality gives great significance to our engagement in the church and should drive our desire to be part of the community of the kingdom.

4. This mystery of one new people, the church, is Gods eternal purpose in Christ v. 11

5. We don’t loose when suffering for this ministry because it is our glory (it is to our glory to be about this work and our glory if we have to suffer for it) v. 13

“Verse 13 brings us back to the claim of v 1, that Paul’s imprisonment is ‘for the sake of you Gentiles’. His readers might be discouraged that God has allowed this apparent set-back, but Paul would rather have them see it as your glory. Why, after all, had he been arrested? It was because he stood for Gentile equality with Jewish believers in the one new-creation people of God, Christ’s body.” – D.A. Carson

1. If we suffer for the gospel in defending / advancing the church, we win

Psalm 147:1 “Praise the LORD! For it is good to sing praises to our God; for it is pleasant, and a song of praise is fitting.”

TRCC DNA: Church

Church
KDSC

The church consists of all true believers in Jesus Christ throughout all time.

The kingdom manifests itself through the church.

Experientially, the church provides a foretaste of the future reign of Jesus Christ.

The church exists only because of Jesus and is mandated with extending his mission to all nations.

For the glory of God we will build the church both local and global by being and producing radical followers of Jesus Christ.

Why do we want to build the church? Why is the church so important?

The church is what Jesus is building as the community of the kingdom
Matthew 16:18

TRCC Statement of belief (Kingdom):
Therefore, “we believe that those who have been saved by the grace of God through union with Christ by faith and through regeneration by the Holy Spirit enter the kingdom of God and delight in the blessings of the new covenant: the forgiveness of sins, the inward transformation that awakens a desire to glorify, trust, and obey God, and the prospect of the glory yet to be revealed. Good works constitute indispensable evidence of saving grace. Living as salt in a world that is decaying and light in a world that is dark, believers should neither withdraw into seclusion from the world, nor become indistinguishable from it: rather, we are to do good to the city, for all the glory and honor of the nations is to be offered up to the living God. Recognizing whose created order this is, and because we are citizens of God’s kingdom, we are to love our neighbors as ourselves, doing good to all, especially to those who belong to the household of God. The kingdom of God, already present but not fully realized, is the exercise of God’s sovereignty in the world toward the eventual redemption of all creation. The kingdom of God is an invasive power that plunders Satan’s dark kingdom and regenerates and renovates through repentance and faith the lives of individuals rescued from that kingdom. It therefore inevitably establishes a new community of human life together under God.” (TRCC Statement of belief)

1. We are now new citizens of a new kingdom

2. The church is not a building, but the people of God who live by the values of his
kingdom

3. The church gathered, equipped, and mobilized is the fruit of the gospel of the kingdom
The church is Father’s agent of transformation
1. In the community of the kingdom we become great by being the least
Mark 10:35-45
And James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came up to him and said to him, “Teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we ask of you.” And he said to them, “What do you want me to do for you?” And they said to him, “Grant us to sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your glory.” Jesus said to them, “You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I drink, or to be baptized with the baptism with which I am baptized?” And they said to him, “We are able.” And Jesus said to them, “The cup that I drink you will drink, and with the baptism with which I am baptized, you will be baptized, but to sit at my right hand or at my left is not mine to grant, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared.” And when the ten heard it, they began to be indignant at James and John. And Jesus called them to him and said to them, “You know that those who are considered rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. But it shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

2. In the community of the kingdom we are being built into a spiritual house as a holy priesthood that offers spiritual sacrifices acceptable to Father through Jesus and we serve one another in the gifting he has given us
1 Peter 2:4-5; 4:10
“As you come to him, a living stone rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious, you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.”

“As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace:…”

The church is an expression of Father’s Trinitarian nature
“Professor Colin Gunton, in his seminal work, The One, The Three and the Many, points to the secular search for an ideology that can protect the individual while promoting community. Recent history, he suggests, had been ruled by two competing regimes. In the west, we are products of a world driven by the individual. An increasingly privatized worldview has promoted the rights of the individual above all else. In the east, communism exalted the many. What mattered most was the common good, the people and the nation. The result, Gunton declares, has been two equally oppressive and totalitarian regimes. The answer lies in the discovery of a worldview capable of honoring the one and the many, without either being at the expense of the other. The doctrine of the Trinity presents such an ideology. The God who is Father, Son and Spirit models this unity amidst diversity, and this community of equality. The church, through its relationship with the Triune God, is called to model this for the world.”

The existence of the church is not arbitrary but reflects the nature of the God who is its source.

Scripture defines the church in relation to the Father (his family – Eph. 2:18; 3:15), the Son (his body and bride – Eph. 1:22-23; 5:25-28), and the Spirit (his temple – 1 Cor. 3:16; Eph. 2:22; Ezek. 40-48)

1. This reality shows off some of the glory of the church

2. This makes the church a non-negotiable.

3. The church must be married not dated and discipled into Christ
The church is Father’s dwelling place
1 Cor. 3:16; 2 Cor. 6:16; Eph. 2:22

1 Corinthians 3:16 “Do you not know that you (plural) are God’s temple and that God’s spirit dwells in you?”

We often read this passage and read the “you” as singular and make it an individual passage and then use it to talk about eating or exercising or something unique to an individual.

However, this “you” is plural. This means that the whole church is God’s temple. Does that mean that the Holy Spirit does not reside in us individually? No. He does. But it does mean that his residence in us individually is not intended to keep us isolated rather to draw us together.

Therefore, if we harm the body of Christ or neglect the body of Christ we will fall under the condemnation of verse 17 which says, “If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him. For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple.”

1. We, together, are Christ’s dwelling, so the gathered body matters
2. We dare not neglect or damage the church
3. Jesus will not stand for his church being hurt
4. The church is bigger than the Radical Life group, the Sunday gathering and our little
denominations. She is the universal bride of Christ that must be cherished and fought for
The church displays Father’s manifold wisdom
Eph. 3:8-11
“To me, though I am the very least of all the saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, and to bring to light for everyone what is the plan of the mystery hidden for ages in God who created all things, so that through the church the manifold (varied, diverse, multi-colored) wisdom of God might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places. This was according to the eternal purpose that he has realized in Christ Jesus our Lord,…”

1. The church is the vehicle through which the manifold / multi-colored wisdom of God is made known.

There are other organizations that have purposes to do great and good deeds on our planet for people and for nations, but only the church contains the special presence of Jesus Christ (see Revelation 1).

This is not to say that we don’t experience the presence of the Lord daily when not gathered. We do.

But being covenanted to the body of Christ is special and carries with it supernatural realities that church discipline removes, which is why Paul says to remove the unrepentant sinner from the fellowship.

The disciplined sinner, once removed, no longer has access to the supernatural protection and presence of the Lord.

Therefore, the “Christian” who does not covenant with a body but refuses to covenant with a body refuses, in a real way, to come under the influence of the Chief Shepherd and his supernatural shepherding.

2. God’s manifold wisdom is made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places through the church

Note that This is probably the whole host of heavenly beings; not merely angels or evil powers, but both (see 6:12). These heavenly beings, fallen and faithful alike, are assembled witnesses before whom God vindicates his wisdom (D.A. Carson, NBC). God vindicates his wisdom through the church which is the expression of his wisdom. And even deeper, verse 11 affirms that this is according to his eternal purpose that was realized in Christ. According to 1:9-10 and 2:11-22 the eternal purpose realized in Christ that vindicates God’s wisdom and shows it to be so glorious as to call it manifold / multi-colored is the unity of all things in Christ (1:9-11) and this unity is brought to expression in a local / global church where Jew and Gentile live and worship as one body in harmony with God and with each other in Christ. And this unity emphasized in chapters 4-6, to Paul, is the central witness to the powerful gospel. Jesus’ prayer in John 17 emphasized this unity under God purchased by Christ as the powerful witness to the work Jesus was about to accomplish on the cross. All this through the church!

3. The glorious church is realized through Jesus
1. The church is not realized through created means

How do we live this out locally?

1. As the family of God we grow in our love for and fellowship with each other
1 Timothy 5:1-2
1. Attend regularly to encourage one another and grow together across demographic lines (Hebrews 10:25)
2. Attend a RL group with members who share the DNA and multiply that DNA
in others who can impact others (Vision / Relationships / Collaboration / Family)
a. It’s hard to have deep fellowship with people who don’t share the vision.
you just end up arguing over the vision or circling in the wilderness without
every multiplying until the darn thing dies.

2. As the bride of Christ we seek greater love for Jesus and submission to him
2 Corinthians 11:2-3
“For I feel a divine jealousy for you, since I betrothed you to one husband, to present you as a pure virgin to Christ. But I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ.”

3. As Father’s new temple we increase awareness of his presence among us
1 Peter 2:4-8

4. As the body of Christ we increase interdependence on each other’s gifts
2 Corinthians 12:12-27

5. As a priesthood we have an increasing sense of Father’s joy in our praise and good works
1 Peter 2:5
Psalm 147:1 “Praise the LORD! For it is good to sing praises to our God; for it is pleasant, and a song of praise is fitting.”

TRCC DNA: Society

Society

KDSC

The gospel of the kingdom makes disciples who fill the domains of society and from the domains of society the church emerges as the community of the kingdom.

Kingdom
“The kingdom is the renewal of the whole world through entrance of supernatural forces. As things are brought back under Christ’s rule and authority, they are restored to health, beauty and freedom.” – Tim Keller

Disciple
A disciple is a follower of Jesus Christ. In keeping with the mandate given in the Great Commission a disciple is someone who has been made a disciple, baptized and is learning to obey everything Jesus taught.

Disciples of Jesus Christ hear and obey Jesus.

Disciples of Jesus Christ live radical life (John 15)
1. Up: Communion with God
Jesus is the essence of transformation

2. In: Community (community of the kingdom)
Community is the context for transformation

3. Out: Collision
Serving one’s domain in society is the catalyst for transformation

The gospel of the kingdom makes disciples who fill domains of society and from domains of society the church emerges as the community of the kingdom of Jesus Christ until the great commission is completed and Jesus returns to judge the living and the dead and completely establish his kingdom in a new heaven and a new earth.

Why is society so important?

Society is composed of groups of people who work within their own areas of expertise or “domains”. These core structures of society do not change. The people working within these domains meet the basic needs of society and keep it functioning.

The domains of society become crucial in the transformation of a city. Those who assume leadership in these spheres of influence have the potential to completely reshape their city; its values, priorities, and practices.

The Scriptures teach that domain leaders, people put in charge of governing / leading / bearing the authority to punish or reward / have delegated authority from God (Romans 13). Father is sovereign over his domains in society. In engaging God’s assigned domains of society, we have the powerful good news of the kingdom and indwelling Holy Spirit to see the kingdom come to people and entire domains of society in bringing all things under the rule of Jesus Christ.

There are 5 world views that are competing for the hearts and minds of people in all domains of society
Pagan / Pantheistic (everything is god and everything is spiritually good and we are trying to escape the bad cycle of life and get in touch with our inner self)
Islamic (the whole world comes under sharia law)
Institutional Church (the church should have it’s own place for itself, be inward focused and the rest of the world is secular)
Modernist / Humanist (everything is about man and the advancement of humanity’s betterment through the evolution of man and society)
Biblical Christian (Father, Son and Spirit made all things good and there was a rebellion and this God set out to redeem all things for his glory and the rescue of his people and finally restore all thing in a new heaven and new earth where sin is forever banished and we live with God in creation regained)

Look at the original creation mandate: Genesis 1:26-28
“Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”

1. Man was made to have dominion over the whole earth (every sphere of society)

2. The fall made man more of a casualty of creation’s brokenness rather than a “subduer” of creation and society as a whole

3. When Jesus came, he broke the curse of the fall and began bringing all things back under his reign (Ephesians 1:7-10)

4. Jesus has given us the keys of the kingdom (Matthew 16:18; Matthew 18:15-20), so we have the powerful good news to bring salvation and restoration to all nations
Thinking about kingdom disciples engaging every domain of society creates 4 key shifts

1. From needs to assets
This shift is one of mindset. This is not an organizational change or shift in processes, rather this is a shift in how we see each other as members of the community of the kingdom.

We move from asking what we need to evaluating our assets to be given away in serving our individual and collective domains.

We move from asking: “what did you get out of the service today?” to “how can I engage my domain of society with the gospel of the kingdom?”

2. From programs to domain engagement
This shift has organizational implications. This changes how we organize for work and what work is undertaken.

This is more Spirit-led as members of the community of the kingdom take ownership and responsibility for action.

You begin to ask questions like: “what is my domain?” “how can I begin to mobilize people in my domain who are in the kingdom to take this domain for the kingdom?” “how can I partner with others to make changes in this domain and make them a follower of Jesus with the powerful gospel?”

What is your domain?

3. From working for the city to working with the city
This shift is one of relationships and expectations. This changes how we interact with the community. Here the church becomes more of a partner to help create solutions rather than simply a provider of a check or other resources.

It becomes a flesh in the game mentality.

We begin to realize that Father has placed valuable people resources in the community of the kingdom and those people are valuable glocally.

We begin to interact with other religions in the engagement of our society’s domains and get to make disciples!

Evangelism and great commission work begins to become natural as we engage like this.

This multiplies the great commission work force because now everyone is a great commission disciple that can have impact locally and globally.

4. From managing ministries to leading members
This shift impacts decision-making. The decision is not what ministries are the pastors going to run, but what will the pastors do in releasing the body to supply it’s part in the kingdom.

Ephesians 4:11-16
“And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry (teaching, praying, engaging domains as examples), for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.”

4 keys to begin engaging domains

1. We must believe Jesus came to bring redemption and deliverance to all dimensions of life and to restore the original intention of Genesis 1:26, “…and let them have dominion…”

2. We must believe the role of serving and giving our lives for the sake of the kingdom in our domain is worth it. We must believe there is treasure in the kingdom of heaven for bypassing temporal gains here and now.

3. We must have a passion to see Jesus as Lord over all domains of society. (Ephesians 1:10)

4. We must actually begin to engage all domains of society

Psalm 147:1 “Praise the LORD! For it is good to sing praises to our God; for it is pleasant, and a song of praise is fitting.”

TRCC DNA: Disciple

Disciple
Matthew 28:16-20
“Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. And when they saw him they worshiped him, but some doubted. And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

A disciple is a follower of Jesus Christ. In keeping with the mandate given in the Great Commission a disciple is someone who has been made a disciple, baptized and is learning to obey everything Jesus taught. – Bob Roberts

“been made a disciple” – through the proclamation of the good news of the kingdom of Jesus Christ through the verbal proclamation of a disciple of Jesus Christ through the powerful work of the Holy Spirit in the powerful gospel, a dead and counter-gospel enemy of God is reconciled to Father and given the Holy Spirit and thus birthed to new life in the kingdom of God.

“baptized” – baptism is a post-conversion activity in which the transformation of the gospel is recognized by the community of the kingdom (church) by entering into the water to be immersed and brought back up from the water thus putting on display for the public the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus that has been made effective the death of the candidate’s bond to the curse, the removal of the guilt of sin and their resurrection to new life in Christ.

“learning to obey everything Jesus taught” – the baptized follower of Jesus Christ now begins the journey of life in the community of the kingdom, as a student of the Manual in community (private and public), working out the reality of their salvation and membership in the kingdom of God by engaging their domain of society as salt and light with the powerful gospel among all nations

What kills discipleship?
1. Seeing salvation as a result of a prayer prayed rather than a process of the elect being drawn to Christ through the proclamation of the good news (you can’t help a person who is dead in sin to obey Christ, but you can help a person who is being awakened to life to see, believe and obey Christ)

2. Seeing discipleship as a transfer of information rather than hearing and obeying Jesus

3. Thinking the kingdom advances through training and mobilizing pastors
The pastor’s job is Ephesians 4:12

4. Thinking discipleship is complicated and unattainable

5. Thinking discipleship can be done outside of community

6. Thinking discipleship can be done without personal transformation in the process

7. Thinking discipleship is a time stamped course completed upon memorization of the information
8. Thinking discipleship can be done without the influence of all nations (we have things to learn from the global church)

The Metanarrative of the Gospel is key in understanding discipleship.

Creation – Man and God in relationship with no barrier

Fall – Rebellion breaks fellowship with God and introduces the curse into all of creation

Redemption – God pursues, wins and restores mankind and all of creation to himself in the establishing of the kingdom and the king, Jesus

Restoration – God completely and fully establishes the kingdom, the king returns and rules his people forever in the new heaven and the new earth

We are currently in the stage of redemption. God is reconciling all things to himself, including us as persons and us as the church.

In Acts we see this worked out in the 1. Holy Spirit being sent by Jesus to fill his individual followers and walk with them in relationship, 2. those disciples were enabled to and did bind together into the church and that church began to be diverse (Cornelius and other Gentiles), and 3. that body began to affect domains of society as they made disciples and proclaimed the good news leading all to way to Rome.

This working out of redemption can be seen in three parts in Acts, and they can be summed up like this:
Up: Reconciliation between God and man making children who Hear and Obey
In: Community of the kingdom is forged and bound by indwelling Holy Spirit in each disciple
Out: Making disciples in one’s domain of society that has global impact

What does discipleship look like at TRCC?
We call it the Radical Life (John 15).
Radical – of or going to the root or origin; fundamental:

Radical is abiding in and rising from the root to bear fruit.

The Radical Life is:
1. Up: Communion with God (Hear and Obey)
Jesus is the essence of transformation
Galatians 4:4-7
“But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God.”

1. We have been reconciled to Father

2. We have been transformed from slaves to sons and daughters!

3. We can now hear and obey

1. How do transformed followers of Jesus hear Jesus?
– Righteous promptings deep in your soul
– Righteous desires in your soul (Psalm 37:4)
– Thoughts that are louder than thoughts but maybe not quite audible
– The audible voice of the Holy Spirit
– A prophetic word from a brother or sister in the Lord (tested and found legit)
– Consistent and disciplined study of Scripture

2. How do transformed followers of Jesus obey Jesus?
– Do what he says

2. In: Community (Community of the Kingdom)
Community is the context for transformation
Ephesians 2:19-22
“So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.”

1. People reconciled to Father can now be reconciled to each other from all nations and do life together

2. People in community can and must love each other (John 15:12)

3. People in community can hear and obey together

3. Out: Collision (Impact your domain of society by making disciples)
Serving one’s domain is the catalyst for transformation
2 Corinthians 5:17-21
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”

1. Father has given to us the message of reconciliation

2. Father has given us the message of reconciliation, and it’s a message to the world. So the whole church is globally relevant.

3. Father has made us all “ambassadors”
Conclusion – Psalm 147:1 “Praise the LORD! For it is good to sing praises to our God; for it is pleasant, and a song of praise is fitting.”

One’s Worldview

I get that the word “worldview” is growing old and that there are other words quickly to eclipse this word, but until I find a better word, this is the word I’ll use. Worldview. What is it? It is simply the way one looks at and interprets the world around them. It is their framework for making decisions. It is like one’s vision corrective methods (glasses, contacts, surgery, etc.)

Everyone has a worldview. Everyone’s worldview is colored with some interpretive framework. The question for us is: what colors my interpretive framework?

How do we respond to people of other ethnicities? As a Christian, this issue must be faced up and dealt with. I would argue that the hard questions and the difficult conversations and the sticky situations can only be properly dealt with inside the Christian worldview not necessarily how some Christians respond to it.

Part of the challenge for us is growing into God’s view of things. Since the fall we have a skewed view of reality. We need to view all things from God’s perspective. That will be how we grow into a truly Christian worldview.

Begin by reading your bible.

Next, practice what your bible says.

Fight against the miry bog of not acting on what is written.

Repent.

Adjust.

Enjoy.

Repeat process.

Let’s start off right.