Sermon:  The Purpose of Unity#3: Mission

Summary:  One of the purposes God brought us together as one body of Christ is to reach
 out to the lost with the Gospel.  As God revealed the Gospel through Christ and his body,
 he continues to do so through Christ's body, the church, which is the people of God. 
 This involves an understanding of grace as a stewardship so that we can truly speak the 
truth in love.  The most basic truth in missions is the Gospel.

Know:  One of the major purposes of the body of Christ is to bring the Gospel and those 
who are lost together.

Feel:  A sense of purpose and direction toward God's purpose and mission

Do:  Reflect on the place of evangelism in the church and in personal life and your 
personal attitude, fears and challenges toward it, and commit to being faithful and 
leave the results to God

Text:  Eph 4:9-16

Scripture Reading:  Matt 28:19-20

1.   A third purpose for the church in Ephesians is missions
	a.  Chap 1-2 - God united us into one body
	b.  Chap 3 - Paul as a personal example
		- v.2 - He received the stewardship of God's grace
		- v.8 - Grace was given to preach to the Gentiles
		- v.9-10 - Bring to light administration of the mystery…so that 
  		  manifold wisdom of God might now be know through the church…
		- v.11 - This in accordance with his eternal purpose
	c.  The church has a mission.  What is the church?
		- Not the building, not an organization
		- It is God's people
		- "Church of Christ" can be "Assembly of the Messiah"
	d.  Returns to this theme
3.  Text:  Eph 4:7-16
	a.  We are to be one, to grow and mature
	b.  We need to speak the truth in love
	c.  The most basic truth is the Gospel
		- Paul doesn't go into detail on the Gospel because he writes to 
		- However, has been reminding them of the Gospel all along
		- In most of his letters, he covers the Gospel in some way in 
   		  chapter 1
	d.  Part of our mission is to be a light, salt, fishers of men.
4.  What does it take in order to fulfill God's mission?  Understanding -- 

I.  Understanding of the Body of Christ
	A.  Jesus has a body
		1.  This is a cardinal doctrine of Christianity
			a.  2 John 7 - Deceivers say Christ has not come in the flesh
			b.  This is the anti-Christ
			c.  Not to have any fellowship with such a one
		2.  Paul applies the body to us to show the need for unity
	B.  Body metaphor does more than just communicate need for unity
		1.  Why did Jesus have a body?
			a.  The obvious reason is to suffer and die for sins
				- Will talk about that later
			b.  John 1:14 - The word became flesh, we saw his glory
				-  Heb 1:1-2 - In these last days spoke to us in his son
				-  Jn 14: 9 - If seen me, you have seen the Father
			c.  It was so Jesus could communicate God's message
		2.  But now Jesus has gone into Heaven
			a.  He is at the right had of the father ruling his kingdom
			b.  His body is not longer here on earth is it?
			c.  The Bible says that we are the body of Christ!
		3.  He is the head, we are his body
		4.  What he did on this earth, we are to do
			a.  1 Pet 2:21 - Christ left example to follow in his steps
			b.  John 13:15 - I left you an example to do as I did
	C.  ILL: There is a song by Jeff Wood
		We are His hands to touch the world around us.
		We are His feet to go where He may lead.
		We are His eyes to see the need in others.
		We are His voice to tell of His return. 
		We are His love burning in the darkness. 
		We are His love shining in the night.
	D.  You see, it's not just that we are connected together, but to Christ
		1.  That should change how we see our place in the body
		2.  We are HIS hands, feet, ears, eyes, mouth
		3.  Jesus came to minister and to share the Gospel
			a.  His feet go to the lost, we go to the lost
			b.  His eyes looked for opportunities to share, so do we
			c.  His hands touched and served the needy, so do we
			d.  His mouth shared the good news, so do we
		4.  That is a big part of what it means to be the body of Christ

II.  Understanding of the Gospel
	A.  In most of Paul's letters, he reminds of the Gospel at the beginning
		1.  Ephesians is no different
		2.  1:7 - We have redemption through his blood, forgiveness of 
		3.  1:20 - Power toward us who believe when God raised him
		4.  Chap 2 - Brought near by the blood of Christ
	B.  What is the Gospel?
		1.  Word means good news
		2.  1 Cor 15:1-4
			a.  Jesus died for our SINS
				- Sin means to miss, to fall short
				- Not honor God as God, praise him, give him credit, 
   				  etc. that is sin, falling short
				- Rom 3:23 - All have sinned
				- Isa 59:2 - Sins have separated you from God
			b.  Jesus DIED for our sins
				- 2 Cor 5:21 - Made him who knew now sin to be sin
				- Jesus died as though a thief, liar, murderer, etc.
			c.  Buried and raised
				- He overcame death
				- 1 Cor 15:20 - Christ is the firstfruits
			d.  Death is swallowed up in victory
		3.  Rom 1:16 - Gospel, not doctrinal issues are power of salvation
		4.  It's not that complicated
			a.  When I first became a Christian, prospect of Evangelism 
     			    scared me.  Seemed so complicated
				- I was 13 years old
				- I learned Ivan Stewart, Jule Miller and others
				- Learned answers to doctrinal issues
			b.  No Biblical example of requirement of weeks of study 
    			     before baptizing someone
			c.  Power is NOT in my ability to argue doctrinal issues
				- 1 Cor 2:1-5 - Preaching not in persuasive words of 
			d.  Power is in the Gospel, let the Gospel do its job
	C.  ILL:  Stories of unlikely evangelists
		1.  I was converted by two 15 & 16 year old teens
			a.  Jon Allesandro and Terry Clyde
			b.  Walking to lunch, asked me when I became a Christian
			c.  They had habit of finding out if people were Christians
			d.  Bringing people to Christ was his passion
		2.  Then there was Warren, slight mental handicap
			a.  I studied with him, and he became a Christian that night
			b.  Within a week, he brought Butch to Christ
			c.  Butch was his friend, he just shared his story
			d.  Several teens in our Youth Group like that
		3.  Some of first evangelists - Acts 8:4 
			- Those who were scattered went about everywhere
			   preaching the word
		4.  The Gospel is not rocket science
	D.  You don't need to be a Bible scholar to understand the Gospel
		1.  I don't want to put down scholarship
			a.  We wouldn't have our English Bibles if there were no 
			b.  Good scholarship and theology were behind the  
			      reformation and the restoration
		2.  But when it comes to the Gospel, it is simple
		3.  It is indispensable to keep the Gospel central for missions

III.  Understanding of God's part
	A.  Power is in the word, not in our abilities and intelligence
	B.  (1 Cor 3:4-9) - Results are God's work, not ours
		1.  Our job is to be faithful, God's job is to get results
			a.  The power is in the Gospel, not in us
			b.  This is where faith comes in
		2.  When doing business, want to forcast results
			a.  Many people do demographic studies, market trends, 
			b.  Might do surveys and other things before proceeding
		3.  In the last 20 years, people have tried to do this in the church
			a.  Demographic studies, surveys, etc.
			b.  Will target a particular demographic for maximum results
			c.  That is not God's vision of missions
			d.  For God so loved THE WORLD that he gave his son
		4.  I personally know of people who have done this
			a.  Spend months upon months on community demographics
			b.  Will spend year or two or three doing introspection
			c.  Then they start to plan on how to do outreach
	C.  ILL:  If you apply this principle to riding a bike, no one would ever learn
		1.  First time , I fell.  Many scrapes and bruises, but I learned
		2.  If I said, "I want to make sure it is perfect before proceeding"
			a.  I would never have learned
			b.  When you fall down, you get up and try again
		3.  The same in our service to God
			a.  Don't let the desire to get in just right stop you
			b.  This is a faith issue.  Our job is simply to be faithful
			c.  Results are God's work, not ours
		4.  Last week, made point that maturity involves practice
			a.  You don't get mature then practice
			b.  Practice leads to maturity
			c.  You fall down, you get up and keep going
	D.  In Missionary Anthropology in college
		1.  One of the principles was "Don't take yourselves to seriously"
			a.  What that meant was trust in God
			b.  Results are his realm, be faithful
		2.  Don't get me wrong, I am in favor of doing what we do well
			a.  The main thing is to not let that paralyze us
		3.  So, don't let fear stop you from being faithful
			a.  Share your story, share the Gospel
			b.  If someone doesn't respond, don't be discouraged
		4.  God will not look at results, but at faithfulness

1.  The Gospel is very important
a.  If you have not obeyed it, your are lost
b.  (Invitation)
2.  If you have obeyed the Gospel, you are part of the body of Christ
	a.  You are his hands, feet, eyes, mouth
	b.  His will is for you to carry on his mission as his body
3.  The Gospel must be central in carrying out God's purposes
4.  Be faithful, and let God provide results.

Sermon:  The Purpose of Unity #3 - Mission

Summary:  One of the purposes God brought us together as one body of Christ is to 
reach out to the lost with the Gospel.  As God revealed the Gospel through Christ and
 his body, he continues to do so through Christ's body, the church, which is the people
 of God.  This involves an understanding of grace as a stewardship so that we can truly
 speak the truth in love.  The most basic truth in missions is the Gospel.

- What is the best news you have heard in the last couple of years?

Explore:  Eph 4:11-16; 3:9-10

1.  Paul's favorite metaphor for the church was the "body" of Christ.  How does this 
metaphor fit in with Christ's mission?

2.  Paul lists several types of leaders as "gifts" to equip us for ministry.  How would an 
evangelist (which literally means "Gospel Preacher") equip for ministry?  What does this
 tell you about the place of evangelism in the body?

3.  What place does the Gospel have in evangelism and why?  (An interesting fact:  In 
Greek, the word evangelism "euangelistes" and Gospel "euangelion" are derived from t
he same word.)

4.  In 1 Cor 3:4-9, Paul says that God gives the increase and we plant and water.  Reflect 
on this a moment and share how this affects your attitude toward evangelism.

5.  Concerning missions, which is more biblical?  A church that sends or a church that 


6.  What do you normally think of when you hear the word "evangelism?"  What is your 
emotional reaction to that word?

7.  What are your two biggest challenges concerning evangelism?  How has this study helped 
you to deal with these challenges?

8.  What is God calling you to do?

Matt 28:19-20