Sermon:  Becoming an Apostolic Church

(4 of 8 in "Rubber Meets the Road" which is a follow up of "Your Kingdom Come Series")

Summary:  God calls us to live apostolically as demonstrated by Jesus, who didn't just 
preach "at" people from a distance, but got involved with, identified with, and care authentically 
for people, creating space for hearts to accept the Gospel.

Know:  We are not to send people to evangelize, but are ourselves sent to evangelize in the 
manner demonstrated by Christ

Feel:  The desire to share the Gospel in a caring way

Do:  After reflection on the rationale for Evangelism and how it applies to everyone, reflect on 
how the body of Christ with all of its diverse parts can carry out its mandate for evangelism in 
the most effective way possible through evaluation of what is presently good and needs to 
continue, what needs to improve, and we needs to stop.

Text:  John 4:1-38

Scripture Reading:  Lk 19:10

1.  How long ago did you become a Christian?
	a.  I became a Christian at the age of 13, back in 1980.
	b.  15 yr old Terry Clyde & 16 yr old Jon Allesandro read Bible with me
	c.  It was a lifestyle for them.  They were apostolic
2.  May be wondering at the title
	a.  When I say apostolic, I mean it in the original sense of the word
	b.  Now days, it usually refers to a church that teaches miraculous gifts
	c.  We will see that this is not what this word meant originally 
3.  Text:  John 4 - Woman at the well
	a.  Jesus demonstrates what it means to be apostolic in this passage
	b.  When he sends his disciples in Jn 20:21 - "As the Father sent me, so 
	     also I send you," he will expect them to follow his example
4.  Will look at ways God calls us in relation to mission:

I.  God calls us to be Apostolic
	A.  Grk:  Apostello - To commission or send
		1.  God is inherently a sending God - A missionary God
		2.  God sent Jesus, who sends the Spirit, who empowers the 
		     church for mission
		3.  We do not send, God sends!  We are the ones sent!
		4.  This perspective is the backdrop to this story in the text
	B.  An example of apostolic nature of mission - Ministry in Samaria
		1.  He "had" to pass through Samaria (Jn 4:3-5)
			a.  This is not the normal route Jews took
				-  Cross over to West side of the Jordan at Jericho
			     	-  Cross back over east when north of Samaria
			b.  Jews avoided Samaria like the plague
				- They were heretics, apostate, half breeds
				- Lot of animosity between the two
				- If you, a Jew, were injured and needed help, forget it
			c.  He "had" to pass through Samaria is a theological 
			     statement and not a geographical one
				- It is an apostolic statement
				- Jesus was sent to all the world
		2.  He sat by a well (Jn 4:6-8)
			a.  Probably more than the fact that he was tired
			b.  A little about drawing water
				- Well was usually a busy place, especially in the 
				  morning and evenings
				- People would meet each other there and visit
				- Place to meet people (or avoid them by going in the 
				  middle of the day when not as many people)
			c.  Jesus sat down where he knew people would come
				- This was an "intersection" of life where he could 
				   engage people and talk to them
				- Sure enough, here comes a woman
		3.  Crossed barriers (Jn 4:9-26)
			a.  Social - Not considered proper for a Rabbi to have a 
			     casual conversation like this with a woman
				- He was not afraid to forgo social convention for the 
				   sake of people
			b.  Racial/Ethnic - Jews & Samaritans disdained each other
				- Assyria took over north, repopulated it
				- Jews that were left intermarried with them
				- Lost their ethnic identity, now called Samaritans
			c.  Religious - Samaritans modified their Bible to fit their 
				- Holy place was at Gerizim, not Jerusalem
				- Only accepted the Torah - 1st 5 books
			d.  Moral - 
				- She was drawing water in the mid-day, perhaps to 
				   avoid the crowd.
				- She had been married five times and was now living 
				   with someone
			e.  We still have many of the same barriers today
				- Tendency of people to be homogenous - stick only 
				   to people that are like you
				- Jesus demonstrates just the opposite
				- He had a clear apostolic purpose
		4.  This was his food and drink (4:27-38)
			a.  The disciples didn't understand what was going on
				- They were focused on food, Jesus on mission
				- They didn't even bother to ask what was going on
				-  All they could do was be aghast 
				- Jesus used this as a teaching opportunity
			b.  His passion was his mission
				- Life more than food and the body more than clothing
				- It is about seeking first the reign of God
				- It is about sitting at a well and engaging a 
				  disreputable woman with good news
			c.  The Samaritan woman got it - she brought back the town
			d.  Our passion should be his mission as well
	C.  ILL:  While in Searcy, had some friends coming for the afternoon
		1.  Would eat lunch, play some games, and enjoy company
		2.  Took trash out to the dumpster.  Someone yelled, "hey!"
			a.  Opened the side door, 2 ladies going through dumpster
			b.  I speechless at first, then apologized
			c.  Went back to the apartment
		3.  Told my wife.  She asked, "Did you invite them for lunch?"
			a.  Never even occurred to me
			b.  Like the disciples, all I could do was be aghast 
			c.  Went back out to the dumpster, they were gone
	D.  Need to have an apostolic outlook at all times
		1.  Needs to define my job, friendships, activities, fun,, etc.
		2.  "Lift up your eyes"
			a. Disciples missed opportunity, Samaritan woman did not
			b.  The fields were already ready
			c.  The woman became the first Samaritan evangelist
		3.  We need to lift up our eyes
			a.  It is not an option, but a mandate
			b.  We are to be an apostolic church of Christ

II.  God sends us to care and share
	A.  In our history, we have often missed this
		1.  Several concepts of Evangelism I remember growing up
			a.  The hard sell, similar to a sales presentation
			b.  Debating religious issues, which church is right
			c.  I remember arguing endlessly with people
				- A friend of my parents in Kansas City
				- My uncles
				- Friends at school
				- I can remember cornering people in an argument
			d.  NEVER brought anyone to Christ this way
		2.  You may be able to shoot the eyes out of your opponents 
		     arguments, but when the smoke clears, what matters is not the 
		     number of bodies lying the street, but the number of knees 
		      kneeling before the cross.
		3.  Jesus didn't go out looking for hair splitting arguments
			a.  Pharisees often tried to draw him into them
			b.  Even this woman tried to draw him into one
			c  Jesus never took the bait, refused to engage in it
		4.  Jesus got to what was really important
	B.  Jesus got involved with people
		1.  He went to where they lived life
			a.  Sometimes at the public well, as in this passage
			b.  He ate meals with people, went home with them
			c.  It didn't matter who they were
				- Went to a Pharisees house
				- Ate with Tax Collectors and sinners
			d.  If we are to be apostolic, we need to do the same
				- Where are the public wells today?
				- Barber shop, coffee shop, ball field, etc.
		2.  He listened to them 
			a.  He didn't "preach" to the woman, but had dialogue
			b.  Mk 9:21 - He asked the father of a demonized man how 
			     long his son had been like this - he cared
			c.  (2 Thess 2:7-8) - Paul reflected this in his ministry
				- Shared his life
				- Got involved, got to know the people
				- Connected with people where they live life
			d.  We need to slow down and truly connect with people
				- Listen to their concerns, hurts, joys, etc.
				- Show that you care
				- Your Christian presence is a message in itself
		3.  His authenticity prepared hearts for the Gospel
			a.  They knew he was for real more by actions than message
			b.  Your most powerful message is your actions
			c.  Once people hear that message, they will be ready to 
			     hear what God calls them to
		4.  Jn 12:32 - "If I am lifted up, I will draw all men to myself"
			a.  That does not mean lifting up arguments, debates, or 
			b.  It means being as he is and giving him the credit
			c.  It means being humble and authentic in caring
	C.  Christ likeness draws people to Christ
		1.  ILL:  Reminds me of lady that always went to the post office
			a.  One day a long line, all she wanted was stamps
			b.  Someone reminded her that there were stamps in the 
			     machine in the lobby  
			c.  I know, she said, but the machine doesn't ask me about 
			     my arthritis
		2.  That is why We Care approach is effective
			a.  Tries to do what Christ did - care for people
			b.  People will listen because you show that you care
				- Help them with some food
				- Listen to them
		3.  This is why Swope Parkway has been growing
			a.  Deeply involved in caring ministries in their community
			b.  Care for elderly, children, families, community in general
			c.  Gerald McGill - "We are willing to try anything if we think it 
			     will bring glory to God
			d.  When I first met him four years ago, he said they had 
			     500, now they are saying they have 700
				- Numerical growth was not a goal in itself
				- It was more like a by product of caring ministries
	D.  Caring goes along with sharing
		1.  Part of the way to share the Gospel is through caring
		2.  Once you win a heart, you can win an ear for the Gospel

III.  God calls us to consider ourselves
	A.  How can we be apostolic in all we do?
		1.  Being apostolic/sent is not an option, it is part of our identity
		2.  In Paul's lists of spiritual gifts in 1 Cor 12 and Rom 12, he never 
		     mentions evangelism.  Why?
			a.  It is not a "gift" in the sense that it is only meant for a 
			     portion of the church
			b.  As God sent Christ who sent the Spirit, so we too are 
			c.  We are not sent as lone rangers, but as a body
		3.  How do we do this?
	B.  Some self reflective questions to explore
		1.  Do we get out of the Christian ghetto?  How much do we 
		     consider ourselves as missionaries?
		2.  How much do we introduce people to faith in Christ?
		3.  How much do we encourage each other to participate 
		     missionally in "secular" social groups?
		4.  How much is our congregation transforming the community in 
		     which we live?
		5.  How much do we establish and maintain authentic relationships 
		     with lost persons?
		6.  How much do we explore new and fresh methods of 
		     communication and connection with outsiders?
	C.  What are some specific steps we can take?
		1.  Host public Events
			a.  Street carnival for kids, instead of traditional VBS
			b.  Back to school carnival on the grounds
				- Overland Park does this
			c.  Host a movie night ( we live in a video age )
				- Invite a friend, talk about the message afterward
				- Many Christian produced films are geared for this
			d.  Parenting Seminars, Financial Planning Seminars, etc.
			e.  Swope Parkway does day camp called "Academic Camp"
		2.  Ministries of Compassion (mostly proactive)
			a.  Some churches do meals on wheels
			b.  Some provide free meals at the building, if building is at 
			     the right location for people to walk
			c.  There is hospice, ministry to elderly, etc.
		3.  Support Groups
		4.  Get involved in community activities
			a.  Especially if it is a community improvement thing
				- Swope Parkway's afterschool program, cleaning up 
				  the community, etc.
			b.  Pair Day, Float in the Parade, etc.
	D.  God is interested in the whole person caring and sharing go together
		1.  It is not just about meeting physical needs, but all needs as a 
		2.  There is no separation between the physical and spiritual
			a.  God created both physical and spiritual things
			b.  It is ALL spiritual
		3.  So then, it boils down to the Gospel message
			a.  Gospel brings healing and wholeness from brokenness
			b.  Gospel is something you both demonstrate and speak
		4.  We need to consider what is the best way to do so

1.  The Gospel - Jesus died and rose to unite you with God (invitation)
	a.  Acceptance means a complete overhaul of you
	b.  Your life, activities, goals, job, how you spend time and money - all will 
	     be defined by Christ, your lord and master.
2.  The call of Christ is like his own call - to be Apostolic in all we are, say, and do
	a.  We do not send, we are sent with the Gospel
	b.  We are entrusted with it
	c.  His death, burial and resurrection defines our renewed lives
3.  It goes hand in hand with caring
	a.  Jesus cared authentically - Wept over Jerusalem
		- So many people, lost, downcast, broken, hopeless
	b.  Perhaps we need to go to the top of the hill and pray for Leavenworth
		- There are 35,000 people here
		- So many lost, downcast, broken, hopeless
	c.  What is God's plan?  Us!
4.  I didn't deal with "methods" of evangelism, that will come later
	a.  This was to lay the theological foundation
	b.  We need to see ourselves as apostolic


Process Guidelines

During the summer season, beginning Sunday evening June 10th, the congregation 
will assemble at the building.  During this gathering we will outline our plan for the Summer.  
This first meeting is an introductory overview.

For the remaining eight weeks we will follow a pattern that works as follows:

Sunday Morning Sermon:  Introduce the topic for the week.

Sunday Evening:  Life Groups meet at the building but in separate rooms: 			
Discuss the topic for the evening
Develop ideas, recommendations and proposals
Tie them to scripture and align them with our goals and objectives.
Guidelines for Life Group discussion as it relates to the Topic 
	1.  What’s the purpose of…(Topic of the week)?
	2.  How should we accomplish this purpose?
	3.  What should we…
		a.  Keep doing?
		b.  Start doing that’s different?
		c.  Stop doing? 

Wednesday Evening:  Congregation meets to:
Hear each Life Group present the ideas, recommendations and proposals they developed 
the previous Sunday evening.
Thoughts will be organized and presented in the form of these questions:
	1.  What did we learn?
	2.  What surprised us?
	3.  What is Important?
	4.  What should we do?

Sunday Morning Bible Study Hour:  Congregation Meets to…
	Process the Topic for the previous week 
	Discussion Centered on three questions:
	1.  What happened?
	2.  What does it mean?
	3.  What will we do with it?