Living Invitations Part 14

July 30, 2017

This Preaching in Shorts sermon series is called “Living Invitations”.

You can listen to the study by clicking here

In our discussions on being Living Invitations we have said that the church is ultimately about relationships. Relationship with God, relationship with the people of God, and relationship with those who do not yet know Jesus. These relationships are developed in the context of worship, discipleship, fellowship, and mission. We are talking about mission.

Scripture Reading

2 Corinthians 5:11-21 (NIV)
11 Since, then, we know what it is to fear the Lord, we try to persuade men. What we are is plain to God, and I hope it is also plain to your conscience. 12 We are not trying to commend ourselves to you again, but are giving you an opportunity to take pride in us, so that you can answer those who take pride in what is seen rather than in what is in the heart. 13 If we are out of our mind, it is for the sake of God; if we are in our right mind, it is for you. 14 For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. 15 And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again. 16 So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. 17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! 18 All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: 19 that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. 20 We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. 21 God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

One More is our mission statement. It defines what we do as a church. I believe it is the soul of our church. One more lost child to dad. One more in the Kingdom of God. One more to Jesus. Knowing our mission helps to keep us on track.

Over the next few weeks we are going to look at the verses in our scripture reading today as the foundation for our mission. We are using 2 Corinthians 5:11-21 as the foundation for this discussion and we will be looking at verses 13 through 15 today.

2 Corinthians 5:13-15 (NIV)
13 If we are out of our mind, it is for the sake of God; if we are in our right mind, it is for you. 14 For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. 15 And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.

Last week, we started talking about the mission of our church. I mentioned briefly last week about the church having a tendency to circle the wagons. The reality is that we have been called to hang out with the culture, the church is to be a force, not a fortress. The idea of being a force I think is expressed well by using it as an acronym.

F.O.R.C.E
Frontline
Operation
Reconciling (Good News)
Caring (Hospitality)
Encouraging (Generosity)

As part of our mission of One More, we are to be a FORCE. In the process, we will be involved in presenting the gospel with hospitality and generosity.

1.) Outreach that makes people say what?

Ice cream truck, community movie nights, free soda giveaways, 1 Dollar Car Washes, whatever we can do to make people stop and think.

2 Corinthians 5:13 (NIV)
13 If we are out of our mind, it is for the sake of God; if we are in our right mind, it is for you.

This is about demonstrating generosity.

We are trying to destroy stereotypes and opinions that people have of the church, and God. If the way they have been thinking is challenged by an act of kindness or encouragement, then perhaps they will be open to rethinking some of their ideas.

2.) Our motivation is love

2 Corinthians 5:14 (NIV)
14 For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died.

Love in a postmodern world is defined by acceptance. We have to accept people where they are. The perception of many people is that the church does not do this. We are not seen as accepting. To overcome this, we have to realize that acceptance is not licensing sin. It is not saying that sin is not a big deal. It is loving people where they are and trusting God to work in the areas that need to be straightened out. We are still the people with the Good News.

Remember the heart of the Good News or Gospel message. Christ does for our sins, was buried, and was resurrected on the third day. The ministry that is produced by the Good News is one of reconciliation. People being reconciled to God because He has made a way for restored relationship in Christ. A way for us to be forgiven from our sin that has caused the separation and be restored and reconciled into fellowship with Him now and forever.

3.) Ministering for Him is our calling

It is also where we find life

2 Corinthians 5:15 (NIV)
15 And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.

The Apostle Paul gives us some advice on how to live out this calling.

Romans 12:9-13 (NIV)
9 Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. 10 Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves. 11 Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. 12 Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. 13 Share with God’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.

Making people feel loved, accepted, comfortable, so that God can touch and heal. In the Greek, hospitality means love of strangers. We need to remove religious barriers that are keeping people from hearing the radical message of Jesus.

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