Message Series: Fresh Start – Sermon – Pastor Dave Page – 26 September 2021

WELCOME

A Special Opening to commemorate the Truth of our past and the desire for Reconciliation with our Indigenous Brothers and Sisters. –  National Day for Truth and Reconciliation is September 30th.

Wise and loving God, You have created, and are still creating, a world rich with difference and diversity. You have created all people in Your image, each expressing their being and living their life in valid, special relationship with You. For all this, we give You praise. How difficult it has been, O God, for us to be humble and caring. The call to go out into all the nations and bring the good news has so often been compromised by our fear of what we do not understand.

We confess that we can lapse into stereotypes, fear, and suspicion of our Indigenous neighbours. There is brokenness between us as Your children. We too easily say, “get over it”, and don’t try to understand that Canada – our society, our churches – tried for generations to ‘kill the Indian in the child’ by removing children from the influence of their parents, their communities, and their cultures. The scars that resulted are real still today. We confess this generational and corporate sin today. We also confess historical acts of injustice and oppression perpetuated not only against Aboriginal communities, but also against Black, and various Asian communities.

For the times we have failed to recognize racism in ourselves, in our church, in our society, and the times we have failed to take action, Forgive us. For our complicity in systems of privilege and power over those whose skin colour, culture, language or faith differ from those of the majority, even today: Forgive us.

Grant us courage not to let a racist joke pass in our hearing, commitment to insist on equal treatment of all persons and groups— including ourselves if oppressed—even at the risk of being unpopular or misunderstood: Grant us patience in enduring periods of non-action, persistence in resisting the evil of radical oppression, and faithfulness in working toward racial justice among Your people, in the church, and in the world: And grant us humility and wisdom to discern when it is that Your Spirit must come to accomplish that which human beings and groups cannot.

We pray in the name of Jesus, Himself the one who is truth, light, and freedom.  Amen.

— Adapted from Marc Potvin, CBOQ

Please take a moment in silence, to observe your own desire for Truth and Reconciliation.

Call to Worship

Let us worship God, our light and our salvation. The Lord is the stronghold of our lives.
We desire to live in God’s house
and to seek God in his holy temple.
We have come with shouts of joy,
to sing and to make music to the Lord.
Let us worship God in spirit and in truth.
Teach us your ways and make straight our paths in this hour of worship and always.

—Adapted from Psalm 27; John 4:23

Welcome to worship!

Opening Prayer

CONFESSION/ASSURANCE OF PARDON

Merciful God,
we confess that we have sinned against You in thought, word, and deed,
by what we have done,
and by what we have left undone.
We have not loved You
with our whole heart and mind and strength.
We have not loved our neighbors as ourselves. In Your mercy forgive what we have been, help us amend what we are,
and direct what we shall be,
so that we may delight in Your will and walk in Your ways,
to the glory of Your holy name. Through Christ, our Lord. Amen.

ASSURANCE OF PARDON

Hear these comforting words:
If you repent and believe in God’s redeeming mercy, your sins are forgiven.
Trust in God’s promises and begin anew your life with God and all people
in the name of Jesus Christ.

Songs

Message Series Fresh Start Who we are as the Church and what does Jesus expect from us....

Is the Church Relevant Video

Reflect

Is the Church Relevant? Is our faith relevant in the world today?

Isn’t that the question, we have to ask after watching something like that. Many of those people, and many of the people in your sphere of life would say no, the Church is not relevant today.

Last week Marlee shared with us the two parts of the The Most Important Commandment that Jesus gives us – To Love God and to love our neighbour as ourselves. She also led us to think about what it is specifically that our neighbours should expect from us as the church and where that intersects with Jesus’ teaching.

I wonder what these folks would have said if we’d asked them – what do you expect of Church. What if we asked Kingsville – in this new season of First Baptist Church Kingsville, what do you expect? I wonder how many would say something like, nothing; I don’t expect anything from you folks, or maybe worse, just leave me alone, can’t you see I’m trying to do life here?

I have said to some of you in our initial “get to know each other conversations” that one of my worries for us as a Church, and as the Universal Church as we intersect with the culture around us, is the word “Indifference”. Meaning that the majority of culture is Indifferent to us as the Church. If you think through the people that make up the circle of your life, neighbours, co-workers… family members; how many of them do you see either being or becoming Indifferent in their mindset towards the Church, Faith and Jesus?

Today we are going to look at some additional teaching of Jesus and start to narrow our focus in a little bit more because we have to face questions and realities like what we just watched here.

The title of the message this morning is: Who are we as the Church and what should Jesus expect of us?

We are going to read from Matthew’s gospel again this morning. Matthew 28:16 – 20: The Great Commission. These are the first words that the resurrected Jesus and His now 11 disciples speak to each other and so we need to understand what He says and think through how any of this applies to us.

Scripture Reading: Matthew 28:16–20 (NIV)

The Great Commission

16 Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. 17 When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. 18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely, I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” 

In a sense for us as Jesus followers, this encounter goes a long way towards answering this question that many are seeking an answer which is; what does Jesus expect of the Church and for some of you, for all of us really, what does Jesus expect of me.

The reason I want us to study this, and some other supporting passages is to share with you what we believe is the great expectation of Jesus for His Church, and again, I think you need to hear this from us early on in our journey together. What are we being called to do, at this time? What does Jesus expect of us as The Church, as First Baptist Church Kingsville.

So, let’s talk about that. Some of you might say fellowship or community, we read about that in Acts 2 whereas the church we are there for each other, to encourage and support one another. Others of you might say no, the Church is for teaching; to be intentional about studying this book and specifically the teachings of Jesus to be able to understand theology and doctrine. Still others of you might say no, the purpose of the Church is praising and glorifying God. All of these things are really good attributes of the Church. They’re certainly helpful to us but let me submit to you that they are not the purpose of the Church. What Jesus shows us in this passage and what we should understand, is that our why is not fellowship, what Jesus expects from us as the Church is not just teaching or praise – these are all a part of something else. Our why is to spend our time on planet earth participating and supporting this mission of ours which simply is bringing the gospel of Jesus Christ to the world and advancing His kingdom here on Earth.

That’s making disciples of all people seeking hope, and Jesus tells us how to do it right here in our scripture passage.

Number one: We are to go: going. that’s mission; both locally and across the world if that’s where He calls us. This Church has a strong legacy of mission. The relationship with CBM and actual ‘boots on the ground’ missions’ trips to Bolivia. Marlee and I have been on the ground in Africa ‘on mission’ for our Lord. We are called to the mission of spreading the gospel message of hope. This is the going part of making disciples. We are called to that as the Church.

Number two: baptizing. Not only are we to make them; we’re to mark them. Baptizing here refers to water baptism and putting them into a New Testament church. You see, when a person gets saved, when they become a disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ, then the Bible says they are baptized by the Spirit of God, into the Body of Christ 

The Apostle Paul reminds us of this:

13 For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body.

— 1 Corinthians 12:13 

As a part of our Baptist Distinctive, we believe Baptism by immersion is the outward expression of that inward reality, that baptism is an authentic profession of faith in Jesus and a New Testament church.

We believe Baptism is so very vital and so very important. 

Every now and then, I hear people say, “Oh, well, baptism, that’s not all that important—if you’re baptized, it’s in your heart that really counts…, or how you’re baptized exactly, that doesn’t really matter.” 

FBK, you need to hear this from us! Jesus Christ only had a public ministry of three years. He began that ministry by being baptized Himself —not that He was a sinner, not that He needed to be saved, not that He needed to show that He had been saved; but it was His way of identifying Himself with us, to show that He would become the sin bearer; and that’s why I believe He was baptized; to identify Himself with a sinful humanity. And so, when we are baptized, we are identifying ourselves with our saving Lord, and that’s why baptism is so important. 

Jesus commenced His ministry by being baptized. He concluded His ministry by commanding baptism, that’s not a coincidence. Baptism is not incidental. It is not accidental. It is fundamental. Jesus Christ, in all of the things that He could have said in these brief words, put baptism there. That can not be lost on us! Oh, how the devil would love to steal that out of our churches!

Some would say, “baptism is not necessary for salvation.” If that’s you, I want to tell you plainly that I agree, but I also want to tell you this. Baptism is necessary to obedience, and obedience is necessary to joy and fruitfulness in the life of following Jesus. I’m not saying if you’ve not been baptized you can’t be saved or that you’re not going to heaven, because the minute a person truly believes in Christ and repents of their sin, that person is saved. But one of the proofs that that person has really believed is that they are willing to obey their Lord, Jesus Christ and He commands baptism.

31 October 2021

Baptism classes begin October 31st.
Baptism Sunday will be on November 28th.
Speak to Pastor Marlee or Pastor Dave if you are interested in Baptism.

Contact Church Office

Now, look there’s a third part to this.   If the Church is to focus on disciples, not only are we to make them, and mark them, but we are to mature them as well. The first is going. The second is baptizing. And the third is “teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.” Do you see it there in verse 20? That’s the third thing: We are to mature them. We’re to grow them up. We are to “teach them to obey everything I have commanded you.”

Now, look at it very carefully. It does not say, “Teach them all things that I have commanded you.” It says, “Teach them to obey/observe everything I have commanded you.” Do you see the difference? Do you know one of the problems in the average church is that we’re teaching but we’re not always teaching people to obey? The words “teach them to obey” literally means “teach them to do; teach them to obey.” That’s what it means to observe if that’s what your translation says. When you observe a law, that means you keep that law. When you observe a commandment, you keep that commandment. Do you know what is wrong with much of the western church today? We can spend a lot of time learning, but we’re not always good at living the gospel. We say we believe the gospel, but are we living the gospel? People like you saw in that video this morning, want to know why Jesus Christ is not real to them. Friends, many of you likely know this well, Jesus Christ will never become real to you by learning alone.

Sure, people come, and they listen to a preacher, and they take notes. But pay attention now, if you get your head full of facts, and you do not put those facts into action, then what’s the point.  Jesus did not say that we are to teach them, but we are to teach them to obey.

Do you know why Jesus Christ is not real to the people in that video or to some of the people around you in the circle of your life? Because they are not obeying God’s Word. The Bible says, 

“Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.”

— John 13:17 

James says,

“Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.”

— James 1:22 

Let me tell you how Jesus Christ can become real to you. Begin to obey Him, and He will be real to you. Jesus said in the Gospel of John,

“Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.”

— John 14:21 

Do you want Jesus to be real to you? Begin to obey Him, and He’ll make Himself real to you. You will never know God by studying the Bible. That sounds almost blasphemous, doesn’t it? You will never know God by studying the Bible. You will know about God by studying the Bible. But the only way You will truly know God and walk with Him through your life is by obeying His Word and living that out in your life. “Teach them to obey”, to observe.   And when you do that, this book will become a bright, living reality in your lives. And Jesus will show Himself to you, and you will become His disciple.

What does Jesus expect from us as His Church? Our mandate is discipleship. 

How?

  • Make them – go on Mission/Evangelize.
  • Mark them – that’s Baptism.
  • Mature them – teaching to obey. 

That’s God’s plan for the Church. And, you know, folks, when we start obeying the directions, then we’re going to see things come together.

So, Pastor Dave, what do we do with this? What are we as the Church going to do about this? What am I as an individual supposed to do with this? I’m glad you asked!

Jesus’ commission has 2 applications for us to consider:

Universal in Scope

Every one of us is to do this. Look at it very clearly and very plainly, if you will. Verse 19 says, “Go”…In the original language that’s written in the plural. For those of you with the KJV, it probably says, “Go Ye”. That means it is plural. He’s not just speaking to one or two people; He’s speaking to a group. Bible scholars believe that this was most likely the time when He had those five hundred that Paul spoke about — above five hundred — in 1 Corinthians chapter 15:6

“After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers and sisters at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep.”

He’s speaking to every one of us. He didn’t just get the twelve. He didn’t just get the prophets, the preachers, the evangelists, the missionaries. He’s speaking to you. He’s speaking to me. He’s speaking to you at home online this morning, folks. He’s speaking to every one of us. He’s speaking to those back then. He’s speaking to us now. He’s speaking to those who will follow. Church, all of you here, this command is universal in scope.

Individual in Application

And it’s also individual in application, meaning we cannot go all the same way, nor should we. We cannot all be missionaries overseas. We cannot all be pastors. We cannot all be door-to-door evangelists, because God has given to every one of us individual spiritual gifts. God has given every one of us individual opportunities. And God has a plan for everyone’s life. And God has placed every one of us in a sphere of activity with certain opportunities. And God has gifted us in different ways.

So, I may not go as you go. You may not be able to do what I do. But I want to tell you, folks, that while our mandate is universal in scope, it is also individual in application. Each one of us, in our own particular way, is to go! 

Jesus’ expectation of the church is not about potluck dinners, even in a Baptist Church! It’s not even about community dinners, it’s not about Christmas or Easter pageants either. There’s nothing wrong with these things, they are all tools that we can use in our mission, but the reality is that we can also do all of these things and at the same time have done nothing to offer the message of salvation to a world that desperately needs it!

Let me get really personal here, for just for a minute. Forget about the mission of the corporate church for just a second. What about you, personally, what about me personally? Are you on mission on a Wednesday afternoon, ready to step into a conversation with someone who is hurting, to reach a friend who is in your house, to reach that person who you might be the only person with the influence to bring them before Jesus and to lead them into the beginnings of a relationship with Jesus Christ? You see too often, here’s the mistake we make. We come to church for praise and for teaching and for fellowship and we think this is the end goal, but it’s not. Remember the apostle Paul says we’re to be running the race and we get the crown or reward after we’ve run the race. Would you accept that there’s a difference between training and actually competing when it comes to running a race? Of course, you would! And for sure part of the purpose of the Church can be for training, for preparing and equipping. But it has to lead somewhere. RIGHT?! We have to go out there and run the race!

I have trained to be a fireman for 27 years – to learn how to read smoke and understand the laws of thermal layering and fire dynamics, to search buildings and cut people out of cars. We trained how to rescue people out of wind turbines and deal with drug overdoses, but the reason we do that, is because we have to be ready for when people call 911. We have to be ready to respond, don’t we ?

Does all of this sound overwhelming? It does to me! So let me close with these final words of my Master:

20 “… And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

There has already been one perfect One and He was perfect all the way from the shores of Galilee to the cross of Calvary, where He took our sins and failures. 

Don’t be afraid of this commission. We are not called to imitate His perfection in disciple-making. We are not capable of that. But we can take great comfort that in Him our efforts are amplified, and that our Lord who promises to build His church (Matthew 16:18) and be with us always as we carry out His Commission (Matthew 28:20) That He walks with us as we go out there for Him.

You are all leaders in the church. He’s chosen all of us for this time, for this difficult time, for this time of incredible change and He didn’t choose Spurgeon and He didn’t choose Calvin, He didn’t choose Wesley and He didn’t choose Luther. He chose us. You and Me.

What does Jesus expect of us as the Church? Just take with you one word that you heard both last week and this week. GO!

GO AND LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOUR

GO AND MAKE DISCIPLES

ARE YOU READY TO GO WITH US?!

LET’S GO TOGETHER…

Amen?

Prayer

No matter where we are, where we are going, or what we are doing, we know that we find our help in You, our Lord.
You are the creator and sustainer of all
that has been made and will be made.
And yet, the immensity of creation does not distract You from caring personally for every person in it.
We know that is true of Your care for us too!
You do not daydream or become weary in that care.
We thank You that You not only watch over us with diligence but that You will guide us so that we will not fall—
so that we won’t even stumble.
Whether we are awake or asleep, You are there, sheltering and protecting us from all that would hurt us. We know that You watch over all our living—
You have in the past, and we know You are now.
Your promise holds for the future and for eternity,
and we praise and thank You for that.
Gracious God,
we pray for the faithful all over the world,
that all who love You may be united in Your service. 
We pray for the peoples and leaders of the nations, that they may be reconciled one to another
in pursuit of Your justice and peace. 
We pray for all who suffer from prejudice, greed, or violence, that the heart of humanity may warm with Your tenderness. 
We Pray specifically for all Indigenous peoples of every land who even today are subjected to the wrongs of the past and the burdens of an uncertain future.
We pray for all in need
because of famine, flood, or earthquake,
that they may know the hope of Your faithfulness through the help of others.
We pray especially for the people of our Church Family.
We pray for all who suffer the pain of sickness, loneliness, fear, or loss,
that those whose names are in our hearts,
in the hearts of others,
or known to You alone,
may receive strength and courage. 
Lord, in Your mercy, hear our prayer.

Song

Benediction

20 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.

Ephesians 3:20-21

Go in Peace and Serve Him.