Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Moving On: Pursuing Our Mission with Passion and Hope (Matt. 28.16-20; Phlp. 3.7-4.1)

Scripture: Matt. 28.16-20; Philippians 3.7-4.1
Translation: Matt. 28.16And the Eleven followers went to Galilee to the mountain where Jesus commanded them [to go]. 17And when they saw Him, they worshipped [Him], and they doubted. 18And coming close Jesus spoke to them by saying, “All authority in heaven and on earth. 19So, go, disciple all the ethnicities, baptizing them into the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of Holy Spirit, 20teaching them to obey absolutely all the things I commanded you. And look, I am with you all the days until the fulfillment of the age.
Phil. 3.7Whatever was gain for me, these things I consider loss because of the Messiah. 8Instead, on the contrary, I also consider all things to be loss because of what is surpassing, namely knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, because of Whom I’ve lost all things. And I consider garbage, so that I might gain Christ 9and be found in Him, no having my righteousness that is from the law, but the [righteousness] that is from faith in Christ, the righteousness from God on the basis of faith, 10resulting in knowing Him and the power of His resurrection and the sharing of His sufferings, being conformed to the patter of His death, 11if somehow I will arrive at the total resurrection that is from the dead. 12It is not that I’ve already received or already been made totally perfect, but I pursue, if also I would win, towards what was also won by Christ Jesus. 13Brothers, I don’t think myself to have won. But one thing: forgetting the things behind, on the one hand, and stretching out towards things ahead, on the other, 14because of the goal I pursue towards the prize of the upward calling of God in Christ Jesus. So, all us who are mature think this. And if you think something else, then God will reveal this to you. 16However, as far as what we’ve already achieved, hold on tight to this same point! 17Become partner imitators of me, brothers, and watch those who are living in this way, just you have us as an example, 18because many people are living, who I’ve been speaking to you about many times, and now am speaking to you also while crying, the enemies of the cross of Christ, 19whose destiny is destruction, whose god is their stomach and whose glory is in their shame, the people who are thinking worldly things. 20You see, our citizenship really is in the heavens, from where we are waiting for [our] Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. 21Who will transform the body of our humility conformed to the body of His glory according to the inner-activity, with the implication that He is able also to subordinate all things to Him. 4.1Therefore, my dearly loved and missed brothers—my joy and crown, stand strong in the Lord in this way, loved ones!

1.      Structure
a.       Matt. 28.16-20
                                                              i.      Setting: Meeting Jesus at the Mountain Jesus told them to go to (28.26-17)
                                                            ii.      Jesus’ Final Encouragement and Instruction: Go, Make Disciples of all nations
1.      Authority to preach the Gospel (28.18)
2.      Command to preach the Gospel (28.19-20a)
3.      Reassurance to preach the Gospel (28.20b)
b.      Philippians 3.7-4.1
                                                              i.      3.1-6                Watch out for those teaching justification by works
1.      3.1-2    watch out for Judaizers
2.      3.3-6    Paul was more “righteous” humanly speaking
                                                            ii.      3.7-11              All human achievement is garbage; knowing Jesus is all that matters
                                                          iii.      3.12-16            Paul isn’t perfect, but he is passionately pursuing the goal of knowing and living for Christ
                                                          iv.      3.17-4.1           Follow Paul’s example with the Hope of Resurrection and Christ’s Return
2.      Themes
a.       Matthew 28.16-20
                                                              i.      Authority
                                                            ii.      Teaching/commanding
                                                          iii.      Disciple-making
                                                          iv.      Going
                                                            v.      Trinity
                                                          vi.      Reassurance
                                                        vii.      Resurrection
b.      Philippians 3.7-4.1
                                                              i.      Knowing Christ
                                                            ii.      Loss vs. gain
                                                          iii.      Considering
                                                          iv.      Resurrection
                                                            v.      Perfection/maturity
                                                          vi.      Winning/race metaphor
                                                        vii.      Citizenship in Heaven
                                                      viii.      Pursing the goal
                                                          ix.      Imitation/example following
                                                            x.      Forming/conforming/etc.
                                                          xi.      Goals, destiny, purpose, etc.
3.      Doctrines
a.       There is One God, Yahweh, Who eternally exists as Three co-equal, co-eternal Persons: God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit
b.      Jesus rose from the dead, and all Christians will one day share in His resurrection as much as they have also shared with Him in death
c.       Knowing Jesus is different than knowing about Jesus
d.      Only Jesus is ultimately meaningful—all else in our lives is garbage by comparison
e.       All Christians are charged with the mission to make converts of all ethnicities.

1.      Outline
a.       What is Our Mission: to go make people from all ethnic backgrounds into maturing Christians in Jesus Name
                                                              i.      The Right to go and make disciples: Jesus has all authority, all the rights: we are His emissaries
                                                            ii.      GO:
1.      go means go, while some people debate whether the going here should be understood as a command or as the context for the command, the force in the passage is pretty clear, and moreover there is already a pattern of Jesus telling the disciples to GO somewhere, check v.16. Jesus is clearly a sending Lord, so perhaps we should think more in sending terms.
2.      Moreover, throughout the book of Matthew, Jesus has already established a pattern of sending His disciples out with the message. The only difference here is that He is expanding their mission field from areas in Israel to the whole world and especially to people who are from different cultures and ethnicities and even geo-political entities.
                                                          iii.      MAKE DISCIPLES
1.      This means bringing people along with us in following Christ, making Christ-followers out of people. We are not talking about moralizing people, but of making them Christians
a.       Our mission is not merely to the people like us, but to the people who are different from us culturally and ethnically, so we need to be willing to get out of our cultural comfort zone and connect with the people not like us who are going to go to hell unless they repent from their sins and trust in Christ
b.      This is I will keep looking for opportunities to partner with churches from different cultural and ethnic backgrounds, so that we are more able and more comfortable achieving our mission, and moreover because this is the kind of church community Jesus envisions for us
3.      How? Baptizing and Teaching them to obey Jesus
a.       Baptizing
                                                                                                                                      i.      It is a big deal, because it not just some random Christian ritual that doesn’t mean anything. it is the ritual that marks becoming a member of the Christian community. It is a sign that you are a true convert, and that your whole life really is dedicated to God, Christ, and the Holy Spirit and that your salvation and sanctification comes only and always from the Holy Trinity: the One and Only God Who is at the same time Three in Person.
                                                                                                                                    ii.      It is the place where you affirm true Christian doctrine and have a memory of the richest and most important truths of Christianity.
b.      Teaching
                                                                                                                                      i.      We teach them to obey all that Jesus commanded
                                                                                                                                    ii.      This means that in some sense the Christian life is about doing what Jesus says; obedience is an expression of love, faith, and hope, not a horrible chore
                                                                                                                                  iii.      But this also means that Jesus is not ok with everything that people decide to do. We are living a lifestyle not dictated by ourselves, but by Christ, and we are bringing others into a committed lifestyle of doing the same
4.      Assurance: We are NOT ALONE; JESUS IS WITH US
a.       Jesus came as our Emmanuel, and nothing has changed. Even as Jesus is in heaven, we are not abandoned by Him, and in fact He is still with us. He is the One Who comforts us and encourages us in the midst of achieving His mission, even if things are hard, or seem to be going badly, even when we are being persecuted, tortured, mocked, and exiled. Jesus is there.
b.      And of course Jesus is there in general throughout our lives
b.      How Should We Pursue our Mission: With Passion and With Hope
                                                              i.      With Passion
1.      Raising Christ above All (3.7-11)
a.       Paul just got finished talking about how “holy” and “righteous” he was before coming to Christ, but then he says it was all loss and garbage. It was a gain or a profit, it was a loss, because that was his everything, his everything that kept him from knowing Christ.
b.      In our lives, nothing can become more important or more meaningful than Christ. Paul is passionate about Jesus; Jesus is everything to Him. He is all that Paul thinks about and cares about. Knowing Jesus is better than human achievements, it is better than telling ourselves that we are good people, righteous, and deserving. It is not that Paul is against being righteous, in fact, in a way he is setting out a new paradigm of what it means to be righteous, but that righteousness doesn’t have its origin in the human heart or human activity. Instead, it is in Christ, from God. God doesn’t want you to think that you can have a right relationship with Him merely by working hard to make Him like you, you can only have it by grace through faith in Jesus
c.       Paul didn’t just consider all the things that kept him from knowing Christ as loss, because of Jesus he ACTUALLY LOST ALL THINGS!
                                                                                                                                      i.      Following Jesus, knowing Jesus, obeying Jesus, completely Jesus’ mission for Jesus is awesome, so awesome that is it easily worth losing everything! Paul lost everything to know and obey Christ; he lost everything attempting to accomplish Jesus’ mission in the world
                                                                                                                                    ii.      All that matters to Paul is being with Jesus, loving Jesus, trusting Jesus, hoping in Jesus, following Jesus. He wants to know Jesus, but also the power of His resurrection but also His sufferings—he even wants to die like Jesus
2.      Rushing towards the Goal (3.12-16)
a.       Paul like all of us doesn’t think that even he is totally perfect yet. He hasn’t actually valued Christ as richly as he wants, known Him deeply enough, suffered for Him enough, lived for Him enough. Even Paul didn’t claim to be perfect.
b.      But Paul shows us how to passionately pursue our mission, not just by making Christ everything to us, but by actually pursing Christ and His mission with gusto.
c.       It is like a race, and we are running to win, not come in last, not even come in second, we are running to win.
d.      But what can hold us back is all of our past failures, expectations, wounds, etc. but we have to forget about it, and run looking and straining hard towards what is ahead!
e.       We have a goal, the prize of our upward calling from God in Christ: yes, resurrection, yes, rewards, but also of knowing Christ and living for Christ to the glory of God the Father
f.       And if you think this isn’t what a mature Christian looks like, well, you’re wrong and sooner or later God will teach you that this is what a real, healthy, growing, passionate Christian looks like
3.      Following Godly examples (3.17-19)
a.       But what should it look like to pursue Christ, knowing Him and living for Him
                                                                                                                                      i.      It should look like the Godly examples of Paul and those like Paul
                                                                                                                                    ii.      It should NOT look like the unGodly examples
1.      They live a lifestyle that is against the cross of Christ
2.      They live a life that is doomed to destruction
3.      The live a life that is controlled by their urges
a.       A lust for food
b.      A lust for sex
c.       A lust for power
d.      A lust for alcohol
e.       A lust for drugs
f.       A lust for relationships
g.      Etc.
4.      They live a life that considers stuff that should make them ashamed their badges of honor: they take pride in their evil and in their sin
5.      They live a life with their mind controlled by the thought-patterns of this world, they can’t see beyond this short present reality, their culture controls them, and they can’t even see it
                                                            ii.      With Hope
1.      In the Resurrection to come (3.11, 21)
a.       Resurrection is a big deal. It gives us hope and courage to face the difficulties of pursing our mission for Jesus with passion
b.      It is a reminder that this life is NOT all there is. there is life beyond this life.
c.       And when He comes we will be given a new kind of body, because He will transform our current body into something that is far more beautiful and far more glorious, because it will be a body patterned after Christ.
d.      We need not fear what may happen to this body here, because just like Christ, we will one day have a body that is restored and beyond corruption, beyond anything that we could ever imagine
2.      In the Return of Christ (3.20-21)
a.       This world is not the one we ultimately belong to anymore. We belong to a New Kingdom, the Kingdom of Jesus Christ. His Kingdom is in the Heavens. Our greatest allegiance is Christ Who is in heaven. (especially in contrast to those whose minds are controlled by the things of this present world)
b.      Jesus will return. We will not have to know Him without seeing Him for forever. One day we will see Him and know Him in person.
c.       Moreover, He is our King. He is our Ruler, He is our Savior. This life can get bad, and pursuing Him with utter passion can be dangerous, and we sometimes will feel like we NEED to be saved from the situation. And we will be. We are saved, but we are still waiting for our Savior to return, to finish all the saving that was left incomplete until the day of His return.
d.      We are waiting for Jesus to come and conquer the world, to put all our enemies under His feet. We are waiting to behold His Awesome and Powerful Glory!
e.       Our mind is shaped not by this world, but by the world to come, by the resurrection, by the return and victory of Christ in glory
2.      Discussion Questions
a.       What would you say our mission from Jesus is in your own words? Explain why you chose the words that you choose.
b.      How could we make progress in achieving our mission with passion and hope?
c.       On a scale of 1-10 how passionate do you think you are for knowing Jesus and living for Him? Why?
d.      On a scale of 1-10 how passionate do you think you are to accomplish our mission from Jesus? Why?
e.       What is something in the past that you as an individual might need to move on from to pursue our mission from Jesus with passion and hope? What is something our church might need to move on from to pursue the mission we have from Jesus?
f.       Who are some examples in our church of mature Christians whose Christian example would be good to follow and imitate? What about outside of this church in the wider body of Christ? What parts of their examples are the most helpful to you?

g.      What area of your Christian life would be a good model for other Christians, or at least for a brand new Christian? 

No comments:

Post a Comment