My Money where My mouth is 2.The Communal investment
Key Text: Matthew 28:16-20
I have been deeply disturbed by the xenophobic attacks recently. Not because it worries me what men will do to men (it shocks me but doesn't surprise me), but because it reveals the core issue of our country again.
This deep issue of our country is not a political one, nor is it aneconomic one; it is primarily a spiritual issue.
What would cause a person to burn alive another human being; simply put it is a heart that is dead to God and therefore perverted by self interest and dead to the heart of God.
(I am not foolish enough to ignore the more complex issue at play; abject poverty; hopelessness and frustration of the poor and a growing anger at the disappointment of things not getting better)
But the reality is our land is unalive to the things of God; we are dead in our sins and we have been given over to the depravity of a mind that has rejected God. (Rom 1)
If we ever hope to see our country change our only hope lies in the gospel of Jesus Christ going out in His power!
If you have your Bibles please turn with me to Matthew 28:16-20.
We are continuing a series we started last week called My money where my mouth is. Looking at the cost of change; change only happens if we are invested in the outcome (or are rightly invested in the right outcomes). last week we looked at personal change. This week we are looking at communal change.
Why don’t we see the communal change in our area or in our country?
Well we are the ones who hold onto the Gospel of Jesus Christ the hope of change, we don’t see the change because we are not going and we are not going because we are invested in the wrong outcome (I'll get to that later). I hope to change that in our hearts tonight.
Let's read Matthew before we talk about that...
Lets just establish the fact that we believe in the power of the gospel of Jesus Christ. We believe that that is truly the hope of our nation.
If we truly believe this then why are we not more committed to getting this truth out?
It boils down to the fact that we are not fully invested. could I put it this way; we doubt our calling to the world.
We think that we are not good enough, not equipped enough not talented enough or the task is simply too big for us to do.
So we give up before we even start. The simple truth is if we commit ourselves to the true outcome (the gospel going out) we will find all that we think we don't have.
Why because its;
It's His Commission
Jesus said go out into all the world...
Now because the command was given to the church we think that it is somehow now our commission.
It is not; it is Jesus' commission; as He said, "I will build my church and the gates of Hell will not prevail against it."
We like to think that this mission is ours; but we are simply partners in what He is doing. We join in because He is going!
Jesus said in John 10:10
The thief comes to kill steal and destroy; I have come to give life and life in its fullness. I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down his life for His sheep
again Jesus says in Luke 5:31
And Jesus answered and said to them, "It is not those who are well who need a physician, but those who are sick.32"I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance."
Jesus came to call Jesus came to heal the sick, Jesus came to call sinners and bring hope to the hopeless, sight to the blind, freedom to those in prison. Not us; Jesus!
We are simply a continuation of what Jesus came to do; we are simply working out the mission that He started.
We make it our commission when we make it about what we can get out of it rather than what it is about; which is bring people back to God through the grace of Jesus Christ pour out on all men by the death of Jesus.
The mission is not about us; its about Jesus. He was the one who came, He was the one who died; He was the one who made away, we simply are witnesses of that great News!
Its is His commission and...
It's His Gospel
Now we know that the gospel is about Jesus; but it think we sometimes convince ourselves that it is up to us to make the gospel work.
The gospel works in peoples lives because of what Christ has done for them, not because what we have done for them.
I am often left with a helpless feeling of what can I do; especially when I hear and see what has been happening lately.
You know what I can do; nothing!
Nothing I can say can calm the hatred in this country; nothing I can bring or do will rectify the injustice of our past; nothing I can think up or conjure will help the millions of jobless and hopeless people that we have in this country.
So I might as well give up; run away make it someone else's problem right?
Wrong; I believe Jesus alone can change the hearts of people and so I will stand with His gospel and nothing else; because in it and in it alone do I believe is the redemption of men.
And so I give myself over not to cleverly makeup stories but to singlehandedly present the truth of the gospel to whoever will listen.
And this will be to whoever will listen; to petrol station attendants who will listen, to friends, to domestic workers. whoever!
I will commit myself to speaking Christ Crucified for it is His gospel so I will preach that lest I rob the cross of it's power!
Why Because it is His gospel; and His gospel is power!
Which leads me to make real to you that it is not my power...
It's His Power
You know what made the 1 Century church so effective? you know what made the reformation such a catalysing movement in the world; you know what cause the change in England and American in the Great Awakening; you know what caused revival upon revival in every continent on this planet?
God in His power poured out His Spirit upon the hearts of men!
His power changed lives; His power turned governments and leaders; His power changed the course of nations!
So again I wonder why we make it about what we can do!
Most of us want a change in our country to make our own lives better; to live in peace etc. Which is not a bad thing it is very natural.
However, if we are hoping to change people so that we can be better I think we have missed what God is doing!
The outcome or goal is not a better life for all (for a better life's sake) it is the redemption of men and woman; to win them back to God through His power in their lives!
For God so love the world that he gave His Son so that whoever belied would have a better life?
No! whoever believed would not perish but have eternal life!
And so I commit myself and the goal of my life on the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the work of God in the hearts of men!
That is what I will die for and that is what I will live for!
That is the power in which we go because it is only His power that can change the heart of man!
We have to make sure we are going out in His power if we ever hope to effectively preach His message!
And so church if we would fall back again on His commission, on His gospel and His power; we would see...
It's our Joy to go
If we are convinced of His commission, His gospel, His power we would discover it is our joy to be a part of what God is doing!
I need to say; God is still working in South Africa! The gospel is still going out, and church it is our joy to be a part of that.
But are we invested (is our hope in) in the gospel or is it in something else?
I hope that it is solely in the gospel of Jesus Christ; we are here for His glory and it is our joy to go and extend that glory by His power.
Jesus confirms to His disciple and to us that All authority in heaven and earth has been given to him and that is why we are to. He also concludes that He will be with us until the end of the age.
We must remember that as we go we have to go with His power because we go against a world that is against the light and a spiritual reality that seeks destruction of the work of God!
So church we must commit ourselves to be light and hope in our world!
And so again I call us to commit ourselves to pray for the power of God to be with us; for us to go out with His Gospel in His power to a world that needs His help!
I call on us to pray and ask God to pour out His power on us! to make us sensitive to His commission and make us convinced of His gospel!
Church without His power we will not be able to do anything!
I challenged the church on this last week Sunday morning; and I truly believe it and so we are all going to stop now and pray.