Summary: The A.C.T.S.church is a called out community, a Christ focused community and a missional Community
Becoming An A.C.T.S. Church p.3
Jesus’ Command, Our Mission
Last Week, I ended my message with a story that I wish to begin today’s message,
There is an old story about a lighthouse keeper who worked on a rocky stretch of coastline. Once a month he would receive a new supply of oil to keep the light burning so that ships could safely sail near the rocky coast. One night, though, a woman from a nearby village came and begged him for some oil to keep her family warm. Another time a father asked for some to use in his lamp. Another man needed to lubricate a wheel. Since all the requests seemed legitimate, the lighthouse keeper tried to please everyone and grant the requests of all.
Toward the end of the month, he noticed his supply of oil was dangerously low. Soon it was gone, and one night on the light on the lighthouse went out. As a result, that evening several ships were wrecked and countless lives were lost. When the authorities investigated, the man was very apologetic. He told them he was just trying to be helpful with the oil. Their reply to his excuses, however, was simple and to the point: "You were given oil for one purpose, and one purpose only - to keep that light burning!"
A church faces a similar commission. There is no end to the demands placed on a church’s time and resources. As a result, the foundational purposes of a church must remain supreme."
(James Emory White, Rethinking the Church (Baker Books, 1997), 27-28.)
Proverbs 19:21 says,
‘Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the LORD’s purpose that prevails.
Plans, programs, and personalities don’t last. But God’s purposes will.
Nothing precedes purpose. The starting point for every church large and small, rural and city, is the question
WHY DO WE EXIST?
Until you and I know and believe what our church exists for, we will not have a solid foundation or direction for ministry.
We have been taking the last several weeks rediscovering once again what the church is, our mission as a church, and today I want us to see how are we to function as as the church.
First of all, let’s discover again what the church is,
The church is a divinely called, Christ centered COMMUNITY of believers who are united in mission and ministry together.
The church is a CALLED OUT community, it is a Christ Focused community, and finally it is a MISSIONAL community
In our first week of study we searched the New Testament and looked at all of the verses where ‘church’ was mentioned. Of all the verses which describe what the church is to be and do, Jesus summarized it all in two statements: The Great Command and the Great Commission.
Matthew 22:37-39 (English Standard Version)
37And he said to him, (A) "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and , 39And(B) a second is like it:(C) You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
The Great Commandment was given by Jesus in response to a question. One day, Jesus was asked to identify the most important command. He responded by saying, ‘Here is the entire Old Testament in a nutshell’
Jesus took 613 laws which the religious leaders had imposed on the people, and reduced them to two simple yet powerful statements
Love God and love others as yourself.
Not too long afterward, Jesus would gather his followers together and give them their final command. We have called this the GREAT COMMISSION. Just before He would ascend into Heaven, Jesus gave these instructions to His followers,
Matthew 28:18-20 (English Standard Version)
18And Jesus came and said to them, (A) "All authority(B) in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19(C) Go therefore and(D) make disciples of(E) all nations,(F) baptizing them(G) in[a] the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20teaching them(H) to observe all that(I) I have commanded you. And behold,(J) I am with you always, to(K) the end of the age."
Now all of this is familiar to us. We have all attended missions conferences where we were made to feel guilty about the need to evangelize our world. In response we would open our wallets and give our money in order to send OTHERS to do the job.
But I do not believe it was Jesus intent for us to simply give so SOMEBODY ELSE COULD DO THE JOB.
We have been raising money and sending people for over two thousand years, and the need remains as great as ever. It is especially needful in our own community. This was expressed on Wednesday night, when I overheard one child ask their leader,