Summary: Our mission from God is bigger than what we come up with on our own. This sermon is specific to our church's mission, but applicable on a broader scale.
Intro: (MI theme plays on video for a minute as I come up)
Good morning, Mr. Phelps… That’s how the tape would always begin in the old MI shows. (I guess it was always in the morning.) Then, the voice on the tape would explain to Peter Graves the impossible mission he was being challenged to accept. He was told what was at stake. He was told what would happen, should the mission fail. Then, he was told in concise terms exactly what the impossible mission was…should he decide to accept it. After all, it was impossible, and he was a part of the IMF (Impossible Mission Force).
In a lot of ways, we’re like Mr. Phelps. We’ve been given a challenging mission to fulfill. We should recognize just how impossible the mission of CCC is. On our own, we’ll never be able to do it. It has been put into a short statement, and we need to revisit that statement often to make sure we’re on task when it comes to what we’re all about here. It provides for us a litmus test for whatever we’re doing at CCC. It’s there to show your friend who wonders what we’re all about at this place:
Central Christian Church exists to Glorify God by
Reaching people for Jesus and
Growing them in the Holy Spirit,
Both locally and globally,
So that His Kingdom may expand
For a statement like that to mean anything, we have to keep using it. It can’t become just another item stuck on the refrigerator door that we don’t pay any attention to. So, every year, in different ways, I expect to visit our mission statement, encourage you to memorize it, and talk about how it’s going.
(Men start passing out handouts)
I’d like to do something with it this morning. I’d like you to take a couple minutes and use this mission statement to evaluate how we’re doing. In other words, to take each part of that statement and rate us on a scale from 1-5. When I say “US,” it means you. Take a look at our mission statement, line by line, ask yourself “How am I doing at fulfilling this part of CCC’s purpose for existing? How am I doing at making this happen here?” then rate yourself on a scale from 1-5. You see, when we ask the question, “How are we doing at fulfilling our mission as a congregation?” the answer to that really lies in “How are you doing at fulfilling our mission as member of this congregation?”
Our men are passing out these handouts right now. Just take 2 minutes, do some introspection, and rate how this church family is doing at each part of our mission statement by rating how you’re doing at it. We’ll refer back to this later on.
I want to get us into this subject this morning by visiting an important story from Acts 10-11. It’s really a story about the mission of the Church, and how the Church was doing at seeing what God had called them to do. But before we jump into that, there’s something about the Church we need to have in hand:
Ephesians 3:4-6 In reading this, then, you will be able to understand my insight into the mystery of Christ, which was not made known to men in other generations as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to God's holy apostles and prophets. This mystery is that through the gospel the Gentiles are heirs together with Israel, members together of one body, and sharers together in the promise in Christ Jesus.
I’m so thankful this morning to know the mystery – to understand that God’s purpose was to bring all kinds of people, not just Jews, but Gentiles like me, under His rule and into His family. Rom. 4:16 says that Abraham is the father of us all through our faith in Jesus Christ. And I’m so thankful to know that the doorway into that family isn’t Judaism – that I don’t have to first become a good Jew in order to become a Christ-follower. There are certain things about Judaism that I wouldn’t be very good at. Now, I’d make a real good legalist. I’d be great at reducing my belief to just a list of do’s and don’t’s and trying to get to Heaven by keeping the Law. But there are other things I’d have a tough time with. I’m also glad that we don’t have to preach Judaism to win people to Jesus.
As it is now, we have a message to give to people. The message is that every one of them is a condemned sinner, stained by sin and bound for an eternity in hell unless they accept Jesus Christ – we call that the good news! Our job is already cut out for us. Imagine if we added to that what the brothers said in…