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Sep 23, 2018

The Feet of a Beautiful Church

The Feet of a Beautiful Church

Passage: Romans 10:14-15

Preacher: John Repsold

Series: Anatomy of A Beautiful Church

Keywords: church, evangelism, going, good news, gospel, outreach, salvation

Summary:

Isaiah and the Apostle Paul agree: beautiful feet have everything to do with the message someone brings, not the shoes/sandals they wear or the appearance of their feet. This message looks at what the "feet" of a beautiful church are to be doing, how and where.

Detail:

The Feet of A Beautiful Church

#3 in The Anatomy of a Beautiful Church series

September 23, 2018

New City Catechism question:  What is our only hope in life and death?

AnswerThat we are not our own but belong, body and soul, both in life and death, to God and to our Savior Jesus Christ.

Tim Keller’s Explanation:  The basic principle then is this: that we are not to live to please ourselves. We’re not to live as if we belong to ourselves. And that means several things.

  • It means, first of all, we are not to determine for ourselves what is right or wrong. We give up the right to determine that, and we rely wholly on God’s Word.
  • We also give up the operating principle that we usually use in day-to-day life; we stop putting ourselves first, and we always put first what pleases God and what loves our neighbor.
  • It also means that we are to have no part of our lives that is immune from self-giving. We’re supposed to give ourselves wholly to him—body and soul.
  • And it means we trust God through thick and thin, through the good and the bad times, in life and in death.

All that from one little question! J Just want you to know what our children are learning today so you don’t feel totally uneducated when they ask you, “So, what’s your only hope in life and death?” 

INTRO

Get acquainted Table Questions: 

  1. What is some of the best news someone ever delivered to you in life?
  2. When do you remember first recognizing spiritual hunger in your own life? What in your life contributed to that hunger?

Congregation:

  • Did you enjoy the food today?
  • Would you like to help with it once or twice a month?
  • Did it help facilitate a bit more fellowship, i.e. life-to-life sharing of our lives in Jesus?

Let’s talk about FEET. They come in a multiplicity of shapes, sizes, colors and… grossness…don’t they??? [PowerPoint]

            So, how beautiful are YOUR feet???  Scripturally, that all depends on two things.  Turn to Romans 10:14-15.

14 How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? 15 And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!

This passage actually outlines 3 components to a church with beautiful feet: 

  1. They are “sent.” (But by whom?)
  2. They actually deliver that “good news.”
  3. They know the “good news.” (What “good news”?)

So let’s work these 3 components in reverse. 

First, what is the “good news” or the Gospel we are actually to bring to the world around us? What is the “irreducible minimum” of the Gospel?

  • Content:
    • God wants us to enjoy life and eternity with Him.
    • Our sin has separated us from God.
    • Christ’s life, death and resurrection make it possible for us to be reconciled to God.
    • Putting your faith/trust/life in Jesus Christ brings you into right relationship with God.

And what singular verse or passage might give us that Gospel?

  • John 3:16
  • Romans 10:9-10, 13

It is impossible to bring good news to anyone IF you don’t know “the good news.” 

So, the first step in developing “beautiful feet” is TO KNOW THE GOSPEL. 

  • It’s not complex. A child can “know” the Gospel.  (But that doesn’t mean it is “shallow” or “simple’.) 
  • It’s not unattainable by anyone. (You can be mentally challenged of simple and attain it.  You can be “semi-comatose” and still attain it.  You can be on your deathbed and still embrace it. 
  • It can be virtually instantaneous. You could share it with your seat partner in the final moments of a crashing airplane. (9/11)  

So everyone in this room should now KNOW what the Gospel is, even if you haven’t personally embraced it/Christ.

APP:  So how about 1 of you at each table and any of you sitting next to someone in a row share what you understand to be the Gospel/Good News of life in Jesus Christ with people/a person sitting next to you in less than 60 secondsDon’t worry about getting it all perfectly correct.  For most of us it just a great step forward to verbally try and articulate the Gospel publicly. 

Go!

So that’s step 1 to having beautiful feet as God’s people.  But there must be a 2nd and 3rd step both personally and as a church.  And according to Romans 10:15, what are they again?  

#2.  Be SENT.

#3.  Actually GO!

So let’s tackle those two separately.  First, we need to ask and answer the question, “How many of us in this room today have actually been “sent” by God himself to “preach the Gospel”?  A few select few?  Those with the gift of evangelism?  Those of us called “pastors”?  Those who fee a real burden and love for people without Christ?  Every believer here today? 

            I don’t really ever recall doing a word study of the word “send” or “sent” in the N.T. until this week.  But doing so in preparation for this message was a fascinating experience. 

            When you look at that word in the Gospels, there are a couple of things that struck me:

  1. Jesus is frequently sending His followers out into the world to invite people to come to Christ/God.
  2. The disciples are a frequently sending people away from Christ.

It’s a weird contrast!

#1.)  Jesus “sends” His disciples/followers to the people.

A.) the 12:

  • 10:5-8—“These twelve Jesus sent out with the following instructions: “Do not go among the Gentiles or enter any town of the Samaritans.Go rather to the lost sheep of Israel. As you go, proclaim this message: ‘The kingdom of heaven has come near.’ Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received; freely give.”
  • [Also Luke 9:2-- When Jesus had called the Twelve together, he gave them power and authority to drive out all demons and to cure diseases,and he sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal the sick.]
  • Matthew 4:19—Jesus calls Peter and Andrew to follow Him and tells them, “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will sendyou out to fish for people.”  (Also see Mk. 1:17; 3:14; 6:6, 7.)
  1. Jesus sends the 72:
  • Luke 10:1--After this the Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them two by two ahead of him to every town and place where he was about to go.
  1. Jesus sends all His believers:
  • Matthew 28:18-20“All authority in heaven and earth has been given to me. 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, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.  And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” 
  • Acts 1:8“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
  • John 17:18—Jesus’ high priestly prayer for all of us (those who would believe on Him), “As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world.”
  • John 20:20, 21—(20-20 vision???)—“Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” 
  1. Jesus calls us to PRAY that the Lord of the harvest will “send” more laborers into His harvest field:
  • Matthew 9:37, 38—“Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.””
  • Luke 10:2-3-- He told them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.Go! I am sending you out like lambs among wolves.

So clearly, when it comes to WHO Jesus is intent on sending out, it is HIS DISCIPLES.

But something changes when it comes to the disciples.  They seem intent on sending away a different group!

#2.)  His disciples “send” people AWAY:

  1. The Crowds who followed Jesus: Matthew 14:15—As evening approached, the disciples came to him and said, “This is a remote place, and it’s already getting late. Send the crowds away, so they can go to the villages and buy themselves some food.”” 
  • 14:15—the 4,000
  • 6:36; Lk. 9:12—the 5,000
  1. The Canaanite Woman: Mt. 15:23“Jesus did not answer a word.  So his disciples came to him and urged him, “Send her away, for she keeps crying out after us.””

APP:  Are we actually convinced that this is Jesus’ command/commission to us?  How many of us would be bold enough to actually say, “Yes, I’m convinced from the Word of God that God has ask ME to “go” out from my comfort zone and into the world that needs Jesus?  [Hands?]

  • K. If you’re not convinced of that, I’ve got an assignment for you: go on-line this week [www.mosaicspokane.com] and look at my sermon notes about the passages I’ve given here this morning and some I list in my notes but didn’t take the time to look at today.  Reread all those verses and then come back this week or next weekend and tell me what in those verses convinces you that those commands are NOT for you.
  • If you ARE convinced this is Jesus’ call and commission to you personally, how about those of us who are verbally and corporately affirm that with this statement: “I willingly accept and embrace Jesus’ commission to go and make disciples!”  [Repeat corporately…2-3 times.]

So step #2 towards having a church with “beautiful feet” is actually being sent by Jesus to share the Gospel in all its fullness. 

Which brings us to the 3rd and final step of actually being people of “beautiful feet”—GOING…actually BRINGING the Good News of Christ to people!

  • What are the potential UPSIDES to our lives of actually sharing the Gospel, the “power of God to salvation” (Rm. 1:16)?
    • Blessings of obedience to Christ: joy, purpose, deep meaning in life, anticipation in each day, hope of “well done” from Jesus, etc.
    • Daniel 12:2-3—“Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake: some to everlasting life, others to shame and everlasting contempt.  Those who are wise will shine like the brightness of the heavens, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars for ever and ever.” 
    • Gaining of eternal friends, spiritual children and grandchildren, gratitude from others, etc.
  • What are the potential DOWNSIDES of sharing Jesus with everyone around us who doesn’t know Him? What might well actually happen to us?
    • Persecution
    • Ridicule
    • Ostracizing
    • Loss of a job, advancement, promotion, sale, etc.
    • Prison
    • Death
  • What if the people who shared the Gospel with you had allowed those things to stop them from doing that? How much was at stake for them?  For you? 
  • Which of these factors are passing or temporary? Which are eternal and forever?

IMAGINE

  • What if every time you simply shared the Gospel with someone, God put a $20 bill in your pocket? Would that change how you felt about sharing the Gospel? 
  • What if every time we shared the Gospel, someone gave their life to Jesus and thanked us eternally?

So what does the fact that God doesn’t drop a $20 in our picket nor have people praise us forever every time we speak of Christ  DO for our faith, our character and our relationship with Jesus? 

  • Requires and grows faith.
  • Helps us participate in the sufferings of Jesus.
  • Helps us develop the loving, sacrificial, self-sacrificing heart and character of God in us.
  • ???

So, what is it that KEEPS US from sharing freely the Gospel most of the time?

  • Fear of people and their responses?
  • ???

I find it very telling that in Galatians 6, the same chapter where Paul talks about having our “feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace,” Paul asks for prayer for just one thing regarding himself.  In vss. 19-20 he says, “Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains.  Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should.”    

Honestly, that encourages me.  That the great Apostle Paul, while already in prison for sharing the Gospel, asks all the churches and believers of the Province of Galatia to pray for his boldness in sharing Christ and the Gospel.  WOW!  There might be hope for me! 

APP:  So do you think that maybe, just maybe, we should be

a.) praying that for ourselves daily?

b.) and…praying that for the rest of church to have the same experience?

Maybe a year seems too long and hard.  So here’s my challenge:  How many of us will make a commitment to pray that simple prayer in Galatians 6:19-20 for the next 30 days?  [Hands?]

ILL:  Someone told me this week that they heard about some preacher of Chr. musician that told people, “When you go to bed at night, be sure to kick your slippers under the bed before you get in bed.  That way, when you get out of bed in the morning, the first thing you will have to do is get on your knees before you do anything else…or have cold feet the rest of the morning!” J  I love that! 

What if we did that for 30 days…and made this verse our prayer for 30 days?  Do you think God wants to answer that prayer?  Think it’s according to His will? 

One more verse before we do a little brainstorming and updating on a few things. 

2 Corinthians 5:11 tells us, “Since then we know what it is to fear the Lord, we try to persuade others.”  He continues in vs. 14 telling us that “Christ’s love compels us” to plead with people to be reconciled to God through a personal faith relationship with Jesus Christ.

            How beautiful a church would be that was “compelled” by the love of Christ for lost people!

            How beautiful a church would be that was dominated by a healthy, reverent “fear of God” rather than an unhealthy, unspiritual fear of people!

            Maybe it all just starts with prayer for ourselves and each other. 

APP:  So…take the Post-It-Note in your bulletin and put it on the page in your Bible marking this prayer in Galatians 6…or put an alarm clock reminder in your smart phone for some time each day when you know you can take 20 seconds and pray that prayer.  Then, for the next 30 days, let’s see what God does.  And let’s be ready to share about it when we come together for the next month.  I’ll be asking!

Now I want to tell you about a very practical, very easy, very amazing opportunity that we and the rest of the Body of Christ in Spokane have to share the Gospel with potentially every household in Spokane this fall.

Share about Saturate Spokane. 

[Video at www.saturatespokane.org]

It’s for EVERYONE!

  • It’s as personal or impersonal as you want to make it.
  • It’s a great first step…or maybe the best last step for people we will touch to know Christ.
  • It’s the only way I’ve heard of for insuring that the entire county gets a touch of the Gospel this year!

At Mosaic…

  • We will be hitting 2,000 apartments in the 99201 area the first 2 weekends of October.
  • Plan to stick around the first Sunday to pack door-hanger packets.
  • Plan to go out in groups of 2-10 the second Saturday and Sunday of the month.

STORY:  of woman who participated in CA and had 99% positive and affirming reactions from residents.  The only “negative” response was an encounter with a Jewish man who had been beat up as a kid by “Christian kids” for being a “Jesus-killer.”  This woman was able to apologize for such a horrible experience with self-proclaimed Christians, ask for his forgiveness, and even pray with him.  He ended by thanking her for being a truly different kind of Christian!

STORY:  Experience of Candlelight Church in CDA last month.  Ran out of visitor packets the first week.  Had quite a few new people coming for the last 3 weeks.