Becoming a Going Church – Luke 9:1-6
Pastor Doug Klein
Let’s stop going to church and start being the church! What an incredible notion. If this is really the most exciting time to be alive, then let’s see where God is moving and then join Him. For the next nine weeks, we will focus on following Jesus in every area of our life. We can never remain stagnant when we are following a living Christ.
The first principle is 1.) Gospel clarity – Luke 9:1-2
Jesus brought something new and radically different. He proclaimed the Gospel of the Kingdom of God. It’s much bigger than anything we could imagine in our small religious boxes. That’s why we have so much trouble with this concept. It’s a powerful answer to the age-old question: “God why don’t you do something about the profound mess of this world?” God’s answer is without hesitation. “I have come to make everything new and right. I’m making all things new. I am beginning the process in you right now.”
One of the most important concepts you can grasp is that the Kingdom is already but not yet. The Kingdom of God has been initiated by Jesus in his coming to earth. But it is not yet completed or consummated. The wheat and the tares are allowed to exist side by side until the end of history. As I have said to you so many times, “we are not home yet.” Jesus taught us to pray “thy kingdom come” every day because it is taking place in our everyday experience.
The Gospel proclaims that God has come to restore all things from the tragic effects of sin. When Luther was asked what he would do if he knew for certain that Jesus was coming tomorrow, he stated, “I would plant a tree because of the renewal of all things.”
Jesus preached that the Kingdom of God is at hand. It has begun and we are entering it every day. It began decisively at the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus. We take comfort in Christ’s bold proclamation that all power and authority has been given to him for all time. We go forth with a deep sense of the total adequacy of the gospel which is the only cure for the disease of sin and the brokenness of people. We enter His reign and authority every day by bringing the life of his Kingdom into their lives. What a breath of fresh air we bring. And people can smell the difference.
The second principle is 2.) Staying Power – Luke 9:3-4
Jesus is using a clear picture of first century mid-eastern life when he speaks about staying in a house you visit. Hospitality in the Middle East was valued supremely. We can’t even imagine going door to door to share our faith and then expecting people to invite us to stay for long periods of time. Yet, he speaks clearly to the impact of our lives on the people that God calls us to. Let’s simply call it “staying power.”
We are “here” for the people that God places in our lives. Because his vision for them is long-term and beautiful, we approach them with the same persistence and vision. Without a vision of where God is taking others, it’s hard to practice second-mile love. Here’s what it looks like: We are to pray, love, serve, and bear witness to Jesus in the lives of people until Jesus leads us to stop. Our impact in lives is over the long haul. Every day we experience God-given appointments and opportunities. Every parent knows that we never stop parenting no matter how old we get. In the same sense, we never stop shepherding the lives of people. And we never stop praying for their salvation. Jesus meant it in many ways when he said to us, “I’ll never leave you nor forsake you.” And He gives us “staying power.”
The third principle is 3.) Leaving Power – Luke 9:5-6
This is a tough principle that points to the future consequences of rejecting Christ. He is not calling us to leave people in the “dust.” He is pointing to the principle of open and closed doors given to us by God. When it is clear that Jesus has moved on, we move on with him. In other words, if someone is clearly not open to our ministry and our message, we need to move on to more fruitful opportunities. If you are a teacher, find people with a teachable heart.
Now it’s obvious that we will never give up on our family members who are part of God’s larger covenant family. But even there, we may need to take a break and come back at a more opportune time. But the work of Christ is never static. Jesus is a living Savior who is always on the move. So we need to learn how to “shake the dust off of our feet.” I remember receiving some great spiritual advice early on in ministry: “Know the difference between open doors and brick walls.” It will save you a great deal of time, energy and frustration. “Behold I have set before you an open door which no one can shut,” says the Lord.
Christ alone as our Savior had true leaving power and staying power. He left his throne in heaven and all the glories of the Godhead to come and live among us while ultimately heading to the cross. He also possessed true “staying power” by enduring the cross for us and scorning its shame, even when he begged his Father to take the Cup away from him.
So we respond to his command to go and to be a going church. Every day we leave behind our idols and agendas and follow Him. We take Him at his word. We deny ourselves daily and take up our cross and follow Him. And there is no One else that we would ever want to follow with all of our hearts and minds.
Faith Presbyterian Church
September 18, 2016