What is the greatest rescue mission? How do people come to know Jesus? In our finale to the 4-part series on our gospel identities, we explored how everyday people being faithful in their everyday lives become the primary agent of bringing God’s people home. We are missionaries of God sent to show and tell Jesus. A mission is a special assignment given to a person or group, and if we are in Christ we all have a special assignment, but before we ever talk about what we must do we must glory in what has been done for us. God sent His son on the ultimate rescue mission as the ultimate missionary. He who knew no sin became sin for us that we would be the righteousness of God in him. The only thing we contribute to our salvation is the sin that required it. Nothing can wash away our sins but the blood of Jesus. What is the message of Christianity? Religion says do and God will be pleased, where as the message of Christianity is it’s already been done for you. It is hard to be overflowing with joy when we are burdened with all that we have to do. We can’t ever get over celebrating our rescue. This is the fountain head for the vibrant Christian life, being regularly amazed by what has been done for us.
What good is a training video if you don’t actually apply the knowledge from the training? As we continued in our Gospel Identities series, we learned how important it was to apply what we’re learning, and as learners of God we pursue our growth and the growth of those around us. We are learners of God, rescued from the blindness that caused us to follow wrong authority. We were blinded to our sin but God through his Son Jesus Christ revealed himself as the ultimate authority. When Jesus spoke, he did not need to add footnotes for himself, for what he spoke was divine authority, and we now have the Scriptures that God gave us as our authority. Jesus was the payment for our sins and that is why he is the authority. How do we look at this payment? Apart from the Holy Spirit, who does divine lasik surgery to open our eyes, none of us can truly know who Jesus Christ is and who we are. We are learners of God who pursue our growth and the growth of those around us. First, we do this by gathering information. The Bible through the Holy Spirit tells us who God is and it shows us how to live. How can we know who we truly are apart from the word? The Holy Spirit reveals who we truly are to us through the word, which is why we need to be a people in the word and be cautious about what and who we listen to. Garbage in, garbage out. How we fertilize our souls determines what type of fruit we will bear. We also learn from watching those around us, learning from the people of faith, and we need to be able to live our lives so that others can imitate us. We can be open about our sin and repent for it for the perfect Jesus took the blame and the shame. The Christian life is not about living the perfect life, but about realizing that the perfect person Jesus died for our sins so that we didn’t have to put up a facade of a flawless life. The gospel frees us to repent and to not live in shame. Lastly, we should be imparting the knowledge of the gospel to others. Just as we take our own growth serious, we also value the growth of others. We are all making disciples, but of whom? Are we making disciples of Jesus or of ourselves? We are going to fail each other, but Jesus Christ will never fail you. We can rest in this grace of the one who has all authority and shows us his ways. When the bad things of life hit you, are you going to collapse because you have no foundation in the gospel, or are you going to be steady, sure, and sound? You can listen to this message by Pastor Clete HERE!
What is a church? Where people gather Sunday mornings? A building? A POST OFFICE? The church is not the place that we go to but a people who are sent out by God to the nations and to the neighborhoods. To help us walk this out at Restore we have Dgroups, a family on mission together to show and tell Jesus to one another and to a specific target group. Sunday we kicked off a 4 part series on Gospel Identities, knowing the cry of the Bible for Christians is not do to become, but be who you are. We are children of God who treat each other as family. The Son left home so we could be brought home as the beloved children of God. God didn’t love us for our performance but only by his grace are we considered his legitimate children; we are the children of God through faith in Jesus Christ. God the Father is very present and not absent, redemptive and not transactional, constructive and not abusive, and eternally stable and not unpredictable. Out of this love for us, God wants to pour out his love through us to others. The church is not an organization but a family. If we’re going to love the world well we need to love each other better. Therefore, within our eternal family, we commit to walking in sacrifice, not selfishness. What specific ways do you need you need to sacrifice for this family? We are also to forgive, not brew bitterness in our hearts. What do you need to forgive and/or ask forgiveness of? Lastly, we are to have diversity in unity not uniformity. What do you need to take the initiative with to build a relationship within this family? Blood runs thicker than water, and Jesus’ blood runs thicker than any other blood, for all who have the blood of the Lamb are family forever. You can listen to this first message of the series on gospel identities by Pastor Mike HERE!
When you think of book of revelation what comes to mind? Bar codes on foreheads? Micro chips? Complex flow charts and fancy graphs that no one but eschatological experts can begin to decode? The book of Revelation is actually more so about the message that Jesus wins and so do his followers, and it unveils what is happening, what has happened, and what is going to happen through recapitulation and symbolism. What we saw in Revelation 12 was the empowering truth that the devil rages furiously but Jesus reigns victoriously. The devil raged against Jesus’ mission to come and die for the sins of all who would believe, but Jesus won. We see throughout the life of Jesus, starting from his birth, the 40 days of fasting in the wilderness, all the way to the cross on Calvary, Satan throws all this attacks against Jesus, but in the mystery of God’s sovereignty, all of Satan’s attempt to destruct actually helped God fulfill this mission. Also the devil rages against Jesus’ people but Jesus wins. Satan has been cast down because he can no longer make an accusation; the charges don’t stick because the payment has been made. The devil does rage furiously, killing faithful Christians, through false “soft gospels”, and the allurement into worldliness through riches and cultural acceptance. The Christian life is a battleground, not a playground, and anyone who names the name of Jesus has to know that the enemy is after us. But we have to make sure to not get it twisted – God is in control. There is no fair arm wrestle match against Jesus and the devil. Every time Satan has a Christian killed he is accomplishing another victory for Christ. The victory has already been won even in all of the atrocities in this world. How do we fight this? We must constantly preach the gospel to ourselves that we are children of the King of kings! The testimony that makes the devil quiver in fear is not what Jesus gave you but what he did for you in your place. We must also remember that our enemies are not THE enemy; there is an ultimate manipulator. People groups are not our enemies. At then end of the day the perpetrators on earth are pawns of the evil one. There is the ultimate hater who is manipulating their hate. Jesus came to forgive us for what we perpetrated and to free us from the pawn-hood of the devil. Keep the end in mind when going through struggles and difficult times. God’s presence will be restored fully with humanity. Keep your eye on the prize! You can listen to this message on Revelation 12 by Pastor Mike HERE!
Tags: Church, Church Planting, Detroit
As you may know, Restore Church is a part of a church planting movement called plantMIDWEST Detroit.
plantMIDWEST Detroit is a gospel-centered, Holy Spirit-empowered, church-planting movement that helps leaders gather to learn, pray, and connect. Yesterday, plantMIDWEST Detroit held the first quarterly meeting for 2015 here at the PO. Pastor Kenny Petty from St. Louis, MO kicked us off with the topic of “Prayer and Revival.”
The first thing that struck me about Pastor Kenny Petty was his sheer humility and awe of God’s grace in his life. “I’m not going to act like I’m this big time conference speaker, I’m totally blown away by God’s grace right now,” said Pastor Petty as he stood up to minister to us. Pastor Petty went on to tell us about how The Lord Jesus rescued him from drugs, violence, and gangs while in solitary confinement in prison by reading Psalms 51.
In session 1, Pastor Petty emphasised the absolute need for prayer for spiritual revival in our cities and country.
You can listen HERE to this message. Here are some quotes from his message:
“Throughout history, there has never been a great move of God without united, persistent, kingdom centered prayer.”
“We need to be in prayer for spiritual renewal in our lives and the lives of others.”
“No man is greater than his prayer life. The leader that is not praying is playing and believer that is not praying is straying.”
In session 2, Pastor Petty broke down the keys to revival found in The Book of Acts. To see God send a true revival/spiritual awakening like during the days of the apostles we need (1) pray bold, earnest prayers (2) Christ-centered preaching and (3) contextual church planting. You can listen HERE to this message.
You can also check out the Q and A session HERE.
In the end of Titus 2, following a series of practical lists, out of nowhere Apostle Paul writes to Titus the explosive message of the gospel of grace. The gospel of grace is what makes all of the practical things function in their proper relationship with one another. In other words, grace is the engine for the church. Grace is the engine that fills the church. Is it ridiculously exclusive to say that there is only one way to God? This most exclusive message is actually the most inclusive message for everybody. There’s one door but there is enough room for everybody. Is your name on the list? Jesus puts all of our names on the list to enter the kingdom of God, simply by grace. In essence, we receive our all-access pass to the kingdom of God. Grace is also the engine that fuels the church. It teaches us to say no to ungodliness and unholiness, and to say yes to godliness and holiness. We’re identified not for what we’re not but what we are. This grace of God that brings salvation transforms our desires. It produces people to be a people that can’t wait to do what pleases him. How does God’s grace do what we can’t seem to do? Jesus obeyed for us because he knew we couldn’t. He hung on the the tree to absorb the wrath so that we can say yes. We don’t obey because we have to, but because you want to. Lastly, grace is the engine that focuses the church. We’re not boxers but professional wrestlers for we already know that no matter how bad we suffer we win in the end. God the producer has had the backstage talk with us before the match. It may seem as though there is no way that we could be victorious, but by God’s grace, all the uncertainty and fears will be relieved. Knowing that our hands will be raised in victory allows us to focus not on what we see but what we will see, standing before the literal throne of God without fear or anxiety for we know that we are forgiven, accepted, loved, and are His. This empowers us to keep fighting. Grace also helps us focus on our new identity. We’re now part of his people, a new people being formed by all people, gathered as one people. This does not mean that we don’t identify with our own people, but they become our secondary identities for our primary identity is being God’s people. This allows us to see God in ways where we never would have known before, and to show God in ways we never would have before. The world takes notice to God’s people. With grace, there is the power to reconcile the irreconcilable and to unite the non-unitable. Have you experienced this grace? God is calling us to proclaim this grace. Where does it start for you? You can listen to this powerful message of grace from Titus 2 by Pastor Cole Brown HERE!