Before you climb on a bus its wise to look at the readerboard on the front to see where its going. If youre not careful you could end up on the wrong bus and find yourself miles from your intended destination. And the same principle holds true for churches. Its important to know where a congregation is headed before you decide to get on board. So today, as we begin the new calendar year 2008, lets refresh our understanding of where this community of believers called Northwest Church is headed. We have a specific spiritual goal we are pursuing, and we have some definite principles that guide us. Its these basic issues that well look at today, and as you listen, hopefully youll be encouraged that were on the right track. If so, your own commitment to these truths will be strengthened. But someone today might feel concerned, saying, Wait a minute! Thats not where I want to go, apparently I dont belong here. In which case wed say to you, We love you and wish youd join us, but if it doesnt fit, it doesnt fit. And thats a good thing to discover sooner rather than later. Hopefully, however, all or most of us will move forward into this new year with unity and energy, because God has placed His hand on us and intends to use us to touch many lives this year.
A. Question: What is our calling as a church? Answer: To fulfill the Great Commission as effectively as we are capable (Mt 28:18-20).
1) Our Goal: To help as many people as possible go to heaven
2) Our Method: To focus on making disciples for Jesus
Definition: A disciple is a person who:
Has been miraculously transformed by the Holy Spirit
- 3 baptisms (Mt 28:19; Ac 19:1-7)
- John 3:3
unless one is born-again he cannot see the kingdom of God
- Matthew 7:6
do not throw your pearls before swine or they will trample you under their feet and turn and tear you to pieces
- Transformation precedes education
Is disciplined by the commands of Christ
- Teaching them to observe all that I commanded you (Mt 28:20)
- A life which freely chooses to submit more and more areas to Jesus
- We discover that the more we submit to Him, the more free we become; His yoke is easy and His burden is light (Mt 11:28-30).
Is continually seeking to let God use them to reach others
- Their highest goal is to help people come to Jesus
- Each person does this in the unique way God has fashioned her or him
3) Our Reason: Only true disciples are able to reproduce saving faith in others (the blind cant lead the blind).
Abraham principle: Abraham became a living seed (Ge 15:5), so he could pass his faith to the next generation (Mt 13:31, 32 mustard seed)
Each believer has unique avenues to family, friends, workplace
Jesus said the harvest is hindered by the shortage of laborers (Mt 9:37, 38 the harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few)
B. Question: What is our strategy as a church? Answer: To make disciples using these foundational principles:
1) To present the whole gospel so people who respond can actually be changed inside.
2) To invite people to join a community of believers who:
Study the Word
Love one another
3) To train people to do effective ministry and provide opportunities to serve others.
1) Look again at the three marks of a disciple. Are those statements true about you? Is there one that needs to go deeper?
2) Try to describe the change that took place when you were born again. If this hasnt taken place, would you like to pray to receive Him now?