Jesus came to be in relationship not create a religion. Jesus ate lunch with a man named Zacchaeus. Zacchaeus was a known thief in the community. He was hated because everyone knew, he stole their taxes and they couldn’t do anything about it. Jesus spent time with him and noticed a complete change in Zacchaeus. Jesus announced to his disciples around Him, The Son of Man came to find and restore the lost. MSG Luke 19:10 Jesus was pointing out to His disciples, that is what I came to do! I came to hang out with jacked up, messed up, wounded people and restore them. What you just witnessed is what I want you to do someday. That was the mission of Christ, to find and restore the lost.
Fast forward to His last day, His last words spoken on earth. 18 “God authorized and commanded me to commission you: 19 Go out and train everyone you meet, far and near, in this way of life, marking them by baptism in the threefold name: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. 20 Then instruct them in the practice of all I have commanded you. I’ll be with you as you do this, day after day after day, right up to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:18-20 That’s our mission today. The Church is commanded, by Jesus, to find and restore the lost. His mission is now our mission. That’s what MRC is up to, it’s what we do.
My alarm goes off at 6 am. We have to wake the girls up, get dressed, get breakfast, hold hands and pray together and the day begins. So many times, I wish I could hit the snooze button or just throw the alarm out the window. I just want to stay that warm bed, roll-over and ignore life. If I did that, it would be a disaster. What’s the last thing I want to do? Wake up. What is the very thing I have to do or they day is a disaster? Wake up.
8 You yourselves used to be in the darkness, but since you have become the Lord’s people, you are in the light. So you must live like people who belong to the light, 9 for it is the light that brings a rich harvest of every kind of goodness, righteousness, and truth. 10 Try to learn what pleases the Lord. 11 Have nothing to do with the worthless things that people do, things that belong to the darkness. Instead, bring them out to the light. (12 It is really too shameful even to talk about the things they do in secret.) 13 And when all things are brought out to the light, then their true nature is clearly revealed; 14 for anything that is clearly revealed becomes light. That is why it is said,
“Wake up, sleeper, and rise from death, and Christ will shine on you.”
15 So be careful how you live. Don’t live like ignorant people, but like wise people. 16 Make good use of every opportunity you have, because these are evil days. 17 Don’t be fools, then, but try to find out what the Lord wants you to do.
18 Do not get drunk with wine, which will only ruin you; instead, be filled with the Spirit. 19 Speak to one another with the words of psalms, hymns, and sacred songs; sing hymns and psalms to the Lord with praise in your hearts. 20 In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, always give thanks for everything to God the Father. GNT Ephesians 4:8-20
Paul is saying wake up! Get out of bed. Spiritually, wake up, see what is happening around you. Live life on purpose. Don’t waste your time. Why? We are on a mission. The 2nd priority I want to challenge you with today is to Wake up. Understand, we are on a mission to find and restore the lost. If we are indifferent about this mission, if we are lazy about this mission, people will die and they will go to hell. Hear me, you have been created by God to play a role in this mission.
The biggest mistake we make today is God is inviting us into His mission and we hit snooze. We roll over and go back to sleep. We go back to an average life. We are busy, stressed, believe we get the short end of the stick and complain that we could never change our lives. We wonder, where is the awesome life God promised?
We hit the snooze button and think, someone else will do it. It’s not my job. I have no margin in my life. We don’t engage, we risk nothing, play it safe, play video games, go shopping and watch TV. We hit the snooze button and think, God will do it. Ya, He does, He gets the job done through people, and when you hit the snooze button, He can’t work through you.
God gives us the Jesus mission, we can’t hit snooze, we have to wake up, because we have a role to play.
Last week I said, find a local church and be ALL-IN. Why? Because anything you do halfheartedly can become miserable. Do half your homework, it’s miserable. Be half committed to your spouse, it’s miserable. Do half your job, it’s miserable. Today, want to challenge you to WAKE UP. Here is what that means in the local church, more specifically, here at MRC.
#1.) Love God. Find a quiet, secluded place so you won’t be tempted to role-play before God. Just be there as simply and honestly as you can manage. The focus will shift from you to God, and you will begin to sense his grace. MSG Matthew 6:6
That last part …sense His grace… have you sensed His grace recently? That’s where life begins. That’s where forgiveness begins. That’s where you hear God tell you He loved you. That’s literally the beginning of your soul becoming healthy. The greatest thing you can do here at MRC is to fall in love with God. Give Him time and space to redeem your life. This is the foundation of everything you do spiritually.
#2.) Love Others. For everything we know about God’s Word is summed up in a single sentence: Love others as you love yourself. That’s an act of true freedom. MSG Galatians 5:14
The 2nd greatest thing you can do here at MRC is build a relationship with people who don’t go to church. Love them. Be a friend to them. Pray for them and ask God to move in their lives. This is where you and I learn how to serve others. You don’t need to read a book, go to a seminar or get special training, just be yourself. Best small group you could ever be a part of? A volunteer coach, your work site, your neighborhood.
#3.) Love Growing. 6 Don’t lose a minute in building on what you’ve been given, complementing your basic faith with good character, spiritual understanding, 6 alert discipline, passionate patience, reverent wonder, 7 warm friendliness, and generous love, each dimension fitting into and developing the others. 8 With these qualities active and growing in your lives, no grass will grow under your feet, no day will pass without its reward as you mature in your experience of our Master Jesus. MSG 2 Peter 1:5-8
When you grow, learn and read, God reveals things to you and gives you passion. When you are not growing a part of you inside dies a little. Instead of passion, instead of focusing on what new things God is revealing to you, you can become critical or overly sarcastic.
#4.) Love Giving. 19 “Don’t hoard treasure down here where it gets eaten by moths and corroded by rust or – worse! – stolen by burglars. 20 Stockpile treasure in heaven, where it’s safe from moth and rust and burglars. 21 It’s obvious, isn’t it? The place where your treasure is, is the place you will most want to be, and end up being. “ MSG Matthew 6:19-21
What Jesus being mean? Is wealth, money and stuff bad? No, not at all. The reality is, they don’t last on earth so Jesus tells us to stockpile wealth in heaven by giving. Money is normally the last area we surrender to God. Why? We think we can divorce our ‘spiritual’ life from our ‘financial’ life but Jesus taught you can’t do that. You cannot be a fully devoted disciple of Jesus and divorce your ‘spiritual’ life from your ‘financial’ life. How you save, give and spend is a direct reflection of the spiritual condition of your heart. How you leverage your money to advance God’s kingdom is a spiritual issue.
#5.) Love Serving. Your task is to single-mindedly serve Christ. Do that and you’ll kill two birds with one stone: pleasing the God above you and proving your worth to the people around you. MSG Romans 14:18
Serving is where you discover so much about yourself. It exposes your strengths and weaknesses. It exposes your motives and your pride. It exposes your wounds and your ability to love others. It’s in serving that you see what God can do.
Imagine a church of people who wake up and imagine a church of people who hit snooze and go back to sleep. This week in Project 2:17 we read the book Love, Acceptance and Forgiveness. It addressed this very topic.
From the book Love, Acceptance and Forgiveness by Robert Cook, the difference between a church that hit’s snooze vs. a church that wakes up. What does it look like for a church to Hit Snooze? Emphasis? The physical building. Goals? Numbers. Who accomplishes the ministry? 1. Professionals 2. All arrows point in 3. About position. Result? Comfort.
What’s it look like for a church to Wake Up? Emphasis? People, healed and ready to serve. Goals? Individuals filled with Holy Spirit engaging their culture. Who accomplishes the ministry? 1. Ordinary people healed. 2. Arrows point out to culture. 3. About living out being a Christian. Result? Passion.
What church do you want to be a part of? The one who hits snooze or the one who wakes up? Find a local church and be ALL-IN. What does that mean? WAKE-UP to the mission of Christ.