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LIVING AS A MISSIONAL CHURCH: in a Pluralistic and Postmodern Culture (1Cor 9:19-27 * Message #8/9) 04-18-10
INTRODUCTION. 1. Some Definitions: Missional Church: *emphasizes the following – among other things [and in contrast with some church growth methods]: 1) start with the question “what is the gospel” not “what makes the church grow”; 2) look first for what God is doing & how God works before engaging in strategic planning; 3) recognize the narrative foundation of theology & the gospel over a rational/propositional one; and 4) seek an inclusiveness of diversity in the church, not homogeneous subcultures [*adapted from Gailyn Van Rheenan – see: www.missiology.org]. Pluralism: the acceptance and promotion of diversity within society regarding religion, ethnicity, and other social groups. Religiously speaking, pluralism embraces many beliefs about God, revelation, and paths to salvation (the truth, moral living, etc.). Postmodernism: a pluralistic movement that has rejected the modernist worldview of the previous two centuries (which rose out of the Enlightenment era of the 1700’s). Modernists exalted human reason as the means of discovering and knowing truth (rejecting our need for God & His revelation), and believed that through human reason, humanity had the ability to usher in a worldly utopia (heaven on earth). Postmodernism rose up in the second half of the 1900’s, rejecting universal or absolute truth (or our ability to know it), and embracing pluralism. 2. The Church of God in Corinth: The city of Corinth was a prosperous trading town, with a pluralistic mixture of subcultures, philosophies, lifestyles and religions. The culture was driven by selfish-ambition and famous for its sexual immorality. Founded by the Apostle Paul on his 2nd missionary journey (c. 50-52 A.D.; Acts 18:1-18), and probably made up of several house churches. *The church was largely divided between the haves and the have nots. Some were seeking to live faithfully in Christ, but many of those in leadership or influential positions (i.e. hosts of the house churches) were driven more by the selfish-ambition & worldly wisdom of their Corinthian culture, then they were living for Christ and embracing the humility, shame, wisdom and power of God found in the cross. “In Corinth, no countercultural impact, so central to the preaching of the cross (1:18-25), is evident. Their faith appears not to have created any significant social and moral realignment of their lives. They face little or no social ostracism, and the lack of external pressure contributes to their internal dissension . . . The problem was not that the church was in Corinth but that too much of Corinth was in the church” (*taken from 1 Corinthians, by David E. Garland, pp.1-21). EMBRACING A MISSIONAL HEART. 1. thru Gospel Humility: v19; 2. with Gospel Flexibility: vs20-22; 3. for Gospel Priorities: vs23-27; LIVING AS A MISSIONAL CHURCH: in a Pluralistic & Postmodern Culture. 1. with an Authentic-Gospel Witness: ● Experienced in loving relationships; ● Empowered by the Holy Spirit; ● Devoted to God’s kingdom & glory. 2. by Proclaiming the Biblical Gospel: ● Introducing people to Jesus Christ; ● Letting the biblical “story” speak; ● Lifting up the Cross & the Resurrection.
Pastor Kirk shares a passage about the first intentional missionary journey and the characteristics that the church had that we should reflect.
What if our lives, our talents, our resources, our relationships and even the time and place we live are all a part of God uniquely shaping our lives for His great mission? That's the question we believe is the beginning of a new orientation. We need to take a good look how clinging to our comfort zones keeps us from opening our hearts to this question.
Paul's conclusion to his letter to the Romans highlights his call in his life to preach the gospel where Christ is not being confessed as Lord and his travel plans in commitment to his full understanding of the gospel as inherently missional.
Every day we are confronted with the reality that we live in a divided world. Not only are we divided by things such as borders, oceans and languages but we are also divided by race, class, political parties, interpersonal conflict, misunderstandings, unforgiveness and much more. All of these lines of division provide opportunities for us to build walls of mistrust, anger and hostility. But according to this passage in Acts, these lines of division also provide opportunities for the gospel to erase the lines and bring the joy of reconciliation and unity.
In Part 5 of our Ephesians study, Rise up and Walk, Pastor Jeremy takes a look at what every Christian should know about the reigning Jesus -1) The Jesus who is above all things, 2) the Jesus who is for all of us, and 3) the Jesus who fills all things through us.
What do we envision Harbor to be in 5 years? God has done amazing things in our Carmel Valley and Carlsbad congregations. What might he continue to do in and through us if we radically align our life agenda's with His mission? That's what we are hoping for this year and in the years to come. Listen to hear about our 5 year vision, 1 year goals and the biblical basis for our overall focus on "prayerfully devoting ourselves to following Jesus' call to an OUTWARD focused mindset and lifestyle".
We learned last week that we are created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. We discovered that the Holy Spirit will guide us as we seek to understand what "good works" we are to pursue. One the ways He guides is by giving us a Holy Discontent, a stirring in our soul that refuses to let us go. What is your one thing?
As you serve your community and your world, you will experience firsthand the power of the Holy Spirit. In this message you will get to hear about some of the community events that Cornerstone is involved with, and then you will hear from the team members from a recent Mission Trip to Nicaragua. The poverty and living conditions there were beyond comprehension, but we were able to share God's love by meeting both physical and spiritual needs. We encourage you to get involved in fulfilling the Great Commission. It starts in your own community, but your responsibility does not end there.
Missions is one of the non-negotiables of the faith. Why? Because Missions is inherent in the very nature of Christianity and is a true product of our personal faith in proper relationship to a Spirit-enlightened understanding of biblical Christianity! The fact is, as believers, we are all called to be missionaries to the culture in which we live!