May 26 – Engaging Our Gifts In The Mission Yo Make

May 26, 2019 FCBC Sermon A.M. Series: The ABC’s of Discipleship

1 Peter 2:11-12; 3:13-17; 4:7-11

ENGAGING OUR GIFTS IN THE MISSION TO MAKE DISCIPLES

You probably all know that the Westminster Shorter Catechism begins with the question: “What is the chief end of man?”  And the answer is: “Man’s chief end is to glorify God and to enjoy Him for ever.”  Though this phrase is not drawn directly from Scripture, the truth that frames it certainly is.  The Bible tells us very clearly that man was created in order to bring glory to God.  Therefore the chief end of the church of the Lord Jesus Christ and of God’s people is to bring glory to God.  There is no higher or more important calling.  John Piper repeats often in his books and in his teaching ministry: “The great business of life is to glorify God by enjoying Him forever.”  As a Leadership Team we have been working on our Mission Statement.  For some time we have been telling you that our purpose here at Forest City Bible Church is to Make Disciples.  What we will be sharing this evening is focussed on how to achieve our Mission: “To Glorify God through the Making of Disciples!”  The mission of the church is to glorify God and to make disciples but that is easier to say than to do. 

That is the reason we have taken a break from our studies in the Book of Acts which talks about how the early church fulfilled that mission to explain the ABC’s of Discipleship.  The ABC’s form the basis for us to fulfill the mission here at Forest City Bible Church.  We want you to understand the Biblical process for becoming a mature and committed follower of Jesus Christ, a disciple. 

A – Accepting the Lordship of Christ above all else.

B – Being in Christ and Christ being in us. 

C – Committing and Submitting to a Church and a People. 

D – Devoted to prayer and study of the Scripture. 

E – Engaging our gifts in the mission to make disciples. 

F-G – Filled with the Holy Spirit and Going. 

Today is the letter E – Engaging our gifts in the mission to make disciples. 

Tim Challies writing on the chief end of man says:  Our primary responsibility is to ensure that we are bringing glory to God through our lives as we use the gifts and talents God has given us and that we constantly submit our time and our talents to Him.

I believe we do that by Engaging our gifts in the mission to make disciples. 

In the Great Commission in Matthew 28:19-20 Jesus defined the mission of the church in the world:

Matthew 28:19-20 (ESV) “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”  This is what God had in store from the beginning: God’s people knowing and enjoying Him in Jesus and going and telling the nations about Him. 

John Piper and David Mathis in their book: “Finish the Mission” state:  As Jesus prepares to go to the cross, he is the one who promises, “This gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations” (Matthew 24:14). And Jesus is the one who charges his disciples to “make disciples of all nations” and promises them, “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth” (Acts 1:8).

Having defined the mission “To Glorify God through the Making of Disciples!” there is one crucial question we must answer: What is my role in the mission? That definition comes through understanding what it means to Engage our gifts in the mission to make disciples.  The church does not exist to entertain consumers, it exists to engage in mission! 

This morning we’re going to try to understand how to do that by looking at 1 Peter. 

1.  GOOD CONDUCT IN AN UNGODLY CULTURE: 1 Peter 2:11-12

Our residence is temporary!

2.  GOOD CONSCIENCE POINTING TO HOPE IN JESUS: 1 Peter 3:13-17

Our witness is contemporary!

3.  GOOD GIFTS USED FOR GOD’S GLORY!  1 Peter 4:7-11

Our lives are to be exemplary! 

1.  GOOD CONDUCT IN AN UNGODLY CULTURE: 1 Peter 2:11-12

Our residence is temporary!

1 Peter 2:11-12 (ESV) “Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul.  Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation.”

This passage answers how we are going to bring people to glorify God on the day of visitation.  Peter has just finished outlining the spiritual privileges we have in Jesus.  1 Peter 2:9-10 (ESV) “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.  Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.” 

And now he outlines how we should live.  We are sojourners and exiles, some translations say strangers and aliens, not from another planet, but we are those looking forward to a heavenly hope, our residence here is temporary.  We know we are headed to heaven. 

The culture of Peter’s time was similar to our’s today, Christianity was constantly attacked and criticized. 

The Holman New Testament commentary says:  Rumors and false accusations abounded. Christians were accused of being disloyal to the state, or Caesar. They were accused of purposely hurting the business enterprises of the city and of being godless people because they did not own idols.

Peter speaks to his beloved believers and challenges them not to adapt their conduct to the culture. We need to remember we are temporary residents in this world and we need to show a certain detachment from the world.  Romans 12:1-2 (ESV) “I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.  Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”  Good conduct is conduct in accord with God’s will.  We are in a battle where the passions of the flesh, sinful desires wage war against our souls.

The Reformed Expository Commentary says:  Because we are aliens, we often feel ill at ease in our own culture. We walk into a conversation, read a piece on a new trend, and find ourselves amazed at what we hear or read. We watch a popular movie that, to our surprise, suddenly turns sordid or debauched and wonder, “Who thought people would enjoy this? How can it be that they were right, that masses of people would come to this and approve it?” We hear a degrading joke and marvel, “What kind of person could find this funny?” We sometimes ask, “Is this really my land, my culture?” ….

Peter proposes two responses to the challenge of life in a world that first tempts to seduce us and then mocks those who resist its lures: first, we fight; second, we live beautifully.

Engaging our gifts in the mission to make disciples begins with choosing to live for God in a sinful world.   We are to live such good lives that those who don’t know Jesus will see our good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation.  I believe this points to the final judgement.  We then need to answer how they can glorify God on that day.  Only if they become believers!  How will that happen?  By engaging our gifts in the mission to make disciples through good conduct in an ungodly culture realizing that our residence here is temporary.  And there is more…

2.  GOOD CONSCIENCE POINTING TO HOPE IN JESUS: 1 Peter 3:13-17

Our witness is contemporary!

1 Peter 3:13-17 (ESV) “Now who is there to harm you if you are zealous for what is good?  But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled,  but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect,  having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame.  For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that should be God’s will, than for doing evil.”

What if you try to live for Jesus and you suffer because of it?  Have no fear!  Matthew 10:28 (ESV)

“And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.”  The antidote for fear is faith, in your hearts honour Christ the Lord as holy, in your hearts set apart Jesus Christ as Lord. 

Peter was writing to believers facing persecution and encouraging them.  Even if they speak badly about your life be ready to speak boldly for your Lord.  The perfect example of one who suffered for doing good is Jesus.  Be zealous for what is good.  Live with a good conscience. 

John MacArthur says:  Good refers generally to a life characterized by generosity, unselfishness, kindness, and thoughtfulness toward others. 

The end goal is that they see the hope that you have and you have the opportunity to speak boldly about it.  This implies a constant willingness to speak up for Jesus, to confess our allegiance to Him, and to witness fearlessly to His saving grace. This defense concerns our “hope.”

Peter began his letter speaking about that hope.  1 Peter 1:3-5 (ESV) “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,  to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.”

The Holman Commentary says: One of the distinguishing marks of believers in Christ is their possession of hope. Christian hope is to be so real and distinctive that non-Christians will be puzzled by it and ask for an explanation. We should seize the opportunities of witness presented in these kinds of situations.

According to Wayne Grudem: Such witness must be given with gentleness and (respect), not attempting to overpower the person with the force of human personality or aggressiveness, but trusting the Holy Spirit himself to quietly persuade the listener.”

We live without fear because we live in hope.  We engage in the mission to make disciples through good conduct and good conscience gaining a hearing for the gospel and then using our God-given gifts to His glory. 

3.  GOOD GIFTS USED FOR GOD’S GLORY!  1 Peter 4:7-11

Our lives are to be exemplary! 

1 Peter 4:7-11 (ESV) “The end of all things is at hand; therefore be self-controlled and sober-minded for the sake of your prayers.  Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins.  Show hospitality to one another without grumbling.  As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace: whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies—in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.”

Everything is ready for Christ to return and to rule in God’s perfect time so we must remember that the time is short.  “The end of all things is at hand.”  Peter sets out what we need to keep on doing as we engage our gifts in the mission to make disciples.  The Lord’s return, eschatology and the family of faith frame what Peter is telling us. 

He tells us how to live!  Six truths to guide our lives. 

1.  Live seriously and soberly – verse 7. 

We are to be soberly aware of the way things really are and that should guide and inform our prayer lives.  “The end of all things is at hand; therefore be self-controlled and sober-minded.” 

2.  Live watching and praying – verse 7.  “For the sake of your prayers.” 

We are to focus our thoughts on prayer.  We need to be alert to every opportunity to pray.  To pray without ceasing.  That will enable us to live with good conduct and a good conscience being ready always to share the hope that is within us.  And we can only do that if we are praying.  Pray the three open prayer.  Lord, open the door.  Lord, open their heart.  Lord, open my mouth. 

3.  Live with fervent love – verse 8. 

“Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins.”  This love is mutual, for one another.  It is unceasing which Peter has already said in 1 Peter 1:22 (ESV) “Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart.”  Love means a commitment to harmony and a refusal to harm others.  Peter adds that love covers a multitude of sins.  We do not love others if we delight in exposing their sins.

Peter probably had in mind Proverbs 10:12 (ESV) “Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all offenses.”  It doesn’t mean that love overlooks sin, it means that love overtakes sin with grace and mercy.  Covers literally means covering and indicates a willingness to forgive sin.

The present tense indicates that which is to be constantly true in the fellowship of believers. 

John 13:34-35 (ESV) “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.  By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”

4.  Live showing hospitality and do it ungrudgingly – verse 9.   

“Show hospitality to one another without grumbling.”    

The Teachers outlines and study bible says:  Hospitality was an absolute essential for the early church, and it is an absolute essential within the church today. Why? For love and care and ministry and close fellowship. It is almost impossible to maintain a loving and caring church and a dynamic ministry unless believers are fellowshipping together in their homes. In fact, Christ taught that we are to use our homes as centers of Christian love, fellowship, and outreach. This is a fact that is often unknown or ignored.

Note that we are to open our homes without grudging, that is, without murmuring or complaining. We are to willingly and cordially open our homes, open them joyfully expecting great things of God.

In order to build relationships which are meaningful, we must be willing to open up our lives and our homes.  Hospitality is the practical proof of love. 

Karen Mains reminds us that there is a great difference between entertaining and extending hospitality.  “Entertaining says, ‘I want to impress you with my home, my clever decorating, my cooking.’  Hospitality, seeking to minister, says, ‘ This home is a gift from my Master.  I use it as He desires.’  Hospitality aims to serve.  “Entertaining puts things before people.  ‘As soon as I get the house finished, the living room decorated, my housecleaning done—then I will start inviting people.’  Hospitality puts people first.  ‘No furniture—we’ll even eat on the floor!’  ‘The decorating may never get done—you come anyway.’  ‘The house is a mess—but you are friends—come home with us.’

“Entertaining subtly declares, ‘This home is mine, an expression of my personality.  Look, please, and admire.’  Hospitality whispers, ‘What is mine is yours.'”

5. Live using your gift – verses 10-11a. 

“As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace: whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies.” 

Every believer has a gift.  Use it for God’s glory.  Engaging our gifts in the mission to make disciples.  What glorifies God?  Making disciples. 

Believers are to use their gifts serving and ministering to one another. Every believer’s task is to use his or her gift to build up believers in the church and to witness and minister to the world.

We are stewards of the grace gifts of God.  You are the steward of the grace and the gift that God has given you.  And we use our gifts by speaking and by serving. 

We use our gift by speaking.  Maybe you’re saying: “But I can’t speak.”  But God can speak through you!  We are to depend totally on God to do the speaking.  That’s the point of constant prayer. 

We use our gift by serving.  Note that God supplies the strength.  We serve acknowledging that our strength and our gift come from God alone.  All the glory belongs to Him! 

6.  Live to give God glory – verse 11b.

“In order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.”  God is to be glorified, but it is expressly stated that this is through Jesus Christ, to whom also belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.

To Him be the glory which brings us back to:

What is the chief end of man.  “Man’s chief end is to glorify God and to enjoy Him for ever.” 

Our Mission: “To Glorify God through the Making of Disciples!” 

What is the means of accomplishing our mission? 

A – Accepting the Lordship of Christ above all else.

B – Being in Christ and Christ being in us. 

C – Committing and Submitting to a Church and a People. 

D – Devoted to prayer and study of the Scripture. 

E – Engaging our gifts in the mission to make disciples. 

F-G – Filled with the Holy Spirit and Going. 

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