This Week

Title: Making Disciples
Abstract: The previous week’s sermon gave an analysis of the external and internal factors contributing to the decline in membership which the church has experienced over the last three generations. This week’s sermon looks at those churches which exhibit signs of renewal and resurrection on the other side of the decimation and at what they suggest about the church’s future. Rejected, on Biblical grounds, are churches that seek to become “successful” by merely implementing certain programmes or management models, churches that seek to capitalize upon the cultural dissatisfaction with the church by being “un-church,” or churches that become general “centres of spirituality” as opposed to exalting the name of Christ in all its specificity. We have a promise in Matthew 16.18 and Matthew 28.20 that God will always advance His kingdom through the visible church, and that the plan for that advancement is his to direct, not ours. Only when Christ is at the head of the church and at the forefront of its proclamation can it claim to be built upon a rock. This Christ-focus is what should ground its worship. Only when the commission to “make disciples” is taken seriously can the church claim to be fulfilling its Christ-given missional purpose. Churches that appear to be emerging with health and vitality from the ruin of the last 60 years can be found on both sides of the mega-church/emergent church divide. While the size and style of the congregation and most notably the worship, appear quite different in these two different kinds of churches there is agreement around at least three things. Future church must be relational, missional and participatory. There is in both kinds of church, a sense of core vs. periphery and a dynamic movement of periphery into core and core out into the world to replenish the periphery. A small group experience, where teaching and learning, the development of a Christian identity, happen within a relational medium, is essential for each member in addition to their Sunday worship experience with the gathered community. A practice of story telling is also essential. It may begin in small groups, as members of the church begin to tell their stories (always in connection to the larger Christian story) to one another, but it ends with an ability to commend the Christian life through authenticity (obedience to the gospel in every part of our life; walking the walk) and through story telling (talking the talk) in the world at large.

For the full Sermon text click here to read


To Search our database for Sermons; first select the "Search Type" (e.g. Title, Date), and then the details of the type of search.

Date


84 Records Found. Displaying page 1 of 17:

Type Series Date Title Abstract
Regular None 6/24/2012 Making Disciples The previous week’s sermon gave an analysis of the external and internal factors contributing to the decline in membership which the church has experienced over the last three generations. This week’s sermon looks at those churches which exhibit signs of renewal and resurrection on the other side of the decimation and at what they suggest about the church’s future. Rejected, on Biblical grounds, are churches that seek to become “successful” by merely implementing certain programmes or management models, churches that seek to capitalize upon the cultural dissatisfaction with the church by being “un-church,” or churches that become general “centres of spirituality” as opposed to exalting the name of Christ in all its specificity. We have a promise in Matthew 16.18 and Matthew 28.20 that God will always advance His kingdom through the visible church, and that the plan for that advancement is his to direct, not ours. Only when Christ is at the head of the church and at the forefront of its proclamation can it claim to be built upon a rock. This Christ-focus is what should ground its worship. Only when the commission to “make disciples” is taken seriously can the church claim to be fulfilling its Christ-given missional purpose. Churches that appear to be emerging with health and vitality from the ruin of the last 60 years can be found on both sides of the mega-church/emergent church divide. While the size and style of the congregation and most notably the worship, appear quite different in these two different kinds of churches there is agreement around at least three things. Future church must be relational, missional and participatory. There is in both kinds of church, a sense of core vs. periphery and a dynamic movement of periphery into core and core out into the world to replenish the periphery. A small group experience, where teaching and learning, the development of a Christian identity, happen within a relational medium, is essential for each member in addition to their Sunday worship experience with the gathered community. A practice of story telling is also essential. It may begin in small groups, as members of the church begin to tell their stories (always in connection to the larger Christian story) to one another, but it ends with an ability to commend the Christian life through authenticity (obedience to the gospel in every part of our life; walking the walk) and through story telling (talking the talk) in the world at large.
Regular None 6/17/2012 Former Glory This sermon is the first in a two part series looking at how the church can have lost so much ground in just three generations (pt. 1) and at what it is in those parts of the church today which exhibit health, that can indicate something about the way to future renewal. The church currently stands at an analogous place in its history to the place where the remnant people of God stood upon their return from the exile in Babylon. As they face the work of rebuilding their temple in Haggai chapter 2, the overwhelming sense is of what has been lost, of former glory juxtaposed with present diminishment. The sermon proposes 3 external factors which have contributed to the decline of the church and, since the prophets are really always most interested in the internal factors (what God’s people themselves have done that has contributed to the problem -- things of which they need to repent), 3 internal factors which see the church involved in and responsible for its own decline. Three external factors: 1. the spirit of the 1960s (the reimagining of the family, withdrawal from institutions and dubiousness as to their authority), 2. the spirit of the Trudeau era (personal freedoms trumping communal values, compartmentalization of religious such that truth and morality became matters on which we could reach diverse conclusions as a society, secularization, pluralism), and 3. the changes to modern lifestyle (influence of media, filling of the vacuum created in the Trudeau era by alternative answers and alternative entertainments). Three internal factors: 1. the influence of the historical critical method upon the study of the Bible among a people for whom the Bible was everything. Doubting the uniqueness, authority, esteem and urgent importance of Scripture and Scriptural obedience compromised mission and the call of people to salvation through Christ. The residual social gospel had aims that could be accomplished apart from belief in Christ, so the church lost its distinctiveness/purpose. 2. The church became locked into a particular culture, majoring in the minors, confusing the essence of its gospel with the packaging of a certain church culture. 3. This culture soon began to look dated, but the church’s inherent small c conservatism prevented change until it was far too late. What needs to happen as we grope for hope in place of our lament is the same as what happens in Haggai. The people need to recover their love of temple-building (as opposed to building their own houses and private concerns). They need to listen and heed the word of God (renewed obedience in Christian living). They can take heart in the two-fold promise of God given to the faithful remnant in Haggai chapter 2. The first promise is for the present “work for God is with you.” And the second promise is for the future “God will renew the splendour of His house, such that its future glory is greater than its former glory.” The experience of the last 60 years must be weighed against the word of hope which assures the faithful of a future, leading Christians today to believe that the church is down, and there is much to be repented of, but it is not out. Our God is faithful even when we are not for he cannot deny himself.
Regular None 2/20/2011 Self conscious vs. God-conscious This sermon is about what it means to seek first the kingdom of God. Are our ambitions in relation to the approval of people? Is our life a calculation? If so, then we will be always fraught with anxiety. Jesus speaks of a way of care-free living where we ask for what we truly need and are assured of God’s faithfulness in providing it. The Lord’s prayer encapsulates this kind of simple piety. When our life becomes more God-conscious than self-conscious we will have found the key to living without worry, and only then will we be fit to be called disciples of Jesus Christ.
Regular None 1/23/2011 The Leadership Class This sermon is the first in a series on the sermon on the mount. It connects the qualities and conditions which are called “blessed” in the beatitudes (poverty, meekness and purity of spirit, mercy, peaceableness, hunger and thirst for righteousness, mourning, persecution) with the qualities of a person empty enough of ego to begin the walk of discipleship. Jesus wants those who can reflect his light and savour in the world, and so be salt and light in the world themselves.
Regular None 3/14/2010 Selfishness This sermon is about the opposition between love and selfishness. Using the Lord’s supper as an illustration of the Christian ethic of love, mutual service and self-giving, Paul draws a contrast between this and the ethic of slavishishness and selfishness that pertains at the table of the false gods (whom Paul calls the idols or the demons). Christians who have eaten at the table of the Lord should no longer have anything to do with the ritual eating and drinking that tied them to idol worship. But what is the Christian to do then at the majority of social occasions in Corinth where idol meat is served and where the company is likely to be mixed (some pagan, some Christian)? Paul’s rule is that the Christian is free to eat anything, but that that freedom ought to be tempered by a) what serves the needs of the neighbour (that will sometimes mean abstaining if the brother or sister has a weaker conscience) and b) what gives glory to God. Therefore the ethics Paul commends on this matter are very situational/contextual. Christians continue to believe that eating at the Lord’s table enables us to “participate in” Christ ie. to take on something of his mind and heart. So how has our eating and drinking at the Lord’s table changed us into a greater Christ-likeness? For surely all people are on a journey upward into the kingdom of love, or downward into the kingdom of selfishness. The habits we develop in this life concerning the exercise of love or of selfishness really do change us, and really do fit us either for heaven or for hell.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 [Next >>]