Service Video Message Video Message Audio %} Scripture Verses Matthew 22:37-40, 28:16-20; John 1:25-26, 3:16, 14:26; 2 Corinthians 13:14; Hebrews 11:1, 6; Proverbs 3:5-6 Worship Playlist This I Believe (The Creed) by HillsongBehold the Lamb by PassionOpen the Eyes of My Heart by Paul BalocheHave It All by Bethel Music Study Questions Who helped you or is helping you come to belief in Jesus?Did you struggle in coming to faith? If so, with what?Are you helping anyone else take steps of faith? If so, share how it is going. If not, name a person who you might start with.Why would discipling someone else, make God so real to you? Downloads & Resources Believe Dr. Jon Morrissette - 8/15/2021 For the next few weeks were going to unpack the purpose of the church. In a nutshell, Christianity is all about relationships. On multiple occasions Jesus said the “first” and “greatest” commandment is to “love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, body, and strength.” And the second greatest commandment is to “love your neighbor as yourself.” There is no greater aspiration in life than loving God and loving people. (Matthew 22:37-40) We’re going to split this series in half. The first two weeks we’ll unpack what it means to love God; the last two weeks, what it means to love people! Now there are no two words in the English language “hollower” than the words “God” and “Love.” Not holy or hollowed, but hollower, like a hollow tree! These words get plastered “on” everything, and “in” everything. We cannot assume their meaning. God Talk. So first and foremost, what do we mean by God? By God we mean the one true God. The Living, Personal, Creator God of the Universe. The God who speaks, who revealed himself to Adam and Eve, to Noah, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Who spoke to Moses, and spoke through prophets like Elijah and Elisha. By God we mean the God of John 3:16, “For God loved the world in this way: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.” We mean the God of John 14:26, where Jesus promises, “But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.” We spent so much time in 2 Corinthians this year. In the final verse, 2 Corinthians 13:14, Paul prays, “May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.” In so many places in Scripture we find this composite picture of the One True God. The God we are to worship, serve, love, fear, obey is Trinitarian in nature. The deity generically called “god” has specifically revealed himself to be the Father, the Son, and Holy Spirit. Principle #1: You exist to be in eternal, loving fellowship w/ the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Principle #2: Likewise, our church exists to bring people into a relationship w/Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Love Talk. So what do we mean by Love? Moments before Jesus ascended into heaven Jesus gave his disciples an assignment. These verses are known in Christian circles as the “Great Commission.” The Great commandment is to love God and love people. But the Great Commission is found in Matthew 28:16-20. “Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. 17 When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. 18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” What I want you to notice about these verses is they capture a truly human moment. Here Jesus has been crucified. He has been rumored to have raised from the grave—just as he promised he would. Jesus has even appeared at various times to his closest followers! You might remember that Jesus disciple Thomas “doubted” Jesus was alive, and real, and resurrected. But now here, its several of the disciples. “Some” worshipped; “Some” doubted. Virtually every human being we read about the Bible has a paradoxical blend of “worship” and “doubt.” Abraham had great faith, and not-so-great faith at other times. Moses. King David (read the Psalms). Peter. If you are a going to love Father & Son & Spirit with all your heart, mind, body, and soul you are going to have to wrestle (persevere) through seasons of worship and doubt. The Eleven were no exception. But to our point. Jesus says, “Go and make disciples.” How do we do that? Jesus says (1) You go in his authority, not your own. (2) You go as far and wide as possible to every nation, culture, and ethnic group on earth—wherever there's a human soul! (3) You baptize people! Baptism! What is baptism? Baptism wasn’t some human invention, it was God’s commandment! Baptism is an initiation into a relationship with God. But not to some generic God… we baptize people into the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. There is that trinitarian language again! Alright, so I get baptized, I enter into this relationship with Father, Son, and Holy Spirit! Well what does the relationship entail? What are we to do? Jesus says (4) you “teach people to obey everything I have commanded you!” To love God is to obey God. We don’t set the terms of the relationship, God does! So whatever we imagine love to be, it does not mean blatant disobedience. Love cannot mean, “I do me, you do you, God does his God thing.” It means, “we all love God!” And, “we love God with all our heart, mind, body, and strength.” We exist to worship, serve, obey, love, fear God with every fabric (the totality) of our being! And we exist to teach others to do the same. By the way, the most powerful cure for doubt is the Great Commission. (5) Jesus promises his disciples, that as they serve Him, that “surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” This is the same thing we find at the end of Mark’s gospel in Mark 16:19-20, “After the Lord Jesus had spoken to them, he was taken up into heaven and he sat at the right hand of God. Then the disciples went out and preached everywhere, and the Lord worked with them and confirmed his word by the signs that accompanied it.” God is never so real to you than when you are braving his mission! God is never so real than when you are walking in his footsteps, putting your hand to the plow, cultivating other people’s faith in the Father, the Son, and the Spirit. Here is something. Churches don’t die because nobody is coming. Churches die when nobody is going. Faith in God. Love for God. It all dies when we you stop going. Go and make disciples! Baptize. Teach. You want to feel Christ’s presence. You want confirmation of faith… get in the game! Be God’s instrument. I want to come back to this idea of worship and doubt. The single most repeated command in Scripture is “Believe.” There are hundreds of verses about faith but let me mention just a few. Hebrews 11:1 says, “Now faith is the reality of what is hoped for, the proof of what is not seen.” Hebrews 11:6 says, “Now without faith it is impossible to please God, since the one who draws near to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.” As a young child I memorized Proverbs 3:5-6 and took it to heart, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own understanding; in all your ways know him, and he will make your paths straight.” But for the Christian, The Father’s Son Jesus is the object of our utmost faith. Again, John 3:16, “For God loved the world in this way: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.” In John 11:25-26 Jesus says, “. . . I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me, even if he dies, will live. Everyone who lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?” Very specifically we are asking people to trust God’s Son (to believe on Jesus) for the forgive of sin and the gift of eternal life! Now let me talk a moment about why its so difficult for people to believe! I want you to imagine that you are standing on the shore of a mighty river. When I was a child, that river was the Kankakee River. My uncle Bob and aunt Elisha lived on the river. The river is quite wide, the current quite swift, and the river has been known to swallow up quite a few fishermen. Now suppose on the other side of the river, the forgiveness of sin and gift of eternal life, eternal fellowship with Father, Son, and Spirit could be found! And suppose on the other shoreline, is a beautiful church with a pretty white steeple, full of people celebrating. Your problem is that standing between you, and salvation, and eternal fellowship with God is this mighty river with a mighty deadly current. Now suppose as you stand there you hear people in that church shouting, “Come here! Come join us! Come to God!” They are so zealous, so enthusiastic, so joyful. The problem is you can’t navigate that treacherous river. A church that pleads “come” is of no use to you… you need a church that “goes.” A church that will come back across that river, and come to the exact place you are standing, and point the way. The unbeliever has so much skepticism and doubt. But suppose you leave your pretty little church and go to him. What are you to do? The Unbeliever has been indoctrinated his whole life that the “only way” is that of total rationality, of science, of naturalism. You only trust your five senses. You only trust what you can see, taste, touch, smell, feel, or scientifically verify. So the unbeliever will protest. How can I trust a God I cannot see, whose voice I cannot hear? To an unbeliever “faith” itself is a risky, reckless proposition. “Faith?” The Unbeliever has heard conflicting things about God his whole life. There are so many world religions. There are also atheists—who deny God exists. There are agnostics—who deny knowledge of God is possible—you just cannot know. What is truth? What is knowledge? How can I know or be confident about anything. The Unbeliever has heard people invoke the Bible. But what is the Bible? Isn’t the Bible against science? Isn’t it filled with contradictions, falsehoods, and foolishness? Isn’t the God of the Bible an angry, avenging tyrant hell bent on killing the wicked? And Jesus? who is Jesus? How can God become a man? How can a man be God in the flesh? And miracles? Creation? Resurrection? Are you kidding? And don’t even get the Unbeliever started on “Church,” on “Organized religion.” So here is what is so hard about evangelism. Let’s say you brave Jesus mission and “go” to that unbeliever. You know that despite all appearances, there is a way across that river. Just beneath the muddy brown waters, you know there are stepping stones. The first stepping stone is faith itself (FAITH IS?). Without “faith” the unbeliever will not step into the unknown. They can’t see the stone—but you must show them it's there by your example, by standing on it, by walking with them. But there are other stones. The next stone is helping a person believe God exists (GOD IS?). Helping them understand who God is. Helping them reconcile contradictions like, How can a good God allow so much suffering, cruelty, pain? Then you must walk through Scripture, and show them why you believe it to be God’s true words, true revelation, true truth, true knowledge (BIBLE IS?). And then you must show them how Jesus fulfills all the Law and Prophets and Promises of Scripture. How the written word points to Jesus as our only hope of eternal life (JESUS IS?). And then you must help them understand that the Church is the imperfect bride of Christ. That just because some woman has been bad you don’t give up on women. That just became some man has been bad you don’t give up on men. That just because some marriages are bad you don’t give up on marriage. That just because some parents or households are bad you don’t give up on building a home. That just because the church at times has been corrupted by evil, still the Church is Christ's body, and God’s instrument, God’s very people in this world (CHURCH IS?)! And step by step we have to really walk with people. It’s called discipleship! And about the time an Unbeliever starts across that river, their old life on the shoreline starts calling them back. So we have to be with them every single step of the way. But as we brave Jesus’ mission, and meet people in their doubts, and stir their belief and faith in Jesus, . . . our own faith grows. Go and make disciples… surely I am with you always to end of the age! Then the disciples went out and preached everywhere, and the Lord worked with them and confirmed his word by the signs that accompanied it. We exist to Believe on Jesus, and Help others Believe of Jesus.