Are you relevant? Does that matter? Apparently, everything must be relevant. There are many ideas and activities churches and ministries try. But what does God say about relevancy?
What is your motivation for ministry? Is it to be relevant? To do something for God? A compulsion for duty? Trends?
What God wants us to do has to come from our relationship with Him.
Compulsion can be a powerful motivator. But the important thing is obedience to God’s direction.
Does God have to be relevant?
Relevancy = culture dictates God and the Gospel.
For us, relevancy means simply being aware of your times and surroundings. We need to be aware of different things than people in wholly alien cultures and times. How did we get to here? What are the current influencing factors in society? What are the modern obstacles people face? What creative solutions are available to you?
Theme from scripture – There is more than one way to minister. The inner court and the outer court. Ministering in the spirit or the flesh
Sometimes ministering in the way God wants you to means your ministry is rejected by the people.
What is the World? What does it mean to be separate from it?
Matt Papa – Where is the Difference
1 John 5:19 The whole world lies in the power of the evil one. One day this will change. This verse makes it very clear that there are two different kingdoms.
What are the clear teachings from scripture about the world?
1 Corinthains 2:6 it has wisdom
2 Corinthians 4:4 has its own God
Luke 16:8 has children
James 1:27 we can be stained by it. What does that look like? This verse alone shows the importance of understanding the “world”.
There are things in Scripture concerning grace and works which appear to contradict themselves. Maybe our understanding is small, and are hearts need motivation.
James 4:4 If you are friends with the world, you are an enemy of God. God desires the spirit He put in you. Pride is somehow related to being a friend of the world. Pride is related to Babel/Babylon.
Let’s get away from arguments about movies, tattoos, and piercings, and look at what our heart desires.
1 John 2:15 3 things that are in the world
Lust of the flesh – our enticement to sin
Lust of the eyes – lust of knowledge
Boastful pride of life – trust in the stability of earthly things
We cannot trust in economies, governments, nor even the firmament itself. God shakes the ground and cracks mountains open.
1 John 3:1 The world cannot know God’s children. It cannot understand them, but they can understand it.
1 John 3:13 it can hate
1 John 3:17 it has goods – wealth or sustenance
Galatians 4:3 it can hold you in bondage through its things
Ephesians 2:2 it has its own course that we can walk
Ephesians 6 forces of darkness of this world that we battle
Colossians 2:20 it has rules and decrees
2 Timothy 4:10 it can be loved
Romans 12:2 it can be conformed to
1 Corinthians 1:21 its wisdom cannot lead to the knowledge of God
1 Corinthians 2:12 it has a spirit
John 17:21 It is the target of ministry
Matthew 13:22 it causes worry
“be in the world but not of the world” is not in the Bible. This does not make it necessarily not correct. But its simplicity and lack of context hinders our understanding of the world. It is a bad substitution for what actually is in the Bible.
Matthew 16:26 – the world can be exchanged for your soul
John 12:25 – hate our life in this world
Mark 4:19 Parable of the Sower, worries of the world, deceitfulness of riches, and desires for things. These things choke out fruitfulness of ministry. Jason thinks the “American dream” is a lie that eats people alive, because it’s dependent on an economic system that is opposed to God’s design.
Is your desire for fruitful service greater than your desire for the things of the world?
John 14:30 The ruler of the world is coming and has nothing in Jesus. If we are abiding in Christ, put on the mind of Christ, we will not be owned or deceived by the ruler of this world.
John 16 You will have tribulation in this world.
1 Corinthians 3:19 the wisdom of the world is foolishness before God
2 Corinthians 4:4 the god of this world blinds minds so they can’t see the glory of God
Galatians 4:3 we are in bondage to the elemental things of the world. What are those?
Galatians 6:14 the world is crucified to me and I to the world
Ephesians 2:2 the world’s course comes from the prince of the power of the air, and we formerly walked in it
Philippians 2:15 we should appear as lights in the world
2 Peter 1:4, 2:20 escaping the corruptions and defilements of the world
Woe 4 – False and deceptive oaths. Every oath is binding, even if we excuse ourselves. Why blind guides instead of “scribes and pharisees, hypocrites”? Perhaps because they’re not “acting”, they are trying to work through self-made loopholes, and their blind in see its uselessness.
Woe 5 – Obsessed with trivialities and ignoring weightier matters. Covered all His bases by calling them hypocrites AND blind guides.
Woe 6 – Ignoring sin, pain, etc. on inside, and stressing visible activity
Woe 7 – Again emphasing outside appearance. With their activities, they are fooling themselves into thinking they’re alright.
Woe 8 – The profess to venerate the dead, but reject the living, proving that they are just like their fathers. In this, Jesus makes it clear that He will send prophets to these people that they will reject and kill. This goes against the false gospel of God taking all your problems away and giving your prosperity as a reward, and punishing you with calamity for your sin. The perfectly righteous, obedient prophets will be rejected and murdered.
Those verses address our engagement with God. The following is what happens after that transformation.
The Leadership Center recruits and trains missionaries to minister in urban settings. This usually involves being undone and redone, and coming face to face with ignorances. Most of our days start off with “I don’t know what I’m doing”
Urban Missions Training participants work in our neighborhood, in our businesses, next to missionaries and Narrow Gate participants.
We are come next to serious problems, like family members of our employees being murdered. This is overwhelming.
Living in Shared Resources – Sun Ministries missionaries are unpaid. This is not a commune. The environment is shared, items are shared, we supply needs from the same pot of money. We get this vision from Acts 2, and from the teachings of Jesus and the Gospel of the Kingdom. This actually inspires a greater sense of concern for your responsibilities, space, shared items, etc.
These devestations are in existance partly because of American public policy to concenrate poverty, largely poor black people.
If God built a new humanity which overcame divisions, should we not be continuing in that work?
Mark Sanford and Jason watched Selma. [https://youtu.be/x6t7vVTxaic] Large scale brutality. There were people fighting and dying for freedom they’re already supposed to have. We have all inherited this history of oppression and have a responsibility to undo it.
Today, the Gospel is largely self-centered. But the Gospel of the Kingdom is one of togetherness, which overcomes differences and knits a new humanity.
The state of most inner cities was primarily caused by racism.
Policing, politics, empowerment cannot wholly solve these problems and heal these wounds. The Gospel of the Kingdom goes beyond salvation, and creates a new humanity living a new life with a new set of values.
Are you walking in the privilege you’ve inherited?
Song: Derek Webb – I Repent
Whose Gospel did you believe?
John’s gospel addressed elemental things to prepare for what was coming. More personal, and this “personal savior”, sin-focused gospel became the driving force in modern American Christianity. John’s Gospel is not false, simply not full.
Jesus Gospel – The Gospel of the Kingdom. This is outwardly focused because what God is doing is so much bigger than you.
The Gospel does not mean all YOUR problems go away. Simply look at the people in the Bible. Our emphasis must be on the BRIDE of Christ. This is a much bigger picture, and cannot be self-focused.
We cannot force freedom of the Holy Spirit upon someone.
Jesus Gospel brings healing and reconciliation.
Jesus’ Gospel requires us to steward this world with humble service.
Not just a big big house with lots and lots of rooms.
The aspect of the ministry which relocates and trains missionaries. Facilitating a missionary movement to the inner cities of America, building faith communities from a position of reformations, utilizing the other tools in the ministry, the Opportunity Center and the Narrow Gate.
Isaiah 58 – The Gospel has been lost, and if you live the lifestyle of fasting, you will repair the path to the true Gospel.
Jason went to the African Arts Festival. Racism is dumb
song: TobyMac – Diverse City
Continuing the story of Sun Ministries
God called us through Isaiah 61 to initiate reformation of the church and rebuild the ancient ruins. God has a design for Church, and we should be doing that.
Every Christian should be seeking to do things the way God wants them done. What if every Christian lived they way Jesus taught us to live?
Doing things God’s way is incredibly inconvenient.
Many people don’t question church structure.
If you’ve been transformed by Jesus, you will live more like Him
Are you disconnected from your theology? Do your beliefs about who God is, does it change your behavior and values?
Jesus came to the oppressed, and undid the oppression – He made the way for freedom.
Are we afraid that we’re going to give something to someone who doesn’t deserve it?
Isaiah 58 – What does it mean to be afflicted? “afflicted” means oppressed or beaten down. Same word used when we’re told to humble ourselves, or when God humbles His people in the desert to reveal their hearts. It actually has 5 contexts in scripture
God humbling His people
People humbling themselves
People who are afflicted
and false humility (Isaiah 58:3). The hypocrites are “afflicting” themselves. They are doing things that are essentially meaningless and ineffective, and trying to convince God they are afflicting themselves, humbling themselves. Ceasing from eating for a day is not the same as being raped.
Satisfy the desires of the afflicted – sometimes, those might not be the “holiest” of desires.
To humble ourselves is to afflict ourselves, as the people are afflicted. We do what Christ did. We lay aside our rights and become like those to whom we are sent. They are afflicted, so must we be. This is humbling ourselves. And it is how you set captives free.
The hypocrites of Isaiah 58 are setting up an if/then situation with God. This is a transactional relationship, and not honoring.
God sets up His own if/then’s for the people, revealing to them who really has power in the situation.
Isaiah 58 continues talking about the sabbath, which is NOT one day a week, because we are no longer under the law. But it is our new life in Christ, which is rest.
Rest is not inactivity, nor lack of diligence. It frees us from devising our own strength and wisdom and holding ourselves responsible for the results.
Our whole life should be an act of turning our feet from our pleasure.
Part 1 of our discussion of church definitions: man’s vs. God’s.
What is the American church doing?
We relay some statistics that point toward serious problems.
What has man added into the institutional church?
Are these activities biblical? Necessary? Harmful?
What are the effects of these choices?
Apostle-eez Throat Spray
Please stay tuned for parts 2 and 3 of this discussion.
This episode originally broadcast live on April 24, 2015 on KXEN 1010AM in St. Louis, MO
Part 2 of our discussion of the Sacred Assembly. Stay tuned for part 3.
Digging into 1 Corinthians 14
What does this instruction mean about gifting?
Do we need unbelievers in our worship gatherings?
Is this passage nonsense?
2 Corinthians 6:14-18 – Marriage? Business? Neither?
The Church – a set apart people
Peter was not seeker-sensitive
How is the assembly corrupted, and what are the effects? Ezra 10, Ezekiel 44
What are we resisting?
What’s up with bricks?
We discuss the controversial topic of unbelievers in the worship service, delving into 1 Corinthians 14:22-25. What does this verse mean for the gift of tongues? What does it mean for our worship gatherings? What’s an apistos?
We discuss the idea of the sacred assembly – a gathering of believers, of followers of one Lord united in the spirit, functioning as a Body.
As with all our shows, this is part of a 2 hour live broadcast. Because of the dense nature of the topic, we are breaking this one up into 3 shorter podcasts.
We continue the discussion of the effects of the edict of Milan and the development of church systems
We ask, “Who makes a pastor?”
Mark has a cold.
We discuss Sun Ministries and the work we’re doing in St. Louis, focusing on our restaurant, Sun Cafe, and our woodshop that makes furniture out of recycled pallet wood.