David Sorn. Lead Pastor here at Renovation Church
We are continuing this morning in our Call of Duty series
Where we’re trying to inspire you to stop living safe suburban lives
And to start living dangerously
To start living dangerous, intense, heroic lives…in God’s eyes.
To start living out your Godly call of Duty
Are you ready?? Are you ready?
Well, then buckle up…let’s go.
I want to talk this morning about the heroic purpose of the church.
Last week we talked more specifically about individuals…but today we want to talk about the collective group of individuals……: The Church
What’s your call of duty as it pertains to the church?
What’s the church’s call of duty?
Because as we said last week, the church’s role is not to just sing songs and have potlucks.
If that’s all church was about, I think I would quit my job
By the way, I think a lot of people in this country have stopped going to church, simply because there’s no point to it.
There’s no mission. No call of Duty.
They’re not calling you to anything. Just make sure you come, sing some outdated songs, and put a smile on your face.
And I think people, and who can blame them, have just said…why go? What’s the point?
But the church HAS a call of duty. A duty to spread the amazing love and forgiveness of Jesus Christ.
And it does so while battling the forces of hell. It’s a battle.
3 quick reminders of what we said last week about the church, it’s call, and it’s battle.
By the way, before we get started, I just want to preface…I’m mostly speaking to those of you that are Jesus followers today, and really challenge you.
…if you’re just kicking the tires of faith, we really want to help answer some of your questions in a few weeks, but right now…we need to speak to those of you that are already following him…and issue a call
OK, 3 reminders about the church and what the Bible says about it:
I’ll just read these quickly, so we won’t even put them on the screen
Matthew 11:12 - the kingdom of heaven has been forcefully advancing, and forceful men lay hold of it.
Forceful people advance God’s kingdom. People who live dangerously. Not safely.
Matthew 16:18 - I will build my church and the gates of hell will not overcome it
Ephesians 6:12 - For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.
There is an evil army that wants to ruin lives. Destroy them. Keep them from God.
And there’s only one army designed to stop that evil army….it’s called the church.
We’re called to be heroes…and fight evil…and when we don’t play that role…evil wins. Lives are lost.
THE CHURCH IS AN ARMY W/ A MISSION
I want to take a look at a passage in 2 Samuel again today
I’ve been reading 2 Samuel in my morning Bible reading times the past few weeks, and I’ve been struck my some similar patterns in the book
When King David leads the troops against evil…they follow some similar patterns
First, they seek God’s direction
They Train…or they plan
They fight together…
They celebrate together
I want to show you just one example of that today
(2 Samuel 5:17-21) – NIV
17 When the Philistines heard that David had been anointed king over Israel, they went up in full force to search for him, but David heard about it and went down to the stronghold.18 Now the Philistines had come and spread out in the Valley of Rephaim; 19 so David inquired of the LORD, “Shall I go and attack the Philistines? Will you hand them over to me?” The LORD answered him, “Go, for I will surely hand the Philistines over to you.” 20 So David went to Baal Perazim, and there he defeated them. He said, “As waters break out, the LORD has broken out against my enemies before me.” So that place was called Baal Perazim.[a] 21 The Philistines abandoned their idols there, and David and his men carried them off.
So David, defeats the Philistines…WITH his army.
As I mentioned above…all through out David’s conquests in the Bible… (w/ the exception of maybe his duel w/ Goliath), they fight evil as a group…as an army.
You need an army of heroes to actually defeat great evil.
Think about war tactics…
Think back to when there was the last great wave of people signing up to join the army, marines, etc.
There was a little bump 10 years ago after Sep. 11th, but let’s think back to even WWII.
After Pearl Harbor, people everywhere just signed up to join the military. And as Hitler ravaged Europe, even more signed up.
Why? They wanted to fight! There was a cause to fight for. Good needed to win over a very obvious evil.
But how did you fight the battle?
Did people just rent a boat and sail over and start looking for Hitler? Thinking they were gonna hunt him down, shoot him, and stop the war?
No, the joined the army!
It required a team of people fighting together…. Not just one man. Not just one woman on their own.
To defeat great evil, you need a great army. Or Chuck Norris.
No, you need an army.
We need to fight evil together.
Because evil is real. Hell is real. The devil is real.
And the sole purpose of his army is to destroy lives and keep people away from God.
And if we’re going to join with God in this battle and save people from evil…then we’re gonna need an army of people.
People who can say, I’m not just one little life, but I’m connected w/ others pushing back the army of hell
And our call of duty is clear. We see in 2 Samuel, God is giving David all of these directions, and yes, let God guide you on who to talk to, etc. but our BASIC mission in it’s general form is clear. VERY clear.
All 5 of the first books of the NT (The 4 stories about Jesus and the 1 about the early church), the rest are letters)
All 5 of the stories where Jesus is talking in, he tells us our mission is to GO:
Matthew 28:19 – NIV
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,
Mark 16:15 – NIV
He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation.
Luke 10:3 – NIV
Go! I am sending you out like lambs among wolves.
John 20:21 – NIV
Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.”
Acts 1:8 – NIV
8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
Our mission is to GO…and tell the people we love and care about…about Jesus.
On the way in today, you were handed two postcards. (PICK THOSE UP) Our challenge to you this week is to pray…and pray hard about 2 people you could send these postcards to ONE WEEK from now.
Don’t send them tomorrow because they are for sep. 11th…the service times would be wrong.
And don’t send the grandma one to your grandma
But pray…We are challenging every single regular attender in this room to bring at least one person with them in 2 weeks.
Every single person. One person. At least.
One person to come and hear about the love and forgiveness of Jesus.
That’s a HUGE challenge. If you don’t know who you are bringing, start praying.
GOD CAN DO THIS!!
We’re going to give you some more tools next week, but start praying about the postcard.
I mean, when do you ever get a postcard from someone you know? Hardly ever… It works. We’ve seen it work.
Pray about it.
In fact, let’s pray about it right now.
I want you to think of two people far from God that you could send this to.
And let’s hold our postcards, and pray for those people
The primary focus of every Jesus follower’s life is to GO.
If God has changed your life and done good things for you, it’s our job to let someone else know.
The most ironic thing in the world, is to let someone, not only SAVE our lives, BUT….BUT come in and CHANGE our lives…AND…AND offer us eternity and heaven… and then not tell anyone else.
And I get it…some of you are like…David, I want to. I get it. We should. I want to. But it’s so hard. I’m afraid. I don’t know how.
It IS hard. Real hard.
And next week, as you prepare for Sep. 11th, we want to give you tons of specific, concrete ways you actually pull some of this stuff off.
But because it’s hard for some of us, that’s precisely why we need to do this together. As an army of heroes. Not a kamikaze trying to fight evil alone.
My challenge to you…if you’re like…this is hard. I want to…but it’s hard. Talk to someone you know in this church about it being hard. This is WHY community is important… PS house group sign-ups start in just 2 weeks… But talk to another Christian about it. Part of the reason it’s so hard for us, is because we’re too embarrassed to talk about how NOT often we do it.
Talk to somebody about it. Have them keep you accountable. Have them inspire you. Have them give you tips.
Or even better, have them help you.
One of the things that always surprises me about facebook is “Mutual friends.”
Someone friend requests you, and you can see, who they’re already friends with, and I’m almost always surprised: “Seriously, how do they know THIS person?!?”
We live in a connected world. And I would guess, that most people who are need of Jesus know more than one Christian…
So ask them together. Work together.
Don’t just try and do this on your own.
PREP FOR YOUR MISSION
And take your call of duty seriously.
Live your life for it. Pray like crazy for it. Plan for it. Live for it.
When they battled in the Bible, they didn’t just attack.
They trained. They prepared. They planned. There was a strategy.
(2 Samuel 5:22-25) - NIV
22 Once more the Philistines came up and spread out in the Valley of Rephaim; 23 so David inquired of the LORD, and he answered, “Do not go straight up, but circle around behind them and attack them in front of the balsam trees. 24 As soon as you hear the sound of marching in the tops of the balsam trees, move quickly, because that will mean the LORD has gone out in front of you to strike the Philistine army.” 25 So David did as the LORD commanded him, and he struck down the Philistines all the way from Gibeon to Gezer.
Earlier in the chapter, David attacks the city of Jerusalem (this is before the Jews actually had Jerusalem as David was the first to inhabit it), and they planned for it
They developed a plan to go in through the water tunnel. And then they pulled it off, and captured the great city.
They had a mission, they planned for it, they prepared for it, and they pulled it off
Pretend w/ me that you’re given a mission. Let’s say, it’s in the future, and there’s some terrorist cell somewhere that keeps bombing major cities…killing civilians…and assassinating leaders… And the world is going to be in major turmoil, unless someone can take out this cell.
Now, let’s pretend you’re in the armed forces…and your unit is tasked w/ taking this cell out. You’ve gotten secret knowledge on where they are located, and you have 5 months to train, because this group moves every 6 months.
So for 5 months, you all train. Some of you work on computers…and work intelligence details…others work out in the field…others on gun training…etc. Everyone trains.
Your call of duty is clear. Your mission is clear. Everything you do…how you eat…how you exercise…what you do with your time…EVERYTHING you do in those 5 months of training matters, because your unit is about to save the world.
And our calling as a church…as individuals…is similar.
Our calling is to help Jesus continue to save the world.
Our call of Duty is to band together as a church, and go out, and let people know that they can be forgiven and set free by Jesus Christ.
And our LIVES…are a training ground for that.
And most of us probably know that deep down inside.
But lots of time we get distracted.
We get distracted by bitterness…distracted by our own anger issues…
& these things take our eyes off our mission and onto ourselves.
Sometimes we get enticed by sin…the Bible says in Genesis: Sin is crouching at your door, it desires to have you…
When David committed adultery with Bathsheeba, the passage reads, “In the Spring, when Kings normally go off to war…”
See, David was supposed to be out battling evil, but he got distracted by the desires of his own flesh…and the devil used it to consume him and distract him from his mission!!
Sometimes we even get distracted by seemingly good things…. And we put all our effort into our families, or our work… which is great…but it’s not our #1 mission. Might be #2…#3, but not #1.
This is a tough concept…In fact, we’re gonna do a series on it called “The Replacements” in October to help you think through it a little more.
And often, the church itself…the whole army…just loses its focus…and forgets it mission.
I want to play you a video that is a parable of what often happens to churches when they lose their focus and forget their call of duty
PLAY LIFE SAVING STATION VIDEO
Our mission is clear: It’s to reach the lost.
EVERYONE PARTICIPATES…EVERYONE CELEBRATES
One of the other cool things you also often see in 2 Samuel in the battle stories is: “everyone participates…and everyone celebrates”
(2 Samuel 6:1-5) - NIV
1 David again brought together out of Israel chosen men, thirty thousand in all. 2 He and all his men set out from Baalah of Judah to bring up from there the ark of God, which is called by the Name, the name of the LORD Almighty, who is enthroned between the cherubim that are on the ark. 3 They set the ark of God on a new cart and brought it from the house of Abinadab, which was on the hill. Uzzah and Ahio, sons of Abinadab, were guiding the new cart 4 with the ark of God on it, and Ahio was walking in front of it. 5David and the whole house of Israel were celebrating with all their might before the LORD, with songs and with harps, lyres, tambourines, sistrums and cymbals.
So because God had done so much in their midst…they celebrate.
Later in the chapter…the celebration continues even more as they bring the ark to Jerusalem!
I want you to think about participation and celebration, as we think about being an army…being a church.
When the United States army won victory in Europe during WWII, did just the soldiers who won the very last battle celebrate? No…everyone did. Down to the nurses and medics, and even the people back home.
Part of the slogans they used in WWII in America was “Do your part.” Everyone back home even. Buy war bonds, help in the shipyards, everyone pitches in!
And everyone celebrates.
And even the people back home that sent them.
You probably didn’t know this, but 2 weeks ago, at our parent church, enCompass Church in Vadnais heights, they celebrated together during their service for a few minutes what God was doing here at Renovation Church…their daughter church. Why? Because…they’re a part of it. Part of the army.
They sacrificed financially, so this movement could start
When I led missions trips to Mexico, we would do park ministry.
Which meant that each night, we would go out to the neighborhoods and invite people to the park for games and a drama.
And then, everyone on the team had a role. Some went door to door to invite, some did face painting, some helped w/ the giant parachute, some did animal balloons, some were a part of the drama that presented the gospel, and others did follow-up and told people about Christ.
“But when it was all done, who was a part of helping people’s lives being changed for eternity?
For one, GOD gets the glory!
But who served? Who made the difference? Just the people who talked?!?
No! Nobody would have been there if people didn’t invite, no one would have stayed if there was nothing to do…The Gospel wouldn’t have made sense in another language w/o the drama…. EVERYONE helped.
And that was clear… It was obvious. Everybody celebrated what God did through us each night. Everybody.
In our culture, it doesn’t work so well to just go door to door and invite people to a park… someone will probably call the cops and let them know a creeper came to their door.
But the #1 way God is changing lives for eternity in our Midwestern culture right now is through church planting.
It’s through putting a new church in a community, where people are actually willing to come hear about who Jesus is…
It’s happening. People are coming…and giving their lives to him.
Maybe you can’t invite a friend to church every week, maybe you only get 3 people to actually come w/ you this year.
But you can still be a part of the army that’s fighting evil and reaching people w/ God’s grace.
Serve here at Renovation. Be a part of something amazing. Something life changing.
And let’s celebrate together.
Listen…in 2 weeks… God’s going to do something amazing.
People are going to walk through the doors and meet Jesus…and continue to do so all fall…and in winter…and Spring.
And when that happens…let’s celebrate that together!
Because everyone who served, helped.
From the people who get here at 7am to set this up, to the greeters who made people feel a little bit more at ease, to the café people who made people feel welcome, to the people who taught other people’s kids about Jesus, to the people who are going to stay here to 1 in the afternoon to take this all down.
Every body. EVERYBODY who served played in a part in changing lives for eternity. That’s an army of heroes. Not just us going out on our own.
And we try and do that too. We each have our mission. But we’re also a unit together.
And I’m excited to celebrate together in a few weeks.
Far too many churches have a confused vision or no vision.
It’s just everyone going their own way and doing their own thing for themselves.
But, here…we are focused. Sometimes people say…you guys are kind of intensely focused on just a few things…
Yeah, we are…because we’re on a mission…to change the world.
And we’re gonna do it. TOGETHER.
But, you can’t stop evil by sitting on your butt in a church service.
On your chair there was an iServe card and descriptions…
These are all different ways that you can actually BE A PART of changing lives. That you can join a TEAM of people, an army of heroes who are helping to reach people for Christ!
And you haven’t filled one of these out yet, I want to encourage you one last time this summer to fill one out
And let me make an important distinction here. This is not a call of desperation.
Sometimes churches just can never get anyone to do anything…so they just keep nagging.
It’s not that we can’t get anyone, it’s just that our vision for change is so big that we need so many J
And SO many of you have already rallied to the call. So many of you. And it’s awesome.
In fact, raise your hand if you volunteered to serve for the 1st time sometime in the last 6 months
And maybe you’re sick of me talking about this. You might be. That’s ok. Maybe it feels challenging.
Maybe you could go some place else and not be challenged to ever do anything. You could just hear a nice talk about 5 easy steps to help you smile more.
You could probably go to church at a hundred other churches in this county and not feel challenged to do a whole lot… but you probably won’t get to celebrate in victory either.
Because great victory never comes w/o first enduring great challenge
And maybe you just feel like…Man…I’m kind of burnt out from church stuff right now…or I can only serve like once a month or…
Well, then okay, let’s start there. We can do that. But join the team.
I want you to celebrate with us next month.
But here, right now, God has given us an incredible opportunity.
And it’s sitting right in front of us. 2 weeks away. 14 days. And we can’t do this alone. Not even close. We need a team. We need an army or heroes. We need each other.
This is why God is using the church. Not just individual’s who are going out and telling people about God and saying… “welp, enjoy Jesus…hope you figure it out.” He’s using a group of people.
So our vision for this Fall is this…that you would pray…that you would trust God for the miraculous…that your friends, your family members, your neighbors, your classmates, your co-workers, would come & hear about Jesus
And then…not only have their lives changed, but then…that we could plug them in to your house groups…and they could be in a community…not just a face in the crowd…
AND they could not ONLY have their life changed, but learn, from people like you, what it means to live an amazing life of following Jesus.
And then they…can reach more people.
It’s going to be glorious
Copyright: David Sorn
Renovation Church in Blaine, MN
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