(GRAND OPENING SLIDE)
Morning. My name is David Sorn, and I’m the Lead Pastor here at Renovation Church.
We are only 2 weeks away from a very important day in the history of our church...our Grand Opening of this building.
Our heart, in getting to this building, was always to Amplify what we were already doing so we could have space to reach and disciple an even greater Harvest for Christ.
On an average Sunday, 85% of Blaine is not in church (and that’s true for most of the surrounding cities as well)
But Blaine now has 65,000 people in it.
That’s 55,000 people who don’t go to church...and most likely don’t have a saving relationship with Christ.
That’s a significant mission field. Significant.
From the day we started this church, we always said, “Our aim is not to just put up a new church in Blaine for Christians to attend.”
Now, we think this is a great place for Christians to really grow deeper in their faith and in Christian community...but Jesus has told us to go...go and make disciples of the lost.
Jesus said “it’s the not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick”
And there are a lot of lost people all around us.
Our aim is to Renovate this city
And we will not rest until every person in our city has heard the gospel
In fact, this topic is so important for our church right now that I want to spend our message today talking about how we need a heart for the lost.
I believe the Grand Opening of a brand-new church building gives us an incredible opportunity to help more people hear about Jesus.
People are always interested in the Grand Opening of anything!
People just hear those two words, and go, “Ooo…what is it?”
A Grand Opening makes them feel like they’re on the ground-floor of a new chapter.
So as we’ve been saying, “We want you to be praying about who you can bring with you to Grand Opening on September 19th”
It’ll be one of the easiest invites you’ll ever have to church
I want to be clear (so you don’t see any contradiction here): What Grant said last week about evangelism (sharing your faith) was right on.
Many people around you in your life are not all that close to coming to Jesus right now.
If you invited them to church, they might just laugh at you.
And so, it’s going to take a long-term strategy of you working with others, it’s going to take hospitality (like Grant talked about), and letting them see Jesus through your everyday life first.
But there are also many people in your life that aren’t actually all that far from following Jesus right now.
And this is where invitational evangelism is really helpful.
BOTH are forms of evangelism are good.
But if you have someone in your life (at work, in your neighborhood, a friend, a family member, that God is laying on your heart to bring in 2 weeks.
Follow that prompting.
I pray your heart is going out towards the lost.
(Preparation Series Slide)
Speaking of that, as we PREPARE for Grand Opening, I want to take us to a very relevant passage in Scripture regarding this topic, and that is Romans chapter 9
Romans is a letter written by the Apostle Paul, one of the leaders of the early church.
In chapters 1 through 8 of his letter, Paul shows how Jesus is the answer for our sin and our need for salvation.
By the way, starting on Grand Opening Sunday, we are going to start a 6-week teaching series on Romans chapter EIGHT, which many have called one of THE greatest chapters in all of Scripture!
But when Paul, gets to Romans chapters 9-11, he begins to talk about the Israelites.
God’s people from the Old Testament...
For thousands of years, the Israelites had been God’s people, but at the time Paul is writing this letter, many…or even most of the people of Israel have decided not to follow Jesus, the Messiah God sent.
But Paul, who was Jewish by birth (an Israelite) has come to believe in Jesus
And as we read this passage, watch his heart for his people that don’t know Christ.
(Romans 9:1-4a) - NIV
I speak the truth in Christ—I am not lying, my conscience confirms it through the Holy Spirit— 2 I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. 3 For I could wish that I myself were cursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my people, those of my own race, 4 the people of Israel.
(For the Sake of my People – title slide)
Did you see Paul’s heart for his friends...his family members...his people….that don’t have a saving relationship with Christ?
Look at verse 2 if you still have it in front of you
He says, “I have GREAT sorrow (I’m incredibly sad...broken up) AND unceasing anguish in my heart”
The Bible tells us that Christians can be sorrowful, yet rejoicing at the same time (2 Cor 6)
But Paul’s anguish...his excruciating sadness regarding the fact that many of his people will suffer for all of eternity in hell...that doesn’t go away.
And we too would feel this kind of anguish over lost people...had we not buried it so deep so we didn’t have to think about it
But Paul doesn’t do that.
Because to bury it, is to miss the heart of God.
Look at verse 1 again.
(Romans 9:1) - NIV
I speak the truth in Christ—I am not lying, my conscience confirms it through the Holy Spirit—
He wants you to know that what he is about to say is the truth.
His heart for the lost is:
A) The Truth in Christ
B) And that truth is confirmed by the Holy Spirit
In other words, his heart is God’s heart.
Is this your heart?
As you think of those around you...your family members and friends...many of which, if they were to die today, aren’t going to go to heaven…
Is your heart broken up by that like we read in God’s Word?
Or have you, like many (or most Christians) let your heart instead be full of the troubles of this world, and not of eternity…
Many Christians stress over all sorts of things, from money, to work, to their looks, to how likable they are, but they spend no time stressing over the things of eternity.
I was reading a book last month by the great evangelist Leonard Ravenhill, and he was talking about the passage in Acts 19...where these unbelievers are trying to drive out evil spirits simply by using “the name of Jesus...whom Paul preaches”
And one day evil spirit talks back and says, “Jesus I know, Paul I know, but who are you?”
And Leonard Ravenhill then asks this bone-chilling question: “Is your name known in hell?”
Or would the demons say, “Who’s that?”
When you wake up in the morning, “Does evil say, “Oh no, she’s up!”
“That woman…or that man…his heart breaks for the lost, and he’s going to steal even more people from that path to hell today!”
Or does the enemy not even know your name…because he doesn’t need to…because you do not concern yourself with the things of eternity?
WISH THAT I WAS CUT OFF
Let’s look deeper at Paul’s heart because it goes even further than just mere sadness or anguish
Look again at verse 3:
(Romans 9:3-4a) - NIV
3 For I could wish that I myself were cursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my people, those of my own race, 4 the people of Israel.
What is Paul saying?
First of all, he’s saying that most of the Jewish people he knows at the time are cursed and cut off from Christ because they haven’t believed in Christ.
Why does he use the word “cursed” though?
That word in the NT is used a bit differently than how we use it today.
When we hear that word, you might picture some sort of “witch” putting a curse on someone else…
The Bible uses it here to mean more like a penalty we get for something we did
Paul actually elaborates on that a bit deeper in his letter to the Galatians.
Look at this:
(Galatians 3:10-13) - NIV (explain as you go)
10 For all who rely on the works of the law are under a curse, as it is written: “Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the Book of the Law.” 11 Clearly no one who relies on the law is justified before God, because “the righteous will live by faith.” 12 The law is not based on faith; on the contrary, it says, “The person who does these things will live by them.” 13 Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a pole.”
Which is a quotation from Deuteronomy, and Paul uses it here to, fascinatingly show that Jesus frees us from the penalty (or curse of sin) by becoming a sin offering for us…
FOR THE SAKE OF MY PEOPLE
Now, knowing that...that Jesus loved lost people like us so much...that he himself was willing to be cursed (with sin) so you could be set free from sin...
Look again about what Paul is saying in Romans 9
(Romans 9:3-4a) - NIV
3 For I could wish that I myself were cursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my people, those of my own race, 4 the people of Israel.
Paul wants his friends and family...his people...to know Christ so badly, that he is saying, “FOR THE SAKE OF MY PEOPLE….I would be willing to be cut off from Christ...and go to hell...if it meant my friends and family could go to heaven”
FOR THE SAKE OF MY PEOPLE….I would do it.
That’s the heart of God: “FOR THE SAKE OF MY PEOPLE”
And how do we know that?
Because Jesus’s heart was so big for us, that he suffered (for our sake), so we could know life.
Is that your heart for the lost people around you?
Your neighbors who don’t know Christ?
Or those that have different views than you on politics or live a different lifestyle?
What is your heart for them?
Going beyond just feelings, ask yourself: “What lengths would I go to…FOR THE SAKE OF MY PEOPLE…my family/my friends to get saved? What risks would I take for the sake of my people that are currently on the path to an eternity without Christ?”
Church, I worry that we’re completely missing the heart of God on this over the past few years in America
We’re losing God’s heart for the lost...a heart like Paul had
Instead of feeling anguish over the souls of lost people, most of us are actually more likely to feel disdain towards them or even anger
Our hearts are not in the right place spiritually.
And then we use excuses for not sharing our faith.
We say, “Well, I’m just not gifted that way…”
Or, “Honestly I’m just worried that it would hurt our relationship if I shared about God”
Let me read you what I think may be the quote of the year for the church in America:
“Far too many Christians, who claim they’re not gifted at evangelism, spend a whole lot of time articulately arguing for/against masks & vaccines. You evangelize the things you are the most passionate about. May we be far more passionate about JESUS than anything else!” - Greg Stier
It’s such a good example because I can’t tell you how many people just start talking to me about masks or vaccines when I’ve only met them 5 seconds ago.
So many of us can’t wait to share our opinions on those issues, even though, there’s probably a 50% chance it may really damage a relationship!
But we feel so much passion on it, we share anyway!
And yet for years, for decades, 80% of Christians I know have said, “The main reason I can’t share about Christ with my friends, is that I’m afraid it could hurt my relationship with that person!”
If we’re willing to take a relational risk on these topics that have earthly consequences, why are we unwilling to take a risk on an eternal issue with eternal consequences?
What will it take for us to win our friends to Jesus?
Or, I could ask it another way: Why was Paul such a great evangelist?
The # 1 reason is because his heart bled for the lost.
And his eyes were open to their coming plight.
I DARE you to walk around your neighborhood this afternoon or tonight (leave your phone at home), and stare at the homes around you.
About 4 out of 5 homes in your neighborhood are full of people who will not spend eternity with Jesus.
They will suffer a part from Him.
And here we are, with the knowledge to rescue them, and we’ve let our hearts be consumed & distracted by other things.
We need God’s heart!
We need the heart of Jesus, who when He was entering Jerusalem...just 5 days before they were to kill him, wept over the city…
Saying, “If you had only known what would bring you peace…”
Do you want to be more effective for Jesus?
Do you want your name to be known in Hell because of what you do for the Gospel?
Get your heart right.
The founder and leader of the Salvation Army was an incredible man named William Booth.
In the late 1800’s and early 1900’s the Salvation Army wasn’t a group ringing a bell with a red kettle, they were an absolute, evangelistic force for the Gospel.
They led masses and masses of people to Christ.
And they set up salvation armies all over the world where they would be the SALVATION ARMY and tell people about Jesus.
Well in the early 1900’s, one such station outside of London was having almost zero results.
After years of work, no one seemed to be coming to Christ.
Two of the leaders there, sisters, Kate and Mary Jackson, decided to write William Booth, the founder of the Salvation Army
And they said, “Would you kindly move us to another station? We’re so tired and disheartened; we’ve tried everything that we’ve been taught to use. (some of you this is your life right now…) Please move us.”
William Booth sent a telegram back with two words: “Try Tears.”
They went to God begging they He change their heart for the lost, and they went to God in tears over the lost…
And revival came to their city.
Church, that is what we need to do.
We need to ask God for his heart.
So here’s what we’re going to do...a couple of things actually.
As we prepare for the many people that we want to see meet Jesus at Grand Opening in 2 weeks and in the weeks and months after...THE most important thing we can do is pray!
We CAN NOT solely rely on some marketing methods or this building…
We can’t say, “We put up some signs, and we have a beautiful building, so “the dead are going to be raised to life”
Sure, we want to be practical and smart…
But without the heart of God...and the power of God...nothing can happen.
And so the first thing we’re going to do is actually something that is unprecedented in the history of our church.
(nightly prayer meetings slide)
Starting a week from tonight, we’re going to hold nightly prayer meetings...for 7 days...every night...leading up to Grand opening.
From 6:30-7:30pm right here in this room.
We’re going to come and beg God to give us His heart...and to move with His power.
We’ll pray individually, silently, in groups...but we’re going to ask God to do this...not us.
I want you all to come at least once...if not multiple nights.
We’re going to have Children’s Ministry EACH night too for birth through 6 year olds so that’s not an obstacle to you.
But come and pray that God would move.
The reason we built this building in the first place was for THE SAKE OF OUR PEOPLE…
The people of our city, our county, our families that still need to know Christ.
FOR THE SAKE OF OUR PEOPLE
And secondly, we need to each start praying right now that God would use us to help lead people to Jesus.
Maybe the person you’re reaching out to is a long ways away still...but it still starts in prayer.
And maybe they’re much closer, and they’d even be open to coming to Grand Opening.
What I want you to do is to look under the chair in front of you.
You’ll find a card with 3 lines on it
What I want you to do is to write the names of 3 people that you want to pray for and that you want to help find Jesus.
And then, I want you to take a picture of that card with your phone, so you can remember to pray for them every day.
Maybe even put it as your lock screen so you can be reminded to pray.
Then, during the last song, I want you to bring your card forward to the front...and put it in one of these 4 buckets.
Then, our prayer team is going to take these names and they will pray over them each day as we lead up to Grand Opening.
And we are going to trust God for big things.
Some of the most remarkable salvations we’ve had this spring and summer have been from people’s family members in our church coming to Jesus.
I’ve had multiple people tell me stories like, “I talked to them about Jesus, I asked them to church...even for years...and they always brushed it off…”
“Until one day, when I asked, they just said, “Sure, I’ll come.”
And from that point on, God was opening their heart...and eventually they turned their life over to Him
That’s prayer friends.
We pray the impossible here.
Because God makes the impossible possible.
So write down the names of 3 people that you want to see God do the impossible in.
And bring that card to the front during this last song.
And if you’re here this morning and you have some anguish over your own soul.
And you’re not sure that if you were to die today, that you would be going to heaven.
And you may need to be forgiven yourself….
Know that Jesus died for you...and you can be forgiven by believing in Him.
If that’s where you’re at today, I want you instead of bringing a card to the front, to come meet me and our follow-up team in the lobby during this last song...and we’ll help you get started in a walk with Jesus.
Let me pray.
Copyright: David Sorn
Renovation Church in Blaine, MN
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