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June 21, 2022 6:00 am
After Jesus gave his most important teaching about the mysteries of the king. He then told his disciples.
There are six barriers six specific things in parable form that will keep you from finishing well stay with government. Thanks for listening to this Edition of Living on the Edge with children Living on the Edges of international discipleship history is on helping Christians live like Christians in just about a triple wrap up his new series. The high-impact pastor building God's church, Jesus before we begin. If you been encouraged by the series would you take a minute after this message, ensure or maybe even your pastor could do that to the chipping map or by sending them a free MP3s and LivingontheEdge.org. If you have a Bible turn out to Matthew chapter 13 and let's join Chip for today's message. In this session I want to ask why with the early disciples so successful is such a hostile environment. It was dangerous.
I mean think on on day one day two first 90 days for six months. No professional staff no building no money great opposition. I mean, what was said about them that made them successful. I'm getting three reasons.
Number one they believed the promise of Jesus. I believe it with all their hearts. They were successful when Jesus said I will build my church and the gates of hell will not prevail against it. The early disciples believed they saw him rise from the dead, they saw the miracles they solve the power they experience it they had been used by God, and they knew he made a promise and I'm going to look at life through the lens of that promise not look at life through the lens of my circumstance.
The second thing and the reason I think they were successful.
They clearly defined the goal that they were about making disciples. It was early, they were. I don't think measuring how many people happen to show up at the outdoor meeting, or who came to the catacombs.
Or, you know, here we are, you know we got some people I came to you to the temple when were gathered they were dispersed they were multiple small groups.
Yes, they gathered but I think their goal was crystal clear in their time of Jesus, they could clearly define fruit is what matters. And later on the apostle Paul would articulate very clearly that the way that fruit looks like at least for the Western mind is at Romans 12 Christian.
The third thing is this is very important.
What they did is they developed. Are you ready transformational environments. You know good seed in good soil produces fruit hundred percent of the time but you know there's some plants that only grow in certain environments right me that there certain plants that way up high in mountains. They only grow to certain altitude. There's certain plants that only grow in the rain forest. There's other plants that grow in a desert, but don't grow any place else and think what the apostles learn from being with Jesus is. They developed a transformational environment so that the seed of God's word. The community that was created values their leadership what Jesus modeled and what they learned.
You know they went out and preached, but sometimes we forget he called them to himself and they debriefed how to go what did you do what about this.
What about that the greatest leader that has ever lived with Jesus Christ.
I mean the proof is today, so let me give you four or five things that create a transformational environment number one. If you can't define it, you can't achieve it. So I want to tell you is that clarity is a necessity. You gotta be clear, what's the goal what's a disciple. If you can't define it. People can't follow it. You can't define it, you can't achieve it.
Second, you get what you measure. Not what you hope for. It's the need for for metrics we actually do get what we measure, right most of us have measured buildings and bodies and budgets. So that's what we get, the harder things to measure fruit we have to change our metrics. How do we qualitatively measure fruit, discipleship, loving God, loving others. The next is you get what you inspect, not what you expect.
This is the need for evaluation, you know for years as a pastor I just sort of expected you to preach the word and people going to grow and I hope they find their way. I didn't really have a clear plan. I didn't really have a clear strategy now. God did a lot of good things that that's a wonderful thing, but what I learned is that if you inspect house. It really going if you measure the church by what other people's names that are fruitful who and how my investing in them. What's God's plan for them to invest in others how to the weekend services fit into bearing fruit. What are we doing in terms of equipping people to learn their gifts. In other words, if you don't inspect those things. If you have clear metrics then pretty soon you're sorta casting the seed lots of different directions and we don't get the kind of fruit that Jesus produced in the last one is you can't impart what you don't possess. In other words, authenticity. I can't ask dream desire people in the church are going to be Romans 12 Christians if I'm not that it doesn't mean a perfect or you're perfect. Absolutely not what it means is on on that path because more really is caught than taught you know, I'm not sure how many notes the disciples took.
I'm not sure they had a lot of notebooks or a lot of files or videos that they can always look back on back. You and I both know they didn't what they had was a life incarnation lived before them of truth and love and compassion and they did what Jesus did in the top like he taught in the evaluated like evaluated in overtime. Pretty soon. In fact, it was a negative comment, they were little Christ there so much like Jesus called Christians.
It happened in Antioch and it was actually a derogatory term, but it stuck and it just meant that these followers of Jesus were so much like him that that's forward in a column and you know what I think the greatest need today is winning Christians to live like Christians that are so much more like Matthew. After giving all of his sewer and the seed gives the six specific parables in these parables are willing to help them understand know this is how the kingdom works. Here's the warnings because okay good seed fruit is the goal, the sower filled with the Holy Spirit. It's can happen. This environment now here's what you gotta be careful of is going to give us six parables and I would like to suggest that each parable really will give us a temptation. What will keep you from really growing a high-impact church and I want to give you what I think is the temptation and want to give you the antidote you ready to roll. Let's go first parable is the wheat and the tares what he tells them there is there's going to be continual conflict. He gives them the parable and little bit later. He explains at any says that in the kingdom in your ministry, as we minister together. There's going to be a mixture inside the church. There's going to be legitimate signs of righteousness and there's going to be those that are the sons of the evil one. And Satan has planned these things and he said he saying that there's going to be continual conflict all the time there's going to be difficulty inside the church. Genuine disciples nongenuine disciples and a says that the field is the whole world is not just in the church but there's going to be this battle between good and evil vicinity worldviews about this is light.
This is darkness, and the gotta be in conflict.
And here's the temptation. I think the biggest temptation is discouragement there is few things that will take you out of the ministry faster and getting discouraged when you lose heart. When youth say this is never an end. See, there's something in my psyche and something in years that okay with you and work really hard. We have a plan. We do this and we make progress and I am we get hit okay will we do it again. We didn't family get hit and then we see growth and there's this progress and that all words there is betrayal and we get hit. It's like I just can't take this. I I thought that if I was faithful, and if I did these things and I followed your plan. Lord wins the time were smooths out and just really gets better and we all have that right. What Jesus is warning those disciples and you and me. He says it's never again and is not an end until he comes back. You are in a battle.
So here's the antidote. The antidote is to remind yourself it's a war zone.
Remind yourself that the battle never ends.
You might jot down Ephesians chapter 6 to just know that the devil doesn't take holidays that you are in a battle. But here's the good news. This battle happens in this little thing called time. I love one author talks about a line that represents all of eternity faces in all of eternity. All of time would be just one. One maybe an inch and inside that little inch of all of time of all mankind. There's a tiny microscopic.there's your life and mine. Maybe it's 50, 60, 70 years, who knows what Jesus is reminding them is that there's this huge battle, but the implications go on forever and ever and ever.
Don't lose heart. In fact, the wisest man in the world, said whatever you do, literally, above all else.
Watch over your heart, for from it flow the issues of life. Proverbs 423 and that's why we do talk about the needs to encourage one another, the need to yes work hard to get refreshed discouragement.
Jesus is going to say is going to come because it's never ending the conflict that we face the second parables of the mustard seed.
It takes a long time to grow but when it grows it provides incredible impact and shelter for those that are in need. The temptation here is insignificance. I know what it's like to be a pastor of 30 people, 35 people out in the middle of nowhere, literally, when we went to our tiny little church. I could walk out tunnel church.
As far as the eye could see. All I could see was field spent a couple cows and it was like a couple years and I thought Lord Asia I prepared for ministry. I I've worked hard. I II will I'm doing. I obeyed you. I mean, I left a good job and this is it you want me with this little group of people in this little place for ever and ever and I got so discouraged because I felt like it was insignificant what I'm doing doesn't make a difference. Love the words of Francis Schaeffer. He says there are no little people and there are no little places God is at work he will have different fruit in different places at different sizes, but there's nothing insignificant in what he wanted to remind him of the mustard seed is it starts very small and it takes time but he's going to work and here's where I think the antidote is our metrics we have to redefine success not in how many people are coming to. But what kind of people are leaving.
Did you get that is not how many but is what kind are they committed fully devoted Romans 12 Christians and what I will tell you it takes a long time to develop and grow that once you do it multiplies and multiplies, multiplies the third parable is the parable of the leaven the picture of something that happens very slow leaven multiplies it. It happens in the dark.
It's out of sight me saying that that the real growth. This can happen with in eternal growth, not external he's going to say that theirs is there's going to be dark times in and there's a struggle and you can't see what's going on in the temptation is isolation when it gets dark when you don't see results to be patient to wait. The antidote is deep friendships. Ask yourself if you're married, certainly your wife or your husband but also who are two or three people in the church that you could open your heart and open your life and say let's become fruitful. Romans 12 Christians together.
I have issues you have issues. Let's dream a dream for what God can do in this body and how we could use us and you have to have friends was thinking of the man that had the greatest impact on my life.
Probably was a a bricklayer and that he did not have any formal education. I went to high school.
He had no Bible training, but all the things I'm talking about he did with me. I was not very I don't how to say it.
I didn't want to grow very much. I trust in Christ and know went to college and he had a little discipleship ministry is just three or four people in his living room didn't seem like much to me. You want me to read the Bible and had a hard time getting up and then he started giving me these little cards so I memorized the Bible and I didn't do it very often and I would sleep in for church and another person told me you're wasting your time with Chip. He'll never amount to anything but his name is Dave Marshall and he wouldn't give up on me and on Tuesday mornings he would knock on my door and we would go down to little kitchenette and Dave painstakingly every week open this God's word and taught me how to study it and then he prayed with me.
He cried with me when I went through a very challenging time when I was injured. He walked through the deepest valleys with me. He had me in his home. I ate so many meals in his home.
I watched him date his wife. I watched them races for children and three years later, I begin to catch it, and all of a sudden, instead of duty and wanted to get up and be in God's word and and pretty soon I found that when I would memorize God's word, it renewed my mind and it help me not to send and where I was struggling and God is giving me promises he started to use my life and after about three or four years. I realize I want to be a man like Dave coming not a bricklayer, I want to be a godly man like Dave and I remember thinking while after all these years he so in love with his life.
I want a marriage like Dave's men I washing with his kids and I want to be a dad like Dave you want in many ways. I became a man like Dave. I became a dad like Dave and I work on my marriage the way I watched Dave why want you to understand is that it starts very small and there's times that are very dark. You need others and I need others. We do this journey together, the fourth parables, the parable of treasure in the field and he sells all that he has because he finds his treasure in this field and for the joy authority buys it, and I think the temptation here is the temptation to quit this this parable teaches that those who make impact in the kingdom. There are times where God will show you something that you can't see right that treasures on the ground it's invisible it's it's the riches it's the rewards it's the calling of God over against what you own and what you have and where you live in your possessions, and there are times God has called me to do this he calls us to give away everything to turn in and leave family and and leave what secure for what we can't see and we embrace it and sometimes I think Pastor site that's just too hard and I quit or the other extreme is they do it, but when they do it. They have the self-righteousness like I've given up more than others. Why don't people give as much money away. Why don't people do what I've done in the become self-righteous in the antidote is perspective. The antidote is second Corinthians chapter 4 verses 16 through 19, Paul defending his apostleship.
He talks about all that is been through and finally he says he can hope these challenges. These challenges of being beaten up all these times he's challenges of having rods three times being a nine a day in the deep depression of the church of these he calls him momentary light afflictions are not to be compared to the surpassing glory that God is going to bring, he says, because those things that are seen are temporal and those things that are unseen are eternal. So the antidote is an eternal perspective and you get that like renewing your mind with his word and I get that by sharing with other friends and pastors and people in the church and reminding one another with all these circumstances it's hard this isn't all there is in the next we go from the treasure in the field to the pearl of great price. I think this is teaching that there's times in ministry where we have to let go of the good in order to get the great just imagine yourself as an actual merchant I mean someone that has pearls you're wealthy and you're doing well and then there's this one great Pearl that is of greater greater value, but to get it you have to The cell all the pearls that you have takes a lot of faith.
I think in ministry. There's times maybe for many of you this is that time you have a lot of good things most people coming to the church. There's a lot of good ministries going on your helping a lot of people your unit. Everyone thinks you're very successful and for you to say yes that's true but I'm going to shift and take a lion's share of my time and my energy around discipleship around bearing fruit not growing the church around what needs to happen in me instead of just what happens through me.
I'm going to take an assessment of my life. I'm going to give a lot of the good, and it may get slower and harder.
At first a lot like a mustard seed. It might be a lot like you doing things behind the scenes a lot like leaven that no one sees as something happens internally what's happening internally is the life of Christ is being birthed in you in a fresh and powerful way and when you speak, it has more authority and when you speak the power of God comes out and when you live out this life.
People catch your faith. You had to take the good pearls that you had and had to exchange them for the greater the deeper the God wanted and so I would encourage you to say that the temptation there is to avoid complacency. You know when it's going pretty good. And when everyone thinks you're in a pretty hot stuff and you say hey honey, wife why should I revamp my ministry or our church. I everyone thinks I'm doing a great. That's when you have to say. Here's the antidote that of the innovation I want to learn. I want to read on ask God what is it 21 doing the Lord that I don't see the greatest thing I learned from that bricklayer. He said ship if you want to grow you have to be fat supporting me fashion on the kitchen so no, you need to be faithful available and teachable. He said ship. When you give your word be faithful to it when you say you're going to go there, go there. Do what you say you need to be available and change your schedule for what God wants. But here's the big one. Teachable find the people that are doing what you're doing fine people that preach and learn from them.
People that have grown ministry and learn from them. Don't be proud.
Don't be content. Don't be complacent you have to be a lifelong learner and and finally he gives us the dragnet. The dragnet reminds us of the the fish, the bad and the good that justice is coming.
And the king will call everyone to account but not until the end.
I think the temptation is procrastination to somehow the status quo and as we drive on our streets to our villages or cities or wherever God has you, you know, if you're not careful you forget many people are lost, they don't know the Lord. They're going to a Chrysler's eternity and if we and our churches don't tell them who will so much that I see this happen is people turned inward. The church is turned inward about what about us in this not Jesus and the early disciples. That's not the great movements in history of the church. There is a day coming when every person apart from Christ, will be judged. There's a day coming, not for salvation but for reward called the bema seat for Scranton is chapter 3. Were you and I and every Christian will give an account or stewardship of our life. The Lord Jesus will look at you and look at me and say what did you do with the time I gave you what did you do with the gifts I gave you what did you do with the leadership I gave you what did you do with the church that I trusted what did you do with the word that I made available to you. What did you do with your time your talent in your treasure and I will be evaluated and you will be evaluated and what we will have parts of our life that we would hay and stubble.
Where was ministry to impress people, or wherever lazy here and will burn up and will have others that are gold, silver and precious stones and be tested by fire, not for salvation and will hear our Lord and our Savior say well done good and faithful servant.
And so the antidote here is is the fear of the Lord in reflection always be about activity go go go.
I read a proverb every day because always want to remember that the most precious thing in all the world I could ever receive.
According to the Proverbs is wisdom, and wisdom is knowing what is God's will and God's way in every situation and what should you do and why should you do it and how should you do it and I want the wisdom of God to lead me in my marriage and in my parenting and my pastoring in my teaching and my decisions and my relationships in my finances and as I had that wisdom, there's a fear of the Lord in the fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge and the fear the Lord is being wisdom is the fear of the Lord that brings God's blessing and it really means. This God I just want to do things your way. I believe that your way is best.
I want to honor you and all that I do and that takes time to reflect the times I take walks around where I live in. Sometimes I just look at all the garage doors and I think I wonder who lives in that house and I wonder if they're going to heaven or they're going to hell. I wonder if anyone has ever said anything to them and there's other times I just trying reflect II keep a journal personally in it.
I just sort of trying write what I since God is doing. Then I'll take a break and maybe look back over two or three or four months to read my journal into my confession to be the Lord spoke to you hear about that and he spoke to you about that spoke to you last month about that and pretty soon I realize you know I read five or six months my journal God keeps speaking about something I'm not doing anything, but it's that reflection that helps me to pause and say Lord, I'm sorry we forgive me any amazing Jesus loves us so much in his posture as you hear accountability and in these parables, you know, I think if we could of been sitting the eyes of Jesus was to these disciples men. I love you and he knew they would blow it, and we would blow it in his and his posture was coming to me all of you that labor and are heavy laden, and I'll give you rest. I'm here for you I can do a restart and another restart and in the restart and so I would say is we look at these is there's two or three applications number one come up with a personal game plan. How are you going to be a Romans 12 Christian Harrigan to practice coming before God daily to do life in community weekly and to be on mission 24 seven. The second is I would encourage you to really don't look at the current situation and emphasize what you lost instead look at it as God is provided an opportunity like no other in world history for you to rethink reschedule realign and redesign the ministry that he's entrusted you with the church to focus on along with your regular ministry is a great opportunity. Don't miss day I wish how hard, how challenging it is to be a pastor or a staff member when things are going great for when the economy is well know when there's not a pandemic. But what we've been through, I can't. I just can't tell you how challenging and difficult in and what dire straits so many pastors are right here in America and all across the world.
These parables, these barriers these are things that every pastor struggles with every church will face this one-day seminar is going all around the world in places that just blow my mind and were going all around the world helping pastors helping pastors in rural areas helping pastors with places where the markets have been closed and where they don't have money and where they have no theological training places throughout Africa places in India places in Central America places in Mexico and of course right here in America and we can do that because you all of been so generous, so as we wrap up the series, just pause and think the Living on the Edge family.
Thank you all for partnering with us as we help pastors grow the most important organization in the history of the world is the church of Jesus Christ. The church is the hope of the world helping pastors grow healthy churches, discouraged, persecuted, depressed pastors don't grow healthy churches. Let's help our pastors be strong so the church can be all the gods made it to be great were chip banks will, as we close, let me tell you that God has provided amazing opportunities for Living on the Edge to serve church leaders all around the world. So if you'd like to get involved in this work to support and encourage pastors now's a fantastic time to partner with us were in the middle of our midyear match which means every gift we received today through midnight on July 7 will be doubled dollar for dollar, thanks to a small group of generous donors to give go to LivingontheEdge.org or call us at AAA 333-6003 that's AAA 333-6003 or go to LivingontheEdge.org Listener step donate. Thanks in advance for your support will until next time, this is Dave Drewry saying thanks for listening to this Edition of Living on the Edge