Welcome Summit Church at all of our campuses. This is going to be an awesome weekend this weekend. There are certain moments that define us and shape the trajectory of our lives. One of my favorite scenes from the movie National Treasure, which stars the greatest actor of our generation, a man who is truly our national treasure, Nicholas Cage. Cage's character, Benjamin Gates, sneaks into this big wig party, celebrating the Declaration of Independence.
And he gets called on randomly in the party to make a toast. And without skipping a beat, he raises his glass and he says, to high treason. That's what these men were committing when they signed this Declaration of Independence. Had we lost the war, which seemed likely at the time, they would have been hanged, beheaded, drawn, and quartered.
And oh, my personal favorite, would have had their entrails cut out and burned. So here's to the men who did what was considered wrong in order to accomplish what they knew to be right. You know, it's kind of staggering to think about the magnitude of that moment historically, to think about the difference that our country would have taken the course if they had faltered in courage, or you wonder what if they had taken the safe route, our history as a nation would have turned out very differently.
We'd all still be driving on the left side of the road and we'd be stopping at 4 p.m. for tea in the afternoon. That moment was a defining moment for us as a nation. Almost 14 years ago, this church had a defining moment. There was a Sunday night, January 27th, 2002, there were about 300 of us that gathered together from this church and we covenanted together that we were gonna do two things. One, we were going to prioritize the reaching of people far from God and our community, even if it meant sacrificing a lot of what we preferred in a church and a lot of what felt comfortable to us.
And then secondly, we were going to follow the Holy Spirit wherever he led the church, no matter what it cost us personally. It was a defining decision for our church that has led to now over 9,000 of us gathered here this weekend in nine different campuses across the triangle together with 115 churches that we've planted in the last six years around the world who were gathered this weekend, whose attendance collectively is greater than the 9,000 that we have gathered here in the triangle. Well, I share all that today because I believe today, this weekend, is gonna be another defining moment for many of you as individuals, as well as for us as a church, another defining moment that we will look back on as something that shaped and reshaped the future for us. Many of you today are going to commit to reorder your life according to God's priorities and that is so incredibly exciting. It is gonna be a defining moment for your family that you look back on or your life today is gonna define our future as a church. It's gonna take us into new unprecedented opportunities for ministry and what we do today is gonna change the shape of the triangle for decades to come. Those of you who look at this church as your church or you're being drawn into the ministries of this church are gonna be asked to fill out this card that we've talked about for the last several weeks. This card is where we are going to commit ourselves to this defining moment.
I'm really excited about just how momentous this all is. If you are our guest today, you picked an awesome day to come and I'm actually serious about that because you get to hear today what we are all about as a church and you get a front row seat to listen to where we believe God is taking us and I'm really glad for that. I certainly don't want you to feel like you are under any kind of obligation to us but one day we would love for you to join up with us not only in what we believe but in what we are about and the mission that we are pursuing and maybe this weekend if you're a guest we'll begin that journey for you. So I really am glad that you're here even though I know this applies to you in different ways and it applies to people who consider this their church.
It is an exciting opportunity for you to kind of get a glimpse of who we are and where we're going. If you got your Bible this weekend I'd invite you to take it out and open it to Genesis chapter 18. Genesis chapter 18, we are in our final week of this study on the life of Abraham. Abraham, a man whose life God multiplied for eternal significance. Let me catch you up in Genesis 18 on the story that is taking place because it is incredibly important in how we understand our lives. Genesis 18, we'll start in verse 16.
Here's the fast track version of the story. There are three mysterious men that have shown up in Genesis 18 who have come to talk to Abraham. They have two purposes for their visit. One, they want to announce to Sarah, Abraham's wife, that she's 90 years old.
They want to tell her that she's pregnant, surprise. Two, they intend to destroy two very wicked cities, Sodom and Gomorrah. Sodom and Gomorrah are notorious not only for their moral lasciviousness but also for their cruelty and their oppression of the poor. So these three mysterious men meet with Abraham and Sarah and they announce to her her pregnancy which is the happy part of their journey. Task number one is completed and now they turn themselves to task number two which is the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. Verse 16, where we'll begin. So the men set out from there and they look down towards Sodom. Abraham went with them to set them on their way and then the Lord said, verse 17, shall I hide from Abraham what I'm about to do? Now real quick, who are these mysterious men? Well we know that at least one of them is God himself because he speaks in the first person voice of God.
We assume that the other two are angels. The one that is God himself says, should we really hide what we're about to do from Abraham? Verse 18, Abraham is surely gonna become a great and powerful nation and all the nations on the earth will be, key word, blessed through him because I've chosen him so that the Lord can bring about for Abraham what he has promised him which is to use him as a blessing. So they tell Abraham what they are going to do. Verse 22, and then the men turned away, the two men and went towards Sodom but Abraham remained standing before the third man, the Lord. Now if you remember Lot who is Abraham's nephew lives in Sodom with his family and so we assume that Abraham is now thinking about Lot and his extended family and not wanting them to be destroyed in the destruction of Sodom, that's why he's still there in front of God. So then Abraham, verse 23, approaches the Lord.
That word approach in Hebrew by the way is a very technical word that means approaching the bench like you are approaching the bench in a court of law. In other words, Abraham is about to go to court with God and here's what Abraham says. Will you really sweep away the righteous with the wicked? God, what if there were 50 righteous people in the city? Would you sweep it away and not spare the place for the sake of the 50 righteous? Far be it from you to do such a thing, to kill the righteous with the wicked, treating the righteous and the wicked alike. Far be it from you. Will not the judge of all the earth do right? Now that almost sounds a little, that's gutsy right there.
That's presumptuous, wouldn't you agree? Oh it gets better, verse 26. The Lord said okay, if I find 50 righteous people in the city of Sodom, I'll spare the whole place for their sake, for the sake of those 50. Verse 27, then Abraham spoke again. Now that I've been so bold as to speak to the Lord, what if the number of the righteous is five less than 50?
I mean what if it's only 45? Surely God, you will not destroy the whole city for lack of five. Surely the difference between destruction and salvation is not just five people. Abraham is haggling with God.
The way you would haggle over the price of bananas at a street fair in Mexico City. Well God plays along. If I find 45 there, he said, I will not destroy it. Once again he spoke to him, what if I find only 40 there? He said, for the sake of 40, I won't do it.
Then he said, okay, may not the Lord be angry, I realize I'm pushing it. What if only 30 can be found there? Here 30, give me 30, somebody give me 30.
That's how you ought to hear this. He's an auctioneer, he answered, I won't do it if I find 30 there. Abraham said, now that I've been so bold as to speak to the Lord, what if only 20 can be found there? He said, for the sake of 20, I won't destroy it. He said, well, may not the Lord be angry, but let me speak just one more time. What if only 10 can be found there? The answer for the sake of 10, I will not destroy it. Verse 33, when the Lord had finished speaking with Abraham, he left and Abraham returned home.
Wait a minute, what happened? Why did he stop at 10? I find two intriguing questions in this passage that will unlock for you not only the meaning of this passage, but also its incredible application to mine and your life. Here's question number one, why is Abraham praying for the city in the first place?
I used to think he was just doing it for the sake of his nephew Lot. He didn't want Lot and his family to be destroyed, so he's saying God, you know, spare Sodom so Lot doesn't get destroyed, but think about it. Abraham could have just asked for that directly. He could have just gone up and said, hey, God, you know, I know you want to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah and I don't really like them either, but why don't you give me some time to get Lot out first?
Then you can pelt those disgusting Canaanites with heavenly road tar and get rid of them on the earth for good. That would have been much easier and honestly, it would have made more sense because not only were the people of Sodom and Gomorrah really wicked, they had been especially unkind to Abraham personally. If you remember, they were the ones who attacked Abraham in Genesis 13. They were the ones who had kidnapped Lot.
These were bad people. They had been very unkind to Abraham. So it would make sense that he'd be excited about God's justice coming on them, but instead of asking for that, Abraham stands before God and asks for mercy for the whole city and even put himself at risk in doing so. Notice how he keeps saying, God, please don't be mad. He knows he's pushing it with God. He knows he's putting himself on the line for people that have been cruel to him. It would almost be something like the families of the victims in the Paris tragedy, praying for God to withhold judgment and pour out blessing and mercy on the families of the ISIS killers. Why is Abraham doing this?
Why is he doing this? Because evidently Abraham understood that God had chosen him to be a channel of blessing and mercy to the nations and the reason that God is revealing to him his plans is because God wanted him to ask for mercy on their behalf. Do you see that in verse 18 where God says, I've chosen Abraham, why? So that all the nations of the earth shall be blessed through him.
In other words, this is so important. Abraham knows that God shared the plan with him so that he could ask for them to be blessed instead of destroyed. And in that moment, Abraham rose above his feelings of injustice and his feelings of hurt and he rose up to fulfill his divine destiny. You say, oh, but they've been unkind to Abraham and they did not deserve that blessing or Abraham's mercy and you are correct, but Abraham understood that he had been unkind to God and he did not deserve God's blessing either. But God had blessed him anyway.
Even though he had failed God time and time and time and time again and as wicked as the people of Sodom were to him, he was more wicked to God. So now that God has shown him mercy, it just makes sense that he asked for a similar mercy to be shown to Sodom and Gomorrah. I say it makes sense, it doesn't make sense unless you see yourself as the recipient of great grace. But when you do see yourself as the recipient of unfathomable grace, then showing grace and forgiveness and generosity to those around you becomes an instinct. In fact, you wanna know why it is that Christians develop this insane ability to forgive. It's not because they're great people, it's because they are overwhelmed with the forgiveness and the grace that God has shown toward them. Abraham prays for these people because he sees himself as the recipient of great and unfathomable grace.
It leads me to the second question. Why does he stop at 10? Why did he stop negotiations at 10? As far as negotiations go, Abraham seems to have been on a roll.
He's gotten God down from 50 righteous to 10, so why stop there? I mean, any negotiator knows that when you sense an opening, when you see weakness, when there's blood in the water, you press as far as you can go until you come to the lowest price. If you got a friend who is getting ready to sell his two-year-old Mercedes Benz that you know is worth $50,000, and one night casually, you know, over coffee, you're like, hey, I'll give you $10,000 for it, and your friend says, I would love to give it to you for $10,000, then your next line should be, well, since you're so enthusiastic about 10,000, why don't I give you five? And if they say, there would be nothing that would give me more joy than to give you my car for $5,000, then you should say, how about $1,000?
And if they say, that just thrills my soul to give it to you for $1,000, you should say, why don't you pay me to take that car off your hands? That's intuitive for the negotiator, so why doesn't Abraham do that? Why doesn't he haggle God down to the one righteous person? Well, evidently, he recognized that there was not even one righteous in the city, or one righteous enough to have the city spared on that one's behalf, so he just leaves off negotiations, and Sodom is destroyed. He stops at 10, because he knows that no matter how low he goes, even if he got down to one, there would not be one righteous. As a personal favor to Abraham, God warned Abraham's nephew Lot first, so that he and his family could get out, but then he poured out fire and brimstone on Sodom. Don't you guys see? Don't you see this story leaves a question that only the New Testament will answer.
Is there no one righteous enough who can plead on behalf of the wicked earth and stay the wrath of God on his behalf because of his righteousness? When I was a missionary to Muslims, once a year, many Muslims take what they call the hajj, which is their pilgrimage to Mecca, and CNN International will always show you the highlights of it and everything. It's almost like a sporting event. I had CNN International at the house I lived in, and so all the guys that I knew would come over and watch sporting events, and so we're like, we need to watch the hajj together, so we have popcorn and wings, and we watch the hajj, and so there's this one moment in the hajj. It's like the climactic moment where a million Muslims are in that temple square, and they're circling this big black rock called the Kaaba, and the Kaaba is a big black square rock. You've probably seen it, and they kind of circle it like a pinwheel, getting closer and closer to it, hoping to touch it, and so I asked my friends.
I'm like, well, what's going on right here? They say, well, they're all right now, as they're circling this black rock, they're all asking God for forgiveness of their sins, and they say these are a million of the best Muslims in the world because they're the ones who you care enough to take the hajj. We figure that out of the million best Muslims in the world, all praying simultaneously for forgiveness of sins, that there's got to be at least one in that million who is righteous enough that God will hear their prayer for forgiveness, and on that one's behalf, will forgive all the sins of all the Muslims on the hajj, and I said, I think I know the guy that you're looking for, except he wasn't circling a black rock in the desert. He hung on a cross 2,000 years ago, not just asking God for forgiveness, but purchasing forgiveness with his blood. You see, 750 years before Jesus came to the earth, the prophet Isaiah foretold in great detail the horrors that the Messiah was gonna go through on the cross, and Isaiah presents the cross, he concludes his presentation of the cross with these words at the end of Isaiah 53 that are important to the meaning of the whole passage. Isaiah 53, 11, God will see the suffering of his soul and be satisfied. In other words, Jesus' righteousness was so great and his sacrifice so immensely satisfying to the Father that on Jesus' behalf, even the most wicked of sinners could ask for forgiveness for their sins, and God would give it to him.
And so we who have been forgiven can ask in Jesus' name for him to extend his mercy to even the most wicked of sinners, and God the Father will be disposed to hear it because he is so satisfied with the one righteous who not only stood in the place of the wicked, but actually suffered and died in the place of the wicked. Here's what that means for us. Here's what that means for us, for our lives. You and I have been placed in a nearly identical situation to Abraham.
Nearly identical, here it is. Number one, each of us has been placed into a community to pray and sacrifice on its behalf. God puts you into that family.
It was his sovereign choice. He puts you into that community. He puts you in that dorm room. He puts you in that classroom. He puts you on that hospital staff. He puts you in that workplace so that you could ask for blessing and mercy for them. You say, but they're wicked, but they're hard-hearted.
They don't wanna listen. Yes, neither did Sodom, but God Abraham knew that that's why God had put him there, and so he asked for mercy. We know that they're hard-hearted, but we also know the sovereign God placed us there so that we could pray and sacrifice for them.
That was his intention. I've been thinking a lot recently about Acts 17, 26, a verse where the apostle Paul is explaining some things to the people there at Mars Hill in Athens. Paul explains, Acts 17, 26, that God has predetermined, listen to this, the allotted periods and the boundaries of people's dwelling places so that they might learn to seek God.
In other words, here's what Paul's saying. God sovereignly arranges where certain people live so that they might seek him. My neighbors, my neighbors think they just moved here to get a job with SAS, but I know that God brought them down here to the triangle and moved them into my neighborhood because he wanted them to hear about Jesus.
He was seeking them. They may not know that, but I knew that because that's what Acts 17, 26 tells me, and if they chose this week as their first week to come to the Summit Church, now you know, okay? Do you see your neighbors that way? Do you see even your own children that way, that God put you in their family as a way of saying, I plan to use you to extend my blessing and mercy to them, and are you praying for them to that end? I even think this when I sit down next to somebody on a plane. Of all the people that I could have sat down next to, God had me sit next to you. God must be seeking you since he determined beforehand our allotted periods and the boundaries of our dwelling, which certainly includes the seat that I occupy on the plane.
That usually is not my opening line to them when we sit down, but I do think it's true. God placed you in that family, that community, that airplane seat to pray and give and sacrifice on their behalf. Summit Church, this is why God placed us in this community. It is our divine destiny. He put us here to bless the triangle and to ask God for Jesus' sake to extend mercy to it. Our placement here is proof that God wants to extend mercy and blessing to the peoples of Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill, and everywhere in between. You see, that means, Summit Church, that we owe to the triangle, and we owe to these unreached people groups, our labors and our faith and our sacrifices on their behalf.
It's not that they deserve it, any more than Sodom deserved Abraham's grace and his blessing. It's not that we're obligated to the peoples around us personally, it's that we owe it to Jesus. You see, Romans 1.14, Paul describes his life this way. He says, I am a debtor to all those people who have never heard about Jesus. That word debtor means in Greek, just what it means in English. It means you owe somebody something. Well, I would always think, what did Paul owe to them?
He never even met most of these people. How do you owe a bunch of stuff to people you've never even met? Well, it's because there's two ways to be a debtor. Way number one, let's call it the traditional way, is when I borrow money from you, and so I owe you, I'm in your debt. But there's another way that you can become a debtor, and that is, say that you were broke and you were starving and you were hopeless, and some rich, generous person says, you know what, I'm gonna give you enough money that it will take care of you throughout the rest of your life.
In fact, it would take care of you in 10 lifetimes. My only requirement, you don't pay me back, you can't pay me back. My only requirement is that when you find somebody that is similarly destitute and similarly starving, that you share some of what I've given to you with them.
At that point, you owe those people, those starving people, not because you owe them personally, but because you owe your benefactor. All right, just a couple days ago, I was eating breakfast at a restaurant with my wife and some friends, and I go to pay the bill, and the waitress says, I'm sorry, your bill's already been taken care of. I was like, what do you mean? She said, yes, somebody paid it. I was like, who is it? She said, I can't tell you. They told me, I was like, did they just leave?
And I saw the look in her eye just enough. So I ran out the door just to see who it was, and the guy's going, and there was like three or four people in the parking lot, I'm like, that guy looks generous. And so I walked up to him, I said, did you pay for my, and he tried to, and then he just sorta looked kinda coy, and he said, yes, I paid for your, and I was like, well, man, you don't have to do that.
It wasn't just me and my family, it was some friends, so let me pay you back. He goes, no, man. He goes, I know who you are, and I just wanted to bless you.
I said, no, man, I insist. And he said, look, he said, if you're gonna pay me back, just next time you see somebody in the restaurant that goes to our church, well, you just pay for them. That'll be the way that you pay me back. Which means, by the way, if suddenly, randomly, your bill gets paid for and I'm in the restaurant, it's not because I love you, okay?
It's, I'm trying to pay this guy back. See, there's a way that you owe a debt to somebody else because of somebody else's generosity to you, and that's what Paul is talking about with the gospel. Paul knows there was no reason that God chose him for the blessing of the gospel. It's not like Paul was more worthy than other sinners. It wasn't like Paul's sin was not that bad, so God chose him. Paul said there really was no reason about me that God chose me, and what that means is that I'm now under obligation to people who have never heard the gospel. Do you understand that you and I are under similar obligation? Do you think it was something about you that made God choose you for the blessing of the gospel?
Do you think he looked at you and said, oh, that one's special? Yes, she's got real potential. Her sin's not that bad, she's just a little confused. So I'm going to share the gospel with her. No, that is not why God chose you for grace.
God did not choose you because of something special about you, he chose you just because. And because of that because, it comes with an obligation where you say, I am going to consider myself under obligation to every person in my life and in the world who has not heard about Jesus. Here's how my friend David Platt, who now leads the International Mission Board, always says it, every saved person this side of heaven owes the gospel to every unsaved person this side of hell. Every saved person this side of heaven owes the gospel to every unsaved person this side of hell. And let me tell you, your life will look different when you are a debtor. We summit church because we're under obligation to the triangle, because we are under obligation to unreached cities and unreached people groups in the world.
Our lives and our ministries have to look different. I've told you throughout this series, the question is no longer, how much do I have to give? That's not a question that somebody that considers themselves under obligation would ask. When you're under obligation, the question you start to ask is, what am I not giving?
And why am I not giving it? I'm under obligation. Now I heard a South African pastor say the other day, people, a group of pastors were talking about the mission statements in their church. And you know, the goal is to be the most creative, the witty, the punchiest, you know, oh, here's our mission statement. Oh, mine rhymes.
Oh, ours, ours talks with the same letter. This guy, South African pastor of a large church there said, our mission statement at our church, he goes, well, every unsaved person goes to hell. He said, that's pretty much the sum of our mission.
What more needs to be said? It's not creative, but it is the substance of why we do what we do. So you and I have been placed in a place where we've been given grace, where we've been given blessing and God's purpose in doing that was for us to extend it to the people around us, which leads us to number two. We can pray and give expectantly because of the worthy sacrifice of Jesus. We can pray and give more expectantly than Abraham because of the worthy sacrifice of Jesus. Unlike Abraham, we know that there is one counted righteous enough to spare the city. And no matter how wicked the city is on his behalf, we can plead for God to extend mercy to the city. We know that there is one righteous and there's only one name we can bring up.
And it's a name that is so fully sufficient that when we bring it up before God, God is disposed to give mercy. That's why the father says to the son in Psalm 2 eight, ask of me, just ask. And I will give you the nations as your inheritance.
I am so satisfied with the suffering of your soul. You could ask for the ends of the earth and I would give it to you as your possession. That is a promise that was given to Jesus. It is a promise that he handed to us. That is a promise you ought to memorize and you ought to pray back to God.
I'm going to ask. I'm gonna ask not for riches. I'm not gonna ask for earthly kingdoms. I'm gonna ask for the nations of the world because I want them to be my inheritance because Jesus purchased them with his blood and he is worthy to receive their worship and their praise. So my church, do you realize the potential that God has placed in our hands? We have one so worthy that on his behalf, God will extend mercy to our neighbors and to our city. I am not discouraged when I look into the future.
You want to know why? Because I know that God has a promise to fulfill. Yeah, when I was a missionary over, as I mentioned with Muslims, I would get so discouraged sometimes because it seemed like people just didn't want to listen and their hearts seemed so confused and hard. And I used to walk outside at night and I would look up into the sky into the stars and I would remind myself that those were the same stars that Abraham looked at several thousand years ago. And when God made that promise and signified it to Abraham through those stars, some of those stars represented the Muslim people that I was working among.
And I'm like, as sure as these stars are shining is the surety that God is going to keep his promise and fulfill his word, which is why I have such confidence looking into the future. A lot of Christians really talk, especially in our day, as if they're just so discouraged. Oh, we've lost the culture. It's getting so bad. Have you watched the TV lately?
The world is getting more closed. One day it's going to be illegal for us to be a Christian and all the schools are so bad. And I'm like, yeah, but Jesus has got a promise to fulfill. And I can promise you that Jesus did not die so a group of scared Christians could cloister together and hang on until the rapture. I know that he didn't die so that we could get in here and play church and sing sentimental love songs to each other about Jesus. He died so that we could go boldly in his name until every people group and every place on the planet has a thriving gospel witness in his name. That's why he died. He died so that people on your college campus would go from atheist to missionary. He died so that your professors would come to faith in Christ. And we don't presume upon God by asking him too much.
We insult Jesus by asking too little. In fact, there's a verse that has guided our church for the last few years. And I'll share it with you again because I feel like it's so important in what we're about to do here. Amos chapter five, verse four. It's confusing, I'll warn you.
But just give me a second, I'll explain it. Thus says the Lord to the house of Israel, do not seek Bethel. Do not enter into Gilgal and do not cross over to Beersheba, seek the Lord and live. You're like, that's good.
Now you're like, what does that mean? Okay, Bethel, Gilgal and Beersheba are three random cities to you. They're not three random cities to Jewish people. Bethel was the place where God appeared to Jacob with the whole ladder deal. It was a place that heaven touched earth. Gilgal, that was the place where the children of Israel emerged out of the wilderness after wandering for 40 years. And God renewed the covenant to them and removed their reproach, split the Jordan River and knocked down Jericho as a sign that he was serious. Beersheba, if you were paying attention and you get extra credit in this course, you will notice that Beersheba was the place where God gave Abraham the covenant through Abimelech for the promised land. So we're talking three huge places where heaven touched earth and it was signs that God had done something powerful, which is awesome, right? Oh, it's good until you do what the Jewish people in Amos's day had done, which is they love to sit around and talk about the good old days with Gilgal and Beersheba and the other place, Bethel. And they would just all, imagine what it would have been like to have been there with Jacob and had that dream.
Imagine what it was like at Gilgal when we saw the Jordan River split and we, man, it was awesome. Beersheba and God in heaven is sitting in there going, would you shut up about Gilgal? I'm not a God who just worked yesterday. I'm a God who needs to work in your generation and tomorrow.
And quit talking like I'm a God that works in the past and not in the present and in the future. You see, I wonder what the Holy Spirit of God would think about us the way that you and I often talk. Oh, we love, don't we?
We love to talk about the good old days. Oh, for us, it's not Gilgal and Beersheba and Bethel. It's the great awakening.
Oh yeah. Or the reformation. Or even the days of the early church when Peter and Paul and Martin Luther and Jonathan Edwards and Billy Graham and God in heaven is like, would you shut up about Billy Graham? Yeah, I like Billy Graham. I use Billy Graham. Martin Luther.
You say Jonathan Edwards' name one more time, I'm gonna punch somebody in the mouth. Peter and Paul, yeah, they were, they were, they were. I didn't just work yesterday. I wanna work in your generation because your sons and daughters need to be saved and so do their friends. The greatest works of God, y'all are ahead of us, not behind us. You know how I know that? Here's, I'll prove it to you. 6400 unreached people groups still exist in the world without a witness to Jesus' name.
6400. That means the greatest works of God have to be in front of us because we need to see a movement of God that not only saves our sons and daughters, that it transforms the world. So I repeat to you, Summit Church, God put you and me in this church here at this time for this purpose.
To reach people far from God, to raise up leaders, and to multiply all over the world with the gospel. We need to ask and dream big because Jesus' sacrifice for our world demands that we do. Like I told you, to pray and dream big is not presumption on God. To not pray and dream big is an insult to the sacrifice of Jesus. To the plans and the dreams and the prayers of this church, to the sacrifices of this church, measure up to the worthiness of the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ. Y'all get this, God even invites us to haggle with him, to plead Jesus' perfect merits at the bench of his throne of grace, to put down before him that one name that God cannot turn down.
And he says, just ask, just ask of me and I'll give you the nations as your inheritance. Summit Church, what we are doing in this season matters. It matters because by believing God, we literally change the eternities of people in this community, and we change the destinies of nations around the world. I want you to think about that.
That's not grandiose, that's not rhetoric, that's not ambitious. What we're doing is gonna change eternities because that's what Jesus died to do. And when we ask in his name, we're simply living out the destiny that God has purposed for us because Abraham followed, because he followed and obeyed, you and I are sitting here. Who's gonna point to you one day and say, because they followed, I am now in the kingdom of God. Because Abraham trusted God, because he prioritized God, you and I are here. Because he laid his Isaac on the altar, you and I get to sit here and enjoy the blessings of the gospel.
Who's gonna point to you one day and say, because they believed and because they surrendered and because they prioritize God, I'm here. Because Abraham believed God for impossible things, you and I sit here in this church, listening to the blessings of Abraham that have been extended to us, who is gonna point to you and say, because they believe God for impossible things, I am sitting here in the kingdom of God, which leads us to this card. This card is an expression of our offering ourselves to God like Abraham. It's one part of our life, but it represents us offering our whole selves to God to be multiplied. You see on weeks one, two and three in this series, we gave you something to fill out that had to do with engagement and serving the community or volunteering in the church or getting in a small group or getting engaged in mission.
That was our first three weeks. This week, we're going, this is about how we are financially committing to the mission of God here at the Summit Church. It's my joy to be able to tell you that there's a lot of Summit members who have already gone before the rest of us in this. You may have heard me mention this last week, but a couple of Fridays ago, we gathered together our leaders and volunteers for what we call our Advanced Commitment Night.
Here's why we do that, why we do it in advance. There's a story in the Old Testament, 1 Chronicles 29, where King David is about to build the temple. And before he collects all the things from the children of Israel's offering to build the temple, he had the leaders, he had his own household go first. And so they, in front of the whole nation of Israel, bring down their offerings and lay them there so that they could say to the rest of Israel, we want you to join us in what we are already doing. Well, see, that's what happened a couple of Fridays ago is 400, nearly 500 families in the Summit Church, the leadership and volunteer community came together just to say, we wanna go first. And I wanna tell you that the level of sacrifice that they showed is staggering.
Just a couple of things I'll share with you. I mentioned we had 500 or so families represented that evening. 81 of those families made a commitment to give to the mission of God through the Summit Church for the very first time. 81 families out of the leadership community made a commitment that night to give to the mission of God through the Summit Church for the very first time. That's a huge faith step for them, a huge one, because they're gonna financially get engaged in the kingdom of God and trust God. In fact, could we put our hands together for those 81 families?
That's a huge deal. And I would venture to guess that there are probably hundreds of you that today are gonna be taking a similar step of faith that you've never taken before. And that is to trust God with your finances in a way that you never have. And you're gonna join those 81s who went before. We also had 16 families from the Summit Church step out that evening with a six or seven figure gift.
16 families. For some of you, that's what your first and best means. Because for them, they realized that simply tithing, while that's a good practice, for them, that didn't represent their first and their best. It didn't represent trust in God.
It didn't represent something that represented sacrifice to them. And I want you to know that these men and women and these families have gone first to pave the way, and I invite you to join them. It was 488 commitments total, represented these amazing steps of faith for people. I knew of one young professional who told us that over the last two years here at the Summit Church, he's only given $20 over the entire two years. He's committed over the next two years to give $7,200 to the mission of God.
There was one family that went from just under 10,000 to over 50,000 over the next two years. I'm telling you, Summit Church, what I am sensing God do in our leadership community here lets me know that he is getting ready to do something big in this church. We have been praying, and I am praying, that 100% of the people that either call this church their home or are being drawn into the ministries of the Summit Church will take the step together. We say the primary goal is that 100% of us participate. Our primary goal is not a financial goal because we know that God doesn't have money needs. What God looks for from his people is for them to, like Abraham, say, all that I am, all that I have, all that I ever hope to be belongs to you. I surrender it to you. You get the first and best.
I want it to be used as seed to be multiplied. This is about offering not to God our money, but ourselves. That's why the goal is not a number. The point is the heart that is represented behind that number, which is why the woman who gives two mites in Jesus's story, which is about a half of a penny, Jesus says is greater than the rich person who gives thousands of dollars because it's not the number, it's the heart represented behind that number.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-09-04 20:31:27 / 2023-09-04 20:49:06 / 18