"Can we only do what the Bible commands, or can we do whatever we want except what the Bible forbids?" [M. Driscoll, "The Elephant Room")
Here is the video that we used to introduce our teaching series, "Proverbia" and launch into a discussion about applying wisdom in our everyday life. Be sure to check back later this week for our Sunday Recap!
posted by The Resurgence | Steven E. Runge
“For many, of whom I have often told you and now tell you even with tears, walk as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things. But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ” (Phil 3:18–20).Compare and ContrastPaul offers contrasting portraits of the enemies of the cross in comparison with what believers may expect. In rapid succession, Paul introduces a topic and makes a comment about the enemies. After four such comments, he moves on to contrast them with what believers do or expect. The close parallels in the topics sharpen the contrast between us and them.
The contrast begins with the enemies, citing a topic and then making a comment about it. The outcome of their behavior is destruction, which stands in contrast to our heavenly citizenship (3:20). Paul made the same comparison in 1:28, contrasting salvation with destruction. Next, he tackles who or what they serve. In the case of the enemies, they serve their belly—something that can never be fully satisfied. In contrast, Paul references the heavenly origins of our citizenship by saying that we await the arrival of our Savior Jesus Christ from the same place. He is the one we serve—not our belly. In fact, Jesus tells us that if we seek first God’s kingdom and His righteousness, all the other things that we need will be added (Matt 6:33).
“Paul references the heavenly
origins of our citizenship by saying
that we await the arrival of our Savior
Jesus Christ from the same place."
What is it that these folks take pride in? What is their glory? It’s in their shame. This is not unlike those in Romans 1:32 who not only did things worthy of death, but approved of others who did the same. Here in Philippians, the enemies of the cross have their values just as mixed up. Paul contrasts this ill-placed glory with what we aspire to: having our humble bodies transformed and conformed to the glorious image of Christ. They glory in the behavior that will end in judgment and destruction, instead of salvation and glorification.The FocusThe final thing that Paul compares is focus. The enemies have their sights set on earthly things, which is to be expected of someone whose god is their stomach. The reference to heaven stands in contrast with the stuff of earth. Paul closes the reference to the believer’s outlook with how things turn out. At the end of the day, Christ’s glorious power enables Him to subject all things to Himself. This not only means earthly things, but everything else as well (see 2:10–11).
No matter how appealing it might look to follow these folks, the contrasting picture that Paul paints moves beyond the surface to the final outcome. Whoever they are, the Philippians want no part of what they are offering. We are repeatedly warned to watch out for those who will try and draw us away from the truth of the gospel (see Rom 16:17; 2 Cor 11:4; Gal 1:6; 1 Tim 1:3; 6:3). In the end, their ways lead to death and destruction, not the freedom and blessing that is promised. No matter what gain they may offer in the short run, following such people is a losing proposition in the end.
This adapted excerpt, courtesy of Logos Bible Software, is from Steven E. Runge’s High-Definition Commentary: Philippians.
[posted by The Resurgence | by Thomas Weaver]Okay I’m not a Christian, but I’ve finally made the decision to come to your church this Sunday. Don’t expect much from me though. If something comes up I might not, but right now I’m planning on it. I feel like I need to go, but I’m not sure why. I want to tell you a few things about myself before you meet me.1. I’m not going to understand religious language or phrases so be aware of that when we talk. I don’t understand slain in the spirit, God is moving in me, covered in the blood, I need to die to self, you just need to be in the Word, what you need is a new life, etc. If we have conversation filled with religious talk, I’m probably not going to understand half of the words...and maybe think you’re a little crazy.
2. When you ask me how I’m doing, know that I don’t trust you. I’m probably going to lie and tell you I’m fine. It’s not that I don’t want to tell you; it’s just that I come from some pain and am not sure if I trust you yet. How about you tell me your story first? If I like you and get the vibe that you’re not trying to capture my soul or anything, I’ll tell you mine.
3. I’ve got pretty rough language and I can be bitter and angry about some things. If I sense in you a mindset of superiority, I’m out. If you are just waiting for your turn to talk instead of truly listening to me, I’m not going to be interested. Don’t expect me to be exactly like you.
4. Don’t make a big deal of introducing me to everyone you know. I understand a couple of people, but please; don’t set up a welcoming line. I’m just there to check it out; I need a bit of space.
5. I’m going to be looking for genuine interest in me. I don’t want to feel like your personal salvation project or be a notch on your “I saved one” belt. If this Jesus is who you say he is, then I’m looking forward to seeing him in you. That’s how it works, right?
6. I’m going to have questions. I need truth, not your preferences or your religion, so can you just tell me what the Bible says?
7. I need to feel welcomed. Is there a time limit or something on my visit before I’m supposed to feel unwelcomed? I mean, I’ve been to other churches and there seemed to be a push for me to make up my mind or something. How long until I’m unwelcomed?
Thanks for hearing me out. I’m pretty sure I’m going to come this Sunday. But I might not.
[posted by The Resurgence | by Casey Cease]
The Great Commission that Jesus gave to His disciples is often quoted when discussing world missions. Jesus sends His disciples out to make more disciples.All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always to the end of the age. – Matthew 28:18-20
As We GoI remember sitting in a seminary class and the professor began talking to us about the Greek and the idea that the word ‘Go’ in the Great Commission could really be read, “As you go,” or “While you are going.” This opened my eyes to an understanding that Jesus command doesn’t only apply to world missions, but to living our lives as missionaries. As we go, we make disciples.
This is an eye opening truth that brings some meaning and purpose to those of us who reside in the security of suburbia. This is not written as an opinionated diatribe towards those who live in the suburbs. I live in and minister to people of the suburbs. It’s a reminder that all peoples matter to God, and that you don’t have to go to obscure lands to make disciples. To be honest, if you are not an effective missionary where you are, as you go, then what makes you think you have any authority serving as a missionary elsewhere?
We Have a Mission at HandTo serve as a missionary in a suburban context has several inherent complications. People in suburbia enjoy their individuality and privacy. They are busy and often living beyond their means. We need to realize that we have a mission at hand, not in a far off land, but down our street, in our schools, in the stores and restaurants we patronize. There are people all around us who are separated from God and need to know and love Jesus.
“The question is whether you will make disicples as you go, or will you wait for other, more professional people, to do it for you?"
I often receive questions on how to be a missionary in a suburban context. Here are a few things to keep in mind as we consider our calling to make disciples as we go:
- People Matter to God: This may seem like a no-brainer, but it’s good to remember that God has sent us into the world as His ambassadors (2 Corinthians 5:18-20) to bring the message of reconciliation. We are not sent to only reach those like us, but to minister to all whom we come in contact with.
- Places of Impact: We are creatures of habit. We all have places that we frequently go to eat, shop, and play. Remember, the people who work in these places are often dismissed, but this is a great place to start building intentional relationships. Not only is it important to minister to them, but also they can connect us with other regulars.
- Go Out in Pairs: The mission we are on is a communal mission and an individual one. We are not just inviting people to ‘church’, but calling people out of darkness into light, from death to life, from isolation to biblical community. Jesus sent His disciples 2-by-2, so we should be intentional about being on mission together. Examples of this include BBQ’s, play dates, library activities with kids, work out spots, etc.
- The Golden Rule: Remember what it was like to be lost? If not, then you should begin there. Isolation from God may give the appearance of freedom, but ultimately leads to death. We need to do for others what we would hope they would do for us, especially when it comes to sharing spiritual truths.
- People are NOT Projects: One of the most arrogant things we can do is to treat people as projects. People do not need to be ‘worked on’; they need to be loved on. What are ways that you can serve them, speak to them, and treat them that in a way that communicates your love for Jesus and your love for them?
- It’s a Marathon, Not a Sprint: We never know when God is going to regenerate a person. That’s not our business. What we are to be about is making disciples as we go. Befriending people, serving people, and pointing people to Jesus with our lives and our words. This could take years in some instances. Perhaps it is just as much about your sanctification as it is about their salvation.
- Jesus Saves People / You Are the Mid-Wife: I’m often stunned how bad theology leads to ineffective evangelistic lifestyles. People get paralyzed when they believe that they are the one’s to save people. What I mean is, when people believe that it’s up to them to lead a person to the Lord, they get stuck with fear, or prideful with their ‘success.’ Keeping in mind that God is the sovereign King who is able to save even the hardest of people, should give us rest in His provision. Our calling is to be faithful to the Gospel, to share the faith, and to serve as midwives to those who are born again.
Faithful & IntentionalWhile these points are valid regardless of your context, it is important to note that while we are in a unique context living in suburbia, we are not relieved from the commission at hand. We must be faithful to present Jesus in our lives, words, families, and deeds. We live in a fallen world that is in great need of redemption and restoration. The question is whether you will make disicples as you go, or will you wait for other, more professional people, to do it for you? Let’s not fall into the suburban stereotype of outsourcing local missions, rather, let us invest into our communities, connect with our neighbors, and continually strive to be intentional about seeing lives transformed by Jesus.