Dangerous Transformation

This entry is part 1 of 2 in the series Dangerous Church

INTRODUCTION:

Welcome to week one of a two week series entitled Dangerous Church. The title for today’s message is Dangerous Transformations.I want to begin today by sharing some safety rules. Maybe some of you heard these safety rules growing up. You know, those rules that we were supposed to follow if we didn’t want to get killed or hurt bad? Rules like this:

1. Don’t jump on your bed or you may bonk your head.
2. Don’t go swimming until at least 30 minutes after you eat or you may get a cramp and drown.
3. Don’t run around with scissors or you may fall and poke your eye out.
4. Put your coat on or you’ll freeze to death!
5. Don’t play with your belly button or the thing may become unravelled and you’ll fly away like a balloon.
6. Stop making those faces or you’ll end up looking like that!

In the church there are also some safety rules as well…they may not be formally taught but they are often practiced. You don’t really see them in any official church manuals or instruction guides. Their not found in any guest packets or membership outlines but nevertheless these are some unspoken safety rules usually found in the North American church.

1. Don’t offend anybody.
2. Don’t talk about anything controversial.
3. Don’t change anything…we like the way it was done “back then” so keep doing it that way.

Now, here’s the problem – many churches today could be described as “safe” churches. The problem is that when you look at the model of the New Testament church there is nothing safe about it! Here at HPC I want us to embrace this dangerous mission statement,

Our mission is allow the light of God to shine so powerfully through our lives that people can’t help but join us in becoming fully devoted followers of Christ.

Let’s repeat that together… (repeat). Our goal as a body of Christ is to be like a City on a Hill as Jesus described and urged in Matthew 5:14,

14 “You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.
Matthew 5:14-16 (NIV)

Notice what we’re not about: we’re not about politics, we’re not about trying to please people, we’re simply about allowing the light of God to shine so powerfully through our lives that people can’t help but join us in becoming fully devoted followers of Christ. The goal is to see people come to Christ. It’s pretty simple. Our purpose is simple as well. How will we accomplish our mission? There are four action words to describe our purpose:

1. INSPIRE – Bring IN
2. EQUIP – Build UP and TRAIN
3. INVOLVE – Build TOGETHERNESS (community)
4. SEND – Send OUT

I’d like to say that we will do anything short of sin to bring people into the family of God! The church should be INSPIRING – in fact the inspiration of the church is found in the creative and powerful work of the Holy Spirit who will operate in the life of any believer who allows Him. He is the light that inspires!

We want people to built up in the Word of God and build that sold foundation of truth in their lives. We also want people to discover their gifts and abilities that God has given them.

Then we want people to realize that we are all part of a team, the body of Christ and that we are in this incredible spiritual journey together. Together with each other and together with God. As we get involved in the game we will continue to develop our gifts and abilities and SERVE one another.

Finally we want people to be sent to all the corners of the world to INSPIRE and SHINE the light of God so that more people come to Christ – thus beginning the cycle again! We are a sending church to fulfill the great commission of Christ, “Go and make disciples of all the nations…”

The problem today is many churches slip into a safety zone – for example, I’ve run into this phrase many times in online conversations with various people. I remember a conversation with one guy that got around to spiritual things somehow and He said that He loved God. It was cool, I typed back…hey I love God too! Then I asked Him what church do you go to? He typed, “Oh, I love God but I hate church!” “Oh?” I replied, “Why is that?”. He said, “Because I grew up going to church and every week we went to church but in church nothing happens”.

Now I don’t know about you, but in some ways I identified with what this guy wrote. I remember growing up in church and in the church I grew up in nothing happened! It was the safest place to go to – we were never confronted, never challenged. Everyone had their seat they sat in – we knew how to blend in – when to stand up, when to sit down and we had our memorized sayings – it was just a safe place!

Here’s the thing, though, when you look at the New Testament model of the church – when people truly encounter a Holy God – SOMETHING ALWAYS HAPPENS!

One of the most dangerous places to be when you talk about the status quo is to be in the presence of God because in the presence of God things don’t stay the same. I believe God is calling our church to be a dangerous church.

Today we’re going to talk about how God transforms by His power through a dangerous church. We’re going to look at three biblical thoughts…

1. A dangerous church transforms the ordinary into the extraordinary

A dangerous church takes ordinary people and transforms them into extraordinary world changers. Take the example of Peter and John who were walking through the Temple grounds one day, on their way to prayer and they walked past a crippled man who begged for some money. They didn’t have any money and Peter mentioned that – however He said, “What we do have I give you, in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, get up and walk” Immediately this crippled man got up and walked! A crowd gathered around Peter and John and they began to teach the crowd about Jesus. Imagine Peter and John were getting up in front of a crowd in which there were probably some of the same people who had called out for the death of Jesus just a little over a month ago. In fact, they were teaching about Jesus in probably one of the most hostile places at that time to do so!
It is no wonder that we find this written in Acts 4:13,

When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus.
Acts 4:13 (NIV)

The Pharisees and Saducees who were a part of the “safe” religion of the day – didn’t approve of what Peter and John were doing. Yet they saw what they had done and the Bible says they astonished because they realized that Peter and John were unschooled ordinary men with extraordinary courage. What gave Peter and John this courage. What is it that took these ordinary, unschooled men and caused them to do something extraordinary? Something was happening, and that something was noticed by the Pharisees and Saducees. They took note that Peter and John had been with Jesus.

Friends, when an ordinary person like you and me spend some time with Jesus we cannot stay the same! He transforms us!

Here’s something else I want to point out. The word that is translated from the Greek, the original language, into the word “ordinary” is the word idiotes (id-ee-o’-tace). The word idiotes should have been translated as idiot or ignoramus. That’s literally what they are saying. How could all these unschooled idiots be doing what they do? This brings me great comfort to know that in the New Testament they were a bunch of idiots because that means we’re a biblical church because we’re a bunch of idiots! And you’re looking at the chiefest idiot right here! I really am! We’re ordinary people!

Every time before I get up to speak I get nervous. I get those butterflies in my stomach, my knees knock a bit…why? Because I’m just an ordinary regular guy. I was nervous!

I love this story I heard told recently. There was this minister who got up to deliver a very formal prayer. And he began by raising his hands, looking up to heaven and saying, “O Lord, without Thee, we are only but dust”. At this point a little girl turned to her mother and asked, “Mama, what is ‘butt dust’?”…

We’re dust! We’re ordinary regular people – who have been with Jesus.

Think about this: When Jesus left heaven and came to earth to establish the kingdom of heaven of earth….who did he invite to be on His team?

• Some uneducated fisherman
• Some tax-collectors
• Prostitues
• The ordinary, the broken, the lonely or the outcast

Jesus transformed the idotes into the extraordinary…think how different that is from today (organizations looking for the best…i.e. military)

When Jesus came He didn’t come for the healthy He came for the sick. He didn’t come for the already convinced but for the doubters and the sceptics. He didn’t come for the self-proclaimed righteous ones – He came for the sinners!

He came for the everyday ordinary idotes… why? because they were simply naïve enough to believe that what he said was true! The religious folk stood back and said that this is too dangerous. Notice that Jesus didn’t call a single Pharisee, priest, saduccee, rabbi, why? Because they had become too safe…trusting in the traditions of man rather than believing God.

In God’s presence something always happens!

See next verse (Paul) what kind of miracle?

11 God did extraordinary miracles through Paul, 12 so that even handkerchiefs and aprons that had touched him were taken to the sick, and their illnesses were cured and the evil spirits left them.
Acts 19:11-12 (NIV)

{Share a personal experience something extraordinary through very ordinary means. An illustration where I was just naïve enough to believe that it might be true…

share about junior youth at King St. and praying for the youth and them being slain in the Spirit…how shocked I was…share about the story about parents taking their youth to the hospital thinking there was something wrong with them}

When God came to establish His kingdom on Earth…who did he call? Ordinary people. People who simply believed Him at His word. A dangerous church transforms the ordinary into the extraordinary.

When is the last time you believed God for something absolutely extraordinary. The dangerous church is made up of ordinary people who have been with Jesus. You see, when you experience Jesus in both a head way and a heart way he will transform your life.

I read this article recently in Christianity Today that draws an interesting analogy that answers an interesting question, “What is the biggest business in your town?” Think of Hanover right now…what is the biggest business in Hanover, Ontario?

• what are some possible answers? Walmart? Hanover Race Track? Smitty’s?

This article says the biggest business is God’s business – now don’t wig out and start calling me heretical – yes the church is not a business but for the sake of discussion and illustration let’s say it is “God’s business” and it’s the most important business on planet earth doing the business of God?

• Name one business in town that has more money than the local church? (the resources of the church is not what it has in it’s bank account but what the true church “us” have in ours…the resources available to the church through the people).
• What’s the most durable and strongest business in town?’ the local church. Name one business that has lasted longer than 2000 years? You can’t only the local church fits the bill.
An entire empire tried to shut the church down by killing Christians…yet today the Roman empire is dead but the church has spread all over the world. Even today in the few communist regimes that remain in power they are trying to contain the spread of Christianity. They are failing miserably.

Some would argue the biggest business in town is God’s business. That leads into the question…why is God’s business not as effective as it could be?

1. The local branches are competing against one another rather than complementing or completing one another.
2. A lot of local branches are more interested in the name on the outside of the building than being united under the One name in whom we serve.

The biggest argument is this, especially for the North American church – is because we are better at being spiritual consumers than we are being spiritual contributors.

2. A Dangerous Church transforms Consumers into Contributors

44 All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45 Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need.
Acts 2:44-45 (NIV)

Example in Acts 2:44-45…regular people with kids, bills and trying to make it trying to get ahead…but when they experience biblical community look what happens…

• Now imagine this…if every local branch of God’s business in our town saw ourselves as one and united imagine what we could do.
• Imagine if us looking at our money, our time, our gifts and instead of saying their MINE we instead say they belong to God.
• There would not be a single need in our cities that we could not meet if the church started acting like the church…think about it.
• The problem…we’d rather be consumers than contributers.

Exception: Before we continue let me say this. For those of you who are not yet Christ-followers…consume. You don’t give a penny, or your time (unless you want to) don’t feel obligated. This is for you. Here’s the promise – you seek God with everything in you and you are going to find Him and He will change your world. That’s the promise. So consume.

But for those of you who are Christ followers:
Let me tell you right now, it is a sad day when you are characterised by consuming more than you are by contributing. Now listen carefully some of you…(chide the congregation)

There are some of you who are who are:

• sitting in a seat and inside a building paid for by people who gave above their tithes, above their ten percent and you sit here and consume and contribute nothing back…shame on you.
• walk in every week and someone hands you a bulletin and smiles at you and you’ve never once thought about serving – you’re a Christ follower? Shame on you.
• You drop your kids off week after week in the children’s ministry and all the volunteers give their time to disciple your kids and you’ve never once thought about giving one hour back to someone else’s kids. Shame on you. You’re a consumer. Why? Because it’s all about you isn’t it.

If you’re new here today. Welcome to HPC! Where we just want to make you feel special.

We need to be mature about this. It is a tragedy that North American Christians would rather be consumers than contributors!

We whine because we can’t find one church that meets all of our needs. Do you realize how often so called “Christ-followers” say that? I can’t find any church that meets all of my needs so I’m not going anywhere. Do you realize how incredibly unbiblical and selfish that statement is?

We’ve got to get this right – The church is not here for us. We are the church and the church is here for the world!

“Can’t find a church that meets my needs”….Grow up!

God will be glorified when the body of Christ acts like the body of Christ. When is the last time you have given of yourself sacrificially for the work of God?

The dangerous church transforms consumers into contributors.

Transition…recap previous statements:

3. A Dangerous Church transforms the living to the dead.

Now before any of you cry out heresy… “The Bible says Jesus transforms dead things to living things!” Yes He does, but first He transforms living things to dead things!

I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
Galatians 2:20 (NIV)

Talk about transformation in personal life from the way I was to the way I am today…that Darren died – old life died – I wasn’t always Pastor Darren. That old nature has been crucified with Christ.

May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.
Galatians 6:14 (NIV)

When you look back at the things that have happened in your life there are many things that Christ-followers can recognize the signature of God in. It is true that God does amazing things in our lives – many things that might go unnoticed if we don’t take the time to think about it. But even more amazing is when I look back at the past year at the things God has done I can say that, “More of me died” – the greatest work God did in transforming my life.

In the past year I’ve died more to

• Materialism and the quest for “stuff”
• My selfishness
• Consumerist attitude
• Self-Sufficiency

Friends, Jesus transforms the living to the dead so that the dead can live like they never have before! The question for “you” is this then, “Are you dead yet?” What is it in your life that is still living that needs to be crucified with Christ.

CONCLUSION

In the presence of a Holy God something always happens. Our church must be dangerously focused and passionate about this one thing… “to let the light of God shine through our lives in such a way that people can’t help but become devoted followers of Jesus Christ”

And when we pursue Christ, God will impact our lives and we will never be the same.

PRAY

Series NavigationNext in Series
This entry was posted in Sermons, Sunday Morning Service and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.