Gospel-Centered Multiplication

Topics : The Village Church | Church Planting | Discipleship | Missions | Nature of the Church Scripture: Acts 20:17-38

Transcript | Audio


We are entering week seven of a series we’ve called “Village Identity” where we’re just trying to explain ultimately what we’re doing here, what this is all about. So we started in the early weeks by simply saying that God is for God, God is about God and that God’s ultimate goal is the praise of His glorious grace or worship. And we said that the church is about God’s glory in that the church makes disciples that obey all that He has commanded. So we started burrowing down into what that looked like at the Village Church four weeks ago, talking about what we called “the family traits.” What does a maturing disciple look like here at the Village? So we talked about gospel-centered worship, what that was, what your role was and what our role as an organization was. And then we talked about gospel-centered community. From there we talked about gospel-centered service last week. What is the motivating force behind the service that

we extend to one another and the graciousness that we extend to all those around us? We looked at Jesus washing the disciples’ feet. And then we flipped over to Philippians and looked at how He lowered Himself and wasn’t thinking namely of Himself but of His brothers and sisters and how to make much of God in the loving of the saints.

That now takes us to the last piece of what we believe defines a maturing disciple in Jesus Christ. So it’s someone who worships in a way that’s defined by the gospel, it’s someone who’s in community where the relationships are defined within the implications of the gospel and then we’re growing in service to one another and the world around us with the gospel as our motivation. And that takes us this last piece, which is this idea of gospel-centered multiplication. I really believe that if you studied history, you would find that we are the most entertained generation that has ever been alive, and yet we’re still bored out of our minds. I’m not an old man, but you couldn’t even imagine the world as it is now back when I was a kid. There wasn’t a remote control when I was a kid. If you were wealthy and had cable, there was a box that sat on top of your television with a little sliding bar. You had to get up and walk to the television and then change the channels. There wasn’t a guide; there was a magazine. You had to open up the magazine to find out what was on. You couldn’t hit a button and scroll through the different channels. You literally had to look up the day of the week.

If you wanted to record something, there wasn’t a VCR yet. You couldn’t record anything back then. I believe that people had children back then to fix some of these issues. My dad didn’t want to get up and change the channel, so he had children. So if you think about what happens nowadays where the show you’re watching has a volume of about 3 and the commercial that comes on has a volume of about 170, think about how that works without a remote control. You’re getting a stitch in your side running back and forth from the television to your chair. So that was the world I grew up in. there were video games, but they cost a quarter and they were in arcades. I can remember Atari coming out. Atari is kind of retro and cool right now, but in reality it was one red button and a stick and every game there was made the same noise. You could play outside. How crazy is that? “Go outside and play.” And your parents would literally encourage you to stay away from the house until it got dark. “Get your homework done and then get out of the house. We’ll see you when it gets dark.” The rule in my house was, “You had better be home by the time the street lights come on.” You got

to just run and play. You’d meet kids in other blocks. This was crazy stuff back then. It was almost anarchy. So that’s what I lived in. Even on that little sliding box, you had 60 channels tops. When movies came out, they came out two or three a weekend tops, not ten or twelve every weekend depending on what theater you go to. So the world has changed. So if you have children, they are the most entertained generation the world has ever seen. There is more to do, more to be a part of, more to connect with, more to read about, study about and get involved with than there has ever been in the history of the world, and yet we have this inescapable yearning and longing in us to be a part of something bigger than us.

It’s why, as far back as you can look in human history, we’re drawn to epics. We’re drawn to epic romances and epic battles. You’d be hard pressed to find a man who didn’t love the movie Braveheart. It would be tough to find the man who goes, “You know what? I didn’t really care much for it.” Now there are probably some out there who didn’t like it, but by in large you’re going to find most men going, “Yeah, I’d like some of that. I’d like to kill a bunch of people who invaded my home lands and tried to oppress my people.” Women and men alike are drawn to epic romances where there are these things that have to be overcome and fought for. We buy into these things. Even if you follow sports, they’ll always highlight some guy/girl who has overcome some obstacle to become the success that he/she is. We’re drawn into epics. We’re drawn into the overcoming of conflict and ultimate victory. We’re drawn into that because God has imprinted that on our souls. And we’re bored because, instead of playing in the great drama, we’re contented just to watch and wish that we ere in the great drama.

So as we start to work our way through gospel-centered multiplication, you’ll find that we’re going to mention all the pieces we have already mentioned and we’ll show how they interact with one another. I want to try to lay bare why you might just be bored, I want to try to lay bare why you might just be frustrated and I want to show you why you have this longing to be part of something bigger than you, more profound than you. And I think we’ll see that in 2 Corinthians 5. Starting in verse 17, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” Now multiplication begins with someone as an individual, and that multiplies out. So you go from one person to two or three people. There is growth. Multiplication in the simplest form is simply growth. If you’re a believer in Jesus Christ, God used someone or something to call me to Himself. For me it was my mom, who always had a steadfast

faith in the Lord. My mom had some law/gospel issues, but God has been real merciful to her, my dad and me. But she loved the Lord and followed Him. I could see the Lord in my mom. And then I had a guy named Ronnie Hazzard, who was just a Sunday school teacher at First Baptist Church of Texas City, who began to take an interest in me. There was a guy named Jerry Hendricks who took an interest in me. And all of it came to a head when Jeff Faircloth who ended up having a football locker next to mine. I think some of my aggression was birthed that day when he just said, “Hey, I need to tell you about Jesus. When do you want to do that?” So it wasn’t, “Hey, read this tract and let me know what you think” or “Hey, do you want to come to church with me on Wednesday night.” It was literally, “I need to tell you about Jesus. I’m going to let you decide where we do that, but it’s happening. So we can do it right now before practice, we can do it after practice or we can do it some other time this week, but I’ve got to tell you about Jesus. So when do you want to do that?” I’ve honestly taken that and made it my own now, especially when people find out I’m a pastor. So in our neighborhood somebody goes, “What do you do?” I just go, “I’m a pastor. So you know we’ve got to talk about Jesus. When do you want to do this? You can come over for dinner. We can just do it right now. When do you want to do this?” Because if I’m a pastor and believe what I say I believe, then how depraved would I be if I didn’t share with you what I believed to be the greatest hope in the universe? So that really stems from Jeff Faircloth’s conversation with me.

I didn’t get saved after he shared the gospel with me, but I did become very intrigued. Over a period of time, God began to break down the walls. And then He just saved me. I don’t know how to explain it. I was checking things out, I was studying, I was finding reasons why I shouldn’t have to believe, I shouldn’t have to buy in and I shouldn’t have to submit to Jesus Christ, and yet, in the middle of all those questions, in the middle of all those doubts, in the middle of all those intellectual barriers, I think Jesus just got tired of playing with me and said, “No, you’re Mine.” And He rescued me and captivated my heart, and I just immediately fell in love. Now I still had questions, but at that moment when God opened up my heart to Him, I became a new creation and the old passed away. And although I still had my questions, they did not trump the new heart that had been given to me and the love I had for the Lord. So I noticed that my perspective changed in that moment. Before God opened up my heart, before God made me a gospel-centered worshiper, my mindset, my view of our faith was simple. It was, “Let me try to disprove this so I don’t have to submit to it. Let me find some question to ask or something to point to so I don’t have to submit to that.” And some of you find yourselves in that exact state of mind this right now. You’re just waiting for me to say something to which you can go, “Well I don’t have to

believe anything about this gospel. I don’t believe that.” And that was my state of mind. That was my perspective on the faith. “Let me find some reason to doubt.” And then after I was given the new heart, after I was made new in Christ, after I was regenerated by the Holy Spirit, after I became a worshiper, I still had my questions, but the benefit of the doubt went to the God I loved. So I still needed to get to the bottom of what I saw in the Bible as an inconsistency, but my thought was, “God is true. The gospel is real. My heart has been changed. Let me figure out how this works.” My thought wasn’t, “See? This is untrue.” So some of you really need to watch your heart today, because I have to wonder if your heart isn’t going, “Let me disprove this” rather than, “Let me figure out how this can be true.” Because honestly, this is the greatest message in the world.

So let’s look at it again. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” Now to just press on this, there are two things that happen. The old has passed away. So our old desires, our old flesh, our old slavery to sin has passed away. That doesn’t mean you don’t struggle with sin, that doesn’t mean you don’t have issues that need to be matured in. It means, in regards to your position before God, you are clean and spotless, not because of you but because of Jesus. You’re not really clean and spotless in regards to your acts, thoughts and works.

What has happened when your heart is made alive in Christ is your positional identity becomes one of child of God. So the old has passed away in that God has forgiven your sins, past, present and future. And then the new has come. You have been given a new appetite, a new desire to know Him, to follow Him, to understand Him and to make much of Him. You have been given a new appetite, and your old appetite has weakened. And I always want to lovingly press here. If that hasn’t happened in your life, I would encourage you to talk with mature believers in Christ to see if you actually are saved or you just heard a scary story about hell when you were seven and got baptized. So the old passes away and the new comes, new appetites for God. We talked about this when we talked about gospel-centered worship. We have this desire to make much of Him. We have this desire to know Him, to pursue Him and to walk in intimacy with Him, and our sin reeks to us. We hate it. We don’t create room for it in our lives. We despise it and want God to kill it. Now I do believe you can be so immature as to not be able to flesh some of these things out, which is why you need gospel-centered community in order to point out those spots to you and confront you with the reality that you might not be saved.

So how does gospel-centered multiplication work? It works a lot like what we just described, a group of men. So Jerry Hendricks, Ronnie Hazzard, my mom and Jeff Faircloth all talking to me about the gospel, all answering my questions about Jesus, all pouring into me out of their lives, all being patient with me, putting up with my ignorance and arrogance, were used by God to give birth to new life in me. And that group of four became five. And here’s the thing that will really blow your mind. Every one of those men and my mom also had men and women who poured into them, who preached the gospel to them, who proclaimed the excellencies of Christ to them.

And so as I moved from being an individual who has been made new, look at the next line. “All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation.” Now, if we follow how gospel- centered multiplication works, here’s what you’ve got. You’ve got men and women who know and love Jesus Christ, who have matured in their faith because of the role that others have played in their lives, who have had others play roles in their lives and you can trace it back to Christ in Matthew 28. Me being saved through the gospel flowing out of that group of four into me now includes me in that long line of faith, and I have not only been saved to God, but I have been saved into the covenant community. Because He didn’t just save me, He didn’t just save you; He has saved us. So your relationship with God is absolutely personal. At night, when I’m laying in my bed and I’m praying through the day, Lauren is not a part of that although she is laying right next to me. You’re not a part of that in the mornings when I’m up. If you’re a part of it, you’re a part of it because I’m praying for you, because God has laid you on my heart. But ultimately that’s me and the Lord. It’s personal. It had better be personal. And yet at the same time, it was never meant

to be private. From Genesis to Revelation, you’ll see that our faith, although personal, works itself out and matures in community, not in isolation. So multiplication works like this. Men and women who have believed in the gospel of Jesus Christ begin to share their lives and share the gospel with other men and women who are either not as mature, as mature or not believers themselves and multiplication begins to take place. Some multiplication occurs because people are saved, they are regenerate and they move from being unbelievers to being believes. And some multiplication takes place simply as maturity is multiplied. So you begin to see people move from immaturity into maturity and then begin to spend their lives on others who are immature. And that’s also a form of multiplication.

So multiplication moves from an individual now into a community, and look at what that community has been tasked to do. “All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation.” Now this takes me back to why we’re bored. Do you see what’s happening here? Think back to week one where we started talking about the reality that God said in Genesis 12, “I’m going to display My glory to every tribe, tongue and nation on earth. I am going to redeem and reconcile among all ethnic groups, among all countries and among all tribes. And we watched it go from Genesis 12 to Genesis 15 into the Law into the Prophets into John the Baptist into Jesus Christ into the church. We’ve watched the church explode and the Gentiles begin to be reached out of Acts 15 as the gospel missionaries split and went in different directions. We’ve seen the gospel grow throughout the world and you and I are sitting in here today because men and women have taken seriously that they have been given the ministry of reconciliation, that they have been given the mission of multiplication. What my life is about is to be an instrument in the hands of God to see all things reconciled to God through Christ. Now he does use ”all things“ here often. So this people that is created is actually released on a mission. In Matthew 28, Jesus says, ”Go and make disciples, teaching them all that I taught you. Teach them to observe all that I commanded. So what I gave to you, go and give to others. What I have put in you, go put in others.“

And then I’ve always loved Acts 17. ”And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, that they should seek God, in the hope that they might feel their way toward him and find him. Yet he is actually not far from each one of us.“ Now let me point out what I’ve tried to point out to you constantly. God is responsible for every man, woman and child on earth in two ways. The first is the boundaries of their habitation. So you live where you live because God has determined that that’s where you would live. ”Well Matt, I want to move.“ Well I say move, and when you get to where you move to, that’s where God wanted you. And here’s the problem I’ve learned with most people. Most people would just go, ”Ah, I hate this place. It’s so lame.“ And then they move to somewhere else and are like, ”Oh man, it’s just so boring.“ And then they move somewhere else and it’s ”lame“ there too. It appears that lameness follows you around. It seems like wherever you are, there lameness is. So it might be you that is lame, not the location. So there are beautiful places to live, but

no place is without the effects of the fall, and the grass is rarely greener on the other side. Because as they say in Recovery, ”Wherever you go, there you are.“ So you can’t get away from you. You might be able to change your environment, but that environment will still contain you. And remember what we’ve been saying this whole series. You are your greatest enemy. No one has robbed from you joy as much as you have robbed from you joy. No one has traded in cheap, fleeting pleasure that carries on the back end shame and guilt for infinite joy like you have. You are your greatest and worst enemy. No matter where you go, wherever you live, there you will be. So until that gets handled, lameness follows you around.

He also says that He created our allotted time. So there are no mistakes in here. You might have surprised your mommy and daddy, but you are on time. So if you’re the grumpy kid who didn’t get loved a lot because you were an accident, you need to just chill. Because God never panicked. You’re part of God’s plan. So you parents are infinitely dumber than God is. And you can even tell them I said that. Just make sure it’s in context. So in that, God is saying, ”I wanted you here

now for My glory, for your joy.“ So whether you’re a young professional down in Dallas, whether you’re a young family at one of our campuses, whether you’re a college student, you have been uniquely designed and placed by God for the ministry of reconciliation, so that you might multiply the grace and mercy that has been put in you. You are an agent of reconciliation. And that’s the great drama you’ve been invited into, that’s the great romance you’ve been invited into and that’s the great war that you’ve been invited into. You don’t have to watch Saving Private Ryan over and over again anymore. You don’t have to fantasize about what it would be like to fight some epic thing. You don’t have to fantasize about what it would be like to be a part of something so huge and pivotal in history. You’re in it; you just have to play. You just have to see the world like this. You just have to do it.

Now let’s keep going in this text, because I love where he goes next. 2 Corinthians 5:20- 21, ”Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.“ Now, the mission of multiplication plays out in more ways than simply evangelism. It’s never less than evangelism, but it can be more. Let me show you what I mean by that. Flip over to Colossians 1. We’ll pick up in verse 15. ”[Jesus] is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.“ So the gospel affects not just individual lives, but it affects how those individual lives and how our corporate life plays out among the communities that God has placed us in. So this ultimately becomes about faithful presence. If you are a regenerated, gospel-centered worshiper of God who has been given a new heart where the old has passed away and the new has come, that should create a certain ethic in you when it comes to business, when it comes to your school work, when it comes to how you interact with the world around you, how you treat other human beings, how you treat the waitress, how you treat the waiter, how you treat the customer service representative, how you treat people you interact with. It has an affect on how you engage and see the world around you. So as you walk in whatever domain God has placed you in, you are a faithful presence, a faithful witness of the gospel of Jesus Christ. You are an ambassador of Jesus Christ. And this rubs off on those around you. Now remember what I said. It is not enough in the Scriptures for you to just live a different life than those around you, to be a moral, upright man. Because the foundation of our morality, the motivation of our morality is not that we want to be good people but rather that we understand we’re not good people and yet Christ has extended grace to us. So the motivation of our morality isn’t what the Mormon’s foundation of morality is. We’re not trying to earn anything here. We’ve been freely given, and so we freely give. So the reason we walk upright is because we have been forgiven and loved. And we can run to Jesus, and upon seeing Jesus, we’re transformed from one degree of glory to the next. So our lives, as we’re being a faithful presence, always involves the speaking of the gospel to those around us. Why? Because Acts 17 already told us that He placed us so that men might seek Him and find Him though He is not far from any of us. Because in Him we move and live. So what’s He saying there? He’s saying that you have been placed at UNT, at TWU, down in Dallas, in the burbs somewhere to engage with the gospel and with your life, inside the domain that you are in, to see that others are cared for, loved and that they might see the gospel in your life.

”Well Chandler, doesn’t that lead to a social activism that lacks a call to submission to Christ?“ No, that’s what I’m trying to tell you. To make people comfortable here for an eternity in hell doesn’t make any sense at all. And if we’re saying that man’s ultimate need is the gospel, then why would you meet a secondary need and never address the primary need? I think you have to be careful here. I don’t think we go, ”Here’s food for the hungry, but only if you believe in Jesus. If you don’t believe in Jesus, sorry. You don’t get any food.“ It’s not that we teach Jesus + church attendance = food. That’s not what we’re doing here. We, with transformed lives, serving the communities we are in, inside the domains that

God has placed us, proclaim the gospel to those who have ears to hear and we reach out in love as an implication of the gospel that He has put in our hearts. We show that there is something bigger, better and more beautiful than our own desires and our own comfort. And this leads to multiplication. We are ambassadors for Christ.

Now, how does that work itself out here at the Village? Like we’ve done in every one of these family traits, there is a piece that is on you and there is a piece that’s on us. There is a piece that you’re going to be held accountable for, and there’s a piece that we as the pastors and elders of this church are going to be held accountable for. So let’s start with you and then move to us. The part that’s on you is a faithful presence in your neighborhood, workplace and areas of play. So what I mean by ”faithful presence“ is you are seeing your neighborhood, your workplace and the areas in which you play as an opportunity to make much of Jesus Christ. So a faithful presence is a presence that lives under all the weight of the gospel in regards to our ethics, our work pace and our morality while openly sharing the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ with those who will hear. So that is on you. It is the sharing of the gospel and your lives with others. It’s not just where you spit it out and you’re done. No, we share the gospel and our lives. Remember, we’re not after converts; we’re after disciples. So your role and what you will be held accountable for is this. Are you encouraging your neighbors in the Lord? Are you speaking life into those you interact with? Are you sharing the gospel with others? Are you inviting into the community of faith for them to explore, ask questions, walk with? Are you seeing the people at your son’s, your daughter’s, your nephew’s, your niece’s sporting events, are you seeing those people at the gym, are you seeing your classmates, are you seeing that guy at the office next to you, are you seeing that contact that business you have in Phoenix as souls that you have been placed next to in order to make much of Jesus to? Or do you not see that way? Again, I want to keep coming back to this. The reason you’re bored is because you don’t see that way. Because this is why you have the aptitude of a pilot, this is why you have the aptitude that makes you good at business, this is why you were drawn to a certain major. Because God knit you and wired you for it. This is Psalm 139. He put you together a specific way. This is what God’s doing. He’s inviting you to play. He’s inviting you to come in and be a part. And this is how multiplication works. You are invited in by others and matured by others with the power of the Holy Spirit, and now you’re inviting and multiplying what God had multiplied into you.

Now how does that work organizationally at the Village? There are going to be several layers here. First of all, anytime you come to a service at the Village Church, I’m going to try to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ. I’m going to proclaim or whoever is up here is going to proclaim that we are sinners in need of grace that has been extended to us in Jesus Christ, that His righteousness has been gifted to us if we will hear, submit and believe and that His cross has taken the punishment for our sin, all our sin, even the sin of those of you who are sitting here right now going, ”You don’t even know what you’re talking about when it comes to me. You don’t know me. You don’t know where I’ve been. You don’t know what I’ve done. How could you say something like that?“ I can say something like that because all of that was in view when Jesus went to the cross, and he still went through with it. So every week when you come in here, we’re going to proclaim the gospel. And it doesn’t matter what the topic is, if we’re talking about holiness, we’re going to talk about that in view of the gospel. If we’re talking about manhood and womanhood, we’re going to talk about that in regards to the gospel. When we talk about anything the Bible commands, we want to bring it back to the river that is the gospel. If you take those things that are true and separate them off the gospel, then that tributary dries up and the water that was once in it that makes it alive is gone. So you can’t preach marriage without preaching the gospel. You can’t preach children or money without preaching the gospel. The ability to have life in those tributaries is directly tied to the river of the gospel. So you’re going to hear it every week when you come in here. We are going to partner with gospel-centered churches and gospel-centered organizations. So Epiphany Fellowship in Philadelphia is a church we partner with. From people to resources, we are in it with them. Eric Mason has been here to preach, an we’ve let their church know, ”We’re in this with you. We are for you. We want to learn from you. We want to teach you whatever we can. We want to serve you in any way we can.“ We do this with City on a Hill and Bland Mason in Boston. We are wanting to take the resources that God has given us, and we want to see it multiplied in places that have harder ground and more difficult settings. And then

we take this to an international level. Casa de Libertad in Guatemala is a church we partner with. The EPC in Southern Sudan and in Africa as a whole now is a church organization that we partner with. They are gospel-centered and they are about multiplication. We are taking our resources, our energy and our money and pouring it into those places. And then there are certain organizations like Free City International that works with refugees down in Dallas, Communities in Schools or Champions of Hope who work with troubled teens and students. These are organizations that we’re pushing people, money and time to and partnering with them in multiplication. And then we’re sending missionaries and church planters. On multiple occasions now, in my ten years here, we have planted churches in areas around the metroplex with guys who were covenant members of the Village Church in areas where a lot of people were driving to our Highland Village campus. We’ve planted a church in Little Elm/Frisco called Providence Church. Afshin Ziafat is now the pastor out there. We planted City View out in Keller with Rick White. They have planted multiple churches off of their church. And then we recently planted down in Coppell at the Door with Scott Brooks. So we want to continue to do that. In fact, you’re going to see us bolster and make that more of a priority. We want to plant more and more churches in and around the metroplex and beyond.

And then another way we want to see multiplication happen is in regard to campuses. We do believe passionately in being one church in multiple locations. So if you can still get the staff together, if it’s still one elder body, then we feel like we’re being biblically faithful to what God has called a church. There are other people who wouldn’t go that far and there are other people who would go way farther than that. But that’s before the Lord, before the Word and before our conscience where we’re glad to land. So we are looking at other campuses. You can be praying about that with us. So this is how we’re going to do it organizationally, and you have the opportunity through group life and through other lanes to get involved in any of these. You’ve heard the announcements, you’re heard Reid’s testimony (link) that puts all this together. He’s saying, ”Listen, we started to just get involved with what is there.“ So the reason Free City works so well down in Dallas is because it’s right there. The reason why the Chin refugee ministry here works so well in Flower Mound is because it’s right here. You don’t have to drive to do it; it’s here. The reason Communities in Schools works is because it’s here. We just drive five or ten minutes and we’re there. We are where we are, according to Acts 17, being agents of reconciliation, being ambassadors for Christ and seeing multiplication.

”Well Matt, here’s the only problem I see in what you’re saying. I don’t know how this helps us as the Village.“ Let me address that. Why would the Village Church spend a great deal of its money, time and resources outside of the walls of the Village? I’ll try to say this as simply as I can. Because ultimately there is one name that will be praised. Ultimately there is one name that will be sung about, and I couldn’t care less if twenty years from now anyone knew, cared about the Village in any way. If the Village Church, for whatever reason, ceases to be or shrinks into next to nothing and all the men and women who have had their lives touched by the gospel of Jesus Christ just went to other churches where Christ was made much of, we have not failed. We have simply strengthened the church overall. So the Village Church is in glad submission to the goal and mission of God. We are not out to make a great name for ourselves; we are out to make great of the Name. So that’s what we’re trying to do. So the reason we send money, the reason we partner with churches in Philadelphia, Boston and New York, the reason why we’re over in Sudan and Guatemala is because ultimately we’re after the name and renown of Jesus Christ being known more fully with multiplication taking place across all these different lanes. And that’s what we’re doing.

Now, let me just push on you personally as I wrap this up. Over and over again, the apostle Paul is going to use the imagery of the body as the body of Christ. So there are different parts, different functions. And here’s what we know physically about the human body. Once you stop growing, you start dying. So where you cease to grow, you start to die. I think there is a strong spiritual parallel there. If you are not growing, if you are stagnant, if you are stale, if you’re not in pursuit of maturity, then there are several different conclusions. The first one is that you might not have ever really been converted. Second, you are walking maybe in some secret or habitual sin. Or third, you have grown content with

the kiddy pool, and that’s a dangerous place to be for a grown man. Eventually you’re going to grow bored with that, and then you’ll look for something else to fill that need that you have to be a part of something bigger than you. Whatever that is tends to be an idol that is sinful.

So let’s walk through this. If gospel-centered worship, gospel-centered community, gospel-centered service and gospel-centered multiplication are the family traits, if these are the pieces of what a maturing disciple of Jesus Christ looks like, let me ask you this. Do you look like the family? Are you a worshiper? Do you have a desire in your heart to make much of Jesus? Are you in gospel-centered community? Are you walking with men and women who have as their primary desire to make much of Jesus and to encourage and press you on into maturity? Are you living with a grateful heart while serving the body, organizationally and/or organically. Because not everybody just needs to fill a role in the organizational church, although it is very helpful. But we are commanded to serve the body of Christ. So how are you doing that to the household of faith? And then are you a part of God’s command in regards to the ministry of reconciliation, multiplication and mission? Are you involved in that? Are you sharing your faith? Are you engaged with others? Are you sharing your lives with others? Are you seeing your neighborhood, your workplace and your places of hobby and interaction with other as an opportunity to make much of Jesus? So my encouragement is for you to take

a deep look at your own heart and to consider, ”Am I pursuing Jesus? Am I pressing into the Lord?“ Or do you need to confess and repent today? Do you need to talk to someone and go, ”This is an area of my life where I know I am not maturing. This is a piece here that I haven’t bought into. This is a piece that I’m confused about. I don’t know how to do this. This isn’t in my heart, and I’m not sure what do to about it“? Do you need to engage the Lord? If the basis of our relationship is the gospel, that we’re sinners in need of a Savior, why would you ever feel any shame in saying, ”I’m a sinner in need of a Savior. I’m not getting this. I’m not walking in this. I need to be more obedient in this“? There should be no place on earth like the church where you can be honest about weakness and find help, mercy, grace, comradery, empathy and encouragement.

Let’s pray. ”Father, I thank You for our time together. I know that You have ordained and brought together these men and women for a day like today, for this message. I pray that You would begin to stir up repentance in our hearts for being maybe a little shy about You, for being a little embarrassed about loving and following You, for being a little too quiet about You. I pray that we would see our lives as the great adventure as it is. With the days You’ve given us, You’ve given us an opportunity to be a part of the greatest epic the universe will ever know, the very reason the universe exists – to make much of You. You have invited us into that. You have called us ambassadors of You, as though You were making Your appeal through us. So I pray we take that seriously, and I pray that that would bring a lot of life to go places. It’s for Your beautiful name I pray. Amen.“