8 Marks Of The Church
The Sent & Scattered Church
Lecture given by Bill Mounce about the Top Ten Myths about Missions
“Another part of our educational task in working with local churches is to realize that many people have myths about the missionary enterprise. I call this lecture, “Dispelling the Top Ten Myths about Missions.” We have many, many faulty ideas about missions that must be separated from our thinking so that we can be better equipped to think appropriately about the great missionary cause.
Unreached means gospel-resistant – many people in the world today who are unreached are unreached, not because they have been offered the gospel and were then resistant to it, but simply because they have never been offered the good news of Jesus Christ. They need to hear the Christian gospel.
Evangelism always leads to church planting – people somehow believe that if we just evangelize – if we just get the word out through radio broadcasts, through the internet, through whatever means – that we will somehow be able to win the world for Christ. . . . I believe that ultimately it takes churches to ultimately spawn other churches.
Missions means going to live in jungles somewhere – we have a tremendous growth in the number of people in the world that are actually living in urban areas. So the mission field today is much more likely to not be a remote jungle area – though we have missionaries who work in those areas – but actually more likely to be in a large urban setting.
The remaining work of missions can be done by national Christians – the idea is that what really needs to be done is to send our money, our checks, and let the national workers do it. If we are talking about a people among whom there are no Christians, or there is no viable church, then we simply are irresponsible if we say, ‘Oh, we’ll let the nationals do it,’ because there are no nationals who can do it.
Missionaries have destroyed cultures – somehow or another assumes that missionaries have gone out, have been a destructive force, and have in many ways been critical of the national, indigenous cultures that are there. What we actually find is missionaries have empowered cultures.
There are no job opportunities in missions – missionary work is probably the most diverse group of people in the world, doing every conceivable professional task, as well as all of the traditional Christian ministry tasks, from preaching, to counseling, church-planting, and so forth. There are many, many job opportunities.
Missions is only for the super spiritual – missionaries are quite ordinary people with quite ordinary tasks that they’re involved in around the world . . . missionaries have problems like everybody else. Missionaries go through difficulties like everybody else. Missionaries get discouraged like everybody else. Missionaries wonder at times whether they really are truly called by God or not, just like anybody else in ministry.
Short-term mission projects are sufficient to fulfill the Great Commission – I believe that short-term missions is a part of a larger strategy of missionary activity. . . . There is not replacement for the difficult, challenging, and sometimes arduous task of language learning and cultural adaptation.
Missionary commitment is mainly about giving money – we have to see that the financial support, though while it’s important, should be seen as a part of the larger commitment to send workers. Jesus says, ‘The harvest is ripe, the laborers are few, therefore, pray the Lord would send out laborers into his harvest.’
Hearing the Gospel is the same as being reached by the gospel – because someone can hear the gospel does not mean that they have been reached by the gospel.
There are many common myths about the church that are misguided at best and dangerous at worst.
You can gather as a church without going as a church and be a healthy church
This myth, if believed, can be dangerous because:
It gives a local church the false sense of security that they can holistically be the church without being with people who are not yet part of the church
It gives the church a distorted view of the heart of Jesus, who desires all men to be saved and come to a knowledge of the truth
We know this is a myth because Jesus said a clear mark of a healthy church would be a church filled with people who want to tell people outside the church about Him
MARK: The Sent & Scattered Church
The Sent & Scattered Church and the Teaching of Jesus (Acts 1:8; Matthew 28:19-20)
Luke reminds Theophilus that he wrote about, in his former book (Gospel of Luke), all that Jesus began to do and to teach until He was taken up to heaven
Luke tells Theophilus that Jesus appeared to His apostles and disciples over a 40 day period, speaking about the kingdom of God and giving them commands
When they were meeting together with Jesus, they asked Him when he was going to restore the kingdom to Israel
This question probably arises from what Jesus tells them in Matthew 28:18, that all authority in heaven and on earth had been given to Him
If Jesus had all authority, then surely He would be able to restore the kingdom to Israel
They were thinking about shedding Roman rule
Jesus was not talking about an earthly kingdom, but about a spiritual kingdom
Jesus told them that they were not to know the times or dates that God has set for that to take place
He wanted them to focus on spreading the Gospel (spiritual), instead of when the kingdom would be restored (physical/earthly)
They had work to do, prior to God’s kingdom being restored on earth
Then we see Jesus’ words in Acts 1:8
The Greek word for power is dynamis
“The Greek word dynamis entered the English language when the Swedish chemist and engineer Alfred Bernhard Nobel (1833–96) made the discovery that became his fortune. He discovered a power stronger than anything the world had known up to that time. He asked a friend of his who was a Greek scholar what the word for ‘explosive power’ was in Greek. His friend answered, ‘Dynamis.’
Nobel said, ‘Well, I am going to call my discovery by that name.’ So he called his explosive power ‘dynamite.’” [James Montgomery Boice, Acts, vol. 20 of Boice Expositional Commentary. Accordance electronic ed. (Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 1997), 25.]
They apostles were going to have power from the Holy Spirit to do several things:
To know and truth of the Gospel and preach it with boldness
The ability to speak other languages that they did not already know
The ability to do miracles as proof of their commissioning
The ability to endure many trials
The power of the Holy Spirit would enable them to be Jesus’ witnesses
The Greek word for “witness” is martys (mar’-toos)
We get our English word for martyr from this Greek word
In the historical sense the Greek word simply means, “one who testifies for one” or “to be a witness for one, serve him by testimony” [https://www.blueletterbible.org/lexicon/g3144/nasb95/mgnt/0-1/]
That is how it is used in Acts 1:8
In an ethical sense it has the meaning that we associate with it in the English language – someone who gives their life as proof of the strength and genuineness of their faith – a martyr
“. . . while some of God’s people have a calling to evangelism (Eph. 4:11), all of God’s people are expected to be witnesses and tell the lost about the Savior.” [Warren W. Wiersbe, Be Dynamic, BE Series Commentary. Accordance electronic ed. (Colorado Springs: David C. Cook, 2010), 23.]
“Every believer should be a ‘world Christian,’ able to function for the Savior from the other side of the street to the other side of the world.” [Kenneth O. Gangel, Acts, ed. Max Anders, vol. 5 of Holman New Testament Commentary. Accordance electronic ed. (Nashville: B & H Publishing Group, 1998), 10.]
Ever larger circles/outreach
The apostles are to start in Jerusalem, then move to Judea and Samaria, and eventually to the ends of the earth
The book of Acts really outlines this increasing outreach
Acts 1-7 (Jerusalem)
Acts 8-9 (Judea and Samaria)
Acts 10-28 (ends of the earth)
Judea & Samaria
Acts 8:1, On that day a great persecution broke out against the church at Jerusalem, and all except the apostles were scattered throughout Judea and Samaria. (NIV)
Acts 8:4-5, 14, Those who had been scattered preached the word wherever they went. Philip went down to a city in Samaria and proclaimed the Christ there . . . When the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had accepted the word of God, they sent Peter and John to them. (NIV)
Ends of the earth
Paul’s missionary journeys took the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the ends of the known world
“The uttermost parts of the earth have been given to the Saviour, (Psa. 2:8) and churches should not rest until He whose right it is shall come and reign, Ezek. 21:27.” [Albert Barnes, Barnes’ Notes on the New Testament, Accordance electronic ed. (Altamonte Springs: OakTree Software, 2006), paragraph 9119.]
Jesus encouraged His apostles to wait for the empowerment of the Holy Spirit and then to spread the Gospel in ever larger circles
In Matthew 28, He tells them what the Gospel outreach should look like
What is the therefore, there for?
It points back to what Jesus just said
“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.” (Matthew 28:18)
Because all authority has been given to Jesus, He is commanding them to make disciples
This is the only command in these verses and it is an imperative
“Being a disciple meant more than being a convert or a church member. Apprentice might be an equivalent term. A disciple attached himself to a teacher, identified with him, learned from him, and lived with him. He learned, not simply by listening, but also by doing.” [Warren W. Wiersbe, Be Loyal, BE Series Commentary. Accordance electronic ed. (Colorado Springs: David C. Cook, 2010), 269.]
“At the heart of our mission is the reproduction in others of what Jesus has produced in us: faith, obedience, growth, authority, compassion, love, and a bold, truthful message as his witnesses. They were learners commanded to produce more learners.” [Stuart K. Weber, Matthew, ed. Max Anders, vol. 1 of Holman New Testament Commentary. Accordance electronic ed. (Nashville: B & H Publishing Group, 2000), 484.]
What is a disciple of Jesus Christ then? It is someone who: [Wiersbe, 269]
Has believed on Jesus
Has been baptized as an expression of their faith
Is connected with a body of believers where they are learning God’s Word (truths of the faith)
Is then able to go out and win others and teach them
“How much faster our churches would grow, and how much stronger and happier our church members would be, if each one were discipling another believer.” [Wiersbe, 270.]
As disciples of Jesus Christ, that begs the question, who am I discipling?
It also begs the question, whom am I being discipled by?
We are learners who are commanded to make more learners
This model of disciples making disciples is part of revitalizing and strengthening the church
Every one of us can share what God is teaching us through our own personal devotional time
There are three participles that help us understand the imperative command of making disciples
Going (aorist passive)
It can mean “while you are going” or “when you have gone”
It is an ongoing action, not a one-time thing
“The point is that we believers are active; we are not inert. Going means crossing boundaries to make disciples—going across the street, going to dinner with an unbelieving friend, going into the inner city, going beyond one’s comfort zone to make the gospel accessible to the lost.” [Weber, 484-485.]
Baptizing (present active)
In the present tense and active voice, it means an ongoing process – as individuals believe on Jesus for salvation, they are to be baptized
Baptism is an outward expression of an inward decision
Baptism does not save you, it is an expression, publicly, that you are saved – that you are adopting and receiving the system of religion that is Christianity
“So to be baptized in the name of the Father, etc., means publicly, by a significant rite, to receive the system of religion, to bind the soul to obey his laws; to be devoted to him; to receive, as the guide and comforter of the life, his system of religion; to obey his laws, and trust to his promises. To be baptized unto the Son, in like manner, is to receive him as the Messiah—our Prophet, Priest, and King; to submit to his laws, and to receive him as the Saviour of the soul. To be baptized unto the Holy Ghost is to receive him publicly as the Sanctifier, Comforter, and Guide of the soul.” [Barnes, paragraph 3272.]
Teaching (present active)
The present tense and active voice again mean ongoing teaching – “keep on teaching them”
“By fulfilling the teaching portion of the Great Commission, we take believers at every stage of spiritual maturity to the next stage of growth.” [Weber, 486.]
With you always
Jesus tells us that He will be with us always as we accomplish His Great Commission
This fact of His presence with us is something that will last until He returns
Jesus teaches us that we have the empowerment of the Holy Spirit to make disciples in every part the world until He returns
The Sent & Scattered Church and the Teaching of the Early Church (Acts 2:42-47)
We have been looking at Acts 2 quite a bit as it pertains to the teaching of the early church and the 8 marks of the church
This was the establishment of the early church, so it very important for us to study
We see in Acts 2:42-47 the apostles doing just what Jesus had commanded them to do, beginning in Jerusalem
They were making disciples of all nations, especially in Jerusalem – remember, people from all over the known world were in Jerusalem for the Feast of Weeks (one of three major annual feasts for the Jews)
Three thousand had already been added to their number after Peter spoke at Pentecost
We see the fellowship of the believers in Acts 2:42-47
Fellowship of the believers
Fellowship (agape meals)
Breaking of bread (communion)
Miraculous signs were done by the apostles by the power of the Holy Spirit
Everything in common
They were spending time together – lots of time together
They were selling their possessions and goods
They used the proceeds from those sales to provide for the needs of one another
Met together in the temple courts for teaching
They shared meals together in their homes with joy
They praised God!
Enjoyed each other’s company
The Lord added to their number daily
Notice that the work of salvation is the Lord’s work
The Apostles were faithful to preach and teach the Word of God, the Holy Spirit did the work in the hearts and minds of unbelievers, and Jesus provided salvation
“A healthy Christian community attracts people to Christ. The Jerusalem church’s zeal for worship and brotherly love was contagious. A healthy, loving church will grow in numbers. What are you doing to make your church the kind of place that will attract others to Christ?” [NIV Life Application Bible, footnote for Acts 2:47]
“Instead of a humble and subdued group of Christians praying quietly in an upper room, we now have over three thousand people all over the city praising, praying, and witnessing for Jesus. The early church was a healthy church, a veritable model of what congregations can be in our day when they take seriously the biblical qualifications of what it means to be the church.” [Kenneth O. Gangel, Acts, ed. Max Anders, vol. 5 of Holman New Testament Commentary. Accordance electronic ed. (Nashville: B & H Publishing Group, 1998), 32.]
The early church modeled what Jesus had taught
The Sent & Scattered Church and the Teaching of the Apostles (1 Peter 2:12)
Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us. (NIV)
“Peter’s readers were scattered among unbelieving Gentiles who were inclined to believe and spread vicious lies about Christians.” [NIV Life Application Bible, footnote for 1 Peter 2:12]
As disciples of Jesus Christ, our actions are just as powerful and important as our words (preaching/teaching)
We not only see this mark proclaimed to us through teaching, but also through a picture
METAPHOR: The Light Of The World (Matthew 5:13-16)
Living in the world
Jesus uses two word pictures to help us understand our role as His disciples in this world
Three purposes of salt
In the ancient world they used salt to preserve food, especially meat (it kept it from getting rotten)
“Just as salt prevents or kills bacteria in food, the kingdom servant prevents or confronts corruption in the world.” [Weber, Matthew, 61.]
Colossians 4:5-6, Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.
“‘Seasoned with salt’ means that what we say should be ‘tasty’ and should encourage further dialogue.” [NIV Life Application Bible, footnote for Colossians 4:6]
Thirst – do we make anyone thirsty for Jesus Christ?
Jesus also used the word picture of light
We are already the light of the world through Jesus Christ; it is not something we have to become [Stuart K. Weber, Matthew, 62.]
The city on a hill and the lamp on a lamp stand were for the purpose of being seen and providing a point of focus
As disciples of Jesus Christ we need to be seen as we reflect the light of Jesus to our world
“The function of light is to make reality or truth visible, thereby giving direction and guidance by what is seen.” [Stuart K. Weber, Matthew, 62.]
“Let your holy life, your pure conversation, and your faithful instruction, be everywhere seen and known, always, in all societies, in all business, at home and abroad, in prosperity and adversity, let it be seen that you are real Christians.” [Albert Barnes, Barnes’ Notes on the New Testament, Accordance electronic ed. (Altamonte Springs: OakTree Software, 2006), paragraph 596.]
The metaphor shows us that we are to be sent and scattered, seen and not hidden, so that the world might see our good works and praise our Father in heaven
So, how does this apply to our lives?
APPLICATION (how will we know if this mark of The Church marks Our Church?)
We will go to them through God’s great mandate (Mark 16:15-16)
He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.” (NIV)
We are called to scatter throughout our communities, our state, our nation, and our world to preach the good news of Jesus Christ to everyone
We will love them through God’s great commandment (Matthew 22:39)
And the second is like it: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” (NIV)
This goes well with our theme for 2022, “Love One Another”
We will share with them God’s great exchange (2 Corinthians 5:21)
God made him who had not sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. (NIV)
This is what we are to witness to others about concerning Jesus and the Gospel
Jesus came down from heaven, grew up to be a man, lived a perfect life, and willingly died on a cross to take our punishment for sin
Our right standing before God is through the blood of Jesus Christ
[Share the Gospel]
We will disciple them through God’s great commission (Matthew 28:19-20)
Read Matthew 28:19-20
Our desire is to have a church filled with people who want to tell people outside the church about Him
Idaville Member Survey from RESTOR Renewal Ministries
There was one of the five survey questions that were in the top fifteen of the least difficult for us as a church
“Our church consistently teaches on evangelism, outreach and missions.” (13 out of 15)
We definitely strive to teach on evangelism, outreach and missions
It is encouraging to know that you all feel like we are doing that
That was the least difficult for us, but how about the most difficult?
One of the remaining four questions was in the top 10 of most difficult for us
“The people in our church know and understand our church’s plan for reaching the people in our community and the world.” (8 out of 10)
I know that some people struggled with questions like this, because they felt like they didn’t know what other people in the church were thinking
Our model for quite a few years now has been three-fold (perhaps it just was not communicated enough)
Locally – we are always serving locally (food pantries, other service projects, etc.)
Domestically – we try to do a domestic mission trip every other year
Globally – we try to plan an international mission trip every other year
That leaves three final questions
The three remaining questions fell in the middle
“The mission of our church is clearly in line with the mission of God in the world.”
Mission – Pursue, Grow, and Multiply Disciples
Our mission statement comes directly from Matthew 28:19-20
That should be mission statement of every church
“Our church consistently encourages the members of our church to engage in evangelism, outreach and missions.”
We provide opportunities locally, domestically, and globally
One of the goals for this year is to create a team that will intentionally and actively share the Gospel in our community
The Revival on the Farm is coming this summer (June 5-8, 2022) and each church, that is participating, will be doing prayer walks through their community to pray for and invite individuals to attend the revival services
This will be an incredible opportunity for all of us to engage in evangelism, outreach and missions
“Our church consistently provides opportunities to participate and grow in evangelism, outreach and missions.”
This is closely connected to the previous survey question
We are providing some opportunities, but we would also like to provide additional opportunities to consistently be in our community with the specific goal of sharing the Gospel
What are our next steps?
Who are you discipling?
Who is discipling you?
The amazing thing about discipleship is that both people learn from one another, so while you are discipling someone you are also being discipled by them
My Next Step Today Is To: Begin a discipleship relationship with one other person.
The best model for this is to be in a discipling relationship with someone of the same gender (male-to-male; female-to-female)
Let’s see how God will use this to grow His church and bring joy and happiness to everyone
Fellowship of the believers
We saw in Acts 2:42-47 that the early church was devoted to several things including fellowship
They enjoyed each other’s company, they shared everything, they took care of one another – their hearts were glad and sincere
They were praising, praying, and witnessing for Jesus
Their zeal and brotherly love were contagious and the result was a healthy growing church
My Next Step Today Is To: Examine my zeal and brotherly love for Idaville Church, so we will be a church that attracts others to Christ.
Sent & Scattered
We are working towards creating a Gospel Team that will consistently and actively share the Gospel in our community
We are also planning prayer walks for the Revival on the Farm
We will continue to provide domestic and global mission opportunities
These are just a few ways we are encouraging you and providing opportunities for you to be sent and scattered
My Next Step Today Is To: Commit to participating in the opportunities provided by Idaville Church to make disciples.
“We are a church that reaches out, spreading God's Word, God's glory, and God's promises to those that do not know Him.”
“We are a church who encourages our members to discover, develop, and use their spiritual gifts.”
Purpose (why we exist): “Pursue, Grow, and Multiply Disciples.”
Three+ Uniques – “Reaching outside our walls (warm/fellowship).”
“Intentional group to welcome and direct people.”
“Reinstitute meal teams.”
Value Proposition (Promise): “Within 90 days, guests should be comfortable, connected, and committed to Idaville Church.”
“Have a Welcome Team established and functioning.”
“Short-term domestic mission trip in 2022.”
“Have a 10% increase in the number of individuals serving in missions.”
“Have a 10% increase in the pursuit of holiness as evidenced through salvations, baptisms, and accountability.” (annual)
“Create a team that will intentionally and actively share the Gospel in our community.” (quarterly)
“Plan specific dates, times, and locations to have the Gospel Team in the community.” (quarterly)
“Robert Bellah, a sociologist who teaches at the University of California at Berkeley, is very interested in the influence of religion on the community. In an interview in Psychology Today he said, "We should not underestimate the significance of the small group of people who have a new vision of a just and gentle world. The quality of a culture may be changed when 2 percent of its people have a new vision."
There are many more than 2 percent Christians in your country and mine. Then why aren't we having more effect? Why aren't we having more influence? I pray that God will call you to permeate non-Christian society for Christ, to take your stand there uncompromisingly with the value system and moral standards of Jesus.”
Source: John Stott, "Christians: Salt and Light," Preaching Today, Tape No. 109.