Repurpose 2016- "Rebuild"
Pastor Terry Inman
St. Francis from whom San Francisco is named, did more than popularize the hoodie, and talk to animals. He started a whole new religious order and rebuilt several churches for the poor in 13th century Italy.
He was the son of a prosperous silk merchant. He tried his fathers business but could not come to terms with the treatment of poor labors.
He was sent off to fight in the crusades but was captured then returned.
His dream was to be a great knight but He met and embraced a leper who spoke Christ’s words to him from Matt. 25 “I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.”
Matt. 25.40 NIV
He began serving lepers and taking up the cause of the down and out. He was praying in the broken down chapel of San Damiano where Christ appeared to speak to him from the old crucifix “rebuild my church which is falling down”. He founded a new movement of young radical followers of Jesus who lived in simplicity and poverty and rebuilt several churches.
Rebuild is the third of our four purposes. When we have been rescued and recovered we are ready to rebuild our lives. Like St. Francis we believe it is done best by connecting people with each other.
The Apostle Paul said, “Encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.”
1 Th. 5.11NIV
He uses two metaphors for the church—a rising building and a developing body. First Paul compares us to a rising building.
In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.
Eph. 2.19-22 NIV
Our culture is very individualistic but the bible is communal. We are “being built together”. Our spiritual growth is very interconnected with one another. We experience spiritual growth best in relationships.
Peter said we are “like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.”
1 Pet. 2.5 (NIV)
Paul also compares the church to a developing body. Speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ. From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.
Eph. 4.15 NIV
Both of these analogies talk about being “built up”. We are God’s construction project. Paul calls it formation. “My dear children, for whom I am again in the pains of childbirth until Christ is formed in you,”
Gal. 4.19 NIV Spiritual formation is another word for Discipleship.
Last week I mentioned that our four purposes are based on the great commandment and the great commission.
The great commission says, “Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.”
Matt. 28.19-20 NIV
A disciple is a student and follower of Christ, someone who is learning to obey or observe all that Jesus commands. There are at least 50 commands of Christ in the New Testament. That’s plenty of material for rebuilding our lives!
Rebuilding is developing a Christ-centered lifestyle. It is fully embracing biblical values. It impacts our relationships at home and at work. It involves our passions and priorities. We are building Christ shaped lives.
We rebuild our character, our career, our conduct and our commitments around a Christ centered would view. Making disciples is rebuilding faithful mature followers of Jesus.
We need to know what a disciple looks like in order to be one and make more. John records three things Jesus said that define a true Disciple.
First, Disciples embrace the teachings of Jesus Christ. Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples.”
John 8.31 NIV
To hold to his teaching is more than belief, its practice. To “hold to my teaching” is to stay, to abide or live in his word. We do this best in relationships with others. We call them life groups.“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another.”
Col. 3.16 NIV
Paul put a lot of confidence in our ability to disciple or rebuild one another. “I myself am convinced, my brothers, that you yourselves are full of goodness, complete in knowledge and competent to instruct one another.”
Rom. 15.14 NIV
We must become a disciple, before we can make disciples. There are three ways we help build discipleship in each other.
Paul who mentored many disciples said, “We proclaim him, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone complete in Christ.”
Col. 1.28 NIV
Proclaiming is simply communicating the truth. Admonishing is warning or correcting. That makes us a little nervous. We don’t want to judge. We are also afraid our friends might not like what we say and reject us.
The bible says, “speak the truth in love”. When we really love people we earn the right to bring correction. God says,“Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest, and repent.”
Rev. 3.19 NIV
It takes real love and courage to challenge each other but that’s when real growth happens. That’s why Paul says we do it with all wisdom. We also must teach each other—not just from our words but our lives.
Paul coached Timothy and told him to pass it forward, “The things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable men who will also be qualified to teach others.
2 Tim. 2.2 NIV
Next—Disciples demonstrate the love of Jesus Christ. Jesus said, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
John 13.34-35 NIV
“New” here means “fresh” not recent or different. Jesus was renewing the command to love your neighbor as yourself but what made it new was that He had demonstrated it for them.
His life gave an old command new meaning. They were to love like he loved serving each other with out rivalry or completion. It’s the only thing that would keep them together in the days to come after his departure.
Teaching is easy—loving is a little more challenging. The bible says, “Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up.”
1 Cor. 8.1 NIV
Radical selfless love is what identifies us with Jesus. What does that look like in a very self-absorbed world? Here’s a very hands on description.
Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.
Col. 3:12-15 (NIV)
Let’s do a quick checklist. There are seven expressions of love here.
Rate yourself 1-10 on compassion-kindness-humility-gentleness-patience-forbearance-forgiveness! How well does our love reflect Jesus?
Here’s another familiar love list. Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
1 Cor. 13:4-7
Disciples demonstrate the love of Jesus Christ!
Finally Disciples produce the life of Jesus Christ. Jesus said, “This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.
John 15.8 NIV
Jesus glorified God by his life. As disciples we are to glorify God by ours.
Every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.
Heidi Baker says all fruitfulness comes from intimacy with Jesus Christ.
Jesus said it this way in the Message translation of John 15
I am the Real Vine and my Father is the Farmer. He cuts off every branch of me that doesn’t bear grapes. And every branch that is grape-bearing he prunes back so it will bear even more. You are already pruned back by the message I have spoken.
Live in me. Make your home in me just as I do in you. In the same way that a branch can’t bear grapes by itself but only by being joined to the vine, you can’t bear fruit unless you are joined with me.
I am the Vine, you are the branches. When you’re joined with me and I with you, the relation intimate and organic, the harvest is sure to be abundant. Separated, you can’t produce a thing. Anyone who separates from me is deadwood, gathered up and thrown on the bonfire.
But if you make yourselves at home with me and my words are at home in you, you can be sure that whatever you ask will be listened to and acted upon. This is how my Father shows who he is—when you produce grapes, when you mature as my disciples.
John 15.1-8 (MSG)
We are here to rebuild people into mature disciples. Mature disciples reproduce the life of Jesus Christ. The fully embrace His teachings in their character, lifestyle, their work, their family relationships, and finances.
Mature disciples demonstrate the love of Jesus in all their relationships especially those in the body of Christ. They enjoy healthy communications and they serve one another. The world will know we are Christian not by our doctrine or our politics but by our love.
Mature disciples are fruitful. They stay connected to Jesus. They reproduce themselves in others. They have a positive impact on everyone. We rebuild people by connecting them with each other.
How well connected are you? Who is speaking into your life?