World Changers

april 9th, 2017

David Sorn


Can God really use a church to change the world or is that just a cute phrase for children?



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TRANSCRIPT


INTRODUCTION

Morning. David Sorn. Lead Pastor here at Renovation Church.  

I was talking recently to a Christian guy who doesn’t attend our church…

And without knowing that our church’s vision is “to be a people being changed by God to change the world,” he says, “Don’t you hate it when churches say silly things like “let’s change the world” 

I said, “Uhhh….ummmm” 

And it wasn’t the first time this happened to me in conversations.  

As Americans, we’re naturally cynical. 

We can smell something that seems to be “too good to be true” from a mile away. 

And “let’s change the world” sounds too much like a ‘childish dream’ for a lot of people.  

Like it was a phrase forged on some children’s special…starring Daniel Tiger and Paw Patrol or something…

But here’s the thing: 

When I get close to God, I feel like He tells me, “More…more David…we can do more….we can change the world” 

And when people say to me, “It’s a silly statement…it’s idealistic mumbo jumbo…. “Change the world”

My usual response is: “I’m not sure you realize how BIG God is.”  

If our vision was “To be a people being changed by God to impact 5-10 people…”…what would that say about our belief in God? 

Do we believe God can change the world…or do we not? 

And what I read in the Bible, particularly in the story of the early church (which we’ve been studying for this series)…is a blueprint for how God can do just that: change the world. 

We are finishing out today….a series on our vision: 

To be a people being changed by God to change the world. 

And that vision comes out of our three core values: 

To be a people (community)

Being changed by God (encountering God)

To change the world (reaching people) 

And today, we want to look at how that third core value (reaching people) can change the world. 


THE MISSION IS THE GREAT COMISSION

And I want to show you today…that not only is reaching and discipling NEW people for Christ important, but that it’s the core purpose and mission of the church. 

And not just our church, it’s the mission of every church

Before Jesus ascends back into heaven, He commissions his disciples to go out and fulfill their purpose. 

It’s called the GREAT COMMISSION: 

(Matthew 28:19-20) – NIV

Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

That’s it! That’s the purpose of the church (and remember, “the church” is a people) 

To go out, reach people lost people for Christ, AND (this is important, a lot of churches miss this), AND disciple them to look more like Jesus

This is the purpose of any good church. 

The church is not a social club.  

The church is not wal-mart, catering to your every need. 

The church is not an entertainment complex. 

It’s a world-changing, salvation bringing, life changing, group of people…ON MISSION. 

Do our churches look like that today? 

The average church in America sees 1 person come to Christ a year.  

One.  

Because we’ve turned inward.  

We’ve turned church into a social club with no sense of mission.   

Yet, the Book of Acts in the Bible (the book about how the Christian church got started) shows us that the early Christians had a healthy obsession with reaching lost people with the good news of Jesus. 

Why, because FOUND PEOPLE…FIND PEOPLE. 

In fact, the book of Acts mentions evangelistic growth (and even numbers) so many times, it makes a lot postmodern Americans uncomfortable. 

But it does so, because every number…is a life. 

And every life matters. 

(Acts 2:41) – NIV

Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day.


(Acts 4:4) – NIV

But many who heard the message believed; so the number of men who believed grew to about five thousand.


(Acts 5:14) – NIV

14 Nevertheless, more and more men and women believed in the Lord and were added to their number.

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.  

The whole book is a story of believers who have been so changed by God…that they changed the world. 

They’re changed to change. 

And in America, in 2017, friends, it oughta look the same.     

We all have to find a way to share our faith with the people around us. 

Whether that’s inviting someone to church…telling them your story…starting a Bible study with them…sharing the Gospel with them (there are a thousands ways to do it)

But we all have to find a way

Otherwise you’re missing the NUMBER ONE objective God wants you to accomplish as a Christian. #1!

There are 50,000 people in this city alone that don’t know Jesus. 

If we as a church, decide to just do our own ministries and programs…for US…and we forget about the 50,000….

Then we’re no different than a team of people who goes to Haiti after the earthquake, and sets up a nice shelter for themselves, and spends its time studying disaster relief, all while ignoring the people outside who are thirsty, and lost, and dying. 



PRINCIPLES OF EVANGELISM IN ACTS

And so we need to be better prepared to be outward about our faith…

And so today, I want to show you some principles of evangelism (telling people about Jesus) that I see in Acts. 

I’m going to give you 3 principles

The first one is what we’ve already been talking about the first two weeks of this series.  

Principles of Evangelism in Acts: 

1. Community and Encountering God lead to evangelism

Like we saw the past two weeks, this is all over Acts. 

They are constantly meeting together and encountering God…and out of that, God helps them reach others! 

That’s our vision. 

We often show it the following way as a visual:   

Show VISION DIAGRAM

We believe that if people get in community and can be supported AND discipled…

…that they’ll encounter God…and when you encounter God…He’ll change you. 

And when He changes you, He always changes you TO change…to make an impact on this world. 

And to reach more people for Christ. 

Who can then start the circle over. 

And that’s what we see in Acts. 

People are getting saved all over the place. 

But they’re not just left out in the cold as spiritual infants, they are discipled and they mature because there is a community of faith here to help them grow. 

Okay, second principle of evangelism I see in ACTS: 

Principles of Evangelism in Acts: 

1. Community and Encountering God lead to evangelism

2. Join in with what God’s already doing

One of the things that I always hear in common from so many of our many new believers is that their testimony never starts with, “One day I was invited to come to Renovation Church” 

God is ALWAYS already up to something. 

In fact, let me show you an example of how this happened at our church. 

(PLAY GINNY’S VIDEO) 

Can trust that when you reach out to your people this week, that God is already at work in their lives?  

For some, you will be one of the first seeds planted.  

But for others, like Susan from our church was in Ginny’s life, you WILL be part of the harvest

In Acts chapter 8, Philip was a man who encountered God often. 

And as he led a life where he followed God, one day, God had him pass by an Ethiopian Eunuch who was on his way back to Ethiopia after having just visited Jerusalem. 

The Ethiopian man was interested in spiritual things (he was seeking God)……he even happened to be reading from the Old Testament as Philip walked by. 

(Acts 8:30-31) – NIV

30 Then Philip ran up to the chariot and heard the man reading Isaiah the prophet. “Do you understand what you are reading?” Philip asked. 31 “How can I,” he said, “unless someone explains it to me?” So he invited Philip to come up and sit with him.

Philip explains to him that what he was reading was an Old Testament prophecy about Jesus’ sacrificial death on the cross…and then leads the man to Jesus. 

But see, God was already up to something.  

That man’s testimony didn’t start with Philip.

Philip just had to join in with what God was already doing!

We see the same sort of principle in Acts chapter 10

God gives Cornelius, who is a Gentile that is NOT a believer in Jesus…a vision…and tells him to find the disciple Peter. 

Peter eventually meets Cornelius…and is able to explain the Gospel to him and then lead him to Christ

There are so many examples put before us in Acts where God is doing all the heavy lifting, but…He still uses his people…to lead others across the line of faith. 

The apostle Paul explains it this way

(Romans 10:14) - NIV

How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them?

God uses us! 

So if you’re thinking about sharing with someone in particular, but you’re nervous about it, remember, God may be already working!...but you just can’t see it!  

That leads us into our third principle of evangelism

Principles of Evangelism in Acts: 

1. Community and Encountering God lead to evangelism

2. Join in with what God’s already doing  

3. Don’t decide for people that they wouldn’t be interested

Case in Point…the Apostle Paul…the main focus of the Book of Acts. 

Before he changed his name to Paul, he was known as Saul, the Jewish Religious Leader who approved the murders of Christians and travelled the region imprisoning them. 

And yet…God was on the move in his life! 

One day while Saul was walking to Damascus to imprison more Christians, Jesus spoke to Saul through a blinding light.    

Shortly after that, God started to nudge a man named Ananias (who’s already a Christian) to go find Saul, heal his temporary blindness, and (as you can surmise from the context) lead him to faith in Christ. 

Here’s what happens: 

(Acts 9:13-14) – NIV

13 “Lord,” Ananias answered, “I have heard many reports about this man and all the harm he has done to your holy people in Jerusalem. 14 And he has come here with authority from the chief priests to arrest all who call on your name.”

In other words, “no way…I’m not going to talk to Him!”

“He’ll never follow you!” 

Do you ever do that? 

We’re all probably doing that right now. 

“God…I can’t…I’m not going to talk to that person…because…well, they would never believe in you!” 

Let me ask you a question: “Is that person you’re thinking of currently commissioning the murder and imprisonments of Christians?” 

If not, then don’t rule them out

And even if they are, don’t rule them out! :) 

If we realized how BIG and how POWERFUL our God is, we’d never rule anyone out!

It doesn’t mean that their time is necessarily right now, but let God start or keep working on their heart!

In fact, let me share with you an email I received just a couple of days ago from a woman in our church. She writes: 

“Hi David, I have been inviting one of my relatives to our church events throughout the past few years. 

She has been on my prayer card we do for House Groups for two years in a row. 

We aren't particularly close, but I have felt God calling me to reach out to her. 

I've been very open about my faith, and although she's never been offended, she's never asks to talk more about it and never comes to anything I invite her too.

“When we chose our two people to pray for in House Groups a few weeks back I almost didn't choose her again, but I decided I didn't want to give up praying for her even if it seemed nothing was changing.

Then, on Sunday afternoon (this is just last Sunday) I received a text from this same woman I had been praying for the last few years…out of the blue. 

And she said they were going to attend one of our Easter services & she already pre-registered their kids.  

The woman finished her email by saying, ‘This is such a huge answer to prayer!! Also, so cool that it happened on the very first day of our "7000 minutes of Prayer" for our Easter services. 

God is doing wonderful things at our church and I'm so happy & thankful to be a part of it!!!!” 



HOW IT APPLIES TO EASTER

So who are you going to talk to this week? 

Can you trust that your God is already moving? 

Can you trust that your God is big enough to change any heart?  

Pick a person, or two, or seven. 

Pick a time to talk to them.. 

Pray like crazy, and then follow through. 

When you pray, you have to follow through like you believe it could happen. 

It’s like the old story where the whole village organizes a prayer meeting to pray for rain due to their year long drought…but only a 9-year old boy shows up at the prayer meeting with the umbrella. 

If we pray, we have to follow through. 

That’s faith. 

I’ve been praying for the last month that the school would just take down their artwork in the main hallway before Easter…because…well, it looked terrible. 

So I prayed about it…and then I walked in here this week, and asked them to take it down. 

Because I believe God can answer prayer. 

And they took it down! 

True prayer is always followed by action. 

What action is God calling you to this week? 

By the way, it doesn’t matter if the person you’re thinking of doesn’t have kids that could go to the egg hunt, or if they’re single. 

We’ve having 5 Easter services in here.  

They’re going to be incredible.  

And let me just make absolutely sure you’re not excusing yourself from doing what Jesus has commissioned you to do because of any other excuses. 

Make sure to not say, “I can’t invite anyone because I’m serving that day” 

Come to an extra service with your friend then. 

Nothing is more important than that. Their eternal destination may depend on it. 

Make sure not to say, “I can’t come to an extra service with my friend who needs to hear about the resurrection because…I really have to get home to eat a nice ham lunch with all my second cousins and aunts and uncles” 

I know this is not a popular sentiment…but Easter is actually about the resurrection of Christ, not eating ham with our relatives…

Let me tell you something: 

We’ve been praying like crazy for God to use us and work through us, and He is going to do it. 

Don’t miss seeing it…don’t miss Him working through you. 

We’re still a week away…and we already have ___ brand new families PRE-registered for next week. 

That’s ___ people! 

And we usually see more people register the week before than we do 2 weeks before.

And usually a ton of people don’t even pre-register

We’re praying, and God is listening!



THE MISSION GOES OUT TO THE WORLD

So we believe God is going to do great things here next week, but that’s just the beginning. 

And Blaine…is just the beginning. 

We know one of the ways that we can have the exponential, world-changing impact is through starting new churches out of our church. 

We even have a goal to start 10 churches out of our church by 2022. 

We currently have 3, and have plans to be to 5 by 2019. 

Because when we start brand new, autonomous churches in new areas, we start new pockets of world-change…

New movements that are also spreading out to change the world. 

For example: I was just chatting with our 3rd church planter, Mike Howard, who’s in Des Moines. 

Their church, Revision Church, has grown from 80 to 180 people in just 18 months. 

They’re putting on a huge Egg Hunt outreach with 5,000 eggs for the people in Des Moines next Sunday. 

And they’re already praying and beginning to look for their first church planter…to start a church in Iowa out of their church. 

Do you see how world change works? 

It’s not a childish phrase, and it’s not just idealism…it’s going to happen. 

Not just here…not just in the Midwest…but in the world…that’s the goal. 

It’s starting to happen. 

We had a couple of people who started following Jesus at our church in the last few years, go to Haiti this year. 

And reach people for Christ there. 

People were reached here, and because of that, even more people are being reached even in different countries. 

I got a text from a guy in our church this week who went to Rwanda with us. 

He was telling me how (not only did he share his faith in Rwanda), but by being there, he made a lot of connections. 

So for instance, he just recently helped a ministry leader in Rwanda with his English on an important ministry project he is doing there..

He also started supporting a missionary that we met while in Rwanda…that happened to be from New Zealand…but travels all around the Globe sharing the gospel with children.  

Do you see it? Do you see the world change? 

World change that started right here in Blaine.  

And it happens when our people say, “I’m changed…TO CHANGE”   

And so our goal is to send you out of here each week…on MISSION…to the people around you. 

And for some of you, we want to send you even farther: 

In the coming years, I’m going to ask a number of you to leave this church…and let us send you with our church plants around the metro to start new churches. 

We want to send more people out of Renovation to go into the mission field…to bring the Gospel to the nations. 

Basically, our vision is to see all of us get out of our bubbles, and start looking like the Christians we read about in Acts. 

As it’s been said, “Christians are like manure. Spread them out, and they help everything grow better. But keep them in one big pile, and they stink horribly.” 

God is going to use this church to change the world. 

God is going to use us, mightily, even in the next 7 days.  

This is an exciting time to be at Renovation Church. It really is. 

I’m glad God has you here.  

You get to be part of world-changing, first-hand. 

And I believe the reverberations of what will happen this next weekend, will be felt for generations…around the world. 

Let me pray


Copyright: David Sorn

Renovation Church in Blaine, MN

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