Being The Church: See People (Matthew 4:18-22; 9:35-38)

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If your vision is for a year, plant pumpkins.
If your vision is for ten years, plant trees.
If your vision is for a lifetime, plant people.

Severna Park Baptist Church vision is to grow godly generations. We believe this means envisioning a church in Anne Arundel County & beyond that…

  • is united in membership and urgent in Jesus’ mission.
  • impacts the spiritually lost through truthfully and lovingly proclaiming the gospel of Jesus with our lips and promoting the gospel with our lives.
  • impacts the spiritually disconnected through church strengthening and church starting among our neighborhoods and among the nations.
  • impacts the fragmented family through enriching marriages, encouraging parents, and equipping families for relational unity and spiritual mission.
  • impacts the generationally segmented through intergenerational worship and ministry experiences.
  • impacts the racially divided through a hospitable church culture and through multi-ethnic ministry & church partnerships.
  • impacts the disinterested community through tangible acts of love & service in Jesus’ name.

be the church_logo

In all, we should see the Great Commission as more than people making a decision but becoming disciples.

  • Converts view Jesus as a good teacher who forgives mistakes but has little direct say over our lives.
  • Disciples view Jesus as God, who rescues from sin & death & has total Lordship in every area of life.

The Great Commission of making disciples is to have a viral impact, spreading throughout the world. Yet, to win the world starts with seeing the people around you the way God sees them. Jesus challenged the disciples to open their eyes for the ripe harvest of souls.[1]

Neil Cole says, “If we can’t see [people], we won’t love them. If we can’t love them, we won’t pray for them. If we can’t pray for them, we won’t win them. If we can’t win them, we won’t send them.”[2] As a lifeguard scanning the water, seeing people is essential for saving people. In spite of Jesus’ daily schedule, “Jesus never lost sight of His prime directive – seeking and saving the lost.”[3]

Matthew 25:41-46 41“Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.42 For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink,43 I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’ 44 Then they also will answer, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to you?’45 Then he will answer them, saying, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’46 And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”

 

Seeing people requires intentional friendships in intentional environments. In today’s passage we can see 3 environments to see people to make disciples.

EXAMINE                       Matthew 4:18-25; 9:35-38

See disciples at work (4:18-22)

The beginning of Jesus’ public ministry shows the special calling of twelve disciples. Many “disciples” surrounded Jesus in the crowd, but He selected twelve for the inner core of His discipleship training.

Matthew 10:2-4 “The names of the twelve apostles are these: first, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother; Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus; Simon the Cananaean, and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed Jesus.”

The first disciples called by Jesus are recorded brothers: Peter & Andrew and James & John. Both sets of brothers were fishermen; and the latter two were in the fishing business with their father.

Jesus understood that to make a difference in 1st Century needed the humility and heart of ordinary people.

Jesus contextualized His message to them “Follow me and I will make you fishers of men.” Upon hearing the call, they left [ἀφίημι = abandon or desertion (cf Matt 26:56)] abandon their nets, their boat, their livelihood, and comfortability of life as they always knew it to follow Jesus.

If the Great Commission is to expand with a wider emphasis then it will be a direct result of ministering in the everyday marketplace of society. The church, as the people, is the missionary every day. Your school and your skills, your career and your context are opportunities to share the gospel. God’s fingerprints and formation of every detail in your life have prepared you to accomplish His purposes. Your job is the place where God is calling you to see people as He sees them to make disciples.

à Witness here. Who are 3 people at work that you could begin praying and intentionally having conversations to evaluate their spiritual openness? Write these names down, pray for them, and begin listening in your conversations for an opportunity to speak about growing in a faith relationship with Jesus Christ.

  • Fishermen are patient as they wait and they persevere to catch fish. We must be patient & persevering in our evangelistic & discipling relationships.

à Witness there. Who travels internationally for their job? You may consider praying for an open door within your company to relocate to an international city and partner with IMB to reach unreached people groups around the world.

à Witness there while here. Who sees internationals living among them (neighborhood, job, etc.)? You can have a global impact for faith without having to ever leave the country.

à Work well. Most of all, do your job to the glory of God (1Cor 10:31; Col 3:17). Do not attempt to promote your faith while performing poorly on your job; how you work reflects God who does all things with creative excellence. à à Most Christians may be tempted to think they have to leave their jobs to have an impact for God. While that may be true in some cases, many others should not leave their job but stay to have a Christian influence in that domain of society that otherwise would not.

See disciples at worship (4:23)

Jesus ministered in Galilee, a mixed ethnic place that most of the Jews considered spiritually unclean and useless (cf. Matt 4:15-16 “Galilee of the Gentiles, the people dwelling in darkness have seen a great light and for those dwelling in the region and shadow of death on them a light has dawned.” Also John 1:46; 7:52 for Galilean contempt). (see map). Yet, this is precisely the place where Jesus prioritized His ministry and among the few places of worship – the synagogue.

  • Teaching: would have included Jesus expositing the OT Scriptures, and likely speaking many references to His Messianic fulfillment of prophecies.[4] Jesus’ teaching was unlike any other authority (Matt 7:29).
  • Preaching: would have included public proclamation of the gospel (literally “good news”) of the kingdom.
  • Healing: would have included acts of mercy upon every type of disease and affliction. Jesus’ actions would have included both supernatural miracles as well as ordinary ministry to bring healing and hope.

à Inside the American church is a new mission field.

  • Church is a mission field because of a counterfeit gospel with false Christ’s; 80+% Americans believe in God and believe they’re going to heaven and most of these would classify themselves as “Christians” yet they neglect the church and much more neglect following Jesus.
    • William Booth, Salvation Army founder said “The chief danger of the 20th century will be religion without the Holy Ghost, Christianity without Christ, forgiveness without repentance, salvation without regeneration, politics without God, and heaven without hell.”
    • See Previous Message:
      • Disciples of Jesus have a daily dependence upon God (Matt 8:20)
      • Disciples of Jesus have a distinct devotion (Matt 8:22)
      • Disciples of Jesus deny self and surrender to Jesus’ Lordship (Matt 16:24-25)
  • Church is a mission field because of children’s ministry with percentage to reach favoring under 18/13; moral & spiritual foundation set around age 9 (Barna).
    • Donald A. Carson – One generation believes the gospel, another generation assumes the gospel, then another denies the gospel, and the next generation will not know the gospel.
    • SPBC must constantly ask how does what we do today impact the next 2, 5, 10, 20, and 50 years. I believe this is a rallying call to invest in children’s ministry.
    • Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 19:14)
  • Church is a mission field because of a community and social aspects of church draw people, especially elderly and the Boomers are large segment to still be reached.
    • Kay Strom, The Second Half Adventure – Boomers are ready to reinvent retirement. They are living longer and better with a readiness to rock society with their population, their experiences and their passions (p.15). What if Boomer work-for-hire years were simply preparation for the most important part of adulthood and life? What if the second half was where the real life meaning and purpose were found? What if all the accumulated skills, training and education, life experiences and financial resources were being funneled into a kingdom opportunity for the latter years (p.39)?
    • SPBC, there is so much more God is calling for our seniors to use their wisdom, wit, and withness to invest in growing godly generations.

See disciples in the world (4:24-25; 9:35-38)

A third environment is seeing people throughout the world.

Jesus’ fame spread throughout Syria because of His speaking the gospel and serving the needs of people. Great crowds followed from Galilee and Decapolis, Jerusalem and Judea, and beyond the Jordan.
Imperfect tense of v. 23 indicates Jesus’ repetition and frequency of travel.

Josephus estimated Galilee population of 3million (ISBE). Decapolis was 10 cities that were accountable to the Roman empire yet independent in establishing their local structures of governance. These cities were filled with temples, theatres, public buildings, and were sprawling cities for their day.

The crowds surrounding Jesus were often the unattractive, the unlovely and unwanted; they were outcast to most of society. When Jesus looks at the world He does so with unconditional love.

John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”

Matthew 9:35-38 “And Jesus went throughout all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, ‘The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.”

  • Jesus saw crowds… multitudes… PEOPLE!
    • compassion = ἐσπλαγχνίσθη, deep, inward pity; yearning from the bowels; cf. Mat 14:14; 15:32; 20:34
    • they were harassed – εσκυλμενοι, literally skin/flayed, meaning bothered, battered, bruised, broken
    • helpless – ερριμμενοι, worn out, downcast, fainthearted
    • sheep without a shepherd – people uncared for and unwanted
      • Children
      • Elderly
      • Mentally ill or diseased…

APPLY/THINK

Jesus’ saw people because He saw the precipice of eternity.

  • There is no earthly way to explain hell. No person living in this world has any actual idea of its horror.
  • We may mock or moan about hell on earth, but the reality is we will never have a true picture of the terrible place as hell.
  • We will never have a nightmare such that overwhelms a child that will match the torment of hell.
  • No person will ever experience the utter depression, despair, and hopelessness that identifies as hell.
  • Our national news will never report a murder scene splashed with blood and human sufferings that will mirror the madness and malice of hell.

Yet, Jesus understood the horror of hell, which is why He calls us to see the harvest.

The harvest is plentiful but workers are few, so pray for the Lord to send workers into the harvest.

à Do you see people as Jesus views them? Ask God to break and open your heart to people around you at work, in worship, and throughout the world.

à Do you see Jesus as the disciples viewed Him? Ask God to open your heart to the life and love of Jesus.

[1] John 4:35.

[2] Cole, 4.

[3] Ibid., 7.

[4] cf Matthew 21:42; 22:29; Mark 14:49; Luke 4:17-22; 24:27, 32, 45; John 5:39.

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