IT’S TIME TO MOVE BACK INTO THE NEIGHBORHOOD

This is a portion of a sermon on evangelism shared by Dr. Steve Dunn on behalf of the Commission on Evangelism as it launches its new “bridges to the Bridge” initiative.

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A Message on Evangelism
Eastern Regional Conference – April 30, 2013

BY DR. STEVE DUNN

INTRO:
What I am about to share is the basics of what Bridgebuilders seeks to teach the church about its identity and its mission in the world. It is not the Seminar itself, but it is the heart from which Bridgebuilders flows

OUR TEXT:
In the Gospel of John, chapter 1 there is a nativity story. And I love how Eugene Peterson describes it in his Message translation:

The Word became flesh and blood, and moved into the neighborhood.
– John 1.14

He went through the door out of heaven onto planet earth and lived the truth of God on humanity’s turf.

The word became flesh and moved into the neighborhood.

In that single act, God declared: “I AM A MISSIONARY GOD.” My children are separated from me and I will stop at nothing to reach them. I will take on flesh and live where they are on earth so that I can fit them for my Kingdom.”

The Word became flesh and moved into the neighborhood

There has never been a time in human history when people needed God in their neighborhood more. We live in a world where God is essentially out of sight and out of mind. Where our neighbors have no Christians roots. Where they are spiritually hungry—where they are lost in sin
And do not have a clue.

We, the Church, need to move into the neighborhood. Too often we have moved out of the neighborhood by living with an inward focus while the neighborhood changed around us.
Our neighborhood is filled with lost people. As disciples we need to build redemptive relationships with people and churches need to build redemptive relationships with their communities.

Kevin (Dr Kevin Richardson) reminded us that God was opening doors and Dwight (Pastor Dwight Lefever) told us to look at these doors (point)

God has opened doors and we think those are opportunities for people to come in when really they are open for us to go out. We put up a sign, “Come one, come all” but we need to remember God put up another sign, “Go!”

The Word became flesh and moved into the neighborhood

We need to rediscover gospel, our identity, our community and our commission. More than that—our lost and dying world desperately needs the church to be what God intended it to be – disciples on mission with Jesus!

Snyder and Runyon teach us about the Four Greats:

FACT 1– JESUS CHRIST IS LORD
FACT 2– WE ARE THE BODY OF CHRIST
FACT 3– WE ARE COMMUNION OF SAINTS
FACT 4– WE HAVE A GREAT COMMISSION
FACT 5– THAT COMMISSION CONTAINS THE WORD “GO”

DO FAIRLY WELL UNTIL THROUGH FACT THREE. WE THINK WE CAN DO #4 WITHOUT #5. WE GO INWARD IN A HOLY HUDDLE INFECTED WITHKOINONITIS
AT BEST WE TRY TO ATTRACTIONAL. BUT TOO OFTEN WE DO THAT SO WE NEED NOT BE INCARNATIONAL

Brothers and sisters, this must not be! “Open Doors”“There is a Mission Field Outside the Front Door”—not on the other side of the world—outside your front door…But the people are different from many of us ….they are people with no Christian roots.. they are people like our new brother DeSario… they are people who are lost without Jesus Christ

Yet—fact of life—too many of us sit within the church buildings (we are concerned with temporal things not eternal ones) a lot of time and energy spent on being a well-oiled organization instead of concerning ourselves with the mission of Jesus, concerned with a well-oil organization but the wheels are falling off:we spend our money, design our ministry, demand our pastor’s time for the already persuaded instead of the yet to be convinced Their mission has become to keep the lights on and the doors open
we want to be safe—we want to keep salt in the shaker and our light under the bushel of our buildings.

THE WORD BECAME FLESH AND MOVED INTO THE NEIGHBORHOOD

53

(c) 2013 BY STEPHEN L DUNN

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About sdunnpastor

I am the Director of Bridgebuilders Ministries, the Intentional Interim of the Newport PA Church of God, and adjunct professor for Winebrenner Theological Seminary. I am the creator of Bridgebuilders Seminar, helping churches reach their unchurched neighbors.
This entry was posted in KINGDOM FOCUSED MINISTRY, LOCAL CHURCHES IN MINISTRY, METHODS, SERMONS and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

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