Sunday, July 19, 2009

Identity Crisis (pt 3): Apprentice Servants


Humanity is in an Identity Crisis, living far from the image we were created to be…
People all over have lost their connection with the source of life
Now they wonder around, looking to fulfill themselves in some way
People go through Identity crisis, trying to find their purposes

Sometimes that identity crisis is reflected in peer pressures.
Who we are is decided by other people.
We do not decide who we are.
They decide who we are.
Whether we are "in" or "out" is determined by them.
And if "they" do not say "I" am in, "I" lose a sense of self.
Sometimes people make up lies and personas to seem cooler to others
(Exp: Documentary- John Holmes – 1st Superstar of the Adult Film Industry – Made up stories and personas till he believed his own lies…)

Advertisers play on our identity crisis.
"Buy our product and you will find a new identity."
"Buy our product and you will know who you are."
“Make a statement to the whole world about who you are."
A large amount of buying occurs in our society because people are searching for fulfillment & identity.

Is it possible that you’ve been trying to blend in with the world around you… or even the opposite – trying to stand out (be original) from the rest of the crowd, that you don’t know who you are at a core level?
…That you are defined by what’s around you or by what you believe is inside you, instead of who God made you?

This series is seeking to answer 3 questions:
Who am I?
How did I get this identity?
What's it for -- Why am I here – What is my purpose?

For that, as Christ-followers, we go to the Sacred Text…

We don’t often find such resoundingly clear answers to all three questions in such a small space as we do in this text this morning.

(1 Peter 2:9-10)
“You are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God's special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy."

These 4:
Family Ambassadors Servants Apprentices

So far we’ve discussed the first 2:

1. You are a chosen people. The “called out ones” (FAMILY)

The Church is a Chosen People/ Family –
We are a new family with God as Father.
Imagine what our community will be like…
What this world could look like…
If everyone started seeing everyone else as family!
If everyone started treating one another like brothers & sisters, fathers and mothers.
If Familial Love defined all our relationships

For more of that, tune into the Podcast…
Then we discussed our new Family Identity Statement:

Anchor’s Family Identity Statement:
Family – We are all children of God who care for each other as a family.

2. You are a royal priesthood. The Sent Ones (Ambassadors) Verse 9: "You are a ... royal priesthood."

We are a royal priesthood that extends the message of reconciliation to the world.
We are ministers of reconciliation with the message of reconciliation.

2 Corinthians 5:16-20

16So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. 17Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come; the old has gone, the new has come! 18All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: 19that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men's sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. 20We are therefore Christ's ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ's behalf: Be reconciled to God.

Do you know what this means?
This means you don’t need to try to stop your bad behaviors
You don’t need to stress out over changing yourself to be a better person
You don’t need to aim for your behaviors, you need to aim for your beliefs!
You need to begin to See God as He really is in His Gloriousness and His Sovereignty, His faithfulness, love and mercy…
And You need to begin to see yourself as He sees you…
As you Truly are,
…once you’ve come to Him,
…and Made him your King
…and turned from your ways to His,
…and taken on His name in Baptism
…and received His Spirit into your life
Once You’ve Given Him everything, You are a NEW CREATION… Everything in your past is Gone
(the good and bad, your failures and successes)
Everything in your Future is New and Gospel centered

Also this verse points out how we, as priests, are God’s ambassadors, connecting a disconnected world to God.

We do this through displaying God’s glory through our lives and words and actions

You’re an ambassador

Wake up each day… yeah we’re going to work/ school… but we are doing it with a different mindset
Say this with me:
“I’m not here for my purposes, I’m here for God’s purposes”
That is my priority…
That’s the lens I see my life through…
That’s the “Jesus Way”…
What does He cry out in the garden as his time draws near?
“If it’s possible, let this cup of death pass from me…
Nevertheless, NOT MY WILL, But Your will be done…”

So, as a family of Ambassadors seeking God’s will and seeking to reconcile people to God, we began to study the area God has sent us on mission.
We discussed San Diego, and many statistics and demographics… like the fact that SD is 11.4% Christian…
which is only about 3% more that Communist China!

That God has sent you here, whether you know it or not… for a purpose… to show forth His praises
Let your very life paint a picture to glorify God

Most importantly, we discussed that…
This is not some behavior we need to add to our life…
The Gospel Changes the entire way we live…
Not more activities, but an entirely different perspective on why we even do our activities…
Living “missionally” doesn’t mean we add a bunch more stuff to our lives…

The Gospel has informed us of who we are in Christ and changed us.

Now we do everyday things with Gospel intentionality

When The Gospel gets into the heart of Who you are, it will be at the heart of everything you do…
Gospel Intentionality will be naturally flow out of your identity!

Anchor’s Ambassador Identity Statement:
Ambassadors – We are sent by God to restore all things to Him through Jesus Christ.

For more on that, check out the podcast…

3. You are God's possession. Called to Equip & Be Equipped (Apprentices).
This is expressed twice. Verse 9: "You are . . . a people for God's own possession."

The Church has been chosen by God;
He has shown us mercy and love
He has taken us to be his own possession.

When God says (in 2 Cor. 6:16), "I will be their God and they will be my people (my possession)," what he means is that "I will dwell in them and walk among them." – John Piper

You are chosen; you are shown love, mercy & grace; you are God's possession -- the ones he will walk among and reveal himself to in a personal relationship forever.

We learn to walk in His ways… to walk with Him here
(This thing is about relationship, not man-made religion)

Think about Israel and their wanderings…and Deuteronomy 6…
“You will be my people and I will be your God…”
Think about their history and idolatry…
How did Israel do at this one?
They never learned to walk in God’s ways!

The church is called to learn Gods way’s (Apprentices) and teach them to others through words and actions

The Church is called to equip for ministry and mission…
(Ephesians 4)

Jesus said “Go into all the world and make… Choirs? Sunday Schools? Sunday Church Services? Disciples!

God has called and gifted people in the church to not only use their gifts for works of service and ministry, but to equip others for works of service.
It’s Cyclical – We are always learning & teaching- EXP: Line leader

The Body of Christ will be built up as each person serves and equips others to serve.
The Church doesn’t need more programs to do the work that people are called to do – the Church needs people to be faithful to their calling to develop and equip others.

Apprenticeship/ Discipleship is not done on a Sunday.
THIS is not discipleship… this is a small part of it: teaching
Discipleship was never meant to be done in sterile teaching environments
Discipleship was a lifestyle…
It was a totally different method of learning…
You practically lived with your rabbi…
You not only heard their teachings, but saw their lifestyles
You saw their Mistakes
Respect wasn’t given because of Titles or positions or because people hid parts of themselves/ imperfections
(lived a separate life over here)
Respect was earned because of the authenticity of the life lived before the disciple – Raw Reality / Imperfection Personified
(Only God Deserves Glory right???)

Discipleship occurs as we live this thing out in community…
As teaching and reading the word of God works its way from our minds down into our hearts and eventually into our words and actions…
Discipleship is life on life… incarnational ministry
It’s what happens as you see me living my life for God…
It creeps into every aspect of our lives…
It’s when you come over to my house & see how (imperfectly at times) Nancy & I handle our finances, & how we handle disagreements and how we correct our children..

It happens when Tyson goes to Ian @ a DNA group and points out his anxiety over some issue and Ian asks him what he’s not believing to be true about God and gospels his heart…
Speaking the truth in love…
Creating a culture within our community where we are constantly bringing the truth of God’s gospel to bear on one another’s lives…
Constantly Loving, giving grace & mercy & reconciling
It happens when we model drinking in moderation to people around us, within & outside our community.

We are constantly being equipped and equipping others for ministry and mission.
But it won’t happen if we are not intentional about it…
It won’t happen if we don’t realize our Identity as Apprentices and begin to live out of that Identity
(Otherwise it’s just movies, hanging out & playing church)

This responsibility to make apprentices shouldn’t rest in institutions or programs… it needs to be placed back into the hands of the people who ARE the Church.

We don’t go to Church. We are the Church

As the early church, how did Discipling Happen?
“Discipling was a model (not curriculum) of teaching and learning in the first century. It was distinct from other models of learning such as parenting or schooling. Western Christianity took the term discipleship to mean, “school” and thus lectured Jesus’ teachings and called it discipleship. When Jesus said, “make disciples” he was referring to a student who learned through a specific model (discipleship). The discipleship model made people the church and not material or events.” -Dr. Jeffrey Garner

Discipleship was a form of learning crafted by Greek Philosophers

Sylvia Wilkey Collinson ((Theological Monographs, her doctoral research): Although Christian Faith Community holds this model of teaching in high esteem because it was the specific form favored by Jesus. However in present day church life, it appears the dominant models of teaching rarely include it. When people refer to teaching and learning they usually have in mind a schooling model. Protestant circles have largely ignored discipling as a method of teaching. (and thought if it as a curriculum or content).

A disciple, then was an apprentice actively learning through the model of discipleship.
The notion that we can disciple people through lectures or classes or programs is Western and misses a large part of what Jesus was after.

1. Food. Socrates practices discipling over meals.
- Eating together was a common motif in the early days of discipleship. E.g. “breaking of bread” and when Mary is “sitting at Jesus feet” (a Hebrew idiom for being discipled)
2. Peripatetic. Diogenes, the great discipler of the 4th century BC espoused three habits of discipleship that his famous student Crates developed:
- (1) Peripatetic. Diogenes took his disciple into itinerate tutelage. They traveled and learned as they walked.
- (2) They took on themselves a vow of poverty.
- (3) They were peacemakers.
- Jesus’ discipleship model uses all three of these features.
3. Storying and Narrative Theology. In this method Jesus departs from much of the Greek disciplers and adopts a pure Rabbinal method of discipling.
- Jesus teaches with stories.
- He is a masterful storyteller.
- Everything is communicated through stories or parables.
(CANT WAIT for Story of God!!!)
4. Incarnational Teaching. One’s life is an embodiment of the words and thoughts, teachings and sayings… Preaching the Gospel with your very lives

1. Community. The teachings and words are digested in the context of community. Everything about discipleship is communal and not devotional. Its 2-3 gathered together, disciples (plural) not disciple (singlular), its doing life together.
- This is why entire households are converted and transformed in the first century.
- In fact, when Jesus calls his disciples he calls 5 of the twelve from a communal village, Bathsaida, which had no more than 150 people living in community together—Peter, James, John , Andrew and Philip.
- They ate together, worked together, dreamed together, prayed together, recreated together.
- In Acts they are doing everything together.
- The model of discipleship required togetherness in order for it to work.
2. Action/Reflection. The method of discipleship required working together toward a common goal or mission or activism.
- Jesus activity included feeding the poor (collecting money and giving it to poor people), healing the sick (miraculous signs and deliverances through prayer), advocating for the condemned (woman taken in the act of adultery), visiting prisoners, and preaching/teaching the good news of God’s Kingdom.
- He sent out his team to do this work and they all returned and reflected and learned from it.
3. Demonstration. Jesus would heal, deliver, feed, and teach them how to do it while he was doing it.
- Remember when Jesus said, “Who touched me?”
- Or when he cursed the fig tree?
- He was constantly teaching and demonstrating who he was and what his kingdom was about.
4. Serving. Remember Jesus washing his disciple feet and in this way teaching them that hierarchy was out and servitude was in.
5. Recreation. Jesus taught his greatest revelation, “Who do men say I am?” while he was on vacation with his disciples in Caesarea Philippi and it was the perfect location for his “Gates of Hell” field trip.
*Notice there is nothing here that remotely suggests Sunday services. This was life.

What are we doing that can be called discipling? What are we doing that incorporates these features?

Attractional Church
This is the model that the Western Church has been using for years and years.
It has been a proven tool at bringing people in and leading people to Christ (in some cases).
But it has been unsuccessful at making disciples.
This model does well at creating time and space in people’s lives for God on weekly basis, but fails to provide a holistic approach to life and God and at the end of the day it creates an unhealthy dualism (sacred/secular; clergy/laity; spiritual/carnal).
Though it never says it explicitly the implications are everywhere: Church is a building.
Church is an event.
Discipleships cannot “become” in a world where church is an event and a building.
1. IS THIS MODEL WHAT JESUS ASKED US TO DO? (remember: eating, community, storying, etc.)
3. If Overseas Missionaries took this approach reaching unchurched people, would you feel it would be effective?

It says things like, “Let’s go to church?”
Or Lets raise money for the church (i.e. building)?
Its passion is not disciples (except in the comprehension category), but not disciples in the sense of community, redemptive activism, eating together, incarnational (life-on-life) learning, etc.

Missional Model
(Focused outward not inward/ God’s kingdom not ours)

Anchor’s Apprentice Identity Statement:
Apprentice – We are Students of Jesus who take responsibility for our own development and the development of others.

As a young man Jesus grew in both height and wisdom. He learned from local religious teachers, by living in community, and through regular times of listening to God. Jesus called others to follow his ways, to be his disciples and live in obedience to all that God commands. He then sent these followers out to make new disciples. We believe we are also called to be followers of Jesus who take responsibility for our own development and the development of others. This includes both our personal time with God as well as involvement together in training provided by spiritual leadership.
(Luke 2:52; Matthew 28:18-20; Ephesians 4:11-13; 2 Timothy 2:2)

What does it mean for the people who are the Church to be the Learners and Equippers of the Saints?

“For the people in the missional church, missions is more centered in “being and doing” than “sending and supporting”. The missional church understands that although some may be supported as those sent to other locations, every member of the church is “sent”. Mission is therefore participative rather than simply representative.”

4. You are holy nation. The destined ones (Sanctified Servants)
Verse 9: "You are a . . . holy nation."

(Sanctified Servants)

You have begun to find your identity…
Not within yourself
Not within the culture
Not within the opinions of everyone around you or the voices that influence your life…
But you find your identity in God

You are not merely part of the world any more.
You are set apart for God.
You exist for God.
(That’s What it means to be sanctified…holy…)
And since God is holy, you are holy.
You share his character, because he chose you,
He loved you,
He had mercy on you, and gave you grace.
He filled you with His Holy Spirit
You are holy.

If you do not act in a holy way, you act out of character.
You contradict your essence as a Christian.
Because your identity is holiness to the Lord: you are holy.
Again, Not by something you’ve Done, but by something that was done for you!

Again, this is a corporate identity…
It has both individual and corporate ramifications…
We are a “holy nation”
…that is an alternative nation among nations…
A city within a city…
To give a foretaste / preview of what the eternal city will be like under the rule and reign of Jesus Christ.

We belong to God and exist to bring Him glory.

Israel was called to be a set apart people – a Holy Nation…
To show God’s ways to the world…

Looking at Israel’s History, their kings and idolatry and drive to be like the other nations around them…
How would you say they did at that job?

So Jesus Comes announcing the Kingdom is here
In the New Testament we see that it’s available for EVERYONE
This Kingdom is Already AND Not Yet (Consider Matthew’s Gospel)
It’s here now but not fully realized yet…
The Church (Say “that’s us”) is a City on a Hill
The currency in this Kingdom is Love.
Love was expressed in Servanthood and Sacrifice.

Look at Jesus Example:

John 13

1 It was just before the Passover Festival. Jesus knew that the hour had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end.
2 The evening meal was in progress, and the devil had already prompted Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot, to betray Jesus. 3 Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; 4 so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. 5 After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples' feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him.

Jesus, In the HEIGHT of His power…
knowing that the “Father had put all things under His power”…
Does what???
What does power look like in the family of God?

He takes on the role of a servant – a slave – and humbles himself by ministering to those who He knew would run away, deny him, and betray Him
(He washes Judas’ Feet! His Betrayer!)–
How can we do anything else!!!
He didn’t just talk about loving your enemies, he lived it!

In the family of God, we are at our best when we are at our lowest
When we serve one another
When we could seek revenge, we humble ourselves
When we have power over someone because we have privileged info about them, we choose to let it die within us
When someone is out of line, we humble ourselves and give them grace and mercy
When people say all manner of things against us and accuse us falsely, we forgive…. Even if they don’t say sorry!

We bathe the dirt off the homeless man’s feet
We give… give to the needs of our community instead of our excess
We make ourselves available when people have needs
- When people are moving
- When people need a job
- When people need help

We go out of our way to serve one another as Christ did

When I got my Ministerial License they told me, “Welcome to your official Demotion… You’re now a licensed Servant…
You just stepped to a lower position on the Totem Pole
There’s no glamour in ministry…
There’s only a deeper walk with God as we learn more about Him by identifying with His ministry as we Humble ourselves and endure suffering for His sake…

Anchor’s Servant Identity Statement:
Servants – We are servants who serve Him as we serve others around us.

Fully God–fully human, Jesus took on the posture of a servant. He gave his life, even unto death, so that others could experience salvation, peace and restoration. Jesus said, “I am among you as one who serves…” All those who follow Jesus are called to serve in the same humility. For us this means joyful submitting to God, leadership and to each other, as we serve whoever God brings into our lives. We do Whatever He leads us to do, Whenever He tells us and Wherever He wants us to do it (W3).
(Matthew 20:25-28; 25:31-46; John 13:1-17; Philippians 2:5-11; 1 Peter 2:16)

What does it mean for the Church to be the Servants of God

We are a family on mission sent by God to serve our world…

As we have gone through this series, we’ve learned how to live the cross-centered life…
understanding that the highest calling – the only calling - in the Kingdom and the family of Christ is the calling to suffer and die…
To die out to self and old ways…
And begin living a new, abundant life, centered around God and Others…

I have news for you… This is impossible!
It’s impossible to do on your own
It’s impossible without Full and utter dependence on God
That’s why you must die out to self (Daily as Paul says) and learn to live a resurrected life centered on the cross – Where all you do is empowered by Christ and informed by the gospel

Paul says it beautifully in Galatians 2:20

“I have been nailed to the cross with Christ. I have died, but Christ lives in me. And I now live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave his life for me.”

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