Gospel-Centered, Spirit-Empowered Growth

September 13, 2015 Speaker: Steve Bice Series: Why Community Groups?

Topic: Church Life Scripture: Matthew 28:18–28:20

“And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”” (Matt 28:18–20 ESV)

Why do we do what we do? What’s the purpose? Why do we exist? Why do we meet on Sundays? Why do we meet to pray on Wednesday nights? Why do we have Sovereign Grace Kids on Sunday mornings and 15:5, our student ministry, on the second Saturday of each month? Why do we have Guardian Family Martial Arts on Thursday nights? Why do we give to the church? Why do we desire to partner with those who declare the gospel both nationally and globally whether for a short term or long term? Why would we go to seminars and conferences? And why will we start up our community groups again in the next month, Lord willing?

Sovereign Grace Church exists to glorify God by maturing and multiplying disciples who enjoy and declare the good news of Jesus Christ for the joy of all peoples.

This purpose, this mission that we are on stems from some significant convictions. And these convictions not only give a logical reason for the mission, but give us the hope and joy that is necessary for us to join this mission and to fight the temptations we each have to isolate ourselves from one another or become discouraged and weary and agitated and confused about what is going on, or what isn’t going on. What are these convictions that give us foundational purpose for why we exist as a church?

  • Mission Conviction #1 - God is committed to the spreading of his fame globally
  • Mission Conviction #2 – God is committed to redeem a people for himself
  • Mission Conviction #3 – God has given us the promise of the Holy Spirit to empower us for this mission.

These convictions inform why we do what we do - specifically, they inform the mission we have been called to join. How are we going to accomplish that mission to mature and multiply disciples? Well, by the grace of God and the power of the Spirit we will do so in three ways. Our community groups will focus on: Gospel-centered, Spirit-empowered Growth, Relationships, and Evangelism.

Why Community Groups? So we can purposefully provide a place to experience…

Gospel-Centered, Spirit-Empowered Growth

How will we do that?

1. We will prioritize dependence on the Scripture

“For it [the word of God] is no empty word for you, but your very life,” (Deut 32:47 ESV)

(From our SOF) …the written Word of God. The Bible is the only essential and infallible record of God’s self-disclosure to mankind. It leads us to salvation through faith in Jesus Christ. Being given by God, the Scriptures are both fully and verbally inspired by God. …All believers are exhorted to study the Scriptures and diligently apply them to their lives. The Scriptures are the authoritative and normative rule and guide of all Christian life, practice, and doctrine. They are totally sufficient and must not be added to, superseded, or changed by later tradition, extra-biblical revelation, or worldly wisdom….

“But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness,” (2 Tim 3:14–16 ESV)

“For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” (Heb 4:12 ESV)

2. We will prioritize dependence on the Spirit.

We will prioritize dependence on the Spirit by praying dependently together and for one another.

“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints,” (Eph 6:10–18 ESV)

We will prioritize dependence on the Spirit by studying scripture together (we need to pursue the Holy Spirit to teach us and open our eyes to see the wonderful truth of God's word).

“The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. The spiritual person judges all things, but is himself to be judged by no one. “For who has understood the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ.” (1 Cor 2:14–16 ESV)

We will prioritize dependence on the Spirit by earnestly pursuing the Spirit together.

It is imperative that we not underestimate or forget this. Simply, and humbly, we pursue the active presence of God together as we pray with and for one another, as well as minister with and to one another. To earnestly pursue the Holy Spirit together means that we will walk together in prayerful preparation and expectation that the Spirit will move in many ways through his people. Paul reminds us in 1 Cor. 12

“Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who empowers them all in everyone. To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. For to one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom, and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another the ability to distinguish between spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. All these are empowered by one and the same Spirit, who apportions to each one individually as he wills.” (1 Cor 12:4–11 ESV)

To be earnestly pursuing the Spirit together means simply positioning yourself by way of prayerful expectation asking for the Holy Spirit to be at work among you individually and as a group. And, of course, we want to grow in discerning the work of the Spirit among us, but as the Spirit works and moves among us as we humbly position ourselves in our community groups, and other places for that matter, he will equip each of us to seek, experience, and discern what he is doing.

3. We will, by God’s grace, Prioritize Grace

We want to cultivate an environment marked by grace where members feel comfortable sharing their lives: joys, trials, weaknesses, and temptations and together learn how to apply God’s Word to each of these areas, making “gospel connections,” and finding our hope not in ourselves or our works or anything else, but in the person and finished work of Jesus Christ alone.

 

NEXT MESSAGE IN SERIES

WHY COMMUNITY GROUPS? FOR GOSPEL-CENTERED, SPIRIT-EMPOWERED RELATIONSHIPS

More in Why Community Groups?

September 27, 2015

Gospel-Centered, Spirit-Empowered Evangelism

September 20, 2015

Gospel-Centered, Spirit-Empowered Relationships