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Called to be Sent – Manuscript

May 10, 2009

For any interested, I usually preach from some kind of manuscript & veer slightly from it from time to time, so here is “Called to be Sent” based on John 17:18.

CALLED TO BE SENT  (Sunday, May 10, 2009)

Today I want to talk to you about being SENT.

JOHN 17:18 (ESV)

“As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world.”

This can also be called “missional living”. “Being missional” is one of those catch phrases we hear in Christian circles these days. “Being missional” is simply this—being SENT.

Every Christian is SENT…and in that sense, every Christian ought to be a “missional” person…someone who is about the mission. Who lives for the mission…who dies to self for the mission…who has a passion to see God accomplish the mission through their life. Who is really in that sense of the word…a MISSIONARY.

THESIS:

God calls us to faith in Jesus and then Jesus sends us to tell others about Jesus.

We are CALLED by God to Jesus.

Now, in order to be SENT, you first need to be CALLED by God to faith in Jesus Christ. And those who are called by God to faith in Jesus Christ are SENT by Jesus to tell others about him.

So technically, this is a message specifically to those who already have been called to faith in Jesus Christ.

But if you are here today and have not yet come to faith in Jesus, hear this:

You are among a great group of sinners. People who have all done wrong in the sight of God. Christians are not simply morally better people than non-Christians. All of humanity has sinned against God in some way or another and all deserve death because the penalty for sin is death. Here is the difference. The grace of God has extended his call to us and we have responded. He has called us to believe in Jesus. And Jesus (even though he lived perfectly and did not deserve to die) has died in our place, paying the penalty for sin. Because Jesus not only died, but rose from the dead, he conquered sin and death so that sin is no longer our master, but Jesus is.

And so, believing in Jesus is not a special prayer or specific formula or rite of passage. It is in real simple terms understanding what I just said and believing that God raised Jesus from the dead. You turn over control of your life from yourself to Jesus—that’s it.

But no one comes to Jesus unless the Father calls him.

EXAMPLE. An unbelieving friend of mine had incredible insight into this and said, “Mark, you can tell me all the logical arguments and give me all the facts about why I might be persuaded to believe in Jesus, but really, what it comes down to is this. Unless God CALLS me by name, I’m not going to believe.” That is so true.

John 6:44 (ESV) says that “No one can come to me [Jesus] unless the Father who sent me draws him.”

Now, if you are here this morning and you have not given control of your life to Jesus,

If you sense that God is calling you…if you feel a tug on your heart saying, “this is it” “its time” “you’ve put if off long enough”, then that is God calling you to Jesus. Don’t resist it anymore. Believe in Jesus. And I’m asking you to right now, in your seat…take a short moment to simply say a prayer in your heart to God that goes something along the lines of this. “God, I sense you calling me to you. I give control of my life to you….Amen.”

If you’ve done that, or you want to talk more about it first before you give your life to Jesus, please come and talk to me or one of the other Pastors or Elders here before you go.

So, in order to be sent, you first need to be called by God to Jesus.

Many before were called by God.

And so, Christians are called by God. But we aren’t the only people in history who have been called by God. Look back in the Old Testament!

Abraham was called by God. Moses; Joshua; Gideon; Samuel; King David; Isaiah; Jeremiah…and many more that we read about in the Old Testament.

They were called for a reason. They were called to be sent.

No one calls anyone for no reason, do they? I mean when I pick up the phone to call someone, I call them for a reason. Sometimes that reason may simply be just to talk about something that’s on my mind. When I call home to talk to my kids, I call them because I love them. Love them! I love my kids, and sometimes the only reason I call is because I love them and want to build up my relationship with them. God has indeed called people to himself because he loves them, but that is not the only reason. He has CALLED them to be SENT!

There are many great stories of God calling people to himself in the Bible. He called them to be sent.

Moses was sent to Pharaoh in Egypt to lead the Israelites out of slavery.

A young shepherd boy named David was sent to be the King of Israel.

The prophet Isaiah was sent to preach to people that would never listen or understand what he was saying.

And it goes on…and on…they were CALLED to be SENT.

NOW, if we are called by God to Jesus, then we are SENT by Jesus to tell others about Jesus.

Like I said before, being SENT requires that we first be CALLED by God to faith in Jesus.

Jesus, in what has been known as his High Priestly Prayer prayed with intensity for his disciples. He prayed for his current disciples and he prayed for us as those who would believe because of their message.

John 17:18 (ESV) says, “As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world.”

SO! What does being SENT mean?

We’re going to talk about what “being sent” means.

Who are we sent by?

Now, its kinda obvious that we are sent by Jesus.

We were called by God the Father to Jesus. And we are sent by Jesus.

Who/Where are we sent to?

I’m going to say that the who and the where are answered in the same question.

You also are sent to your world. John 17:18 (ESV) says, “As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world.” Jesus has sent you into the world. Park on that for a moment.

In a GENERAL sense, ALL believers in Jesus are sent simply to the people they find around them. Who do you see when you are at home?

EXAMPLE: Recently I was asked by an older pastor was, what are the names of the neighbors across the street and beside you?

His point? I have been sent by God to my neighborhood…I live there. My kids play there. I’m spending much of my time there. God has placed me there for a reason. He’s called me to Jesus, and Jesus has sent me into the world. The world in which I live is 881 Cortez Rd. and the surrounding houses and people there.

How/Why are we sent?

Our patterns is Jesus—he is our example. John 17:18 says “As…” “like…the way in which…”

God the Father had sent Jesus into the world for what reason? → To save sinners. That’s why. John 3:16 “God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have eternal life.”

VERSE: Luke 4:43 “but he said to them, ‘I must preach the good news of the kingdom of God…for I was sent for this purpose.’”

Jesus was sent to preach the good news of the kingdom. The Good news is that Jesus came to save people from the penalty of sin…to give them eternal life in him and not have to be slaves to sin anymore.

In the same way the Jesus was sent, we are sent. Jesus sends us the same way that God the Father sent him.

This kinda begs the question then,

Can any Christian be excused from being SENT?

My short answer to that is NO.

No Christian who has been CALLED by God to Jesus is excused from Jesus SENDING us to tell others about him.

If you have not been living your life in the world as one who has been sent to it, you need to repent.

I believe we have forgotten that we were called for a reason!

We have forgotten that we were CALLED to be SENT!

One pastor (Bill Hybels in Just Walk Across the Room) in his book mentioned that one study showed that the number of non-Christians in your life goes down as the number of years you’ve been a Christian goes up. So that means that the longer you’ve been a Christian, the less people you know who don’t know Jesus. Think about that for a moment.

Is that true of you?

Be honest. If you are a Christian, you must ask yourself this question: “Has the number of non-Christians in my life gone down as time has gone on?

We, the Church, the people of God…we have been CALLED to be SENT.

If you believe in Jesus, you are SENT…sent on a mission. You have a job to do. We all have a job to do!

And we see in the Bible that the disciples of Jesus too are not called for nothing.

He sends them:

Matthew 28:19-20, says “Go therefore, make disciples of all nations…”

Acts 1:8 says, that we will “…be my [Jesus] witnesses.

We, the Church, are not called to NOTHING!

Church, we are the “Body of Christ” that lives, moves, breaths, functions, and has a job to do!

If we have been called by God to Jesus, then Jesus has sent us to tell others about him.

Jesus is our pattern: As Jesus was sent by the Father, that’s how Jesus sends us.

We are sent to our world…the people we find around us.

Sent to tell others about Jesus!

No one who is called can be excused from being sent.

All who are called are sent!

Church, my heart aches because I know that we have on a large scale forgotten that we have been CALLED to be SENT. That the Church exists & has remained throughout history for a reason.

Do we realize what we’ve been sent with? The story of LOVE that Jesus died for us on a cross because God loved us so much!

What a joy! What a privilege! What an awesome task! To be entrusted with the life of Jesus. We are given the task of telling others about Jesus and what he has done in our lives!

I want to challenge you today to 2 things.

  1. First…really think about the world in which you live. How many non-Christians do you actually know? If you’ve forgotten that you’ve been called by God to Jesus and have been SENT by Jesus to the world, then I challenge you to repent. And in a very real sense, there is more that we all could be doing & I probably need to repent from not taking every opportunity. So, first of all, I challenge you to repent from not living out your SENTness.
  2. Second…I challenge you to get to work. Don’t live in the regret of the missed opportunities. Repent, then move on. Live your life today—forward. Jesus has sent you into your world to tell the world about him.

How can we practically live it out? (Here’s your homework.)

Here are some ideas…not commands for legalistic living, but ways that you might practically live out being sent by Jesus…just as Jesus was sent by God into the world.

This was taken from a blog post titled “Simplified Missional Living” (from theResurgence.com) → refer to print out.

1.Eat with Non-Christians

2.Walk, Don’t Drive

3.Be a Regular

4.Hobby with Non-Christians

5.Talk to your Co-workers

6.Volunteer with Non-Profits

7.Participate in City Events

8.Serve Your Neighbors

IMAGINE what would it look like if all who are CALLED lived out being SENT?

BENEDICTION:

James 1:22-25 (ESV) “But be doers of the word, and not hearers only deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing.”

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