Preparing for Worship // August 14, 2016

Preparing for Worship // August 14, 2016

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The first pet I ever had that was my responsibility to take care of was a goldfish. It lived about a week before I found it floating upside down in a bowl of brown water. Like so many other goldfish, it was the victim of a negligent owner. I bought it from the pet store, put it in a bowl, fed it once, and forgot about it.

In our passage for this Sunday (Matthew 28:18-20), Jesus commands us to “make disciples.” He doesn’t say to go and make converts; he tells us to make disciples. This means that we cannot adopt a goldfish model for evangelism. It is not enough to share the gospel with someone and see them converted, if this does not lead to their growth in sanctification. Sharing the gospel is essential, but it’s not the final step. The Christian faith is not a one time act; it is a lifelong journey of spiritual growth that begins with the one time act of conversion. This is one of the many reasons God has given us the church. It is impossible to grow as a Christian unless you are actively involved in a church. Without other people speaking into our lives and without the means of grace (Word, sacrament, and discipline) that God has established through the church, we will tend towards our sinful nature and away from God’s grace.

This means that it is vital that we be involved in a church, which means more than just weekly Sunday morning attendance. It also involves investing in other people, joining a Life Group and a Prayer Triad, and finding somewhere to volunteer. The importance of the church must also affect our evangelism. It is not enough to bring someone to faith and then forget about them. If you know someone who is a recent believer, help them find a church. Finally, as you come to church this week, praise God for giving us His church as an instrument for our conversion and discipleship. Remember that God is working in your life, and He is doing so through the church.

THE WORD

Scripture: Matthew 28:18-20
Sermon: Uptown’s Vision: Reproducing Churches

SONGS

How Firm a Foundation
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Holy Is the Lord (Chris Tomlin)
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Go Labor On  (Shane Martin)
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Jesus With Thy Church Abide  (Indelible Grace)
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Song of Preparation: O Church Arise  (Keith Getty)
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Song of Response: Jesus Shall Reign
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