Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Why Plant Churches - Part 2 by Dave Harvey

Here is part 2 from Dr. Dave Harvey who over sees Sovereign Grace Ministries' church planting...great stuff...Posted at the Sovereign Grace Ministries' blog...

If you could buy stock in church planting, this would be a bull market. I’m serious. Church planting is white-hot right now. I think that’s terrific. But to keep it from simply becoming trendy, we must anchor it in something eternal. That’s where the Great Commission comes in.
Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. And when they saw him they worshiped him, but some doubted. 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.” (Matthew 28:16-20)What makes the Great Commission so great? Is it the great sacrifices it calls for…or the great places we’re called to go? How about the great people it calls into action? I don’t think so. Our commission is great because it ignites church planting. But wait, I’m getting ahead of myself. The Great Commission is not great simply because it results in the church. It’s great, first and foremost, because it originates from the finished work of Christ.The Gospel: The Point and Power behind Church PlantingRead it again. The Great Commission starts with the gospel. It fixes us on what the cross secured for Christ —“all authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me” (v. 18). Right out of the gate, God invites us to look at the fields of our community, the United States, the United Kingdom, Europe, Africa, and Asia with a new sense of confidence. Why? Because…and get ready for this…the contract is inked, the rights reserved, the deal sealed. The authority to put the gospel into circulation is secured by the substitutionary death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Think about it. The reality of that authority now forms the foundation for all local evangelism, church planting, and missions. Authorized for action, Christians can now serve God’s warrant to the world. We get to tell lost souls they are loved…and wanted by the Savior. That’s a jaw-dropper. That’s why we can’t get all hyped up on the latest way to do missions, the latest research, the latest means and methods of doing ministry. Because nothing we can concoct will ever prepackage the power of the gospel. Church planting shouldn’t start with techniques, technology or talking to territorial spirits, often the launching point for church planting in certain parts of the world. It must begin with our confidence in the explosive message embodied in Christ and entrusted to us in Matthew 28. It’s the one message that makes all the difference. And we’re the megaphone. But we have to remember that it’s not a static message that we just share when we have time. It’s not content we load into our cutting-edge curriculum. The gospel is a dynamic, unstoppable force that God has unleashed in creation through the cross. Dwight Moody once likened the gospel to a lion. Just pop open the cage and stand clear!The apostle Paul was supremely confident in the power of the gospel. “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek” (Romans 1:16). “For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God” (1 Corinthians 1:18).Guaranteed SuccessAre you starting to see it? Our commission is great because the founder guarantees the fruit (Ephesians 2:10). Yep, the Great Commission is stamped with “results guaranteed!” How cool is that? And we know that a king’s edict, closed countries, recessions, wars, natural disasters, cultural opposition or indifference, even the failures of the workers, won’t stall the commission. Going forth with the message of God in the power of God means we are entrusted with a message that never stops. It is an unstoppable commission.If you’re like me, just thinking about this stuff gets the blood pumping. To think that we have a job to do and success is guaranteed because of the finished work of Christ is thrilling. We serve a great Savior who has established our call upon his great work—it must be a Great Commission!Tune in next time, when we’ll discover how the church and church planting are embedded in the Great Commission.

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