Community Group Study Notes
Have someone in your group provide a brief, 2-minute summary of the teaching we heard on Sunday.
What was one thing that God was showing you through this special Sunday?
Read 2 Corinthians 5:17-21. What is the connection between our transformation (in verse 17) and our responsibility in (verse 20)? What does this passage teach us about why these things must go together (identity and mission) and why they cannot be separated from one another?
Dr. Bobby Gupta asked us to consider this question: “Do I understand my responsibility in the Great Commission?” Discuss this together in your group, and encourage each other to discover our individual and collective responsibility to the mission of God.
What is one action step that you can take in light of Kingdom Come Sunday and our conversation today?
Jerry Gillis - This is going to be a segment where we're going to hear from a couple of our partners kind of in segments, but you're going to be not only encouraged by what they're doing, but we're also going to be instructed by the Word of God in the same kind of timeframe. So if you have a Bible with you, if you have a pen, something to write on, this would be a good time for you to be able to grab that and get that out, and in fact, if you want to turn in your Bibles to 2 Corinthians chapter five, I can already tell you, that's where you're going to be initially in just a few moments, but this will be a good time to make a few notes. So our first partner that's gonna share with us a bit is named Jason Malone, and Jason is a pastor of Summit Church, which is in the upstate part of South Carolina, Greenville, South Carolina, and he's also a lead in Saturation Church Planting, one of our partners, and he's working in the North American portion of what Saturation Church Planting is doing. A wonderful friend, in fact, I had to on him a little bit, you'll notice in the video when you see it in just a moment, that he's got a South Carolina Gamecocks helmet in the background, and he did that just to make me angry. So he, and then I texted him and I'm like, "Jason, what are you doing with this in your video?" And he said, "I did it so you would text me "and be mad at me, "because I was hoping that's the reaction I would get." I was like, "Mission accomplished, bro." So we did not edit that out, it's still there, but just don't mind it, because it should be like a Georgia Bulldog helmet or something, but nonetheless. Anyway, Jason is a wonderful friend doing great work in South Carolina and in North America with Saturation Church Planting, so I want you to take a moment, be encouraged by what they're doing and listen as he talks to us about our role in the mission that God has designed for us. Take a look.
Jason Malone - Hello Chapel. My name is Jason Malone and I have the honor to take a few moments on this Kingdom Come Sunday to simply say thank you for all you're doing, in practical and tangible ways, to share and show how Jesus and the gospel changes all of life. I pastor Summit Church in Greenville, South Carolina, and I've had the opportunity to partner with all of you there in Buffalo in an array of ways through the years. Most recently, myself and several other pastors from Buffalo and Syracuse, Fort Myers, Florida, Bowling Green, Ohio have taken on the responsibility of leading Saturation Church Planting North America. While also pastoring our local congregations, we give our time to equip other churches and organizations towards saturating their circles of influence with the gospel through releasing missionary disciples. So thank you so much for partnering with us. Because of your missional intentionality as a church family, SCP North America, just within the past few months, has been able to coach new church planters and work with denominational leaders in Ohio and Kentucky, South Carolina and Illinois. We actually have 40 active partnerships within our network as we, much like you, desire to give every man, woman, and child the repeated opportunity to see, hear and respond to the gospel of Jesus Christ. We firmly believe that whatever God is going to do in redeeming people to himself, he desires to do through all of Christ's people, the church, That it will be all of us living with intentionality in the places that God in his sovereignty has placed us, you know, making much of him. I was reminded once again, it may be a passage that is somewhat familiar to you, maybe not, where the Apostle Paul in 2 Corinthians five says, "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. "The old has gone and the new has come." It's such an incredible truth, that if you are in Christ, if you have a relationship with the God of the universe through his son, Jesus, if you have a story of grace because of what Jesus has done on your behalf, you are, I am, we are brand new creations. Jesus really does change everything. Paul reminds us of what occurs, right, when we come to Christ. You aren't who you were. I read where an author said it this way. You are not reformed, you are not rehabilitated, you are not re-educated, you are re-created. We aren't who we were. Adam is the head of the old creation, Jesus though, the head of the new creation. The old creation plunged into sin and condemnation because of the disobedience of Adam. Sin really has messed everything up. But the new creation means righteousness and salvation because of the obedience of Jesus. If you know Jesus, you are a new creation. Verse 18 says all of this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ. I love and I need the reminder. God is the one doing the reconciling. The reason for Jesus coming, reconciliation, the mission of every man, woman, child, with the repeated opportunity to see, hear, and respond to him. Reconciliation, it means to restore, to make things right, and Jesus came to reconcile to himself all things. He came to heal the rift and to bridge the chasm between God and humanity, and even here we see once again the initiative in the reconciliation was with God. All of this is from God. You know, the New Testament never talks about God being reconciled to the world, but always of the world being reconciled to God. You might wonder why that's important, because God is the one who made the first move to restore the relationship. He did it through his son, Jesus. We're no longer enemies of God. If you remember Paul, before coming to know Christ, he was an enemy of Christ. He was arresting people that loved Jesus, seeing people die that loved Jesus, and then as he walked down the road on that memorable day for him, I'm so sure, the road to Damascus, Jesus got his attention and said what? "Hey Paul, why are you persecuting me?" So who made the first move in bridging the chasm between Jesus and Paul? Jesus did. He made Paul a new creation. He's done the same in so many of our lives. He's done that in my life, and as a result, I long to give my life, my days, however many they may be, to letting others know what is available to them. And yeah, I get it be a part of that through SCP North America and through the ministry I have at Summit Church, but as I said, we all have the privilege of making much of him. Paul says in verse 18 again, "All this is from God who reconciled us "to himself through Christ, "and gave us the ministry of reconciliation," "that 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. "We are therefore Christ's ambassadors, "as though God were making his appeal through us." Isn't it sweet? God's plan to accomplish his mission of redemption and reconciliation, the Church, big C, Christ's followers around the globe, you and I letting the people that God has placed around us know that God has reconciled the world to himself, so be reconciled to God. "I brought you into a relationship with me, "so be my representation where I have placed you." We are, and I love the terminology, ambassadors of Jesus Christ, as many of you would know, an ambassador, an official representative on behalf of one country to another. And Paul knows his audience. You know, in the Roman Empire, there were two kinds of provinces, senatorial provinces, which were made up of people who were peaceful, they weren't at war with Rome, they had surrendered and submitted, but there were also these imperial provinces. They were not as peaceful, they were dangerous because they would rebel against Rome if they had the chance. So Rome would send in ambassadors to these imperial provinces to make sure that a rebellion didn't break out and call and say, "Hey, Christ's followers." The world is in rebellion against God. It's a imperial province so to speak, and he has sent his ambassadors into the world to declare: be reconciled to God. So it is with this, you know, passion, we hear Paul telling us as Christ followers, "This is the message that you take with you "everywhere you go," when he says, "We implore you on Christ's behalf, "be reconciled to God, "because God made him who had no sin, Jesus, "to be sin for us, "that in him, Jesus, "we might become the righteousness of God." That's our ministry, that's our message. Every day, every place. It's also your ministry. It's also your message. And lest you forget what it is that God has done for you and for me in and through Jesus Christ, really is the motivation to live our lives in this way. In chapter five, if you go back up to verse 14, it actually says this. "For Christ's love compels us, "because we are convinced that one died for all "and therefore all died, "and he died for all that those who live "should no longer live for themselves, "but for him who died for them and was raised again." We are so in love with Jesus because of his deep love for us that we no longer live for ourselves. We live on mission with him, one who is redeeming. Thank you Chapel, for living with intentionality as a church family, but as individuals inside of this church family, like individuals who are living with intentionality make up a church family, living with intentionality. So thanks to each and every one of you for being intentional with the gospel influence that the Lord has given to you in the places that he has put you. His love for you, the love he has shown you, compelling you to give every man, woman, and child the repeated opportunity to see, hear, and respond to the gospel of Jesus Christ, and thank you for partnering with us, just one of the many ministries that you faithfully pray for and support and encourage, Saturation Church Planting North America, as we desire, much like you, to continue to make much of him in the places that he gives us influence. God bless you, Happy Kingdom Come Sunday.
Dr. Bobby Gupta - Greetings from Chennai, India, and what a joy it is for me to be part of your missions conference and celebrate with you the many things that God is doing. I wanna bring greetings to you from Hindustan Bible Institute, and express our appreciation for your partnership, and I trust you will be encouraged by the things that you hear about how God has blessed your investments in the ministries of Hindustan Bible Institute. Your investment has truly enabled us to see significant impact in the discipling of our nation, to see the saturation of church planting and making the gospel accessible to every man, every woman, every boy, every girl, and every people grew up in our land. That is our vision, and it's our hope that one day we will come to that place where we can say it has been accomplished, but in our investment over a short period of time today, God has helped us see a great increase in the taskforce in India, in the number of people that have turned to Jesus Christ, and also in the number of churches that are distributed around the country, and I trust you will be encouraged as you listen to it. Over 150,000 people have been trained because of your investment in the ministries of Hindustan Bible Institute. All over this country, there are men and women, pastors and others who have been part of an effort outside of local churches, through local churches, to actually carry out the great commission with a vision to multiply churches and disciple the nation. Over 12,500 churches have been planted through INEC. HBI is engaged in training, but INEC, the Indian National Evangelical Church is engaged in the process of actually discipling the nation, and as I learned from enabling these men and women, almost 1200 of them, God has helped us to mobilize, equip, envision, and enable the church at large in India to jointly participate, and today, there's an amazing number of people engaged in discipling this nation. I wanna thank you. The Indian National Evangelical Church today not only has 12,500 churches, but it has actually enabled a process to see over 800,000 people discipled to Jesus Christ. Isn't that amazing? When God called Abraham and he invited him to become part of a vision that God had for the nations of the world, he said to Abraham, "If you would leave, "and if you would become obedient to me, "I promise you, Abraham, I will bless you, "and not only will I bless you "and make you a blessing to the nations of the earth, "I will grow you." And he grew a community of people and they became the nation of Israel, and when God called Israel and formed them into a nation, he said to them, "I will be your God, "and you will be my people." The redemption of mankind has always been on the heart of God, and it has never been an exclusive community of people that he wanted to redeem. The universal mission of the gospel of Jesus Christ has always been on the heart of God, and that's why even when you read the beautiful benediction, he says, "May God be gracious to us and bless us, "and may his face shine upon us, "that your ways may be known on the earth, "your saving power among all the nations of the earth." The redemptive work of God has never been exclusive. It has always been so that the nations of the earth will come to know and worship God, and this is so important for us, church, to understand, as we look at the final fulfillment of the Great Commission, as we look at all the peoples of the earth coming to know him and worshiping him, and reach that vision that we see in the book of Revelation, where John looked at the multitude and he saw people from every tribe and every kindred and every people group. It is important that we understand that God is going to get there one way or the other, and the question is, am I willing to be part of what God wants to do? And if you'll remember the book of Nehemiah, you'll hear the prayer of Nehemiah, where Nehemiah says, "Lord, we don't deserve your blessing, "but you said, if we would come back, "and if we would call upon your name." You know what he said? "You will hear us and you will put your hand a blessing "and you will use us." You know, and by the end of the book of Nehemiah, the fear of the Lord grew upon the nations of the earth, because Israel had turned back to God and began to worship the Lord. The Word of God became the highest priority in their life. Reconciliation became a high value to them, and they restored their relationship to God, and the Word of God says, "And the joy of the Lord was their strength." Missions has always been a mission of God, not just for a people or a community of people. It has always been a mission for the nations of the earth, for every people, for every people group. That's why in the book of Matthew, when Jesus commissioned his disciples in Matthew chapter 28, he said, "Go into all the world "and preach the gospel to all nation, "and make disciples of all people," and it's so important as we begin to understand. God's redemptive work has always been that it is universal so that the gospel will go to all the peoples of the earth, and that's why he told his disciples, "I want you to wait in Jerusalem." And you know what? He said, "When the Holy Spirit has come, "you will be my disciples both," he used a conjunction over there and he said, "you'll be my witnesses, both in Jerusalem and in Judea "and in Samaria and to the outermost parts of the earth." And if you begin to understand what God is doing today, because today, all over the world friends, the churches engaged in the mission of God, and every single nation of the world is today preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ, and if there is a potential and a possibility for us to complete it, it is more now than ever before. And since 1974, the movements that have established has resulted in the multiplication not only are people preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ, but making disciples of Jesus, and when we moved in that strategy, coming out of the Luzon Congress, we began to realize that the Great Commission is going to be completed, we needed to move from proclamation to disciple-making, and in so doing, there was a strategic, philosophical change that changed the face of missions, and even today, the synergetic results of that dynamic is actually being experienced. We moved from addition to multiplication, and not only did we see the church grow by multiplication, but we also moved from discipleship to church planting, and when we moved from discipleship to church planting, we began to see churches also multiply. When we multiply churches, we not only began to develop churches that were growing and spreading around the nations, we began to establish church planting movements, and today not only established church planting movements, but we're multiplying the church planting movements all over the world. Consequently, the vision of God, that the knowledge of the glory of God would cover the earth as the water covers the sea so that every man, every woman, every boy, every girl would have the opportunity to hear, understand, respond and be discipled is becoming a reality. The question is, do I understand my responsibility in the Great Commission? If this is going to be completed Church, it's not about what the national, it's doing. It's not about what the international church, it's doing. It is about the Church of Jesus Christ everywhere, understanding that God is at work and he's calling us to become engaged, and that none of us should be sitting quietly, but that all of us should actually be so engaged that we are making disciples everywhere. Are you thinking the lockdown has actually stopped the growth of the church of Jesus Christ? Maybe in some places of the world, but I want to tell you, every week we have been getting reports from church planters around our country, just from the Indian National Evangelical Church to say, we baptized 10 people, we baptized 25 people. We opened the church in the midst of locked down. Isn't that amazing? And I wanna say to you, thank you for being part of it. Many of you invested in both Dr. Lamech and myself in India, and we were engaged together, and by joining hands together, we saw so much more happen than if we had done it by ourselves. And church, the time has come when we must all join our hands together, and as we put our hands together and realize that the mission of God is about reaching the nations of the earth, and that we, at all time, must be engaged in global missions, and as God opens doors that seek to see how can we be engaged anywhere, everywhere, all the time, so all people can come to know him and worship him. His mission is global and he's calling us to fulfill his mission everywhere so all people will worship him, whether we do it in personal involvement where we are, whether we do it with the people that God is bringing to our country, whether we do it as we engage in going to other parts of the world as bivocational missionaries, or as we do it in partnerships with nations around the world, it is my hope that we would see the global mission and the global responsibility that we have so we will complete the Great Commission in our generation. The question is, are you ready to let God work in you, through you, so that together we can complete the Great Commission in our generation.
Lamech Inbaraj - Oh, dear Chapel I'm so glad to be here with my children in our home. These are my dear children, and it was the 22nd of March the first national lockdown was proclaimed due to the COVID-19 novel coronavirus. So what happened on the 21st, we came to know that the 22nd would be a lockdown day, so that day I went around and bought about 10 loafs of bread for the people, and then at about one p.m. on the 22nd, I went around with these 10 loafs of bread to look for these street people, the shopkeepers, so on and so forth, because all shops were shut down, they have no food, so I went and distributed food, and many of these of these families have had children who've been going on without food and hunger. Subsequently on the 24th, the government declared, I think for two weeks, lockdown. It went on and on and on for about five different times. So we first started serving the people that, due to lockdown, have lost jobs, the domestic servants they got to the roads waiting for the food to arrive. So we've been giving them food to them, and then about two weeks later, all the people that have migrated from the other parts of the country into Chennai began to migrate, about five million laborers, they began to go back to their homework, the trains got shut down, no buses. People started walking. So we reached out to them, provided them bread, water, food so that they will be able to carry on for the rest of the journey. Then lots of camps began to emerge when we cooked thousands and thousands of food, and these children also helped in terms of packing the food, because they also got stuck here, and so they packed the food for us, and so we brought the food to the camps and distributed it. So I think close to about eight day we were meeting the needs of 500 people, so we have 100 days, so, you know, that's how many people God helped us to share the love of the Lord, and we also identified the poorest of the poor families affected by corona in the city of Chennai, and we provided them dry-ration. We would have provided them about 1,000 dry-ration kits, and very recently, four days ago, a man called me, he was a fellow patient with me in the common hospital when I was a COVID victim in the last part of July. He called me and said, "Sir, I want to commit suicide with my wife and daughter." "Why?" "We have no money to pay rent, no money to buy food." So God helped us to immediately take care of their financial necessity as well as the food requirement, and we are able to continuously provide help for the people that suffer due to COVID, because they've lost job, not enough money, people are, the houses where there used to be domestic services can no longer go, so we are very thankful. Chapel, we are very thankful for your assistant.
Jerry Gillis - Amen. It's encouraging to hear those words, and I was reminded, what Dr. Gupta shared with us in Psalm 67, "May God be gracious to us and bless us "and make his face shine on us." That's referring to the priestly blessing that's in Numbers chapter six, "so that your ways may be known on earth "and your salvation among all nations." You see, we've gotta be mindful of the fact that this role that we have in the mission, as ambassadors, as people who are proclaiming the reconciliation of God to all people, that we can be reconciled to God through Jesus Christ, we have to remember that not only is that something that we do individually and locally, but it's something that we can be engaged in globally, that we can join together with brothers and sisters in Christ in different parts of the world, and have an impact as a result of that. I can't think of a better way for us to be able to celebrate the unity that we have in Jesus from everywhere and from all over than to be able to celebrate through the Lord's Supper. Now, if you're here in the room, you've got a cup with a piece of bread in it, and the juice in it that's right there in your seat back so that you can grab that and find access to that. If you're watching us online, this would be a great time for you to be able to grab a cracker or a piece of bread and some juice if you wanna participate with us as we celebrate the Lord's Supper. You know, I'm reminded of what the scripture says about Jesus being the one who has brought us together and the one in whom we have redemption. In Hebrews chapter 10 it says, "Therefore, brothers and sisters, "since we have confidence to enter the most holy place "by the blood of Jesus, "by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain "that is his body, "and since we have a great priest over the house of God, "let us draw near to God with a sincere heart "and with the full assurance that faith brings, "having our hearts sprinkled "to cleanse us from a guilty conscience, "and having our bodies washed with pure water. "Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, "for he who promised is faithful." We're reminded about that in our own lives because of what Jesus has done, and we're reminded about that all over the world. So what we're going to do is we're gonna take an opportunity to be able to celebrate the Lord's Supper, and we're going to do that with some of our partners. So to begin, when we talk about the taking of the bread, we're going to begin with a word of prayer from one of our partners, and then I'm going to read a passage of scripture, and then we're going to take the bread together. The partner that I've asked to share with us a prayer as we enter into this is Alejandro Belmar, Alex is who we refer to him as, Alex Belmar. Alex is Argentine, he and his wife, Sherry, and Alex is ministering in Latin America through his ministry called Presidir, but he's also working with Christ Together, our national network, to reach Hispanic-speaking Americans that are, over 50 million of them present in the United States. So Alex is working fervently with us along that line. So he's gonna take a moment and pray for us, and then we're going to be able to participate in communion together. So Alex, if you'll pray for us.
Alex Belmar - Father, we wanna thank you so much for the opportunity that we have to come together and remembers what Jesus has done for us, and through his life and sacrifice to save us. As we share the bread, Father, we wanna express our gratitude for your love, for your goodness, for your Word, and for the opportunity to make the gospel accessible to every man, woman, and child and share the good news of Jesus. Father, we want to express our love to you, for all the wonderful things that you have been done for us by the expression of who you are. Father, we love you, and we thank you for the opportunity to be together, expecting that your kingdom come, and may your will be done. In Jesus' name we pray, amen.