How to be a Gateway Christian

Last week, we talked about the Cross and Christ. The Cross of Christ is the bridge to bring man in right relationship with God and, through the brotherhood of Christianity, man in right relationship with fellow man as well. We then discussed how the cross on its own was incomplete. The body of Christ and His sacrifice was our gateway. We have now been given that gateway ministry. We know the mission and now it’s time we understand how to walk it out in practical ways. Paul states in Colossians that in order to be a Gateway Christian our words must always be gracious. “Always” is a pretty comprehensive word. To be faithful not only to the message, but also the manner of Jesus, we need to find a way to remain true to our biblically-based beliefs and convictions while also genuinely loving, listening to, and serving people who do not share our convictions. We must do both consistently at the same time. When we do this, our outcomes should be similar to Jesus’. We will be attractive to the watching world or as Acts puts it: “enjoy the favor of all people.” Please, join me this Sunday as we discover in more detail the practical ways to be a Gateway Christian. Family, I hope to see you all Sunday.

 

Passage(s): 
Genesis 23:1-16

Comments

2017-02-12 MW

 

Songs:

Your Love Awakens Me

Your Grace Is Enough

All Glory Be Forever

Come Thou Fount

It Is Well by Bethel Music

 

10:35

 

One thing we want everyone always to know: it’s all about Jesus. We say that and that’s what we mean. Everything else will burn away and fade away. Unless it’s about the true gospel being proclaimed, it’ll go away.

 

I pray that you remember this one thing: It’s all about Jesus.

 

Praying: Lord, we love you. Father, I can easily name my imperfections. And if we were all being honest, we could all same the same.

We thank you that your grace is so amazing, your love so deep and incomprehensible. How your sacrifice doesn’t just cover, but washes away our sin.

You are God. Literally able to cast into the sea of forgetfulness our sin.

I’m grateful we can confess oursins and stand before you clean. When you look at us, you see a child who makes your heart swell with joy and love.

God, I thank you that when I think about true joy, and I think about my children, and I watch them and see the joy they bring to our lives, I think of how you love us even more than that. Your love truly is amazing.

We pray God that we would be receptive. Transform us. Let there be no pretense about us. Convict, encourage, and liberate us right where we’re at. 

We pray for more more more more more more more more.

Holy Spirit, have your way.

 

10:39 I was at a conference called Echurch Summit, put on by the same company that makes the Southside app. The man who formed the company wanted to enable Christians to be able to respond quickly to needs anywhere around the world, so they could go to their phone and send aid immediately.

I learned a lot of great things about leadership. But I really learned about the power of that phone app we have. In the future, we’re going to add more things to it. We’re going to add things that will not only keep you informed but will help you grow in your relationship with Christ.

 

So far we’ve talked about how Jesus is the gateway and bridge to life.

And we’ve talked about how if we follow him, we need to take up our cross. To some extent, we’re called to be gateways as well. Between man to man and also bringing men to Jesus.

In upcoming weeks we’ll talk about how a gateway Christian thinks. Not easily offended. Knows what it means to render to Caesar and to the Lord. We’ll see how to translate the ideas practically.

If you’re not here, tune in via Periscope or (in future) Facebook Live

 

As we talk about being a gateway Christian, it may make you feel a little uncomfortable in your religion. So let’s see how our feelings line up with the Word of God.

 

Last night, my wife and I went to a bonfire event in our neighborhood, hosted by a Christian with the goal of bringing our neighbors together and for Christians to be a witness to our community. I loved it. The fire. S’mores. Snacks. Wine. Sodas.

We were all just chatting and having a great time. And as I was talking, I looked up and noticed that half of the people there were foreigners. The host family had foreign students in their home and invited them to this.

I thought to myself, this is a great example of being a gateway Christian. And I want to challenge you to be open and understanding what the scriptures say about being a gateway Christian.

 

What does “gateway” mean? In computer software or hardware, it enables communication between computer networks that use different communications protocols.

Remember Gateway computers with the cow patterned boxes? they’re still around.

To be a gateway in this sense, you provide a way that two things that cannot communicate as they are can communicate. Without this, they would never be reconciled.

Another definition: something that serves as a means of entrance or access. E.g., “your gateway to success” and “gateways to life”. For us, we are to be the gateway to life through Jesus Christ.

We’re to operate as that instrument. Where someone in their own strength and ability can’t. their heart and mind are focused on the things of the world and desiring to gratify the flesh. That kind of person can’t be reconciled to a holy and righteous God.

Jesus Christ made reconciliation possible. And many people have no idea what you’re talking about when they hear that name. All they have is from TV and from the many bad ways the name is used in culture.

So we come along and say, “I can identify with uo. Before I knew Christ, I was lost in my sin. And I can identify where you’re at.”

Some of us here are 1st generation church-goers—not to use the word Christian, because there’s only 1st-gen Christians. It took someone being a gateway.

There are all kinds of life styles and life stages that make people different. Our gateway has to be different for different people. It’ll take different ways to reach different people. We’re called to help the communication process happen and them to be restored to our Lord Jesus Christ.

 

We’re going to look at 2 different ways we can be a gateway.

 

1. Move from a mindset of superiority and entitlement to a mindset of service and mission.

In our country, founded on God-based principles… America is “One Nation UnderGod” It’s so easy for us to have a sense of entitlement that things should be a certain way be/c of how we’re founded.

And that might lead us to be imposing, to try to force people to line up w/ what we believe. And to create legislation to get people to do what we think they ought to.

 

Gen 12:1-3

 

 12:1* ¶ Now the LORD said to Abram, ‘‘Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you.

 2 And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing.

 3 I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.’’

 4 ¶ So Abram went, as the LORD had told him, and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he departed from Haran.

 

Abram was called by God to go, and God promised that he would bless Abram, and those who bless him. And He’d curse those who curse Abram.

 

Gen 23:

 23:1 ¶ Sarah lived 127 years; these were the years of the life of Sarah.

 2 And Sarah died at Kiriath-arba (that is, Hebron) in the land of Canaan, and Abraham went in to mourn for Sarah and to weep for her.

 3 ¶ And Abraham rose up from before his dead and said to the Hittites,

 4 ‘‘I am a sojourner and foreigner among you; give me property among you for a burying place, that I may bury my dead out of my sight.’’

 

“sojourner and foreigner” - this is important.

 

 5 The Hittites answered Abraham,

 

Catch how they respond to Abraham.

 

 6 ‘‘Hear us, my lord; you are a prince of God among us. Bury your dead in the choicest of our tombs. None of us will withhold from you his tomb to hinder you from burying your dead.’’

 7 Abraham rose and bowed to the Hittites, the people of the land.

 8 And he said to them, ‘‘If you are willing that I should bury my dead out of my sight, hear me and entreat for me Ephron the son of Zohar,

 9 that he may give me the cave of Machpelah, which he owns; it is at the end of his field. For the full price let him give it to me in your presence as property for a burying place.’’

 

Picture what’s happening here. It was customary that all official business take place at the chief gates. Formal legal matters would be settled there. The leaders of the land sit at the gates. And Abraham is rising up and making the request.

Abraham doesn’t direct Ephron directly, but instead addresses the entire council with reference to Epron.

 

 10 Now Ephron was sitting among the Hittites, and Ephron the Hittite answered Abraham in the hearing of the Hittites, of all who went in at the gate of his city,

 11 ‘‘No, my lord, hear me: I give you the field, and I give you the cave that is in it. In the sight of the sons of my people I give it to you. Bury your dead.’’

 12 Then Abraham bowed down before the people of the land.

 13 And he said to Ephron in the hearing of the people of the land, ‘‘But if you will, hear me: I give the price of the field. Accept it from me, that I may bury my dead there.’’

 14 Ephron answered Abraham,

 15 ‘‘My lord, listen to me: a piece of land worth four hundred shekels of silver, what is that between you and me? Bury your dead.’’

 16 ¶ Abraham listened to Ephron, and Abraham weighed out for Ephron the silver that he had named in the hearing of the Hittites, four hundred shekels of silver, according to the weights current among the merchants.

 

Abraham comes to the city gates. His wife Sarah had just died at 127 years old. When Abraham first came to this land he was 75 and she was 65. So Abe had been living among the people for 62 years.

So for 62 years, the people had seen how God blessed Abe. They observed how God takes care of His people. And as they saw Abe grieve

Side note: Abe knew he’d trusted in God and that His wife had been entrusted by God and their lives were in God’s hands. Yet he mourned

And the council sees the grieving man (Abe) coming to the gates.

 

Ephors responds to Abe’s request with great respect, “My Lord”. This is how we actually see you. They aspire to be like Abraham. We just want to give the land to you.

Abe respectfully stands and bows. And Ephron is thinking—what’s going on here? If anyone should be bowing, it should be *us* bowing to Abe.

They could all see that Abe was a godly man blessed by God.

Abe says, “Im a foreigner and sojourner in your land—a temporary dweller—even though he’s lived there so long. He’s saying, “This isn’t my home. My hope is with my heavenly father. I’m just passing through here. I’m going to respect and honor you.” And I’m not going to betray who I am as a servant of God.

With Abe, we see three reasons he was honored:

a. People saw God’s favor on his life and His devotion to God.

b. Abe honored and respected the culture and gov’t process of the country he lived in. He didn’t see himself as above or superior or having a sense of entitlement. And because of that, the people honored and respected him in return.

He didn’t demand. He didn’t insist that his ways were better than theirs. But because of his respect of their culture, they honored him.

c. Abe always saw himself as a sojourner, even though he has a “permanent earthly home”.

 

Where is your earthly home? Who here live in HSV? Surrounding areas?

How many of you know where your true home is? Your true home is your heavenly home, if you’ve surrendered your life to Christ.

That means this place here is temporary. So we walk in a way that honors and loves God but also respects our culture. We don’t make demands. We walk in a way so that when people see our lives, they desire t honor us.

 

And that’s the way we become gateway Christians.

 

[pic of Franklin Graham] Who is this person? He started Samaritans Purse. He’s a great man of God.

[pic of Bono] Who is this? Bono. We will become a gateway church when I put up a pic like this and 90% of us raise our hands. He is a pop culture icon. This man is a gateway Christian. I want to show you a video.

 

[video plays with Bono music in background]

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kOQClgNRoPc&ab_channel=TomThumb

 

Google some interviews of Bono. You’ll see he’s been on every news outlet there is. And numerous times he professes hie’s a believer. He’s stood before presidents of various countries.

 

Some of us look at him and don’t know what to think.

 

But he’s using what God has built him to be to be a gateway Christian so that others could come to know Christ. 

In the weeks to come, we’ll look at diff’t ways we’re called to be Christians.

 

At this conference last week, they had pastors from all over. Hillsong in Australia. New Zealand. Others. As they were talking, they were saying there’s a movement happening where 20’s and 30’s year-olds are flocking back to the churces.

The reason we believe they’re flocking back is partly because the generation that was turned off by church is fading. But also because the style of communication has changed.

there were about 1500-2000 at this conference. Iw as the oldest by far.

One speaker asked, “How many of you remember the old fire and brimstone messages?” And about 8 raised their hands. He said, “That’s my point. We’re not trying to scare people into heaven. We’re trying to present the gospel in the purest form there is. Showing them that God showed his love toward us when we were his enemies.”

We’re asking, “God show us how we can do the same… how we can open ourselves up and show the genuine love of God.”

Just as that one family had the bonfire and opened their house up. They did it so they could share the gospel and so that people could see their lives and how they love God. By opening their home, they’ve made a gateway.

And it’s people having this mindset that, in order to win our community to Christ, we must be gateway Christians. IT can no longer be about ME. It needs to be about How I can surrender my life to go to those places, enter those communities and cultures. Dying to myself to be a gateway for Christ.

 

Church, I truly pray that in the next few weeks, we’ll look more and more. I truly believe God can revolutionize and use is in a way that brings true reconciliation of man to man, man to God, and man to himself.

 

Church, let’s stand.

 

Friends, please hear me. If you’re a visitor, I don’t know where you are spiritually. I din’t know if you know the amazing love of our heavenly father. There’s no shame if you don’t know. Every single one of us has been in that place.

I was in a church once—Mt Olve Baptist—And one day the pastor gave the invitation and I was stunned that a man who was leading the youth for two years came forward. He said, “I’d never surrendered my life and believed the message until now.” He gave his life to Christ.

That man gets more respect than someone who would hide.

There’s one true God, alpha and omega, who loves you with love that is incomprehensible. We would love to introduce you to Jesus.

We’re in the process of reorganizing and redefining our church membership. So that when you come forward and join, you’ll be connected in the mission that God purposes this church to walk in.

 

If the Lord is calling you today, whatever your decision, come forward. If you need prayer, please, let us stand and believe and trust with you.

 

Respond as we sing this last song.

 

11:22

 

[Singing “It Is Well” - Bethel]

 

Prayer: Father, I praise you and worship you. Thank you for your Word, your Love, your Amazing Grace. Thank you for a hope that is real and true. As we trust in you in all our ways, I pray that no one here would think that what we’re talking about following rules and regulations. I pray that we would feel impassioned and empowered to serve and to be on mission for you.

That when we awake and look in the mirror, we would say, “I have a mission”.

I pray for young and old that you would shake us and stir us. We want more. More passion. More vision. More understanding of our mission. Give us more. For your glory.

Father we love you. Shake us. We praise you, worship you, celebrate you.

Lord Jesus, we believe you are our Lord. You rose from the dead because sin and death couldn’t hold you.

Thank you O God for your love.

 

11:33