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Back to Church Sunday 2019: Part 4 “Servant Leaders & God’s Mission”

Back To Church 2019

Back to Church Sunday 2019: Part 4 “Servant Leaders & God’s Mission”

Pastor Rollan Fisher with Guest Speaker Pastor Reggie Roberson

Growing up it seemed like the lead pastor of the church was supposed to be everything and everywhere?  The pastor was supposed to be at the hospital when every church member or their kid was sick. The pastor was supposed to be at every graduation from graduate school all the way down to kindergarten. The pastor was supposed to be at every birthday party.  The pastor was supposed to do every funeral and wedding even if they were happening at the same time.  The pastor was supposed to remember every person's name and take every phone call.  The pastor should be the best greeter, children's minister, youth minister, outreach guy, teacher, consultant, and adviser.  The pastor is supposed to do all of this while somehow giving his own family love, attention, and leadership as well as living off of a meager amount of money. 

I have two questions for you:  

How many of you would sign up to be a pastor like I just described?  

How many of you think that it is pretty unreasonable to ask one person or even two to do all of this?  

What’s interesting is that God also thinks this is unreasonable to ask of one person to do all of this.  In fact, God is grieved at anyone approaching church in this way because it hinders us in fulfilling God’s mission.   

  • This approach to church deprives the pastor of having a balanced life that can serve God and others well without burning out.  

  • This approach also deprives followers of Christ of using their God-given gifts, strengths, and opportunities to serve each other and the world.   

What we are going to see in our passage today, Acts 6:1-7 is God’s approach to fulfilling his mission through the church through servant leaders.  

1 In those days when the number of disciples was increasing, the Hellenistic Jews among them complained against the Hebraic Jews because their widows were being overlooked in the daily distribution of food. 2 So the Twelve gathered all the disciples together and said, “It would not be right for us to neglect the ministry of the word of God in order to wait on tables. 3 Brothers and sisters, choose seven men from among you who are known to be full of the Spirit and wisdom. We will turn this responsibility over to them 4 and will give our attention to prayer and the ministry of the word. 5 This proposal pleased the whole group. They chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit; also Philip, Procorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolas from Antioch, a convert to Judaism. 6 They presented these men to the apostles, who prayed and laid their hands on them. 7 So the word of God spread. The number of disciples in Jerusalem increased rapidly, and a large number of priests became obedient to the faith.


Big Idea:  We fulfill God’s mission by accepting His calling, appointing, and anointing.   

The first thing we read in this chapter is that there is a dispute between Christian widows who are Jewish (Hebraic) and greek (Hellenistic).  

1 In those days when the number of disciples was increasing, the Hellenistic Jews among them complained against the Hebraic Jews because their widows were being overlooked in the daily distribution of food.

This is significant because it is the first time there was a dispute within the body of Christ or the church.  

You see, in Acts 5 the church has disputer but it was the religious leaders who had crucified Jesus earlier, who were not members of the church.  Peter and John had been thrown in prison and then freed by an angel to go preach the gospel again.  

Now this a dispute among widows threatened to undermine, disrupt, and stifle God’s mission to see the world come to know him.  Think of how the church would have been branded by people if they did not deal with this dispute well: 

  • They don’t really practice what they preach.

  • They are no better than the world, at least the world (jews) tried to do something for us.

  • This Christianity is really a religion for one type of ethnicity; in this case the Jews.  

So what did God do in response to this issue that was going to hinder His mission to see more people know him and possibly rip the church apart?

We see God doing three things: 


Calling people to His mission

God uses this circumstance to wake up the church to His voice.  They become the woke church. 

You can hear God saying through this bible passage, “Look, I am calling you through a particular need to step up and help.  Why? I don’t want my mission to be hindered. I want my mission fulfilled and it’s going to require all of us to serve in some way.  The apostles accepted the call to delegate and not try to do everything so they can fulfill God’s glorious mission. While the church accepts God’s call by being problem solvers and actually serving and not being complainers.  

As the church, we are called to be participators and not spectators.  Spectators would look at the problem and just complain, fault-find, or say somebody else will deal with that issue but not me.  

We are called to be a part of the solution and not perpetuate the problem. 

Story Lilly Ferrick -serving the shut-in isolated/widow and wants to do systematic studies through the bible vs. pastor we should have this or be doing this.  


Can you hear God’s voice calling you to serve in a particular area?  

What problems or potential issues is God highlighting with you to solve in the church?  

What gaps do you see?

This is a moment for us to see what God may ask us to do in order to fulfill his mission as servant leaders.  

The next thing we see is God...


Appointing people for His mission

In this story, we find that the apostles and people have a very important moment of clarification from God about this issue of appointment.  

First, the church leaders realize they can not do everything.  They can do something and they prioritize two things. Verse 2 and 4 tells us.  2 So the Twelve gathered all the disciples together and said, “It would not be right for us to neglect the ministry of the word of God in order to wait on tables. 

4 and will give our attention to prayer and the ministry of the word.”

  • Prayer private yes but more so with the community of Christ-followers.  

  • The second is the ministry or service of equipping people to be able to understand and share God’s word.  

Without them doing this God’s mission will be stifled.  

It becomes clear to them that in order for God’s mission to continue they must share the stewardship of God’s mission with the church; it can not just be them.  God was appointing not just the apostle but everyone to help steward God's mission and promote it.  

So then they appointed some people within the church to serve the widows using their God-given strengths and abilities. 

This shows us two important truths:  

Every task is important. (Waiting on tables was not a menial task but was a way of caring for people God cares about. 

““Do not take advantage of the widow or the fatherless. If you do and they cry out to me, I will certainly hear their cry. My anger will be aroused, and I will kill you with the sword; your wives will become widows and your children fatherless.”

-‭‭Exodus‬ ‭22:22-24‬ ‭NIV‬‬


Parking lot team and greeters seems pretty unimportant right?  

Wrong here’s a survey feedback from a guest this past week. 

Answer the questions: What did you notice first?  

“The special attention to making guests feel welcomed. The yellow designations in the parking lot, guest tent & gift bag, guest greeter. Made us feel very welcomed and at ease.”

Every task is important

Every person is valuable. 

Every person has some type of ability or strength that God has given them to help fulfill God’s mission in the church and in the world.  It talks about the seven but the people had a role in appointing the seven.

My friend Justin Thomas was trained in being a health coach. He has a passion for young professionals, especially one’s coming out of college.  He decided in the church to lead our young professional’s ministry.  

Picture of CL Thomas fellowship 

Outside of the church, he founded an organization called CL Thomas Fellowship named after is dad in which he takes young men through a 9-month program where through books and discussions they are learning to be providers.  Providers bless and protect.  

What are you passionate about?  What ability and strengths has God given you?  Are you willing to use them to steward God’s mission for second city church? 

Anointing people in His mission


These seven guys are considered by scholars to be the first deacons to be appointed in the church.  The word for deacon in its original language is “helper”. Deacons are leaders in service as servant leaders.  The passage tells us that they were chosen and presented to the apostles by the congregation and the apostles laid their hands on them and prayed for them.  The apostles through this act of laying their hands on them became conduits for God’s power to be activated in the lives of the deacons for God’s mission. The power is what we call the anointing.  

Why were they anointed and not others at the time?  What was the basis of their anointing?  

5 This proposal pleased the whole group. They chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit; also Philip, Procorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolas from Antioch, a convert to Judaism. 

  • They were known by the people and did not have a private faith.  They attended church regularly, they went to community groups, and they were faithful. FAITH.

  • They were seen as being men full of faith. They were not perfect but they had noticeable confidence in God.  They lived in such a way that their confidence in God was expressed through what they said what they did.

  • The were full of the Holy Spirit.  This meant that the presence of the Holy Spirit, the fruit or love of the Holy Spirit, and they power of the Holy Spirit was present in their lives.  

What would people say about you when they observe your life?  

Do you stand out enough for others to recognize you as a man or woman of God? A follower of Christ?  

Does your speech and actions show you are confident in Christ?

If you are a Believer in Christ, the good news today is that you have been given a measure of faith and the Holy Spirit lives in you!  You can be like any of these men, fulfilling God’s purpose and mission for you life as servant leaders. 

Lastly, the reason God anoints us is so we can fulfill this great mission known as the great commission in and through the church to Make disciples of Jesus Christ and all of the groups according to Matthew 28:18-20.

7 So the word of God spread. The number of disciples in Jerusalem increased rapidly, and a large number of priests became obedient to the faith.

When everyone did their part the church flourished and grew and lives were changed forever.  All of this is so that the mission that God had in Christ would be fulfilled. 

God became man in Christ and died on the cross for us to pay the punishment for our sins and provide forgiveness of sins, to bring us into an everlasting relationship as sons and daughters with the Heavenly Father that starts now, and to give us eternal inheritance now and in the new heaven and new earth.  Righteousness or right standing with God, peace, joy, and fulfilling our purpose are all a part of this inheritance.

We fulfill God’s mission by accepting His calling, appointing, and anointing.   



Second City Church - Back to Church Sunday 2019 - Guest Speaker Pastor Reggie Roberson 2019

Back to Church Sunday 2019: Part 3 "Unity with Diversity"

Back To Church 2019

Back to Church Sunday 2019: Part 3 "Unity with Diversity"

Pastor Rollan Fisher

  • The Unity God Desires

  • Utopic Ideals

  • Unmitigated Forgiveness


People who were committed to the gatherings of the people God (despite their differences with those gathered with them):

David - Heart differences with other Israelites

Jesus - Nature and Holiness

Paul - Gentiles

Luke 1 and 4 - the first places Jesus ministered were at the Temple as a boy and in the Synagogue after returning in the power of the Spirit

Unity God Desires

Jesus builds his church with a people of diverse ethnic, socio-economic, cultural and experiential backgrounds. We must celebrate this and learn to share life together as we are being conformed into the image of Christ.

A Song of Ascents Of David:

Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity! It is like the precious oil on the head, running down on the beard, on the beard of Aaron, running down on the collar of his robes! It is like the dew of Hermon, which falls on the mountains of Zion! For there the Lord has commanded the blessing, life forevermore.

-Psalm 133:1-3

Who is spurring you on to greater faith, love and good deeds In Christ?

-Hebrews 10:19-25

“Children will play with everyone until someone tells them not to.”

Utopic Ideals

Biases and offense are the killers of unity in the Church. We must resist both in the love of Christ.

How to Pick (be planted by the Lord in) a Local Church.

Once you have prayed and discovered that it is a Bible Preaching, Jesus loving church on mission, build life together with the church community.

Spending Time with people is the only way to overcome suspicions, misunderstandings and cultural stereotypes. You begin to see that people have the same hopes, the same dreams, the same aspirations, needs from God and fears. You all breathe the same air.

Intentionally develop friendships and have people in your home (a good read - Rosario Butterfield‘s - The Gospel Comes With a House Key).

“Diversity is being invited to the party. Inclusion is being asked to dance.”

-Verna Myers, VP of Inclusion Strategy at Netflix, TED Talk Contributor, Founder of the Verna Myers Company

Don’t be afraid to ask questions to get to know another person’s experience, perspective and pain. You unite Biblically around the cross and gospel of Christ.

-(Racism and Champ Bailey’s Hall of Fame speech - listen to those experiencing something different from you.)

Immigration and how to treat the foreigner

Humility is necessary on both the side of the listener and the one who shares. Dealing with things as a porcupine. The city brings out biases and accentuates issues.

-Unknown author.

v. 47 indicates they are in exile. A community lament. Crisis after persistent unfaithfulness.

Then they despised the pleasant land, having no faith in his promise. They murmured in their tents, and did not obey the voice of the Lord. Therefore he raised his hand and swore to them that he would make them fall in the wilderness, and would make their offspring fall among the nations, scattering them among the lands.

-Psalm 106:24-27

“The person who loves their dream of community will destroy community, but the person who loves those around them will create community.”

-Dietrich Bonhoeffer in Life Together

Don’t allow offenses with brothers and sisters to hamstring the work of God.

23 So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, 24 leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift. 25 Come to terms quickly with your accuser while you are going with him to court, lest your accuser hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the guard, and you be put in prison. 26 Truly, I say to you, you will never get out until you have paid the last penny.

-Matthew 5:23-26

“Those who love their dream of a Christian community more than they love the Christian community itself become destroyers of that Christian community even though their personal intentions may be ever so honest, earnest and sacrificial. God hates this wishful dreaming because it makes the dreamer proud and pretentious. Those who dream of this idolized community demand that it be fulfilled by God, by others and by themselves. They enter the community of Christians with their demands set up by their own law, and judge one another and God accordingly. It is not we who build. Christ builds the church. Whoever is mindful to build the church is surely well on the way to destroying it, for he will build a temple to idols without wishing or knowing it.“

-Dietrich Bonhoeffer in Life Together

Unmitigated Forgiveness

We preserve unity in diversity by continually offering the forgiveness that we were first offered at the cross of Jesus Christ.

Then Peter came up and said to him, “Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy-seven times. 23 “Therefore the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his servants. 24 When he began to settle, one was brought to him who owed him ten thousand talents. 25 And since he could not pay, his master ordered him to be sold, with his wife and children and all that he had, and payment to be made. 26 So the servant fell on his knees, imploring him, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you everything.’ 27 And out of pity for him, the master of that servant released him and forgave him the debt. 28 But when that same servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii, and seizing him, he began to choke him, saying, ‘Pay what you owe.’ 29 So his fellow servant fell down and pleaded with him, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you.’ 30 He refused and went and put him in prison until he should pay the debt. 31 When his fellow servants saw what had taken place, they were greatly distressed, and they went and reported to their master all that had taken place. 32 Then his master summoned him and said to him, ‘You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me. 33 And should not you have had mercy on your fellow servant, as I had mercy on you?’ 34 And in anger his master delivered him to the jailers, until he should pay all his debt. 35 So also my heavenly Father will do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother from your heart.”

-Matthew 18:21-35

Jesus makes a way for men and women to be born again. This is the cure for the deep seeded ills such as the racism and the bigotries of this world. We need to repent of our self-centered, ethnocentric and culturally biased living (which tells us we deserve our best life now and we should have Eden on this side of redemption - an impossibility in a fallen world marred by sin). We need to put our full trust in Jesus, the crucified and risen Son of God to supernaturally be given a new heart and new spirit to empower us to live in the life of Christ.


Second City Church - Back to Church Sunday 2019 - Pastor Rollan Fisher 2019

Back to Church Sunday 2019: Part 2 "Building the House"

Back To Church 2019

Back to Church Sunday 2019: Part 2 "Building the House"

Pastor Rollan Fisher



  • Battle

  • Become Active

  • Build



Battle

God places you in his church to fight battles both external and internal.


To the Choirmaster. A Psalm of David. A Song.

God shall arise, his enemies shall be scattered; and those who hate him shall flee before him! As smoke is driven away, so you shall drive them away; as wax melts before fire, so the wicked shall perish before God! But the righteous shall be glad; they shall exult before God; they shall be jubilant with joy! Sing to God, sing praises to his name; lift up a song to him who rides through the deserts; his name is the Lord; exult before him! Father of the fatherless and protector of widows is God in his holy habitation. God settles the solitary in a home; he leads out the prisoners to prosperity, but the rebellious dwell in a parched land. O God, when you went out before your people, when you marched through the wilderness, Selah the earth quaked, the heavens poured down rain, before God, the One of Sinai, before God, the God of Israel. Rain in abundance, O God, you shed abroad; you restored your inheritance as it languished; your flock found a dwelling in it; in your goodness, O God, you provided for the needy.

Psalm 68:1-10


King David knew battles both external and internal. He needed to be continually connected God and his people to overcome in the midst of these battles.

Externally (After defeating Goliath, David needed the army of Israel to defeat the Philistines. On the run from Saul at work, he needed Jonathan to survive).

Internally (After becoming a successful, victorious king, David needed the prophet Nathan to help him overcome his battles with lust, adultery, deception and murder as seen in the case with Bathsheba. He needed the wise woman of Tekoa to deal with family issues when, because of the discipline of God, his family looked like it was falling apart (reference II Samuel 11-19 for David’s failed response with Amnon and Tamar; the following judgment and being on the run from his son Absalom).

what people don't see



“Whether we like having alone time or not, we all need community. In fact, engaging positively with people in our social support network correlates with a number of desirable outcomes. Community involvement can be associated with mental health and cognitive resilience, reduction of chronic pain, lower blood pressure, and improved cardiovascular health. Isolation, on the other hand, can negatively affect our well being.”

-Dr. Caroline Leaf, Think Learn, Succeed: Understanding and Using Your Mind to Thrive at School, the Workplace and Life

With the proliferation and ubiquitous nature of social media, we feel like we’re connecting, but we’re still alone. The ministry of presence with God and his church is important. God sets the solitary, the lonely, in a home, in a family. Don’t voluntarily live in a parched land.

Become Active

God places you in his church to get active to remain spiritually, mentally and emotionally healthy.


One of the reasons David fell into sin is that he became inactive. Pride began to creep into his heart telling him he now deserved things that God had proclaimed forbidden.

In the spring of the year, the time when kings go out to battle, David sent Joab, and his servants with him, and all Israel. And they ravaged the Ammonites and besieged Rabbah. But David remained at Jerusalem. It happened, late one afternoon, when David arose from his couch and was walking on the roof of the king's house, that he saw from the roof a woman bathing; and the woman was very beautiful. And David sent and inquired about the woman. And one said, “Is not this Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriah the Hittite?”

2 Samuel 11:1-3


kermit the frog

Build

God places you in his church to become a disciple who will work his field and build for the glory of his eternal Kingdom.


“For the kingdom of heaven is like a master of a house who went out early in the morning to hire laborers for his vineyard. 2 After agreeing with the laborers for a denarius a day, he sent them into his vineyard. 3 And going out about the third hour he saw others standing idle in the marketplace, 4 and to them he said, ‘You go into the vineyard too, and whatever is right I will give you.’ 5 So they went. Going out again about the sixth hour and the ninth hour, he did the same. 6 And about the eleventh hour he went out and found others standing. And he said to them, ‘Why do you stand here idle all day?’ 7 They said to him, ‘Because no one has hired us.’ He said to them, ‘You go into the vineyard too.’ 8 And when evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his foreman, ‘Call the laborers and pay them their wages, beginning with the last, up to the first.’ 9 And when those hired about the eleventh hour came, each of them received a denarius. 10 Now when those hired first came, they thought they would receive more, but each of them also received a denarius. 11 And on receiving it they grumbled at the master of the house, 12 saying, ‘These last worked only one hour, and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the day and the scorching heat.’ 13 But he replied to one of them, ‘Friend, I am doing you no wrong. Did you not agree with me for a denarius? 14 Take what belongs to you and go. I choose to give to this last worker as I give to you. 15 Am I not allowed to do what I choose with what belongs to me? Or do you begrudge my generosity?’ 16 So the last will be first, and the first last.”

Matthew 20:1-16

No matter where you began or when you were called, God’s same saving grace is available for you today. Repent of solitary, selfish living. Be healed in reconciliation with God. Come to the cross to receive God’s forgiveness through Christ’s sacrificial death for your sins, burial and resurrection to eternal life. Be baptized and deployed with God’s people to fight your battles, become active as a disciple and build God’s Kingdom.


Second City Church - Back to Church Sunday 2019 - Pastor Rollan Fisher 2019

Back to Church Sunday 2019: Part 1 "The Church and the City"

Back To Church 2019

Back to Church Sunday 2019: Part 1 "The Church and the City"

Pastor Rollan Fisher

  • The City of God

  • The Church in the City

  • Coming to the Wellspring of Christ

The City of God

The church is where you find the grace of God in the city.

A Psalm of the Sons of Korah. A Song.

On the holy mount stands the city he founded; the Lord loves the gates of Zion more than all the dwelling places of Jacob. Glorious things of you are spoken, O city of God. Selah Among those who know me I mention Rahab and Babylon; behold, Philistia and Tyre, with Cush — “This one was born there,” they say. And of Zion it shall be said, “This one and that one were born in her”; for the Most High himself will establish her. The Lord records as he registers the peoples, “This one was born there.” Selah Singers and dancers alike say, “All my springs are in you.”


-Psalm 87:1-7

The Basis of Faith

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

-Ephesians 2:8-10

“Cheap grace means grace sold on the market like cheapjacks' wares. The sacraments, the forgiveness of sin, and the consolations of religion are thrown away at cut prices. Grace is represented as the Church's inexhaustible treasury, from which she showers blessings with generous hands, without asking questions or fixing limits. Grace without price; grace without cost! The essence of grace, we suppose, is that the account has been paid in advance; and, because it has been paid, everything can be had for nothing. Since the cost was infinite, the possibilities of using and spending it are infinite. What would grace be if it were not cheap?... Cheap grace is the grace we bestow on ourselves. Cheap grace is the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance, baptism without church discipline, Communion without confession…Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ, living and incarnate.”

-Dietrich Bonhoeffer, The Cost of Disciplship

The Church in the City

The church is God’s vehicle through which He dispense grace to the city.

  • The mInistry of presence

  • Psalms 139 vs. temple

“Christianity revitalized life in Greco-Roman cities by providing new norms and new kinds of social relationships able to cope with many urgent urban problems. To cities filled with the homeless and the impoverished, Christianity offered charity as well as hope. To cities filled with newcomers and strangers, Christianity offered an immediate basis for attachments. To cities filled with orphans and widows, Christianity provided a new and expanded sense of family. To cities torn by violent ethnic strife, Christianity offered a new basis for social solidarity. And to cities faced with epidemics, fires, and earthquakes, Christianity offered effective nursing services.”

-Rodney Stark

Article to Freshmen (and newcomers to a city, new season of life - applies to any time of transition).

To quit attending church in college would be like Noah jumping out of the ark, forsaking the chief means God was using to preserve him.

"You need the church because you need to hear God’s Word. You need the church because you need wise and godly mentors. You need the church because you need accountability for your profession of faith. You need the church because you need reminders that your identity rests in Christ crucified. By his death he purchased for you all the power, energy, and motivation you need to invest your life in a local church.”

-From the article: https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/college-freshman-commit-church/

Coming to the Wellspring of Christ

The church is full of grace because it is built on the wellspring of Christ.

Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst. 36 But I said to you that you have seen me and yet do not believe. 37 All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out. 38 For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me. 39 And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day. 40 For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.”

-John 6:35-40


“Costly grace is the treasure hidden in the field; for the sake of it a man will go and sell all that he has. It is the pearl of great price to buy which the merchant will sell all his goods. It is the kingly rule of Christ, for whose sake a man will pluck out the eye which causes him to stumble; it is the call of Jesus Christ at which the disciple leaves his nets and follows him.

Costly grace is the gospel which must be sought again and again, the gift which must be asked for, the door at which a man must knock.

Such grace is costly because it calls us to follow, and it is grace because it calls us to follow Jesus Christ. It is costly because it costs a man his life, and it is grace because it gives a man the only true life. It is costly because it condemns sin, and grace because it justifies the sinner. Above all, it is costly because it cost God the life of his Son: “ye were bought at a price,” and what has cost God much cannot be cheap for us. Above all, it is grace because God did not reckon his Son too dear a price to pay for our life, but delivered him up for us. Costly grace is the Incarnation of God.”

-Dietrich Bonhoeffer, The Cost of Discipleship

Repent of sin today. Come to the cross of Christ where he, being sinless, paid the price for your forgiveness. He was crucified, but resurrected from the dead not only to give you the opportunity for new/eternal life, but has given you his church so that you might have the encouragement to stand in that new life. Be planted in Christ and his church/body today.

Second City Church - Back to Church Sunday 2019 - Pastor Rollan Fisher 2019

Joshua Generation - Part 7

joshua generation

Joshua Generation: Part 7

Pastor Rollan Fisher

Taking the City

A Joshua-Type Generation has a heart to impact the city with the love and gospel of Jesus Christ.

  • The Care

  • The Commitment

  • The Commission

Now Jericho was shut up inside and outside because of the people of Israel. None went out, and none came in. And the Lord said to Joshua, “See, I have given Jericho into your hand, with its king and mighty men of valor. You shall march around the city, all the men of war going around the city once. Thus shall you do for six days. Seven priests shall bear seven trumpets of rams' horns before the ark. On the seventh day you shall march around the city seven times, and the priests shall blow the trumpets. And when they make a long blast with the ram's horn, when you hear the sound of the trumpet, then all the people shall shout with a great shout, and the wall of the city will fall down flat, and the people shall go up, everyone straight before him.” So Joshua the son of Nun called the priests and said to them, “Take up the ark of the covenant and let seven priests bear seven trumpets of rams' horns before the ark of the Lord.” And he said to the people, “Go forward. March around the city and let the armed men pass on before the ark of the Lord.” And just as Joshua had commanded the people, the seven priests bearing the seven trumpets of rams' horns before the Lord went forward, blowing the trumpets, with the ark of the covenant of the Lord following them. The armed men were walking before the priests who were blowing the trumpets, and the rear guard was walking after the ark, while the trumpets blew continually. But Joshua commanded the people, “You shall not shout or make your voice heard, neither shall any word go out of your mouth, until the day I tell you to shout. Then you shall shout.” So he caused the ark of the Lord to circle the city, going about it once. And they came into the camp and spent the night in the camp. Then Joshua rose early in the morning, and the priests took up the ark of the Lord. And the seven priests bearing the seven trumpets of rams' horns before the ark of the Lord walked on, and they blew the trumpets continually. And the armed men were walking before them, and the rear guard was walking after the ark of the Lord, while the trumpets blew continually. And the second day they marched around the city once, and returned into the camp. So they did for six days. On the seventh day they rose early, at the dawn of day, and marched around the city in the same manner seven times. It was only on that day that they marched around the city seven times. And at the seventh time, when the priests had blown the trumpets, Joshua said to the people, “Shout, for the Lord has given you the city. And the city and all that is within it shall be devoted to the Lord for destruction. Only Rahab the prostitute and all who are with her in her house shall live, because she hid the messengers whom we sent. But you, keep yourselves from the things devoted to destruction, lest when you have devoted them you take any of the devoted things and make the camp of Israel a thing for destruction and bring trouble upon it. But all silver and gold, and every vessel of bronze and iron, are holy to the Lord; they shall go into the treasury of the Lord .” So the people shouted, and the trumpets were blown. As soon as the people heard the sound of the trumpet, the people shouted a great shout, and the wall fell down flat, so that the people went up into the city, every man straight before him, and they captured the city. Then they devoted all in the city to destruction, both men and women, young and old, oxen, sheep, and donkeys, with the edge of the sword. But to the two men who had spied out the land, Joshua said, “Go into the prostitute's house and bring out from there the woman and all who belong to her, as you swore to her.” So the young men who had been spies went in and brought out Rahab and her father and mother and brothers and all who belonged to her. And they brought all her relatives and put them outside the camp of Israel. And they burned the city with fire, and everything in it. Only the silver and gold, and the vessels of bronze and of iron, they put into the treasury of the house of the Lord. But Rahab the prostitute and her father's household and all who belonged to her, Joshua saved alive. And she has lived in Israel to this day, because she hid the messengers whom Joshua sent to spy out Jericho. Joshua laid an oath on them at that time, saying, “Cursed before the Lord be the man who rises up and rebuilds this city, Jericho. “At the cost of his firstborn shall he lay its foundation, and at the cost of his youngest son shall he set up its gates.” So the Lord was with Joshua, and his fame was in all the land.

-Joshua 6:1-27

The Care

We must care about reaching the city because it matters to God, the world and your children’s future.

Now Jericho was shut up inside and outside because of the people of Israel. None went out, and none came in. And the Lord said to Joshua, “See, I have given Jericho into your hand, with its king and mighty men of valor. You shall march around the city, all the men of war going around the city once. Thus shall you do for six days. Seven priests shall bear seven trumpets of rams' horns before the ark. On the seventh day you shall march around the city seven times, and the priests shall blow the trumpets. And when they make a long blast with the ram's horn, when you hear the sound of the trumpet, then all the people shall shout with a great shout, and the wall of the city will fall down flat, and the people shall go up, everyone straight before him.” So Joshua the son of Nun called the priests and said to them, “Take up the ark of the covenant and let seven priests bear seven trumpets of rams' horns before the ark of the Lord.” And he said to the people, “Go forward. March around the city and let the armed men pass on before the ark of the Lord.”

-Joshua 6:1-7

Keep your eyes on Jericho.

The Importance of Cities

The trajectory of our nations are determined in city centers:

“We will neglect our cities to our peril, for in neglecting them we neglect the nation.”

-John F. Kennedy

The vast majority of provision and societal innovation is produced in city centers:

“Just 10 years ago, cities were seen as vital contributors to the global economy. That’s no longer true. Today, cities are the global economy…the 40 largest cities, or mega-regions, account for two-thirds of the world’s output.”

(Ian Wylie, “Knowledge is Power,” The Guardian, Sept 2008.)

The moral compass of nations are shaped in city centers:

“Even if 80 percent of the population of a country are Christian believers, they will have almost no cultural influence if the Christians do not live in cultural centers and work in culture-forging fields such as academia, publishing, media, entertainment, and the arts. The assumption that society will improve simply by more Christian believers being present is no longer valid.”

Timothy Keller, Center Church: Doing Balanced, Gospel-Centered Ministry in Your City

The apostle Paul understood that city centers export their values to the surrounding towns, villages and provinces. The missiological pattern in Acts was that Paul focused primarily on the city centers of trade, commerce, culture and thought in the establishment of gospel preaching churches and left it to them to reach the surrounding areas that were pagan.

“Early Christianity was primarily an urban movement. The original meaning of the word pagan (paganus) was ‘rural person,’ or more colloquially ‘country hick.’ It came to have religious meaning because after Christianity had triumphed in the cities, most of the rural people remained unconverted.”

-Sociologist Rodney Stark

*God sends us first to the hard place, the high walled up city of Jericho that demands a miracle to reach. Once we take this by faith, the other surrounding areas will be become a metaphorical certainty. “If I can make it in Jericho, I can make it anywhere.”

If God cares about the city, why was there a seeming genocide of the Cannanite people?

The collapse of the walls was a sign of God’s singularity and supremacy over all of the false gods of the Canaanite people.

God’s justice had to be enacted for hundreds of years of reprehensible sins against the divine Law of the Creator (Genesis 15:12-16). In this time, God gave people opportunity to turn. It was a foreshadowing of the final judgment to come.

In a barbaric society, things not dealt with in the city would ultimately come for the faith (syncretism) and life of the Israelite children (i.e. - Haman in the book of Esther was a descendent of those who were ancient enemies of Israel and tried to ethnically cleanse the Israelites. See Esther 3:1; Exodus 17:8-16; I Samuel 15:1-33). You can not escape through relocation or co-habitation (ignoring, but not addressing the enemies of God).

The Canaanites would have had the opportunity to turn to God just as those who left Egypt during the plagues (Exodus 12:33-38), just as Rahab and her family had done. They chose not to do so.

If you’d like to learn more on this topic, please reference resources such as Paul Copan’s book Is God A Moral Monster?

The Commitment

We must commit to long-term obedience to God’s instructions with a church community to reach a city.

Then Joshua rose early in the morning, and the priests took up the ark of the Lord. And the seven priests bearing the seven trumpets of rams' horns before the ark of the Lord walked on, and they blew the trumpets continually. And the armed men were walking before them, and the rear guard was walking after the ark of the Lord, while the trumpets blew continually. And the second day they marched around the city once, and returned into the camp. So they did for six days. On the seventh day they rose early, at the dawn of day, and marched around the city in the same manner seven times. It was only on that day that they marched around the city seven times. And at the seventh time, when the priests had blown the trumpets, Joshua said to the people, “Shout, for the Lord has given you the city. And the city and all that is within it shall be devoted to the Lord for destruction. Only Rahab the prostitute and all who are with her in her house shall live, because she hid the messengers whom we sent. But you, keep yourselves from the things devoted to destruction, lest when you have devoted them you take any of the devoted things and make the camp of Israel a thing for destruction and bring trouble upon it. But all silver and gold, and every vessel of bronze and iron, are holy to the Lord; they shall go into the treasury of the Lord .”

-Joshua 6:12-19

God wants to build with those who are stable. God is not flakey like us. We need to stop attaching God’s name to everything we want to do. We need to stop using his voice as a scapegoat every time things get difficult (walking around Jericho seven days continually blowing then trumpets) or we lose interest in something (in our relationships, in our marriages, in our careers, where we choose to live, in our financial plans, in our calling). We need to stop blaming God every time we change our minds. He hasn’t. We need to learn follow-through. Let your yes be yes and your no, no.


THE FIRSTFRUITS MUST CONTINUALLY BELONG TO GOD IN OUR LIVES.

God wanted it in Jericho and for it to remain leveled (Joshua 6:26). GOD SET THIS EXAMPLE BY GIVING US HIS FIRSTBORN AND BEST IN JESUS WHO DIED FOR OUR SINS ON THE CROSS BUT WAS RESURRECTED UNTO EVERLASTING LIFE because of HIS OBEDIENCE. This life, the life that is truly life, is now ours as we turn to God in repentance and faith in Christ’s atoning work.

The Commission

We must embrace our commission to reach specific individuals and families to see the Kingodom of God advance in the city.

But to the two men who had spied out the land, Joshua said, “Go into the prostitute's house and bring out from there the woman and all who belong to her, as you swore to her.” So the young men who had been spies went in and brought out Rahab and her father and mother and brothers and all who belonged to her. And they brought all her relatives and put them outside the camp of Israel. And they burned the city with fire, and everything in it. Only the silver and gold, and the vessels of bronze and of iron, they put into the treasury of the house of the Lord. But Rahab the prostitute and her father's household and all who belonged to her, Joshua saved alive. And she has lived in Israel to this day, because she hid the messengers whom Joshua sent to spy out Jericho.

-Joshua 6:22-25

Walls come down so that people can participate in the resurrection life of Christ.

The two spies had an assignment from God to go reach Rahab and her family to ensure that they were saved.

Who (not just what) is your assignment from the Lord?

The mission of the church:

“Winning the lost, making disciples and trianning leaders to establish Christ honoring churches that multiply in the city of Chicago and the nations.” (Matthew 28:18-20)

We advance into the city armed with love and the truth of God’s Word.

16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. 19 And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. 20 For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. 21 But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God.”

-John 3:16-21


Second City Church - Joshua Generation - Pastor Rollan Fisher 2019

Joshua Generation - Part 6

joshua generation

Joshua Generation: Circumcision

Pastor Rollan Fisher

Making Preparation to Take the City

  • The Cut

  • The Covenant

  • The Commander of the Army of the Lord

The Cut


Before you can help a city, you have to be positively different from those who find themselves trapped within.

As soon as all the kings of the Amorites who were beyond the Jordan to the west, and all the kings of the Canaanites who were by the sea, heard that the Lord had dried up the waters of the Jordan for the people of Israel until they had crossed over, their hearts melted and there was no longer any spirit in them because of the people of Israel. At that time the Lord said to Joshua, “Make flint knives and circumcise the sons of Israel a second time.” So Joshua made flint knives and circumcised the sons of Israel at Gibeath-haaraloth. And this is the reason why Joshua circumcised them: all the males of the people who came out of Egypt, all the men of war, had died in the wilderness on the way after they had come out of Egypt. Though all the people who came out had been circumcised, yet all the people who were born on the way in the wilderness after they had come out of Egypt had not been circumcised. For the people of Israel walked forty years in the wilderness, until all the nation, the men of war who came out of Egypt, perished, because they did not obey the voice of the Lord; the Lord swore to them that he would not let them see the land that the Lord had sworn to their fathers to give to us, a land flowing with milk and honey. So it was their children, whom he raised up in their place, that Joshua circumcised. For they were uncircumcised, because they had not been circumcised on the way. When the circumcising of the whole nation was finished, they remained in their places in the camp until they were healed. And the Lord said to Joshua, “Today I have rolled away the reproach of Egypt from you.” And so the name of that place is called Gilgal to this day.

-Joshua 5:1-9

  • What does the reproach of Egypt look like?

  • My identity is not my achievements

  • I will not sacrifice my mental health for some perceived level of success

Midland and Odessa, Texas, El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio shootings - our hearts break for and we pray for those affected.

An apologist gave a social commentary:

In the 1950s kids lost their innocence.

They were liberated from their parents by well-paying jobs, cars, and lyrics in music that gave rise to a new term ---the generation gap.

In the 1960s, kids lost their authority.

It was a decade of protest---church, state, and parents were all called into question and found wanting. Their authority was rejected, yet nothing ever replaced it.
In the 1970s, kids lost their love.

It was the decade of me-ism dominated by hyphenated words beginning with self. Self-image, Self-esteem, Self-assertion....It made for a lonely world. Kids learned everything there was to know about sex and forgot everything there was to know about love, and no one had the nerve to tell them there was a difference.

In the 1980s, kids lost their hope.

Stripped of innocence, authority and love and plagued by the horror of a nuclear nightmare, large and growing numbers of this generation stopped believing in the future.

In the 1990s kids lost their power to reason.

Less and less were they taught the very basics of language, truth, and logic and they grew up with the irrationality of a postmodern world.

In the new millennium, kids woke up and found out that somewhere in the midst of all this change, they had lost their imagination.

Violence and perversion entertained them till none could talk of killing innocents since none was innocent anymore.”

-Ravi Zacharias, Recapture the Wonder

Grown men getting circumcised vs. getting circumcised on the eighth day:

We resist circumcision because we think too much of ourselves. We are not open to others’ input. Not everyone should have input, but we should be open to everyone if the Lord is speaking (Psalm 141:5; the donkey with Balaam Numbers 22:21-33).

Stop thinking more highly of yourself than you ought. Plant yourself in a place so that issues can be dealt with in your heart, and commit to building with a people for the long term to take the land.

This circumcision is why people must get baptized. It is the outward sign of the inward covenant with God.

See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ. For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily, and you have been filled in him, who is the head of all rule and authority. In him also you were circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the powerful working of God, who raised him from the dead. And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross. He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him.

-Colossians 2:8-15

After circumcision, there’s a time of healing before the conquest. Why is circumcision so important? Because Jericho is on the other side.

The Covenant

Before you can help a city, you have to remember your covenant with God that will anchor your primary identity.

While the people of Israel were encamped at Gilgal, they kept the Passover on the fourteenth day of the month in the evening on the plains of Jericho. And the day after the Passover, on that very day, they ate of the produce of the land, unleavened cakes and parched grain. And the manna ceased the day after they ate of the produce of the land. And there was no longer manna for the people of Israel, but they ate of the fruit of the land of Canaan that year.

-Joshua 5:10-12

This is why we regularly renew our covenant with the sacrament of communion, celebrating Jesus Christ, our Passover Lamb, sacrificed at the cross to make way for the forgiveness of our sins.

The Commander of the Army of the Lord

Before you can help a city, you need to know where your help comes from.

When Joshua was by Jericho, he lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, a man was standing before him with his drawn sword in his hand. And Joshua went to him and said to him, “Are you for us, or for our adversaries?” And he said, “No; but I am the commander of the army of the Lord. Now I have come.” And Joshua fell on his face to the earth and worshiped and said to him, “What does my lord say to his servant?” And the commander of the Lord's army said to Joshua, “Take off your sandals from your feet, for the place where you are standing is holy.” And Joshua did so.

-Joshua 5:13-15

This was on the cusp of the Israelites going in to take the hard, walled up city of Jericho.

Second City Church - Joshua Generation - Pastor Rollan Fisher 2019

Joshua Generation - Part 5

joshua generation

Joshua Generation: The Testimony of Christ

Pastor Rollan Fisher

Whereas in other portions of Scripture you can be tempted to individualize it’s application, you can not do that with the Book of Joshua. The only reason something like the Israelites crossing the Jordan would seem irrelevant to us as Christians is if we forget that in following Christ, God is:

  • Taking us to a Place

  • Taking us With a People

  • Taking us for a Purpose

Then Joshua rose early in the morning and they set out from Shittim. And they came to the Jordan, he and all the people of Israel, and lodged there before they passed over. At the end of three days the officers went through the camp and commanded the people, “As soon as you see the ark of the covenant of the Lord your God being carried by the Levitical priests, then you shall set out from your place and follow it. Yet there shall be a distance between you and it, about 2,000 cubits in length. Do not come near it, in order that you may know the way you shall go, for you have not passed this way before.” Then Joshua said to the people, “Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the Lord will do wonders among you.” And Joshua said to the priests, “Take up the ark of the covenant and pass on before the people.” So they took up the ark of the covenant and went before the people. The Lord said to Joshua, “Today I will begin to exalt you in the sight of all Israel, that they may know that, as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. And as for you, command the priests who bear the ark of the covenant, ‘When you come to the brink of the waters of the Jordan, you shall stand still in the Jordan.’” And Joshua said to the people of Israel, “Come here and listen to the words of the Lord your God.” And Joshua said, “Here is how you shall know that the living God is among you and that he will without fail drive out from before you the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Hivites, the Perizzites, the Girgashites, the Amorites, and the Jebusites. Behold, the ark of the covenant of the Lord of all the earth is passing over before you into the Jordan. Now therefore take twelve men from the tribes of Israel, from each tribe a man. And when the soles of the feet of the priests bearing the ark of the Lord, the Lord of all the earth, shall rest in the waters of the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan shall be cut off from flowing, and the waters coming down from above shall stand in one heap.” So when the people set out from their tents to pass over the Jordan with the priests bearing the ark of the covenant before the people, and as soon as those bearing the ark had come as far as the Jordan, and the feet of the priests bearing the ark were dipped in the brink of the water (now the Jordan overflows all its banks throughout the time of harvest), the waters coming down from above stood and rose up in a heap very far away, at Adam, the city that is beside Zarethan, and those flowing down toward the Sea of the Arabah, the Salt Sea, were completely cut off. And the people passed over opposite Jericho. Now the priests bearing the ark of the covenant of the Lord stood firmly on dry ground in the midst of the Jordan, and all Israel was passing over on dry ground until all the nation finished passing over the Jordan.

-Joshua 3:1-17

The Trials that we face are Systemic Challenges. The Temptation is to revert to the Naturalist Modus Operandi. The Testimony of Christ is the only lasting solution.

Making a Move to Take the City

The Trial

The Trials that we face are Systemic Challenges (every year the Jordan was at flood levels during harvest)

  • On a personal level

  • On a Body of Christ level

  • On a Societal level

The Temptation

The Temptation is to revert a Naturalist Modus Operandi (wait for another season, build a dam or don’t cross at all)

  • The temptation is to address issues that need a supernatural solution with natural means.

  • Your plans vs. God’s plans.

If you think that you need to have a season of disobedience to accomplish your goals, then they are not Christ’s goals for your life. God will always lead you in a manner where his commands, his provision and his timing line up. If you have to break the first to accomplish the second two, it is not the Lord.* God continually provides stones of remembrance to show that if he did miracles before, he will lead us into them again. People have been wondering how to respond as Christians to issues found amidst our national landscape.

“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it”

-George Santayana (1863—1952)

“We live as Naturalists when we talk about issues incessantly but do not devote ourselves to committed corporate prayer through the church to address these issues. Talking more about what needs to be done is not the answer. Appealing to the God of Heaven consistently to intervene (priests standing in the middle of the Jordan until all cross over) and then planning/taking action out of that place is the key.”

(The Life of Reason: Reason in Common Sense. Scribner’s, 1905: 284)

i.e. - The history of the civil rights movement made much of its progress through the impetus of the church.

The Testimony

We need the miracle power of Jesus Christ and his gospel to address the systemic issues of our day. The Testimony of Christ (Red Sea to the Jordan) is the only lasting solution.

At the end of three days the officers went through the camp and commanded the people, “As soon as you see the ark of the covenant of the Lord your God being carried by the Levitical priests, then you shall set out from your place and follow it. Yet there shall be a distance between you and it, about 2,000 cubits in length. Do not come near it, in order that you may know the way you shall go, for you have not passed this way before.

-Joshua 3:2-4

When you follow God long enough, you will need to believe him for miracles to follow Him forward. When making major life’s decisions, you need to follow the ark of the covenant. The goal is that next time you will know the ways of the Lord, which way to go, how to go about doing things. The Ark of the Covenant was the relic in Israel that both symbolized and mediated God’s presence amongst the Hebrews. Its contents included:

  1. The two stone tablets of the Testimony (the Ten Commandments) - God’s Prescriptions for Living

  2. A Golden Urn holding Manna the Israelites were fed with in the desert - God’s Provision

  3. Aaron’s Staff that Had Budded

God’s Person (Delegated authority)

  • On a Personal level - I need consecration. (Christ)

  • On a Body of Christ level - Following the Ark into the Waters

I need to plan to address the challenges that I find (whether familial, financial, health-related, job-related, etc.) and contend for miracles, together with my church community.(Community)

On a Societal Level (Culture) -

The priests were to remain in the MIDDLE OF THE JORDAN where the miracle needed to take place until the people crossed over (we are a Kingdom of Priests - I Peter 2:4,5)

What can we do now (along with prayer and service) to address systemic societal issues?:

A wise man scales the city of the mighty and brings down the stronghold in which they trust.

-Proverbs 21:22

Changing the Conversation to a Gospel-Centered one with each opportunity.

Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving. At the same time, pray also for us, that God may open to us a door for the word, to declare the mystery of Christ, on account of which I am in prison— that I may make it clear, which is how I ought to speak. Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time. Let your speech always be gracious (giving people what they don’t deserve), seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.

-Colossians 4:2-6

And Joshua said to them, “Pass on before the ark of the Lord your God into the midst of the Jordan, and take up each of you a stone upon his shoulder, according to the number of the tribes of the people of Israel, that this may be a sign among you. When your children ask in time to come, ‘What do those stones mean to you?’ then you shall tell them that the waters of the Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of the Lord. When it passed over the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off. So these stones shall be to the people of Israel a memorial forever.”

-Joshua 4:5-7

It is only the redeeming work of Jesus Christ at the cross that can save a soul, change a heart and redeem a nation. He is the stone of testimony and the living ark, the very embodiment of God’s presence that creates the miraculous dry ground for us to walk across.

And I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, “Now the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ have come, for the accuser of our brothers has been thrown down, who accuses them day and night before our God. And they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives even unto death.

-Revelation 12:10-11

The testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy for things to change in the cities/nations in which we live through the gospel.

Then I fell down at his feet to worship him, but he said to me, “You must not do that! I am a fellow servant with you and your brothers who hold to the testimony of Jesus. Worship God.” For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.

-Revelation 19:10

Second City Church - Joshua Generation - Pastor Rollan Fisher 2019

Joshua Generation - Part 3

joshua generation

Joshua Generation: Your Hiding Place

  • Your Hiding Place

  • The Scarlet Cord Of Christ

Your Hiding Place

Joshua 2:1-24
And Joshua the son of Nun sent two men secretly from Shittim as spies, saying, “Go, view the land, especially Jericho.” And they went and came into the house of a prostitute whose name was Rahab and lodged there. And it was told to the king of Jericho, “Behold, men of Israel have come here tonight to search out the land.” Then the king of Jericho sent to Rahab, saying, “Bring out the men who have come to you, who entered your house, for they have come to search out all the land.” But the woman had taken the two men and hidden them. And she said, “True, the men came to me, but I did not know where they were from. And when the gate was about to be closed at dark, the men went out. I do not know where the men went. Pursue them quickly, for you will overtake them.” 6 But she had brought them up to the roof and hid them with the stalks of flax that she had laid in order on the roof. So the men pursued after them on the way to the Jordan as far as the fords. And the gate was shut as soon as the pursuers had gone out. 8 Before the men lay down, she came up to them on the roof and said to the men, “I know that the Lord has given you the land, and that the fear of you has fallen upon us, and that all the inhabitants of the land melt away before you. For we have heard how the Lord dried up the water of the Red Sea before you when you came out of Egypt, and what you did to the two kings of the Amorites who were beyond the Jordan, to Sihon and Og, whom you devoted to destruction. And as soon as we heard it, our hearts melted, and there was no spirit left in any man because of you, for the Lord your God, he is God in the heavens above and on the earth beneath. Now then, please swear to me by the Lord that, as I have dealt kindly with you, you also will deal kindly with my father's house, and give me a sure sign that you will save alive my father and mother, my brothers and sisters, and all who belong to them, and deliver our lives from death.” And the men said to her, “Our life for yours even to death! If you do not tell this business of ours, then when the Lord gives us the land we will deal kindly and faithfully with you.” Then she let them down by a rope through the window, for her house was built into the city wall, so that she lived in the wall. And she said to them, “Go into the hills, or the pursuers will encounter you, and hide there three days until the pursuers have returned. Then afterward you may go your way.” The men said to her, “We will be guiltless with respect to this oath of yours that you have made us swear. 18 Behold, when we come into the land, you shall tie this scarlet cord in the window through which you let us down, and you shall gather into your house your father and mother, your brothers, and all your father's household. Then if anyone goes out of the doors of your house into the street, his blood shall be on his own head, and we shall be guiltless. But if a hand is laid on anyone who is with you in the house, his blood shall be on our head. But if you tell this business of ours, then we shall be guiltless with respect to your oath that you have made us swear.” And she said, “According to your words, so be it.” Then she sent them away, and they departed. And she tied the scarlet cord in the window. They departed and went into the hills and remained there three days until the pursuers returned, and the pursuers searched all along the way and found nothing. Then the two men returned. They came down from the hills and passed over and came to Joshua the son of Nun, and they told him all that had happened to them. And they said to Joshua, “Truly the Lord has given all the land into our hands. And also, all the inhabitants of the land melt away because of us.”

View the land, especially Jericho.

HAVE YOUR EYE ON THE HIGH WALLED UP CITY

The people of Jericho heard the reports of all that God had supernaturally done to deliver the Israelites from slavery and win their battles.

The people were scared because of the judgment that would come against those who stood against the God of Heaven and Earth, the God of Israel. The good news, as always, is that this God gave an opportunity for reconciliation with himself through faith and repentance. This is what Rahab would exemplify.

RAHAB CHOSE THE RIGHT SIDE

Rahab put her faith in the one whose power was greater the human forces that she saw in front of her.

Some, however, still resisted.

The enemy will try to stamp out the purposes of God since he knows the work of God that’s been done in people’s lives in times past. He knows that if the people of God rise up, God will deliver again.

In what ways is there resistance to the life of God in us?

We’ve all hidden in the things that we think will give us comfort, security, a sense of belonging and keep us safe. What is that for you?

Rahab had to make a choice of with whom she’d hide.

Have you made your choice?

Some hide in their work. Some hide in their favorite tv programs. Some hide in a relationship. Some hide in their habits or additctions, their forms of escape whether illicit or though cyberspace. Some hide in their objections to faith because of misunderstandings about the faith.

“The older idea of the body being bad and the soul being good - of the emotions (resident in the body) as bad and reason as good - changed under Christianity. And these new views of the importance of the body and the material world laid the foundation for the rise of modern science. The material world was no longer understood as an illusion or simply something to be spiritually transcended. Nor was it just an incomprehensible mystery but, according to the Bible, it was the creation of a personal, rational being. Therefore it could be studied and understood by other personal, rational beings.” - Timothy Keller, Making Sense of God (pg. 45)

The coming conquest by the Israelites became good news to Rahab even as the gospel of the coming Kingdom of Jesus Christ is good news to us.

Luc Ferry wrote the informative book A Brief History of Thought that helped to illuminate the following realities, which you can imagine would be mind-blowing for an ancient prostitute. These are the things she could have hope in as she put her trust in the God of the Israelites:

“In general, Christianity brought an unprecedented idea of the importance of the individual. “For the Buddhist, the individual is but an illusion, something destined for dissolution and impermanence; for the [Greek] Stoic the individual self is destined to merge into the totality of the cosmos; Christianity on the contrary promises immortality of the individual person: his soul, his body, his face, his beloved voice - as long as he is saved by the grace of God.” It also undermined the elitism of antiquity. “Salvation” for the Greeks had to do with philosophical contemplation, something only people with training and leisure could do. For Christians, however, salvation came through dependent, trusting faith that Jesus had saved them, doing what they could not do. In this sense it was much more egalitarian than other kinds of ancient and classical thought.” - Timothy Keller, Making Sense of God (pg. 45-46)

The cross of Jesus is the great equalizer for Dealing with Discrimination

Rahab was a prostitute who would have a community stigma attached to her. However, she cane into the same grace which the Israelites were now standing.

(Racism and Champ Bailey’s Hall of Fame speech - listen to those experiencing something different from you.)

There should be a depolarization in the church.

Why I Love the Church of Jesus Christ

Once given the hope of this salvation, Rahab was taking the action necessary to keep faith alive in the midst of hostile territory? Are you?

A Devotion to The Word of God, Regular Christian Fellowship, The Sacraments, Prayer and a Commitment to Church Involvement are Essentials in this Modern Fight (Acts 2:42-47).

Proverbs 28:13
Whoever conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy.

Who’s Hiding Who?

Are you hiding Jesus amongst your co-workers, family and friends?

OR

Do you, like Rahab, find yourself hidden in the hope of Christ and his salvation?

Though Rahab did not grow up with the law or covenants of God. Upon her change of allegiance to the God of the Hebrews, she, through faith, became one of four women named in the genealogy of Christ as an heir.

Hebrews 11:31
By faith Rahab the prostitute did not perish with those who were disobedient, because she had given a friendly welcome to the spies.

The Scarlet Cord Of Christ

The Scarlet Cord:

A Looking Back to the Passover Blood

A Looking Ahead to the Shed Blood of Jesus on the Cross for the Forgiveness of Your Sins.

Repent and Bring Your Household into the Household of the Lord, under Christ’s Scarlet Cord so that they might be saved.

Why is it important to stay in church?

*You must remain in the house, underneath the covering of the scarlet cord to avoid the destruction coming on others.

Just as the spies remained three days in the hills to escape their pursuers, so we must remain in the faith, in the death, burial and resurrection of Christ for our salvation.

Matthew 21:28-32
28 “What do you think? A man had two sons. And he went to the first and said, ‘Son, go and work in the vineyard today.’ 29 And he answered, ‘I will not,’ but afterward he changed his mind and went. 30 And he went to the other son and said the same. And he answered, ‘I go, sir,’ but did not go. 31 Which of the two did the will of his father?” They said, “The first.” Jesus said to them, “Truly, I say to you, the tax collectors and the prostitutes go into the kingdom of God before you. 32 For John came to you in the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes believed him. And even when you saw it, you did not afterward change your minds and believe him.

Second City Church - Joshua Generation - Pastor Rollan Fisher 2019

Joshua Generation - Part 2

joshua generation

Joshua Generation: A Purpose Greater than Me

  • A Purpose Greater than Me

  • A God Greater than My Purpose

A Purpose Greater than Me

***You are not independent in the body of Christ. Your calling and destiny is wrapped up in others.

You have not ultimately fulfilled your purpose in Christ until you’ve done all that you can to see those to whom he’s connected you come to know Jesus and fulfill their call in him. ***

Joshua 1:10-18
And Joshua commanded the officers of the people, “Pass through the midst of the camp and command the people, ‘Prepare your provisions, for within three days you are to pass over this Jordan to go in to take possession of the land that the Lord your God is giving you to possess.’” And to the Reubenites, the Gadites, and the half-tribe of Manasseh Joshua said, “Remember the word that Moses the servant of the Lord commanded you, saying, ‘The Lord your God is providing you a place of rest and will give you this land.’ Your wives, your little ones, and your livestock shall remain in the land that Moses gave you beyond the Jordan, but all the men of valor among you shall pass over armed before your brothers and shall help them, until the Lord gives rest to your brothers as he has to you, and they also take possession of the land that the Lord your God is giving them. Then you shall return to the land of your possession and shall possess it, the land that Moses the servant of the Lord gave you beyond the Jordan toward the sunrise.” And they answered Joshua, “All that you have commanded us we will do, and wherever you send us we will go. Just as we obeyed Moses in all things, so we will obey you. Only may the Lord your God be with you, as he was with Moses! Whoever rebels against your commandment and disobeys your words, whatever you command him, shall be put to death. Only be strong and courageous.”

It starts with the leaders.

The congregation repeats back to Joshua the charge given him by God.

So many Christians live dissatisfied lives because they focus and rejoice in their own achievements and not the success and progress of their brothers and sisters.

3 John 1:4
I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.

*Your strength is found in how well you help others take their land and walk in the truth of Christ.

As James Earl Jones voices Mufasa in Disney’s the Lion King, we’re also reminded of wisdom from another role he voice-acted -

Darth Vader

Numbers 32:1-22 (NIV)
The Reubenites and Gadites, who had very large herds and flocks, saw that the lands of Jazer and Gilead were suitable for livestock. So they came to Moses and Eleazar the priest and to the leaders of the community, and said, “Ataroth, Dibon, Jazer, Nimrah, Heshbon, Elealeh, Sebam, Nebo and Beon — the land the Lord subdued before the people of Israel—are suitable for livestock, and your servants have livestock. If we have found favor in your eyes,” they said, “let this land be given to your servants as our possession. Do not make us cross the Jordan. ” Moses said to the Gadites and Reubenites, “Should your fellow Israelites go to war while you sit here? Why do you discourage the Israelites from crossing over into the land the Lord has given them? This is what your fathers did when I sent them from Kadesh Barnea to look over the land. After they went up to the Valley of Eshkol and viewed the land, they discouraged the Israelites from entering the land the Lord had given them. The Lord’s anger was aroused that day and he swore this oath: ‘Because they have not followed me wholeheartedly, not one of those who were twenty years old or more when they came up out of Egypt will see the land I promised on oath to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob — not one except Caleb son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite and Joshua son of Nun, for they followed the Lord wholeheartedly.’ The Lord’s anger burned against Israel and he made them wander in the wilderness forty years, until the whole generation of those who had done evil in his sight was gone. “And here you are, a brood of sinners, standing in the place of your fathers and making the Lord even more angry with Israel. If you turn away from following him, he will again leave all this people in the wilderness, and you will be the cause of their destruction. ” Then they came up to him and said, “We would like to build pens here for our livestock and cities for our women and children. But we will arm ourselves for battle and go ahead of the Israelites until we have brought them to their place. Meanwhile our women and children will live in fortified cities, for protection from the inhabitants of the land. We will not return to our homes until each of the Israelites has received their inheritance. We will not receive any inheritance with them on the other side of the Jordan, because our inheritance has come to us on the east side of the Jordan.” Then Moses said to them, “If you will do this—if you will arm yourselves before the Lord for battle and if all of you who are armed cross over the Jordan before the Lord until he has driven his enemies out before him — then when the land is subdued before the Lord, you may return and be free from your obligation to the Lord and to Israel. And this land will be your possession before the Lord.

The lesson of Dan, Reuben and the Half-Tribe of Manasseh:

They gravitated to what seemed like calmer pastures, where the battle against the kings of Canaan had already been won. They surely would have asked the question, “What would be the best grazing area for MY flocks?” rather than “What ground has God called me to take with my people?” Moses’ response was clear (Numbers 32).

There is no living out the gospel without some measure of suffering (the battles of Israel; Acts 14:22). We can be too loaded down with the pleasures and comforts of this world to long for the next, which God says will be far sweeter and superior (Colossians 3). It is hard to live for Jesus in this state. (Think about the rich young ruler, Jesus saying it is hard for the rich to enter the Kingdom, the explosion of faith in the non-western world, the reality that if you make above $32,400, you are part of the world’s economic 1%).

“So if you’re an accountant, a registered nurse or even an elementary school teacher, congratulations. The average wage for any of these careers falls well within the top 1 percent worldwide.“

https://www.investopedia.com/articles/personal-finance/050615/are-you-top-one-percent-world.asp

“Christianity, then, saw the battle for human virtue as no longer one of head versus heart (becoming more rational), nor mind over matter (getting more technical mastery over the world). The battle was over where to direct the supreme love of your heart. Will it be toward God and your neighbor, no matter who your neighbor is? Or will it be toward power and wealth for yourself and your tribe? Augustine was the first to formulate this, drawing in Biblical teaching. Cambridge historian Henry Chadwick argued that Augustine “marks an epoch in the history of human moral consciousness.” For the first time the supreme goal of life was not self-control and rationality but love. Love was required to redirect the human person away from self-centeredness toward serving God and others. Augustine’s Confessions laid the groundwork for what we would call psychology in a way that non-Christian classical thought could not have done.” - Timothy Keller, Making Sense of God (p. 45)

Remember the cross of Jesus Christ.

"When God becomes a Man and lives as a creature among His own creatures in Palestine, then indeed His life is one of supreme self-sacrifice and leads to Calvary."

C.S. Lewis

Do not think you will fulfill the call of God without it coming with great COST to you.

"Those who give much without sacrifice are reckoned as having given little."

- Erwin Lutzer

(Luke 21:1-4)

The problem is we are myopic by nature and easily fall into traps that say as long as I and my family are accomplishing our goals, we’re well provided for and happy then that’s all that matters. We feel like we don’t have time or motivation to take the gospel to the land that God has called us to take with the people with whom he’s called us to take it.

A God Greater than My Purpose

*The only one who can free us to live in such love, free of a selfishly motivated altruism is Jesus Christ.

As we remember this, the fruit of the flesh that we are resisting is rivalry or selfish ambition (Galatians 5:20). The command we are obeying is fighting as one man for the faith of the gospel.

Philippians 1:27-2:4
Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel, and not frightened in anything by your opponents. This is a clear sign to them of their destruction, but of your salvation, and that from God. For it has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in him but also suffer for his sake, engaged in the same conflict that you saw I had and now hear that I still have. So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.

How do we live this way?

Decluttering Our Lives

We need to daily and intentionally make room for God and his Kingdom Purposes (reconciling the world to himself through the cross/gospel of Jesus Christ) with the people he’s given you (Acts 2:42-47).

Out of his mercy toward us, God will allow anything that we trust in before and besides him to be taken away that our hearts might be freed and our lives ultimately saved.

clutter

(Genesis 22)

What needs to be cleaned out of your life?

Mark 8:34-38
And calling the crowd to him with his disciples, he said to them, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. 35 For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel's will save it. 36 For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul? 37 For what can a man give in return for his soul? 38 For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him will the Son of Man also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.”

It is impossible for us to live faithfully this way without being inwardly redeemed by the work of the Holy Spirit.

Joshua means “the Lord saves”, again foreshadowing his transliterated name Jesus.

Jesus alone is both our establisher and propeller to greater works. His salvific work on the cross brought the means for our forgiveness of sins and establishes us in true righteousness - reconciliation with God through faith in the sacrificial death, burial and resurrection of Christ. He then calls us to understand that we are “blessed to be a blessing” seeing those around us come into the saving knowledge of the gospel and all of the good news that it brings.

Second City Church - Joshua Generation - Pastor Rollan Fisher 2019