Profiles of a True Church
EVERY MEMBER MINISTRY THROUGH SMALL GROUPS
Intro: Whoever you entrust yourself to will color the lenses through which you see God and clutter the filters through which you hear Him. Prov 13:20 He who walks with wise men will be wise, but the companion of fools will be destroyed.
It matters who you walk through life with – everyone has at least one small group of influencers. But not everyone has a small group of the wise and redeemed. This is the paramount reason we have a ministry of small groups. We believe God when He says to walk with the wise. How can we obey the 30+ “one another commands” of the NT if we are only with “one another” at the large gathering on Sundays? How can each of us minister in the body of Christ unless we get in a smaller setting where we cannot hide? The greatest small group leader in the Bible was the Lord Jesus. One of the first things He did in His earthly ministry was gather a small group of disciples around Him to pour His love and grace into them and send them out to minister. We are simply following the example of our master when gather in small groups to grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ.
WHY DID JESUS START A SMALL GROUP?
Mark 3:13 And He went up on the mountain and called to Him those He Himself wanted. And they came to Him.
Mark 3:14 Then He appointed twelve, that they might be with Him and that He might send them out to preach,
Mark 3:15 and to have power to heal sicknesses and to cast out demons
(a) to be with Him – to be with Jesus now only happens in the gathered church.
Matt 18:20 For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them.
(b) to be sent out to evangelize – we are more likely to declare the good news to sinners when a small group goes with us or is praying for us.
(c) to have power to minister – healing those who need it and helping others be set free from their strongholds almost always happens in a group setting.
If Jesus were leading a small group in your church, do you think you would sign up for it?
WHAT WAS IT LIKE TO BE IN JESUS’ SMALL GROUP?
It was filled with teaching
Matt 5:1 And seeing the multitudes, He went up on a mountain, and when He was seated His disciples came to Him.
Matt 5:2 Then He opened His mouth and taught them, saying:
Matt 5:3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Matt 5:4 Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
Matt 5:5 Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.
You can learn the Scriptures on a different level in a smaller group because you can ask questions and get answers.
It could be frustrating
Jesus could be difficult to understand
Mark 4:5 But when He was alone, those around Him with the twelve asked Him about the parable.
Mark 4:13 And He said to them, “Do you not understand this parable? How then will you understand all the parables?”
His best students did not immediately grasp His most essential parable.
Mark 9:31 For He taught His disciples and said to them, “The Son of Man is being betrayed into the hands of men, and they will kill Him. And after He is killed, He will rise the third day.”
Mark 9:32 But they did not understand this saying, and were afraid to ask Him.
His closest followers were even slow to comprehend His most important message – the Gospel!
The other members of the group said and did strange things
Mark 10:35 Then James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came to Him, saying, “Teacher, we want You to do for us whatever we ask.”
Mark 10:36 And He said to them, “What do you want Me to do for you?”
Mark 10:37 They said to Him, “Grant us that we may sit, one on Your right hand and the other on Your left, in Your glory.”
Mark 10:41 And when the ten heard it, they began to be greatly displeased with James and John.
illus: “I want to spend time with people like me – who share the same interests…I don’t have much in common with those in my assigned small group.” Does this pass the Bible test? What was the makeup of the roster of the 12 apostles? 4 fishermen (Peter, Andrew, James, John – teenager!); 2 political rivals (Matthew the tax collector, Simon the Zealot), a doubter (Thomas), a complainer (Philip), an impostor (Judas), 3 wallflowers of whom we know little to nothing (Bartholomew, Thaddeus, James the less)
There was balance
The ministry of Jesus’ small group included both serving and resting
Matt 14:14 And when Jesus went out He saw a great multitude; and He was moved with compassion for them, and healed their sick.
Matt 14:15 When it was evening, His disciples came to Him, saying, “This is a deserted place, and the hour is already late. Send the multitudes away, that they may go into the villages and buy themselves food.”
Matt 14:16 But Jesus said to them, “They do not need to go away. You give them something to eat.”
John 6:7 Philip answered Him, “Two hundred denarii worth of bread is not sufficient for them, that every one of them may have a little.”
John 6:8 One of His disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter's brother, said to Him,
John 6:9 “There is a lad here who has five barley loaves and two small fish, but what are they among so many?”
If your legitimate complaint is, “I’m really tired,” remember that Jesus promised His small group supernatural “rest.”
Mark 6:30 Then the apostles gathered to Jesus and told Him all things, both what they had done and what they had taught.
Mark 6:31 And He said to them, “Come aside by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while.” For there were many coming and going, and they did not even have time to eat.
Mark 6:32 So they departed to a deserted place in the boat by themselves.
It was temporary
“But pastor, what if I find myself in a small group I don’t particularly care for?” You are not stuck indefinitely.
As good as it was, Jesus designed His small group to multiply
John 16:5 “But now I go away to Him who sent Me, and none of you asks Me, ‘Where are You going?’
John 16:6 But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your heart.
John 16:7 Nevertheless I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you.”
What was the result of having been in a Jesus small group?
Acts 2:46 So continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart,
Acts 2:47 praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved.