Summer In Soul City
By Bobby Blakey on May 22, 2022
Summer In Soul City
By Bobby Blakey on May 22, 2022
I invite you to open the Bible with me and turn to the book of Romans. Who's enjoying going through the book of Romans? Here at the church – Yeah, this is not one of the passages you've heard of from the book of Romans that we're turning to tonight. This is one of the passages that I feel like, maybe I've heard, I think I've heard people talk about before, but I don't really remember. And so, I want us to zero in on Romans 1:13-15, and talk about them here together, and learn them, and not just skip over them to the more famous Romans, 1:16 and 17. So hopefully, you can find that with me, there in Romans 1, we were just there, but now we're going to the verses right before it. And I'm so glad to see you all here at church tonight. It's great to be here with all of you.
But church can be a very confusing place. In fact, one of the things that I've been confused about, growing up going in different churches, being a part of churches my whole life, is What is the purpose of church? Like, why are we here? Because I grew up hearing that the purpose of church, it is to equip the saints for the work of the ministry. We're here to preach the truth to the Christians. And as I grew up, I remember one church I went to, it was the same people sitting in the same seats, talking about the same thing at the same time, every Sunday. Literally, I remember one Sunday, I realized I was having the exact same conversation I had with someone the week before. But see, what we said at that church was, we're preaching the truth, and we're getting deep into the doctrine, and everybody here is getting sanctified, because we're going to build up the church. And I heard a lot about that. But then it was like, there was another kind of church. And in this other kind of church, what they really cared about was reaching their city. And they really cared about all the lost souls, all around them, and they wanted to live on mission. And so, they were trying to think at this church, like what can we do to get our community to come to our church? And how can we meet their needs? And what can we do to bring them in so that we could share with them the good news so that more people could be saved? And it's almost like these churches would take shots at one another, some saying, We're here for the Christians, and other ones saying, We're here for those who don't yet believe, who need to believe.
And the question we want to answer tonight is, what are we doing here in Huntington Beach? Who are we here for? The great thing about doing church, even though there's a lot of confusion about it, is we don't have to come up with our own answers. The Scripture tells us what we're supposed to be doing. And so, I'm going to invite everybody to stand up for another scripture reading from Romans 1:8-15. The not so famous verses before the famous verses we read earlier, and let's see if this answers that question of what you and I should be doing here at Compass. HB.
Please follow along, as I read, starting in Romans 1:8. “First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is proclaimed in all the world. For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of his Son, that without ceasing I mention you always in my prayers, asking that somehow by God's will I may now at last succeed in coming to you. For I long to see you, that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to strengthen you— that is, that we may be mutually encouraged by each other's faith, both yours and mine. I do not want you to be unaware, brothers, that I have often intended to come to you (but thus far have been prevented), in order that I may reap some harvest among you as well as among the rest of the Gentiles. I am under obligation both to Greeks and to barbarians, both to the wise and to the foolish. So I am eager to preach the gospel to you also who are in Rome.”
That's the reading of God's Word. Go ahead and have your seat. And Paul, as he gives this, what many people see as an introduction to the believers in Rome, and a lot of people kind of skip over these verses on the way to verse 16. I'm not ashamed of the gospel. That's kind of where people really get into the book of Romans. Some of you if you didn't know you'd think Roman started in chapter 1:16, though the way that people talk about it, but if you look at verses 8 to 15, let me ask this question, Are we here for one another, or do we want to preach the gospel in our city? Which one is it, everybody? Both! Yesss, See that here? So, we just had a very encouraging week here at the church as we talked about our mutual encouragement with one with one another. Lo and behold, some people showed up at fellowship groups this last week, everybody. It was great to see people were being honest. They were showing up with something to say. I heard from many people. Yeah, I started praying more for other people, I started thanking God more for the people who have faith in my life. Like, this last week, I got to be a part of a few different fellowship groups. And I got to see people building one another up so that the saints could be equipped so that all of us could mature and be complete in Christ. We are definitely here to preach the truth to Christians so we can grow up in Jesus Christ. Can I get an Amen from everybody on that? Yeah, that’s what we're here to do. But then he goes right into this in verse 13, where he says, I don't want you to be unaware of brothers, like, Hey, I don't want you guys not to understand, I've wanted to come to see you in Rome for a long time, but I have been prevented, or I have been hindered.
And we're not sure exactly what he's referring to, but we did see last week that, according to 1 Thessalonians 2:17, it was Satan that hindered him from getting to that church. And so, he's saying, Hey, I've been wanting to come to Rome for a while. And then he says this after the parentheses there in the middle of verse 13, “in order that I may reap some harvest among you, as well as among the rest of the Gentiles.” So just some phrases that he uses here, what is he saying he wants to do when he gets there in Rome? Well, one phrase is I want to reap some harvest. Then in verse 14, he says, I'm under obligation, or I have an obligation. And then in verse 15, he says, so I am eager, or I am willing, and then he gives it to preach the gospel to you also who are in Rome. And preach the gospel, there is evangelizo, I mean it's to share the good news. It’s the Greek word that we get evangelism from. I want to get to Rome, I want to preach the gospel there, I'm willing to do it, I feel like I owe it to all kinds of to the Gentiles to all kinds of different people. And in fact, I want to see some fruit, I want to see a harvest of souls there in Rome.
So, we studied last week, if you were here, verses 8-12. And he clearly is going there for the Christians because he wants to see them strong and encouraged in the faith that they already have. But it seems like, at the same time, Paul is also aware that there are many souls there in Rome, who do not yet have faith, and they need to hear the gospel. And he'd like to see some fruit among those people, all kinds of different people there that really he's willing to preach the gospel to them. So, you can see he has two different ideas, or both of those purposes that we talked about a moment ago: He wants to go for those who already believe, and he wants to go for those who are not yet believers. They're in Rome. And this is so critical for us here at Compass HB, because we have a question: What are we doing here in Huntington Beach. And praise God! Jesus has answered our prayers. And he is building his church here in Huntington Beach. Can I get an Amen from anybody on thay?
I mean, we've seen this over the last few years. There are people in this room tonight, who have become believers in Jesus Christ through hearing the gospel, and they are now growing up, they are now maturing. They're not even baby Christians anymore. They're growing, and some even are reaching maturity. And they're taking what they've learned about Jesus, and they're passing it on. They're reproducing and helping other people come to faith in Jesus Christ. So we're seeing Jesus build his church. Now the question is, Were we here to reach Huntington Beach until we got enough of us and now let's circle the wagons, now let's get in the holy huddle, now, let's hunker down, because we've got our church. So, let's become friends. Let's let our kids become friends. And let's grow old together here just away from the big, bad, wicked world all around us. Let's just have our little huddle of godliness here at our church. Are we here to just do that? Or are we here also to keep reaching souls? See, this is a question for you. And this is a question for me. What are we going to be about here at this church? Which kind of church are we? Are we going to one of the extremes, or can we see that Paul, when he goes there to encourage the believers, he still thinks he can preach the gospel to those who he wants to see as fruit?
So, let's get this down for point number one. If last week the point was don't take God's word people for granted this week point number one, Don't take souls for granted. Don't take souls for granted. Don't take the fact that there are still so many thousands of people just in Huntington Beach, but people here are coming from a Garden Grove, Fountain Valley, coming from Seal Beach, Cypress, we got a lot of people driving down from, South LA County to join us here. We got people from all over this area. If you add up the accumulated population of every city that we've got more than one family coming to here at the church, we're talking about hundreds of thousands of people. And it all depends. If you look at our church compared to the average church size. If you look at our church compared to how big we were, when we got started, this will feel like a big church, if you look at this church, compared to how many people don't know Jesus around here, we don't even make a difference. So, it's about your perspective. It's about what you believe the purpose here is, and when he says I want to reap some harvest, the word there that's translated harvest is really the word Karpos. In the Greek it means fruit, that's how I would normally translate that word. I want to see some fruit among you, as well as the rest of the Gentiles. See, he's understanding, Hey, I'm the apostle, I've been sent out by Jesus, I've been sent to the Gentiles. And so, I want to see some of that harvest of souls, I want to see some of that fruit of salvation, I hope that when I get to be there with you in Rome, I hope to also preach the gospel in Rome. And I hope to see some people get saved through the preaching of the Gospel while I'm there.
So, this idea of fruit or harvest is the same thing in Matthew chapter 13 that we just read about this week, those of us who are reading through Matthew. You could write down when next to harvest there or fruit, write down Matthew 13:8. When he was telling the parable of the sower who goes out and throws the seed of the gospel out there, and some of it, the birds snatched away – and people don't really hear it – and some hits the rocky soil and some hits the thorny soil, but then, there's that good soil. And it says in Matthew 13:8, other seeds fell on good soil and produced grain, produced fruit, produced harvest. See, when the Word of God goes out, when the gospel rings out in Huntington Beach, we should expect to see more souls get saved. That's what the gospel does. The gospel is God's power to save people. And he's expecting to see it when he gets there to Rome.
So that's what Jesus was saying is going to happen. In fact, another passage you could write down is Philippians, 1:22. Philippians. 1:22 is where Paul, maybe you remember in Philippians 1, he's like, to live is Christ, but to die is gain. Do I want to keep living my life full time for Jesus? Or do I want to die and go be absent with the body, but present with the Lord, and be in the presence of Jesus. And he's like, I'm hard pressed. I don't know which one's the best one, to stay here or to go and be with Jesus. Because if I stay, that will mean fruitful labor for me. That's what he says, if I if I stay, I might get to see some more harvest, I might get to see some more fruits. So, there's this idea that is, throughout the Scripture, this idea that supposed to be in all of our minds, that there is a whole field of souls out there that need to be harvested. There's a whole field of people out there who are lost, and they need the fruit of salvation through the power of the gospel in their lives. And the problem isn't how wicked the crowd is, the problem isn't how wrong America is, the problem is that the harvest is so plentiful, and the laborers are so what? Few! if we only had more workers See, this is what's happened. This is how we lost our country. This is the fall of a once great nation that a lot of churches you had the truth of the gospel huddled up rather than winning work the field where they were. And they didn't really care about seeing a fruit, seeing harvest, seeing continually seeing more people profess repentance and faith in Jesus. More people get baptized, more people come in and be the church because we're going out in Jesus’ name to share the good news. How many churches have huddled in and said we're going to all mature together while the city they're in is on its way to hell? See, we don't want to be that kind of church. That's not why Paul is saying he's going to Rome. We've been saying that we're here in Huntington Beach, which they call Surf City USA. We've nicknamed it affectionately Soul City, USA. And we're here for the harvest field that we live in. We want to see more fruit this summer of 2022. We want to do a parade, we want to preach Romans 1, we want everyone in Huntington Beach to know that the good news of Jesus is God's power to save them out of their sin. And that day could be right with God by faith in the good news of Jesus Christ. We don't just want to believe that, we want everybody to know that, we want to see some summer fruit.
So, let's get that down for your little squiggly line dash there. We need to pray for summer fruit from the gospel. That's what I'm asking everybody to do. And over these next few weeks, as we get ready for what God is going to do this summer, will you be a part of saying, God, we want to see more fruit this summer, we want to see that harvest field. We want to go out there and do some work. We want to invite people to this “May God Save America” series, where we are going to go through What's wrong with our country in Romans chapter 1, and we are going to tell people, not just that God has got wrath against their unrighteousness, but there is a way they could be righteous by faith in the gospel of Jesus Christ. Because I believe that the gospel is the most compelling message anyone can ever hear. Is anybody with me on this? I mean, isn't it good news? Isn't it still very good news that God loved us so much that his Son Jesus, He sent His one and only Son, and Jesus humbled himself to be born as one of us, lived among us, established the perfect track record of righteousness, and then Jesus died in your place? Is that good news still, everybody? To somebody else out there that you know needs to know that Jesus already took it for them on the cross. And then if they believed in him, they could rise up to a new life, just as he rose from the dead, that they could see that he is the reason Exalted Lord and they could have a new life in Christ, the old could be gone, the new is come we have eternal life, we have forgiveness of sin, we have forevermore the goodness of God, forevermore to offer to our city. Why would we keep that to ourselves?
We need to be praying for summer fruit. And see, Paul, he just thinks differently than Christians do today. Look at verse 14, if you're with m. One of the things he says is he wants to reap this harvest, he wants to see this fruit among you and the rest of the Gentiles. But then he says this, I am under obligation, or I am I am obligated I have an obligation, he said. Like, he feels like this is something he ought to do. Like, he owes it to people is what he's saying here, like, I ought to, I should, I owe it to people to share the gospel with them. So, he has a different kind of feeling. A lot of people today seem very okay with my neighbors, my extended family members, the people that live on my street, they're not my responsibility. They're not my problem. Paul didn't seem to think that way. He seemed to think like there was something he ought to do, something he owed people to do, like, I’ve got to go and the Gentiles need to know, and I have been sent to go to the nations, not just to my own people, the Jews, but to go to the nations in the name of Jesus. Like, I’ve got to go and do that. Go over to 1 Corinthians 9. And when he says this obligation, there's another verse that keeps coming up that sounds similar. It doesn't use the same word, but if you look at 1 Corinthians 9:16, here's a way that Paul thinks about his responsibility, his passion, to share the Good News of Jesus with those around him, to go to places with the intention of sharing the good news. He says – Everybody write this verse down: 1 Corinthians 9:16. “For if I preach the gospel, that gives me no ground for boasting. For necessity is laid upon me. Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel!.” Wow. Woe to me. I mean, woe is a statement of judgment, woe is a statement of curses, like I should be cursed and judged if I'm not out there preaching the gospel. See, he's rebuking a thought that I hear a lot these days, which is like sharing the gospel with somebody is something extra in your Christian life. That's how people talk about it these days. Like if you go share the good news with somebody, oh, you're like, you're kind of like an advanced Christian or maybe you have the gift of evangelism, or you must really know all your scriptures for you to be able to share the Good News with someone. And so, we kind of think there's like the normal Christian, and then there's the Christian who's out there actually talking to people about Jesus. And Paul is saying, No, Woe to me, if I don't preach the gospel. How could there be someone who believes that they've been saved from all of their sins, and will be with God forever in heaven, and they want to keep that to themselves in their own family? Like, that doesn't make sense. That person doesn't exist in the Scripture, certainly not in Paul's mind.
And so, Paul, he's got this obligation, he's got this, I mean, really, the word there means debtor, like he feels he has a debt to the people around him. It's the same idea of like, forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors. Like he's using that word about how he wants to share with all of the Gentiles, with all of the nations. That's his idea, like I feel like I'm obligated, like I owe it to people, like I'm a debtor to people, like look what Jesus has done for me! How could I not pass it on to somebody else? See, and that's why he says in 1 Corinthians 9:19, he says, “For though I am free from all I have made myself a servant to all.” See, he's putting himself, like, under other people, he's putting himself, like, obligated to do something for other people. And he says, the reason I make myself a servant to all that I might win more of them. And then he begins to describe different kinds of people to the Jew. I became as a Jew in order to win Jews to those under the law, I became as one under the law that I, though not being myself under the law that I might win those under the law to those outside the law. I became as one outside the law not being outside the law of God, but under the law of Christ, that I might win those outside the law. To the weak I became weak that I might win the weak, I've become all things to all people that, by all means, I might save some. I do it all for the sake of the gospel that I may share with them and its blessings. That's the kind of harvest he wants to reap in Rome. That's the kind of obligation that he feels. See, he's not just trying to go after his people or a certain kind of people. He feels like he needs to be out there sharing good news with all people so that by all means, God might save some of these people that he's sharing the good news with.
So, in Paul's mind, we've seen this, he thinks that the building up of the churches, the strengthening and encouraging of the churches, he thinks that's very important. And he also thinks, reaching the whole city, reaching those outside the church with the gospel, he thinks that's very important. He thinks that he can do both of them when he goes to Rome. In fact, this is what we saw him do when he got to Rom. Go back to Acts 28 and look at this with me. What did he do when he eventually gets to Rome? We studied this just a few weeks ago. And we went through this journey, this saga that he went through to get there, the shipwreck, the snake bite, and he finally makes it and the Christians, the believers, they come to see him, they've read his letter to the Romans, and they come and they see him and he thanks God for them. And he takes courage. He gets to see the believers there. I'm sure they had a great time of mutual encouragement. And then what does he get right to Acts 28:17. After three days, he called together the local leaders of the churches. Is that what it says there everybody in verse 17? Let's get all the churches together. Let's huddle up. Rome's a wicked city, Rome's a bad place. You guys know what I wrote about it. And remember the book of Romans, like, we better just hunker down and hang on to glory? Is that what he says? No, he says, let's go get all the Jews. I mean, let's go. And where are all the synagogues? Now, let's go get back to that work of evangelism. Let's go. Let's go get off the Jews who maybe don't understand that Jesus is the Messiah. Let's gather them all together.
I'm under house arrest. I can't go to them in the synagogue. Will you invite them to come to me? And then I'll preach to them. And what happens when he preaches Jesus from the law of Moses from the prophets? Verse 24, “And some were convinced by what he said, but others disbelieved,”. And all of a sudden, some of these Jews believe, some don't. And there's a division there in Rome. But what he says in verses 13, 14 and 15. When he gets to Rome, does he preach the gospel? And does he see some fruit of salvation? The answer is… what the answer is. Yes. So, this is why I'm very confident that Romans 1:13-15 are not just talking about strengthening the believers who already know the gospel in Rome, which he's going to do throughout this entire letter, but it's also preaching to those who don't yet believe in Rome. Not only does he write it in the letter, that's what he does when he gets there. So, at the very least, we should all be praying for the harvest field that we live in. Go back to Romans 1:15. Because there's a third way that he says it, we got three verses, he says it three different ways: one, reap a harvest to I'm under obligation, and then three here in verse 15. So, I am eager to preach the gospel. Another way you could translate that word is, I am willing, this is the same word when Jesus says, Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.
Paul says, I'm willing to preach the gospel in Rome. The question is, who here at this church is willing to preach the gospel where we live? See that's the question. It's not about, should you preach the gospel or not? He's saying, you ought to. It's not about, is there a need for the gospel or not. We can all attest to the great need there is for Jesus, where we live here in Southern California. No, the question is not about the need, or not about the obligation that all kinds of people need to hear it. The question is, who here is willing to share the gospel with somebody? I'm asking a real question to the people here as we go into summer 2022. Are you, do you have any plans? I mean, people are making their summer plans. People are figuring out their vacations. They're figuring out their break-time. They're figuring out, What am I going to do with my summer? Is sharing the gospel with anybody a part of your summer plans? Is the summer book you want to be reading is the Scripture with people who've never read it before? See, that is what Paul's thinking, Hey, Rome, what do they got there? They got some nice museums, they got some nice beaches. Do they? I mean, let's go on Yelp. What kind of star restaurants they got there? I don't hear him saying any of that kind of stuff. I know what kind of I know what kind of fruit they eat over there. I know what kind of different people they've got over there. And I'm willing, I'm eager, put me in Lord use me. I want to share the gospel with somebody when I get to Rome. That's what he's saying there. He's saying I am. I am willing, this is really what God wants. You're like, well, I don't know how I who I would talk to, I don't know how many people I could talk to. I don't feel that great at talking. First question. Are you willing to talk to anybody? Do you want to talk to when you talk to people, and they end up believing in the gospel? You don't walk away thinking? Well, my sales approach is really what did it. You don't walk away thinking it was my overwhelming charm that really wooed them in when you see somebody turn from their sin, and have their blinders come off to see Jesus, you say, Wow, that's the power of God unto salvation. You realize, if you have really helped anybody ever believe in Jesus, one thing you will realize about it is you had nothing to do with it. You were just the messenger. You were just the delivery person. You were just the jar of clay that God uses. But the question is, are you willing? Do you feel anything towards your fellow Americans? Do you feel anything towards all kinds of different people that are living down the street from us? Do you want to see a harvest of souls? Do you want to see the fruit of salvation?
So, we got to start, we got to start by praying. We got to start by praying, God, we want to continue to see you save more people. Well, we can't just be here where we are now just for our one anothers, we need to be there for our one anothers, that was last week. We also need to be here for our city, for our county, for our state, they really need us right now. You know what the world needs to see some right now, some people who don't want to leave California, some people who want to see people get saved in California. If you ever visit other states, tell them you go to a church in California, there'll be like, Wow, you guys have those? That's what the rest of America thinks about us. All right? That's what they think about us. Oh, there are still Christians in California? Here we are. And then there needs to be more of us. We need more salt. We need more light. Who's willing to open their mouth and share the Good News of Jesus? That's one reason Paul is coming to town. Now look at the end of verse 13. Because I want to talk about who is he going to hear? Because he says I want to reap some harvest among you referring to the believers there in Rome. He refers to you who are in Rome in verse 13, and 15. But notice how he says, among you, as well as among the rest of the Gentiles. See, this idea of the of the Gentiles is a very important concept that we've been learning about. We saw it through the book of Acts, what a big deal it was, that they didn't just preach the gospel to the Jews, but they went over to the Gentiles and, like, Peter had a vision about it and it was a big deal when he went to the house of Cornelius. Maybe you remember that. And Paul, he got known as the apostle to the Gentiles, like, he's just not going to the nation of God's people. He's going to all nations. See, there's this really interesting transition. And it really starts with Jesus who's healing this Roman centurion’s servant, or we're going to see the faith of a Canaanite woman whom we just saw in our Bible reading. Like all these Gentiles are believing in Jesus and being healed in the end of the Gospel of Matthew, he's going to say, Hey, go and make disciples of all the nations. See, Paul, he's all about that. He's like, I'm not just here for my people, although he really cares about his fellow-Jews and considers himself one of them. We're going to see that throughout Romans, but he's here for the Jews and the Gentiles. And he dives into that here. Like there is nobody who's off limits for Paul to talk to there is nobody outside of his radar, he's not even just thinking, I'm going to go reach a certain kind of person with the gospel, he's thinking, I need to go for all people. And he gets specific. In verse 14, he says, I owe it, or I'm a debtor to both. And he kind of makes some contrast here, “both to Greeks, and to barbarians, both to the wise, and to the foolish.” So he's expecting that there's a bunch of different kinds of people there in Rome, and he's coming to bring the Gospel to all of them. So that this idea of the Gentile, see, this brings up the ever-widening circle of people who need to hear the gospel of Jesus. We know that heaven is going to be the most multicultural experience we will ever have, because there will be people saying Worthy is the Lamb from every nation, tribe, and tongue. Can I get an Amen from anybody on that?
Okay, so that's what Paul's saying, like, Hey, there's a bunch of Gentiles in Rome, who may not know anything about the gospel of Jesus, and some of them may be very, like, they might be Greeks, a certain kind of people speak in the language that we're writing this letter in, but some might be barbarians, who speak other ways, or don't communicate very well. So might be wise and educated and have a certain social status, and others might be not so book-smart in how they approach things. But we're bringing the good news to all of them. So, you go back to the book of Acts, and let's just review go to Acts chapter 9. And let's just review how Jesus said this, we get his testimony of how Jesus stopped him in his tracks on the road to Damascus, turned him around and called them to be an apostle. And in Acts chapter 9, when Paul sees this blinding light, and he says, Who are you Lord, and he says, I'm Jesus, whom you are persecuting. In Acts 9:15, when Jesus send Ananias to Paul, to open up his eyes after he's been blinded, and he says this, But the Lord said to him, “Go for he is a chosen instrument of mine, to carry my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel.” So, this was this was Jesus's plan, like you're going to go Ananias, there's this guy who can't see right now you need to go open his eyes, because I have chosen this guy to go to the to the ethnos is the word the Gentiles, sometimes you could translate it the nation's. Okay, this guy, he's going to send him out. And he's going to carry the name of Jesus to all different kinds of people, not just the Jews, No, to all kinds of people. Go over to Acts 22 where we get another example. And remember, this is what got Paul in so much trouble. See Paul, if he had just hunkered down and done a ministry to the Jews, he might not have got persecuted so much. He might not have ended up in prison so much. But see, he was going, not for just a one kind of person. He was going to all kinds of people. And that really got a lot of controversy, because there was so much discrimination and racism and partiality going on. And so, when he's sharing about how Jesus called him in Acts 22, with this mob of people who's trying to kill him, well, they hush down for a moment, and they listen until he says in Acts 22:21, and he said to me, Go, for I will send you far away to the… Who's he's supposed to go to right there? Gentile. How did that go over with the crowd? Anybody remember? That's when they stopped listening.
Now, I'm sure some people are thinking, Well, you don't expect me to be Paul, do you? And I'm sure some people are thinking, Well, I haven't been sent as an apostle to the Gentiles. Really? When Jesus said, make disciples of all nations, was he talking to you or somebody else? When he said, Hey, repentance and forgiveness of sins in my name needs to be preached to all nations, to every living soul. Was Jesus saying that to you or somebody else? When Jesus says to his disciples, You're going to be my witnesses to the ends of the earth, is that still for us today? Or was that for somebody else? When Jesus says, Lo, I'm going to be with you always to the, what? to the end of the age, till the very last days. To even in America out there on the coastlands, across the seas to America yet when they fall away from God, when they turn from being one nation under God, yet, even then I'm going to be with you, Jesus said. So, there's this dichotomy that has come up in our minds, where we can be Christians, but we don't have to be Christians who are on a mission to the nations. Paul, he’s sent to the Gentiles, you and I were sent to the nations. Go over the last 1, Acts 26:17. Here, see this is the idea that now the gospel is ringing out to everybody. And it says here in Acts 26:17, I'm going to be delivering you. Jesus, talking to Paul here, when he calls him on that road, for the third time we get his testimony in the book of Acts, I'm going to be delivering you from your people, and from the Gentiles, to whom I am sending you. And what's going to happen among the nations, among all kinds of different people speaking in all different languages, in all different parts of the world? I'm going to open their eyes so that they may turn from darkness to light, from the power of Satan to God, and that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me. Doesn't matter what kind of person you're talking to, they need to go from the darkness to light, they need to go from the power of Satan to God. That's what needs to happen. And so, he says, I'm sending you to the Gentiles. And Paul never lost that purpose. He never got over that mission. That was his goal all the way to the end, that he is going to all nations.
Now, go back to the book of Romans 1, because he identifies the Greeks, okay. And the Greeks, I mean, that's the language of the day, even though we think of it as the Roman Empire. It's the Greek language, the Greek culture, the Greek mythology, that is really informing a lot of their thinking. And so here, he's going to use this idea of the Greeks, like he’s like, I know there are some Greeks there in Rome, and I have people who are educated people, who are speaking the language, people who are a part of the whole cultural system at that time, and I need to go and see some of those people get saved. Now, just notice how he's going to use – even look at verse 16 – he's going to say, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.” So he's going to use this word “Greek” as kind of the representative of the Gentiles here. He's going to be, like, Yeah, I'm not sure I'll go to the synagogue and start with the Jew. But I'll share it with anybody who will listen. I’ll go to the Greek as well, because everybody needs to know the power of God unto salvation. Go over to Romans 2:9-11. He's going to say, there will be tribulation and distress for every human being who does evil. Here's another verse that's not famous from the book of Romans 2:9, “There will be tribulation and distress for every human being who does evil, the Jew first and also the Greek, but there will be glory and honor and peace for everyone who does good, the Jew first and also to the Greek for God shows no” – what does it say here, everybody? “no” what? “Partiality”! So, you can't be like, Okay, well, maybe if I'm going to reach out to some people, I'm just going to reach out to these people. God hasn't called me to reach out to everybody. But there's a certain kind of people that I'm comfortable with. So, I'll just reach out to them.
I mean, I'm asking you real questions here. The first question is, Are you willing to share the good news with anybody this summer? The second question I want to ask you here is, What kind of people do you greet here at this church? Like, is everybody on your radar here? Is everyone, or do you only greet … Well, first of all, do you ever talk to anybody when you walk in and out of here? I guess we’ve got to start with that? Because you can't even assume that these days, not here in Southern California, we're great at not talking to people, and we've made an art form of that. So, assuming that you Do talk to people here and you greet them in the name of the Lord, and you welcome them into worship Jesus, and to hear from his word you let them know we are Christians, by your love for one another here. So, assuming that you talk to people, do you just talk to the people that kind of fit into your category that you feel comfortable with? Or is everybody here open to be talked to? I'm asking, do you practice partiality when you come to church? I'm asking, do you show discrimination with who you talk to at church, and who you don't? Because you were supposed to be the beacon of hope. We're supposed to be the shining light, we're supposed to be the place where it actually doesn't matter what gender, age, race, and social class kind of person you are, what we care about is, do you know Jesus? Come and sit with me. I've met people in this city, and I've talked to them and invited them to this church and they said, well, are people going to judge me for what I wear at that church? This is their first thing they think of when they think about going to church is that, if I go to that church, people will show partiality to me. And he said, No, God does not show any partiality to the Jew, or to the Greek. God is going to judge everybody according to what they have done. And to bring the Gospel to every man, woman, or elderly person, and young child. We're here for everybody.
In fact, go over to Romans 3:9, because we've all got the same problem. We can all relate to one another. He says, “What then? Are we Jews any better off? No, not at all. For we have already charged that all, both Jews and Greeks are under sin.” Can I get an Amen from anybody out there? Who here was born in sin? Anybody want to admit you're not perfect here tonight at church? Not everybody raised their hand on that one. See, I don't know how many groups I've been in. Well, one thing I know about myself is, I sin, and then everybody else is like, well, Amen, brother, because we're all sinning every day, right? Okay, you don't need to be a Christian to relate to sin, all you’ve got to be is human to relate to sin. Well, what we want to do is, we want to relate to being saved out of our sin. But see, we understand that because everybody's got sin they're a prime candidate for salvation. You've got everything you need to get saved, right? That's what you’ve got, the sin that you need to get saved from, oh, you're a Jew or a Greek? Come on down.
Go over to Romans 10:12 and look at how he takes these promises from the prophets, and he's going to talk about Jews and Gentiles so much in the book of Romans. We learned about it quite a bit from Acts, but now we're going to get some in depth teaching. And there's going to be a lot of interesting things for us to look at as we go through Romans, about who's he speaking to here, Jews, Gentiles. How do they interact with one another? But one thing we want to start with is, it doesn't matter what kind of person someone is, they need Jesus. And he says here in Romans chapter 10, start with me here in verse 11, where he says, the Scripture says, quoting the Hebrew Bible, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame. For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek for the same Lord is Lord of all bestowing his riches on all who call on him, for everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” Somebody who's elderly, and they call on the name of the Lord on their deathbed, right before they die in hospice. Will they be saved? Some kid who goes home tonight and says, “Mom, Dad, I feel like I'm a lost soul in the harvest field. Will you help me call on the name of the Lord?” Will that young child be saved? See it? Yeah, it doesn't matter. Somebody who's been at church from day one, somebody who this is their day one at church. It does not matter. Everyone who believes in Jesus is united together by the blood of Christ. That's what the world needs to see. And they want to do this thing where they pick people from all different kinds and act like we're all going to get along. And it just perpetuates more partiality, more discrimination, when we can actually be the group of people, who are like, everybody gathered together because we all have sin, and we all need to call on his name, and we can all fellowship with one another through Jesus Christ. So, he's like, Guys, I'm coming in and it's like, because this is the theme of his life because this is the thing that's going to kill him, I'm coming because you know what, there's all kinds of people there in Rome, that need to hear the gospel. Like he can't even say he's coming to the city because he's not coming for the food or the fun things to do, or the scenery. He's coming for the souls is what he's coming for. And he's saying all kinds of people.
Now, barbarians – Go back to Acts 28, because we met some barbarians, when we got shipwrecked and we washed up on that island and the snake jumped out of the fire and bit Paul, which we looked at just a few weeks ago, this island called Malta there. And notice what it said here in Acts, chapter 28, the native people, and it gives you a note there, at least in our English Standard Version, translation, it gives you a note that the Greek word there is barberoi, which is non-Greek speakers, barbarians. So, the people on the island that where they washed up the people who showed them such kindness and gave so much to meet their needs, these people are referred to as barbarians. So, it says native people, but it wants to let you know in the footnote, yeah, we're talking about barbarians here. That's the Greek word for verse 4. When the native people saw the creature hanging from when they saw the snake had bit him, they said to one another, this guy is going to die from that snake bite, and then he doesn't die and they know God must be doing something there a month. So, it refers to these people in verse 2 and verse 4 as barbarians. Maybe one thing you observed one thing I definitely wondered about when we were on this island here in Acts 28 is Why didn't Paul preach to these kind of people? They're on the island? Why didn't he really get into it? Why don't we hear about some kind of delivery of Jesus being the Christ, who died for our sins, and rose again. Perhaps it was hard to communicate with them, because they were speaking a different language. That's the idea of being a barbarian here. Greeks – like, that's the language. He's writing to Roman, like people who really know how to speak, people who are very articulate people who speak the same language. And then there's even people who are barbarians. Maybe they're not very good at speaking. Or maybe they speak something else like he's implying. One of the things we're going to do when we go get the gospel to the Gentiles is we're not going to let language even be a barrier, and who we're going to reach for the gospel, because we're going to reach people of different tribes and different tongues. That's what he's saying here. Like, we're not going, how many people are on our radar? How many people do we care about getting saved? Surely people who don't even speak the same language as us, surely we don't need to pray or try to talk to them. No, that's not the idea here. Now we're going after Greeks, people who are speaking in the language I'm writing to you, or barbarians, maybe people who speak something else, or they don't speak the language very well. We're going after them. Like, we don't want anything to be a barrier to the gospel ringing out.
And I want to take a moment right now to just thank people who serve faithfully at this church translating these sermons that we preach here in English. They are translated Sunday mornings at nine o'clock in Vietnamese, and Sundays at 11 o'clock into Spanish. And we even have some fellowship going on here at our church in the language of Japanese. We praise the Lord for that right now that the gospel is going out in other languages right here in Huntington Beach. Right here. I don't know if you ever walk around parts of town where you hear people speaking in other languages. Well, there's people here in this church spreading the gospel in those languages. To those people, praise the Lord because, yeah, we want them to get saved with Jesus, we want everybody to get saved.
Go over to Colossians 3, just like we saw a verse in 1 Corinthians 9:16 that I wanted everybody to write down. Here's a verse I want everybody to write down for point number two, Colossians 3:11, as he's describing those of us who have put off the old self, and we have a new life in Christ, and we're going to go be one anothers, and we're going to bear with one another, and forgive one another. He says something about us here at church. He says here, this is Colossians 3:11. “Here, there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free, but Christ is all and in all.“ That needs to be true here at Compass HP. That there is one thing that defines us as a group of people as we come together, and that is, Christ is in us. Christ is in every one of us. And so, I'm asking you a real question: Do you discriminate in who you greet in the name of Jesus here at this church? Do you only go up to people that you feel comfortable talking to? Or will you, in the name of Jesus, greet any soul and welcome them in here? Because you know what they need if they're new, they need to hear the gospel of Jesus. And if they believe in Jesus, well, they can be one of us. Here, no matter what kind of person they are, where they come from, what kind of social class they come from. See, there's a lot of social elitism that can take place. And there are people who are very well educated who can look down on people who are not. And then there are people who are educated in a different kind of a way, and they can judge people who are educated, and there can be a tension. Praise God that in Jesus Christ, we can all get along in harmony here in Compass HB. I mean, this is very exciting, this idea that Paul's got like, we're going for all the nations, we're going for everybody, we're going for the wise, and we're going for the foolish. So, after he says it, like Greek and barbarian, which kind of gets you thinking, okay, kind of different, different kinds of people all coming together. He says it similarly, but differently, wise people and foolish people, like people who seem very educated, very book smart, and people who don't read many books, perhaps. We can all come together and study this book. Can I get an Amen from everybody on that? I mean, that that's the truth. This book is living and active. This book is not just so powerful, but the Holy Spirit, He illuminates your understanding so that all of us can really come and see who Jesus is, and worship him together. So, this is in Paul's mind.
Let's get this down for point number two: We want to welcome all who come to see Jesus. We want to welcome all who come to see Jesus. In fact, if you're here at church, and you see somebody coming in, I mean, I hope the greeters aren't the only ones doing the greeting around here. I hope the ushers aren't the only ones helping people find a seat. I hope that when you come to church, you're aware that there are many other people there. And when you see somebody and you're like, Wow, I don't know that person. Why maybe I don't even know somebody like that person. The minute you think that the reaction here should not be to pull back from that person, it should be to go right up to them and extend to them the right hand of fellowship, and welcome them in. Hey, I don't know you yet. Yeah. Hey, hey, welcome. Hey, I'd like to meet you. Hey, thanks for being here. What brings you here today? I haven't got to know you yet. So yeah, I think if we can be honest with ourselves, we're living in a drive-thru culture where I don't want to take the time to get out of my car and walk in. I get things delivered to my house. And I just expect it to come like, like by drone or carrier pigeon, or I don't act like people, like real live souls are bringing stuff to my house. I just expect stuff to show up at my house. How does it get there? Well, maybe it was a soul that delivered it. And we don't even think about people like that. I mean, there are so many people where we live that we’ve all gotten used to walking by people and not even noticing that they exist. And we're here for all of them. We're here for every single one of them.
See, there are very few of us these days who really see the harvest field like Paul did, where everybody needed to be saved. Not just this kind of person, not just that person I know over there, not just my own family, or not just my own street, but he was really looking at a world, Wow, Rome, kind of a big city at that time, center of so much commerce and culture, there's going to be so many different kinds of people in Rome. And they all knew I'm coming for all of them. He says, are you ready to welcome anybody in the name of Jesus? That's what Paul was doing because he was the apostle to the Gentiles. Go to Ephesians 3. Let me show you how he says it here in Ephesians chapter 3. And like we saw so much in the book of Acts, it would have been so easy for Paul to just drop it about the Gentiles. I'm sure that would have made his life easier. And he says in Ephesians 3:1 – we did this in a sermon a long time ago, letter from a Roman jail. He said, “For this reason, I Paul, a prisoner of Christ Jesus, on behalf of you what? Who is he talking to there, on behalf of you who? He's a prisoner because of who? The Gentiles? See, yes, maybe people would have been divided just because Paul was preaching the gospel among the Jews. But see, the thing that really tripped it up was he was ready to take it to the Jews and the Gentiles, and the Jews definitely discriminated against the Gentiles. The Jews definitely showed partiality. And so, what Paul did was, he wasn't just so different because he wasn’t a Pharisee. And he was a believer in the way of Jesus. He was also different because he wasn't any more discriminating against the Gentiles, but he was bringing the Gospel straight to you. That's a big change that God did in Paul's life. And he says, Well, “assuming” in verse 2 “that you have heard of the stewardship of God's grace that was given to me for you,” assuming that you know that God sent me as an apostle to the Gentiles. And he says in Ephesians 3:8 “To me, though I am the very least of all the saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ.” See it? Did you see how everyone who calls on the name of the Lord, not only will they be saved or not put to shame, but the Lord will bestow His riches on all who call on him. Here, he's preaching to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ. What we have in the Gospel of Jesus is a treasure. It is a treasure of life. And it can take people who are so addicted, so anxious, so over this life, and it can completely fill them up with love, peace, and joy. And everybody needs this treasure of the gospel of Jesus. Are you willing to go? And are you ready to welcome anybody that God brings in here, because we're going to preach through Romans 1 this summer. And it's quite possible that while we're preaching through this, you're going to be reading about the sins that God gives them up to. You're going to be reading about them in the news every day. I mean, what we're about to talk about in Romans 1 is so controversial in America right now, that there are going to be people who really don't like us after this summer. And there are going to be people who are going to have been with us forever after this summer.
And, are you willing to share the good news? Are you ready to welcome people? He says, I'm eager to get there, I am willing to do it. Are we really – I want to take a moment right now to really think this through about our church specifically, okay? Because when we look at what's happened at our church, praise the Lord, Hey, we got this spring season that we're coming off of more people having heard the word of God at this church than ever before. Can we praise the Lord together for that,? Like more people are coming in, hearing the gospel this spring than ever before. But so, we could just kind of say, Hey, we're doing our job great. Or we could think, Wow, we still have so many more souls that we need to reach. So that I feel like this is a real crossroads. Because we're at this moment right now, where we're doing three services in this room. Take a look around the room. Saturday night, this is the least attended of the three services. I don't know if you ever come to church here on Sunday, but Sunday at 11 o'clock, for many of the Sundays, throughout the spring, we could not fit everybody who showed up on Sunday at eleven in this room. So we're saying, look at all the people, look at the harvest, look at how much fruit we still need to see from the gospel. And if we're full here at the church, you're going to have to go across the parking lot. And there's a room over there you can sit in, and you can watch it on TV, and people will be walking through the whole time, but it'll be great. You should go do that. So, I mean, we're in overflow status Sunday at 11 o'clock. So, this is like classic reason churches start hunkering down is we don't have any space. So, if we want to keep reaching Huntington Beach, and we want to keep seeing people get saved in Soul City, USA, then it's going to beg some questions. And me and the elders, were praying about, talking about these questions all the time, because the owner of all these buildings is saying, Hey, do you guys see that spot right across the parking lot? I want you guys to sign a lease for that spot. And you guys could build a bigger auditorium, right across the parking lot. That's something on the table right now that we could do as a church. We could double up this room and get a room twice as big right across the parking lot. And we could even get brand new air conditioning, so people don't have to fan themselves the whole service. I see you guys I feel the same way. I'm thinking why don't they turn it up? You know what I mean? I'm there with you. So that's all over there. But here's the thing, you know what? That's going to cost a whole bunch of money if we want to do that. So, see, this is where it comes. This is where like, the seats meet the parking lot right here. It's like, okay, so we want people to come here and hear the word, but we're inviting them maybe to a service where there's no seat for them to come here and hear the word. What do we want to do about that? And the report we're getting, we don't have the full report. When we have the full report, we'll be presenting it to you. But we've seen enough of the full report of the plans and putting it out to bid and getting what the cost is going to be, and the cost to get that auditorium across the parking lot, it's going to be more money than we have.
So, I mean, here's a question we can ask ourselves here, your squiggly dash here for our church: Are you willing to give for more seats? I mean, this is a question we're going to have to ask ourselves as a church because we would need more money. People have given towards the Double-Double project, some people have given very generously, it's been very encouraging, but we can tell just looking at the estimate of what it's going to cost, looking at how much money people have given, they're not matching up. So, is that something we want to do? Another thing is, there's ways to think about church. Church is in a building, okay? Church is people who love one another. And church is making disciples where you welcome someone in, you show them the gospel, they respond to Jesus, they repent and believe. They have that foundation. That's just the beginning of discipling people. Can I get an Amen from anybody on that? Now, we need to teach them to obey everything Christ commanded us. We need to talk about their family, we need to talk about their work, we need to talk about how we do church with one another. I mean, we need to not just share the gospel with them. But we need to go through like a one-on-one discipleship program, like Partners, with them. We need to get into the Word with them and build one another up in our fellowship groups.
I mean, see, here's the thing: If we want more people to come and hear the word, then who's ready to sit down one-on-one with those people and say, well, here's how I learned to obey the commands. Let me pass it on to you. Because every single soul that comes in here and says, I believe in Jesus, they need another man or another woman to sit down with them and say, I’ll do Jesus with you, I’ll pass it on to you, hey, let's do this together. Let's share life. They need someone to show them the way of faith. So, if we're like, Yeah, more people come into church. Well, that just begs the question, Who are you sitting down one-on-one with and passing on your discipleship? See, it's not just going to require more space and more seats, it's going to require more space, more disciple-makers, more mature Christians? How long have you been a Christian? Is it long enough that you should be able to share with somebody else how to be a Christian? So, we're not going to reach Huntington Beach and plant a church into Long Beach and double up and see a lot of souls get saved. Unless we have more workers and less people who are just attending, just watching it all happen, just rooting for it from the sidelines, say, Hey, I need to step up. And I need to get in the game. And I need to have a disciple that I show how to live the Christian life. So, this is going to require more one on one discipleship, more servants in the kids and youth ministry, more leaders have fellowship groups. Now if we want to keep reaching more souls, if we want to go from one church to two churches, so they can go reach Long Beach and get South LA County. And we'll stay here in Huntington Beach and get North Orange County, and we'll see many more souls get saved. And the next years to come, however long God gives us, Well, who here is going to step up and say, Yeah, I want to make disciples of all nations. I want to bear fruit. I want to see souls get saved. I don't want to watch other people make disciples; I want to make disciples.
See, we're going to need people who aren't doing it, to start doing it. And I'm talking to some of you right now. And I'm asking you, What do you want to do here in Huntington Beach? What kind of church do you want to be? Do you want to circle the wagons, you want to protect ourselves from the big bad world? Or do we want to go reach as many people as we can before it's too late. We can build one another up and we can see souls gets saved. That's the kind of church that we need to be.
So second squiggly dash here: Are you willing to grow to make more disciples? Are you okay with where you are in your faith today? Or are you like, No, I need to grow. I need to mature because I need to be used to reach people. And if you are mature, and you are reaching people, please don't stop. Please don't grow weary. I'm talking to some of you who have been faithfully making disciples for years now here at this church. Some of you who started really passing on what you know about Jesus to other people this last year. Please do not grow weary in doing good, especially to those of the household of faith, for we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. We will see some summer fruit if we keep doing the work of the ministry here in Huntington Beach.
So let me pray for us. My Father in heaven. Well, I just come to you and I'm concerned that the church has become a spectator sport, where many in the congregation cheer on those who are doing the work. And I pray that here we would all be disciples, who make disciples, that everyone here who's a new disciple, that they would be committed to grow. And everyone here who's been a disciple for some time, that they would want to mature, that we would all see what Paul is saying here as an inspiration and example, not something that's different than us, but something we very much want to be like. That we would want to care for the one anothers here, that we would want to be with one another, and pray for one another, and speak the truth in love to one another, and build up this church that everybody here could mature in Christ. But that we would also still care about the people around us. And we want to pass on what we know to them. And we're always praying for that opportunity to share the gospel. And we're always looking at all people as souls who need to be saved. So, Father, please let us be that kind of church. Don't let us make up this fake divide, this false dichotomy that we can either build each other up, or we can reach our cities. But let us do what Paul says in Romans 1:8-15. Father, we pray that this summer, we will preach the gospel, which is your power to save, and we will call out all of the sins that our nation is in. And then we will see some summer fruit, we will see a harvest of souls get saved and we pray that, along with that harvest there will be brothers and sisters here in this room right now who will step up, who will mature say, Yeah, I want to, I want to go through Partners so I can take someone else through. I want to grow in my faith so I can pass it on to someone else. Father, we pray that we will be the church that you're calling us to be, and that your kingdom will come, your will be done that will see the work of Jesus with our own eyes. We pray this in His name. Amen.
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