What’s Our “Why?”
Preached at Main Street Church on June 23rd 2019
I want to talk about about why we as a church get involved with things like this. Our mission statement is: MSC exists to experience and communicate the gospel in our communities and around the world. Our involvement with our brothers and sisters in India is in keeping with that mission. The mission that we have as a church is birthed out of God’s mission to fill the earth with his glory. I want to spend the rest of our time together briefly talking about how our mission as Main Street Church is part of God’s larger mission in the world.
These are the last words Jesus spoke before after his resurrection from the dead, immediately before he ascended to heaven. They are the center of attention for all kinds of evangelistic and world missions agencies, as they should be.
Matthew 28:18-20: “18 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in[b] the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” *Prayer for Illumination*
In this famous text Jesus tells us three things about fulfilling his mission: What, How, and Why. He tells us what we need to do in keeping with his mission, how we will accomplish is, and why we need to do it.
- The What is: “Make Disciples”
- “19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.”
- The How is: “God will be with us”
- “And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
- And the Why is: Because Jesus is King
- “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.”
Today I want to talk about the why.
What is Your “Why?”
German philosopher Frederick Nietzsche once said, ‘He who has a why can endure any how.’
The popular podcast host Dave Ramsey has helped millions of people get out of debt through his books, classes, and call-in show. Every hour on his podcast he interviews people who put in the hard work and discipline to get themselves out of the bone crushing debt that was controlling their lives, and he during these interviews he always asks them this question: what was your “why?”
Dave asks the people this question because through decades of helping people get out of debt he has discovered that the people who successfully do it always have a crystal clear answer to the question, “why.”
It might be the birth of their first child. It might have been watching their parents struggle. It might have been a day when a check bounced on a bill, or they didn’t get approved for that extra credit card. I recall one couple who went all in on their debt, sold their truck, sold the family farm, sold the old tractor, stopped eating out, and lived on a tight budget so eliminate all their debt. Dave couldn’t believe how drastic they had been in their efforts. Then he asked them, “What was your ‘why’?” The wife, trying to hold back tears, told him that when her sister passed away they had been fostering their nephew who was just a baby at the time, and when they tried to formally adopt him they were told they were ineligible because they were in too much debt.
If they wanted to adopt their nephew, they would have to get out of debt. He was their “why.” Once they had their “why”, the what and the how were easy.
The tractor, the truck, the family farm—giving those up was simple once they found their ‘why.’
So the question for us—for our church—is: what is our ‘why’? Why do we want to experience and communicate the gospel in our community and around the world? Why did so many of you spend all day up here (and all next week!) setting up all this VBS stuff? Why are we making an effort to support ministry on the other side of the world?
Before Jesus ascended into heaven he gave us our ‘why.’ He said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.” …therefore, go make disciples. Since all authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Jesus, our church’s mission is to experience and communicate the gospel in our communities and around the world.
Another way Jesus could have said it is: Since I am the King, go and establish my kingdom. Or he could have said, “Since I have a right to rule over all things in heaven and on earth, go and lay claim to all of it.”
So our why, Main Street Church, is that Jesus is our King.
- We want to experience and communicate the gospel in our communities because Jesus is the King of our communities.
- We want to experience and communicate the gospel in India because Jesus is the King of India.
- We want to give generously from our hearts because Jesus is the king of our hearts.
- We want to see the vulnerable and downtrodden receive love and justice, because in the kingdom of God, where Jesus is the King, he rules with love and justice.
- Quoting from the OT in Luke 4:18 Jesus said “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”
- That’s the kind of King that Jesus is.
- Our ‘why’ is the fact that Jesus is our king.
- Since all authority in heaven and on earth has been given to him, we make disciples.
My favorite movie when I was a child was the Lion King. It is Disney’s most popular movie ever, and according to Forbes it is the highest grossing entertainment property of all time. I think the ultimate reason for it’s popularity is because it tells a story that resonates deep within our souls.
The movie starts by painting a beautiful picture of life in the animal kingdom, where the Lion, Mufasa is the King over all of it. Everything is as it should be in the kingdom, life is good. Mufasa’s son, Simba, will one day inherit the kingdom from his father and continue the glorious reign of his father. But through a series of lies and malicious actions, Mufasa’s evil brother, Scar, kills Mufasa, and he thought he had killed Simba also.
The once glorious kingdom is turned upside down. All the animals are in bondage under the wicked reign of scar. He has set himself up as a false king, and he is a wicked ruler. There is disease, famine, and darkness. The only hope for the kingdom is if the true king, the son of the almighty Father, returns to his kingdom and establishes his reign once again.
So in the movie, the Lion king, who everyone thought was dead, returns, and word spreads that the king is alive! Simba returns to his kingdom that is in shambles, defeats the ruler of darkness, and restores order in the kingdom so that there is life and light once again. The kingdom once again returns to paradise, all because the rightful king has claimed his place on the throne.
When the true king reigns, he sets everything right. Our king has come and he has defeated the power of sin and death. He has been given authority over all things by his father. And as a result he commands us, his church, to continue his mission in the world of making his reign known. His kingdom is a kingdom of love, righteousness, and justice for all the nations.
Revelation 5:9-10 says, “9 And they sang a new song, saying,
“Worthy are you to take the scroll
and to open its seals,
for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God
from every tribe and language and people and nation,
and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God,
and they shall reign on the earth.”
The reason we are involved in India, the reason we are involved here in St. Charles, is because Jesus is the King, and he has established his reign in our lives and when he returns will completely establish it over all things. He himself said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.”
Our why, Main Street Church, is that Jesus is our King.