Mission Statement of the Church

July 21, 2013

For those of you who have kids and can remember leaving
their children alone, whether it was for an hour, an evening or a day you understand
that the most important thing that you wanted to them to remember were your
last words.
“I love you, remember your homework”, “I love you don’t
forget to do the dishes and clean your room.” 
“I love you, remember no parties and don’t burn the house down.” 
Jesus’ last words to his kids, the
apostles were read for us earlier. 
Now just a word of
warning, don’t go looking for that particular conversation in your Scriptures
cause you won’t find it.  At least you
won’t find it exactly like that because that is a compilation of the
recollections of those who heard Jesus’ last statement.  Just as each of you will walk away from the
sermon this morning remembering certain things I said each of those at the
ascension of Christ remembered what to them appeared to be the most important
parts of Christ’s last class with them. 
Those fragments by the way are found in Matthew
28:19-20, Mark 16:15-19, Luke 24:47-49 and Acts 1:8-9. 
This is week six of our Red Letter Summer
series where we are looking at those words that are written in Red in the
Bible.  And those Red Letter Words are
the words of Jesus. 
Two weeks ago we looked at the first Red
Letters in the book of John and these are the last Red Letters words in
Matthew, Mark and Luke.
It is out of this
particular conversation that Matthew gleaned what we call the great commission,
now I know that for those of you in sales your idea of a great commission is
25% of the gross and while that is “a” great commission it is not “the” Great
Commission. 
This is in reality
the mission statement of the early church. 
You know what a mission statement is right?  It is when you have boiled the purpose of
your life or the life of your church down to a concise statement of
purpose.  At Cornerstone we can tell you
that Cornerstone
Wesleyan Church
exist to reach pre-Christians through dynamic worship and relevant preaching,
bringing them to a life expanding relationship with Jesus Christ and guiding
them into a practical holiness as evidenced through the fruit of the Spirit.  That is our mission statement, the short
version is Cornerstone Wesleyan Church exist to reach
pre-Christians, the even shorter version is We are here to help de-populate hell.  The
mission statement of Christianity is this “Christianity
exists to make disciples of all nations, baptizing them and teaching them to
obey everything that Jesus commanded.”
That my friends is
why Christians are left in the world, to fulfil that mission statement.  You see if Cornerstone Wesleyan
Church does not reach
pre-Christians through dynamic worship and relevant preaching, bringing them to
a life expanding relationship with Jesus Christ and guiding them into a
practical holiness as evidenced through the fruit of the Spirit, then we have
failed to do what we set out to do. 
Our mission
statement does not say that Cornerstone exist to provide Wesleyans with a place
to worship in Hammonds Plains, nor does it say that we exist to have this
beautiful building or that we exist to do what other churches in the area are
already doing or that we exist so that our people can have a pastor call on
them when they are feeling in need of company. 
The reason that we
are here, our passion, the all-consuming reason we exist should be to reach
pre-Christians through dynamic worship and relevant preaching, bringing them to
a life expanding relationship with Jesus Christ and guiding them into a practical
holiness as evidenced through the fruit of the Spirit.  That is why we are here and if we don’t
accomplish that, then we have blown it and might as well turn this building
into a furniture store or a car dealership.
I have said that to
say this: The greatest measure of our success is how well we fulfil our mission
statement.  And a mission statement is
really just your vision set down on paper. 
And just a word to the wise here, the vision has to be from God.  Too often churches use vision in much the
same way that a drunk uses a lamp post, more for support then for
illumination. 
A vision or mission
statement is not for the express purpose of supporting what we are doing now,
instead it is a reflection of what God wants us to be doing and sometimes there
is a difference. Our measure of success will be whether or not we are
fulfilling our mission statement. 
But it’s more than
that for you and for us because along with the mission statement that we have
for our church is Christianity’s mission statement which was laid down by our
Lord, Jesus Christ in His last public address to his followers: “Christianity exists to make disciples of all nations,
baptizing them and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded.” 
If we are not doing
that then we have failed, so a few questions about “it”.
1)  What Is It?   There has to be a reason why the church
is here and why the Lord leaves us in the world after we get saved.  I mean let’s think about it, the world is
cold and uncaring, full of pain and grief and heaven has none of that.  The old song is right when it say “Heaven is
a wonderful place, full of glory and grace.” 
And so isn’t that where we really ought to be?  But that isn’t where we are. 
So, why are we here and not
there?  Well, Jesus offered a couple of
suggestions in his teachings when he told the disciples in Matthew 5:13  “You are the salt of the earth.” He added to that in the next verse when He said Matthew 5:14  “You are the light of the world.”  And so we are told that we are to be an
influence in the world, both preserving it and flavouring it as salt and
lighting the way brightening it as light. 
But there has to be more to it than that. In John
20:21
Jesus, tells His disciples why
they are being sent out John 20:21 “As the
Father has sent me, so I am sending you.”
 So we are being sent by Christ in the same way
that Christ was sent by the Father, and why was that, To keep people out of
hell, right?  John
3:16
“For God loved the world so much that
he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not
perish but have eternal life.
Winning the lost is
the bottom line that’s why we are here, that ought to be the mission statement
of every Christian and every Christian Church, to reach the lost.  The problem though is that the main focus of
the church and of Christians is not the lost, it’s the found.
You say that’s not
true preacher, oh no?   When churches are
willing to sacrifice their children in order to hold on to their traditions and
preferences what makes you think they would do more for strangers?
Open the cheque book
of most evangelical churches and see where the money is spent.  Open the calendar of most Wesleyan Churches
and see where the time is spent. Is the majority spent on reaching the lost or
on making the found more comfortable?  Do
churches expect their pastors to spend the majority of their time and effort on
the sinners or on the saints?  It’s easy
to say we have a commitment to winning the lost but our beliefs are confirmed
by our actions not by our words.  In
other words my friends, talk is cheap.
Sometimes I get the
impressions that most Wesleyan’s don’t really believe the Bible.  I mean we are supposed to, the discipline
tells us that we believe the Bible, our preachers tell us we believe the Bible
from the pulpit, and when we compare ourselves to the liberal churches we tell
other people that we believe the Bible, but personally I think that we are
lying.
Has anybody seen the
movie “Schindler’s List”?  The plot is
about a German industrialist during the Second World War who saved a pile of
Jews from the concentration camps and certain death.  Do you know why he did that?  Well he was convinced that if he didn’t save
them then they were destined for the gas chambers.  His mission was to save Jews from a certain
death.
30 or so years ago Air
Florida flight 90 flew into a bridge and crashed into the Potomac River.  In response a man named Arland Williams
jumped into the February chilled waters and saved five people from drowning.  Do you know why he did that?  Well, he was convinced that if he didn’t save
them then there were destined to drown. 
His mission was to save people from drowning.
Are we convinced that
people who don’t know Jesus are lost?
It was Charles Spurgeon who
wrote:  “If sinners
be damned, at least let them leap to Hell over our dead bodies. And if they
perish, let them perish with our arms wrapped about their knees, imploring them
to stay. If Hell must be filled, let it be filled in the teeth of our
exertions, and let not one go unwarned and unprayed for.”
Sounds like Spurgeon was committed to keeping
people out of hell.   
2000 years ago Jesus
Christ came to this earth, lived 33 years, took the sins of the world upon
himself and died on a cross.  Do you know
why he did that?  Well he was convinced
that if he didn’t save the world then they were destined for hell fire.  His mission was to save the world
Today most
Christians are concerned with themselves and most churches are concerned with
keeping Christians happy.  And do you
know why?  Because they are not convinced
that the people of the world are destined for hell.  You say ”That’s pretty harsh isn’t it
preacher?” 
No if I wanted to be
pretty harsh then I would say that Christians are convinced that those people
are going to hell and that they just don’t care and that would make them
monsters.
2) Where Does “It”
Happen? 
Acts
1:8
But you will receive power when the Holy
Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me
everywhere—in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the
earth.”
Basically that means “here
there and everywhere.  Too often we
qualify the word missions by adding either foreign or home to the beginning of
it.  But the church only has one mission
and that is to make disciples of all nations, baptizing them and teaching them
to obey everything that Christ commanded.
We have an
obligation to reach people where ever there are people. Jerusalem was where theywere
at, that’s Hammonds Plains, the HRM,  in
all Judea meant in their entire country, Samaria was the place next to Judea
where the people were a bit different but a bit the same, maybe that is another
province or across the line in Maine and of course to the ends of the earth
covers everyone else.  That means that we
have an obligation to reach our next door neighbour, to reach the guy across
the street, to reach the lady on the other side of town, those in Ontario and
Michigan as well as those in Ghana and Sierra Leone.
And it needs to be
intentional.  It won’t just happen.  If you don’t plan a way for it to happen then
don’t count on it happening.
At Cornerstone
reaching the lost is a priority, not just in Hammonds Plains which is our Jerusalem, but also in our Judea, our Samaria and to the very ends of the
earth. 
One thing that we
did when Cornerstone was in the planning stages was to list our core
values.  Those are the principles that
our church was founded on, there are seven and we live and die by those seven
core values, they are non-negotiable and they are what Cornerstone Wesleyan Church
is all about, if you like our core values you’ll like us, if you don’t like our
core values then perhaps you’d feel more comfortable in another church.  Three of the seven core values are
1)  Cornerstone Wesleyan
Church
is committed to the reaching of
pre-Christians through relational evangelism. 
Evangelism is and will remain a priority.
  
Every dollar spent,
every staff person hired, every program instituted will have to answer the
question how will this reach the lost?   This is our Jerusalem
3)  Cornerstone Wesleyan
Church
is committed to reaching the lost and will
make tithing our general offering to world and home missions a priority.
   We are already Supporting Kerry and Carol
Allison in the Ukraine, Carl and Mya in Haiti, Robin White in Japan as well as
supporting the work in both Suriname and Ghana.  As well as Kevin and Laura Myers with their
new church in Sidney.  That is our Samaria and the very ends
of the earth
6) Cornerstone
Wesleyan Church

is committed to planting additional churches.
  We have assisted in planting churches
here in the HRM and around the Maritimes with both people and money and some
day we are going to take an active role in starting a new church in the
Elmsdale Enfield area.   That is our Judea
The vision has to be
bigger than these four walls, it has to be bigger than Hammonds Plains and it
has to be bigger than Nova Scotia or the Canada. And it has to be bigger than
home missions or foreign missions, what it needs to be is a vision to  make disciples of
all nations, baptizing them and teaching them to obey everything that Christ
commanded.
3) Who Is
Supposed To Be Doing It?
If we
were to look at who was there on the day of the ascension we would discover the
eleven remaining apostles, but the great commission had to have been for the
entire movement at that time, it wasn’t enough for those eleven to be committed
to evangelism without the rest of the group being committed as well. 
The great commission
is meant to be a mission statement for all of Christendom.  It doesn’t matter what Christians call
themselves, whether it be Wesleyan, Nazarene, Baptist, Pentecostal or whatever.  They have a common mission and that is, that
is to make disciples of all nations, baptizing them and teaching them to obey
everything that Christ commanded.  For
Christianity to survive, Christianity has to be committed to the mission of
winning the lost.  When we stop making
disciples and baptizing people then at that point the Church will begin to die,
and will die within one generation.
But the great
commission has to go beyond simply being for all of Christianity; it needs to
be a burning passion for the Wesleyan
Church.  Without the desire to win souls to Jesus
Christ our denomination will become just another empty shell in the
ecclesiastical wastelands of our country.
But the great
commission has to go beyond simply being for all of the Wesleyan Church
it needs to be for this church right here. 
Without the desire to win souls to Jesus Christ our church will become
just a service club, we’ll be like the Lions or the Rotary Club.  Not that there’s anything wrong with the
Lions or the Rotary club it’s just that they are not the body of Christ and we
are, or at least that’s what we are supposed to be.
But the great
commission has to go beyond simply being for this Church it has to be for
you.  Without the desire to win souls
what do you become?  What does it say
about you as a person if you aren’t willing to put yourself out just a little
bit to ensure that someone that you care about doesn’t end up in hell?  You see everything boils down to our
responsibility. 
If we aren’t
committed to the mission, then our local church won’t be and if the local
churches aren’t committed to the mission than the denomination won’t be.  And if the denominations aren’t committed to
the mission than Christendom won’t be. 
Maybe we need to adopt the adage of salespeople who say “If it’s going
to be it’s up to me”
The problem is that
even though most Wesleyan Churches are sound evangelically they are sound
asleep evangelistically.  And I’m here
today to say, “That ain’t the way it’s supposed to be!”  Our main purpose for being here is very
simply to depopulate hell.  Somehow we
need to get a grasp of the reality of hell fire and realize that those who do
not know Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour are destined for a Christless
eternity and will be tormented forever. 
Do you believe that?  Do you
believe that people today, people we know and people we don’t know will suffer
for eternity because we didn’t do anything to prevent it?   There are times that I think most Christians
take Mark Twain’s position on heaven and hell
when he said, “I don’t want to express an opinion. You
see, I have friends in both places.”  but
we have to express an opinion because that is part of the deal of being a
Christian.

It would be so much easier to convince people of the value of evangelism if
the Bible said that the only way that you would get into heaven is if you
brought somebody with you, but it doesn’t. 
However listen to the words of Christ in John 14:21
Those who accept my commandments and obey them are the ones who love me. And
because they love me, my Father will love them. And I will love them and reveal
myself to each of them.”
You want to be loved by God and by Jesus? 
Sure you do.  Well here’s the
ticket all you have to do is to obey Christ’s commands and one of those is Matthew 28:19-20 Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations,
baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach
these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you.”

If that was a
command of Christ and we don’t do it then John 14:21 says that means that we
don’t love him, and only those who love Christ are loved by the Father and only
those who are loved by the Father are going to get in.
I love the story
told about when Calvin Coolidge was Vice President of the United States.  One day the Vice President was presiding over
the Senate, one Senator angrily told another to go “straight to hell.” The
offended Senator complained to Coolidge as presiding officer, and Cal looked up from the
book he had been leafing through while listening to the debate. “I’ve been
looking through the rule book,” he said. “You don’t have to go.”  Friends we need to be in the business
of telling people that we have checked the rule book and they don’t have to go.”
4) How Are We
Supposed To Be Doing It? 
The power of the Holy Spirit is the means, the
method is not defined.   Deng Xiaoping said “It
doesn’t matter if a cat is black or white as long as it catches mice.”  When we allow the Holy Spirit to take
control of our lives neat things happen. 
The Bible tells us in: Mark 16:17-18 (Jesus Said) These miraculous signs
will accompany those who believe: They will cast out demons in my name, and
they will speak in new languages. They will be able to handle snakes with
safety, and if they drink anything poisonous, it won’t hurt them. They will be
able to place their hands on the sick, and they will be healed.”
Now some people get
really caught up in those particular things, but they are simply indications of
the power of the Holy Spirit in the lives of those who minister.  It is a promise of enablement and
protection.  When Kerry and Carol minister
in Ukraine they speak in a new tongue because their mother tongue is English.  When Medical missionaries minister in a
hospital in Sierra Leone and Haiti aren’t they placing their hands on sick
people to heal them?  I don’t think that
you ever have to worry about me picking up snakes, but I was convinced that the
drinking deadly poison was a direct reference to Australian Coffee.
Sometimes we get so
caught up in how we should do it that we never do it. What should the church
look like?  What should the church sound
like?  What songs should we sing?  Should we have pews or chairs?  Let me share with you my new favourite quote Thomas Jefferson said “In
matters of style swim with the current in matters of principle stand like a
rock.”
Do you remember when
Nike used the phrase “Just Do It.”?  I
would like that to be my message to the church, “Just Do it”  Listen again to the promise of Christ in Acts 1:8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon
you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere—in
Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
There are two things
that happen when the Holy Spirit comes into our lives, two evidences of his presence.
1) We receive power 2) We will tell people about Jesus.  If our lives do not exhibit power and we are
not witnesses than it would appear to be very obvious that the Holy Spirit has
never come upon you.
As far as evangelism
on a personal level that is all of our responsibility, you can no more shirk
that than you can walk past a drowning man and not throw him a rope.  But on a broader spectrum there are those who
God has called to reach people where you can’t. 
Let’s face it, realistically we can’t all move to Cape Breton to plant a
church, you can’t move to the Ukraine to help Kerry and Carol Allison to
minister to street kids or to Haiti to help Carl and Maya in the Work there.  But that doesn’t remove the obligation that
God has placed on you to reach the lost in those places, it simply changes how
you can do that.
Instead of going to the
Ukraine, or going to Haiti or going to Japan you help Kerry and Carol, Carl and
Maya and Robin to go.  Even though you
can’t be there your prayers can be there and your money can be there.    You
may not be able to say, “Here am I send me” but you can say, “Here I am, let me
help send others.
Let’s not forget our
mission statement “Christianity exists to make
disciples of all nations, baptizing them and teaching them to obey everything
that Jesus commanded.”