Rich Perez is the pastor of Christ Crucified Fellowship in (Washington Heights) New York City.
A Gospel Community: A Re-Emphasis on Mission
Right teaching leads to right practice. Gospel intake should lead us to gospel living. Enlightened and transformed by the light of the gospel message, with Jesus as it's center, we are not merely encouraged, but rather mandated by it to live a lifestyle of missions.
What would it look like if we truly believed that God has come, died and resurrected for the forgiveness of sins? What would it look like if it saturated our apartment buildings, blocks, community, work places and parks with gospel living? How much spiritual change would we see if we were to meet some of the physical needs of our community while anchoring our good deeds to God's saving grace? These questions are few of many to consider while living in light of your local church community's evangelistic values.
Read Mark 12:29-31
Jesus answered, “The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” Jesus responds to the crowd's questioning with foundational truths of Gospel discipleship; Love God with all and above all, and Love our neighbor.
- What does it mean to love God with all our heart? Mind? Soul? Strength?
- What does it look like to love our neighbor practically? Ultimately?
Read Matthew 28:19-20
"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, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
Before bringing his earthly ministry to a close, Jesus commissioned those that had given themselves to following him. This final commissioning of Jesus is central to the Christian life, therefore, the local church's life. Notice two things:
- Jesus’ main concern is that all people be introduced to this gospel message. That all nations hear and have the opportunity to respond to this salvation message.
- He does not call us to do this on our own, rather he says, “behold, I am with you always”. Jesus calls all of his devout followers to be on mission with him, not only for him.
- What are some things that can keep us from “going”?
- We all are challenged to be disciple-making disciples. Are any of you living this way?
- What does “discipling” look like for you in light of where you are in your walk with God?
- How much discipling should we do? Does inviting unbelievers to church suffice?
- Being inviting doesn't merely mean being hospitable in your own place but it can also mean a willingness to be where the unbelievers are.
As the local church, we desire to promote and cultivate in our community a genuine and passionate relationship with the God of the Bible in light of Jesus Christ and his sacrifice on the cross. As a community within the community, we desire to express and move in a unified love fellowship with each other as revealed to us by the Father, Son and Spirit. Lastly, as representatives of Jesus, we do not desire to exclusively huddle around each other, but intently seek to bring others into the family of Jesus Christ, our brother, through his “good news.”
You can follow Rich on Twitter @RichPerez729