Discerning Church Learning to discern the movement of God's Spirit

Muddled Missions

This week, I am preaching on Luke 24. Jesus finds the disciples in a state of confusion after he rises from the dead. No doubt, they are afraid, yet joyous; they believe, yet they doubt. John Stott puts it this way.

His coming found them believing and unbelieving, startled and joyful and afraid all at once. Emotionally, they were thoroughly confused.

It is my observation that the church remains confused in our day. This confusion is not only emotional, it is also programatic. Perhaps like never before, the church does not know what it needs to be doing. If you travel to ten churches in your town, you will likely find that each one has a different agenda. How can Christians who follow the same scripture be so varied? Why does the church suffer from such incertitude in its mission?

In this week’s sermon, we will look at Jesus’ final words to his followers. As he opens the scriptures to them, he clarifies their work. He focuses their theology on His death and resurrection, he focuses their mission as one of “going out” to the world. He paints a picture of a Spirit filled group whose authority is found in what they have experienced. Jesus’ words in Luke 24 give us clarity in a world of perplexity.

May we learn to recenter our efforts on these principal points. May we continually check ourselves against the temptation to drift. As we discern, we must build in checkpoints. We need to ask the right questions about our motives, our influences, possible dysfunctional church-family dynamics. We need to come back to these questions over and over again. I would love to hear your thoughts on asking the right questions to guard against muddled missions.