by Grant Crawford – from Gauteng Connect on 24 October, 2013 at Fourways Crossing Church
3 Beloved, although I was very eager to write to you about our common salvation, I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints. 4 For certain people have crept in unnoticed who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.
We can see here that Jude is encouraging us not to flow with the trends. He is saying that he was eager to write about other things, but first wants to outline what it is we should fight for. He then lists these things, saying that certain people have perverted grace, distorting the grace message for their own end. So we can do that and we must be careful with that and we must stand against that.
He then talks about those who “deny… Jesus Christ.” So we must preach Jesus! We must fight for that – fight for keeping Jesus as central!
5 Now I want to remind you, although you once fully knew it, that Jesus, who saved a people out of the land of Egypt, afterwards destroyed those who did not believe.
God is judge and we mustn’t mess with that. This is another truth we must contend for. Remember when Herod was eaten by worms? What was the point of that? Well, we can see that when you oppose God, you’re going to lose, and that God does kill people. The text doesn’t say that Herod slipped and died accidentally, but it says an angel of God killed him. (Acts 12:23.) Or remember what God did to Nebuchadnezzar, having him eat grass? Nebuchadnezzar was told to bow before the King of Kings. Herod was told to bow too when Peter was rescued from jail. God is the judge and we must fight for that truth.
8 Yet in like manner these people also, relying on their dreams, defile the flesh, reject authority, and blaspheme the glorious ones.
Why do they get into sensuality and cause hassles in the Church? Why do they reject authority? Because they’re relying on dreams and fanciful thoughts instead of the Word. The Word is a rock and riverbed, you don’t mess with it. We must fight for this truth too.
But now let’s look at the conclusion here in Jude.
22 And have mercy on those who doubt; 23 save others by snatching them out of the fire; to others show mercy with fear, hating even the garment stained by the flesh.
Here’s what we’ve also got to fight for – snatching them out of the fire.
So we can see here that we fight for the preaching of Jesus; for God as judge; for the Word; and for the rescuing of people from the fire – we fight for the truth of grace.
So how do we do that?
I think that often merges into the question of style. We’re fighting for the rock of seeing people saved, but how that’s done varies in millions of different ways because God is infinitely creative and wise. He uses different ways to achieve this.
Some might say they don’t like this or that style and that’s fine, as long as we agree on this: that we are to be plucking them from the fire.
One of the styles God is using in the world today is the practice of having multiple sites of one church. I’ve been very reluctant to speak on this before because it usually only applies to a small percentage of an audience. Plus, we’re rookies in this thing – at NCF we’ve only been doing this for seven years, which is hardly a proven track record. And thirdly, the practice of planting sites fits under the element of style and therefore we can’t get dogmatic about it.
But I’ve been concerned about this because it seems to have become the in-vogue thing. I’ve often seen that if a church is struggling these days, the go-to solution is to hook up with a bigger church. Not that that’s wrong, but I’m concerned when it becomes the in-thing to do. Sometimes it works to get an emergency sorted out – for example, we took over a church because of an issue of immorality (there was also a solution of sending someone else but this was the better solution); or it can work when the guy leading a church ought not to be leading; so I’m not against this but I am saying that it’s often becoming the default solution, and as a result we need to comment on it with some degree of understanding and talk about it. My personal opinion is that this should be the last resort, not the default.
If we don’t speak about this then things can get clumsy and complicated and that will obscure Jesus, who is our focus. If you don’t understand your structures then you serve your structures rather than Jesus and the Gospel. So let’s clear the decks a little bit and keep Jesus the main thing and embrace what God is doing today.
I want to talk about these things:
1. Why would we do multi-site?
2. Its benefits
3. Its dangers
4. Signs that multi-site is not for you
1. Why would we do multi-site?
I started by quoting Jude because this is about style and also because there is only one reaso...Read More