Restored to Restore
We are exploring why we exist as a church. Seeking to answer the WHY question must begin with considering the WHO question. It’s only when we understand who we who we are in Christ that we will understand what we do for Christ. These must be in the right order. What we do doesn’t determine who we are as much as who we are determines everything we do.
FIRST, we are restored.
By grace, through faith, we endeavor to live who we have been restored to be in Christ: I am restored to relationship with God—I was a child of wrath, now I am a son of God. I am restored to relationship with others—I was alone, now I am family. I am restored to relationship with self—I was a wanderer, now I am a disciple following Jesus. I am restored to relationship with the world—I was lost in the world, now I am a missionary to the world. We are restored.
SECOND, we are restored TO RESTORE.
In addition to being a picture of restoration to display of God’s glory; we are a tool for restoration to share God’s glory with others. WHO we are in Him dictates WHAT we do for Him and WHY. The inspiration for this restoration is Jesus. The goal for restoration is Jesus. The power for restoration is Jesus. When we know who we are, we know what we are supposed to do individually and together. God restores His people in order to bring restoration to the world. 18 All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; 19 that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. 20 Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. 2Corinthians 5.18-20. Your salvation is not for you; we have a messiah, and that messiah has sent us on a mission; and as missionaries we have been entrusted with a message. And that message is: God became man in Jesus Christ. He lived the life we should have and died the death we should have...in our place. Three days later, He rose from the dead proving that He is the Son of God offering the gift of salvation to all who will repent and believe in Him. We are restored to restore through the gospel of Jesus Christ.
The theme of restoration is deeply-rooted in the culture of our city. Our city is renowned for antiques, repurposed odds and ends, reclamation art, and reengineered pallet furniture. There are those who restore and those who go out into the world and find what others have abandoned. Every storefront screams themes of “restoration”, celebrating the value taking that which is old and making it new again. This cultural phenomena is not limited to our city, rather, the beautification of the broken and the repurposing of the antiquated is celebrated across the Pinterest universe. We have been given a job— our ministry is to bring restoration. Inspired, empowered, and guided by Jesus, we work to equip more restorers and reach the unrestored like spiritual pickers. Having spoken about what it means to be a restored people, we need to spend time discussing what it means to bring restoration to others.
Restoration | the Ministry of the Church
The mission of the church is not a mystery. Ephesians 4.11 says that the apostles, pastors, he prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers were given to the church in order to equip the saints for the work of ministry (Ephesians 4.11). Most commonly, this is understood as making disciples (or being disciples who make disciples) and a fulfillment of Jesus “Great Commission” in Matthew 28.18-20. Discipleship is what we are supposed to do. Simply defined, discipleship is the life-long process of “growing up” into Christ (Ephesians 4.15). The apostle Paul stated that he preached, pastored, and planted in order to “present everyone mature in Christ” (Colossians 1.28). Maturity in Christ begins when we behold Christ as our Savior and Lord. And as we behold Christ’s character and cross more and more, we become more Christ- like in all that we do (2Corinthians 3.18). As we become more like Christ, we are restored to who God designed us to be. In other words, we believe restoration gives a clearer picture of the true nature of discipleship—it is restoring our “humanness” to God’s original design. But how and why do we do this? The answers is simple: Jesus. Jesus is the motivation, the model, and the means for what we do.
Jesus is the motivation – WHY WE BRING RESTORATION
Who Jesus is and what He has done is the motivation for restoration. WHY WE DO what we do for Jesus, is more important than what we do. The wrong motivation for mission can have disastrous effects. Why do you do what you do as a Christian? Why do you obey? Why do you love one another? Why do you come to church? Why do you serve Why do you give to the Lord? Why do you serve the poor? Why do you share the gospel? Why should you do any of those things? All too often, our efforts to “do” for things for others are motivated out of fear. We fear losing for failing to obtain something that is important to you whether that be popularity, power, or prosperity. What is true in our relationship with people is true in our relationship with God. Our failure to accept what Jesus has done for us is the cause of most if not all of our problems—especially spiritual deadness. We are not motivated by WHO WE ARE in Christ because we think WHO WE ARE is determined by what WE do.
We are not restored WHEN we restore. We ARE restored, therefore, we restore. Jesus desires us to obey His commands not out of fear, but love. That is only possible when we realize that we don’t “do” or obey to be accepted. We ARE accepted, therefore we obey. Our service is motivated by Jesus service to us. Our sacrifice is motivated by Jesus sacrifice for us. Our giving is motivated by what Jesus gave to us. Our forgiveness is motivated by Jesus forgiveness toward us. Our love is motivated by Jesus’ gracious and radical love for us.
2Corinthians 5.14-15 14 For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died; 15 and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised.
We do not bring restoration to others because they have earned it, deserve it, or even want it. We bring restoration to others because we, who not earn, deserve, or want, have been restored by Jesus. Why do we do what we do...Jesus.
Jesus is the model. – WHAT KIND OF RESTORATION DO WE BRING
Jesus not only inspires our restoration efforts, he displays the goal of restoration. Models for wholeness, maturity, or restoration abound in our world. Our culture offers all kinds of models for manhood, womanhood, marriage, and wealth. Our world offers definitions of power, success, and beauty all tainted by sin.
Romans 8.29 teaches us that, before anything was created, God planned for us “to be conformed to the image of His Son.”
The call to believe is a call to follow Christ not just identify as a Christian. The truth of Jesus has given us life, AND HE HAS GIVEN US A WAY TO LIVE. Jesus is both the Son of God and the Son of Man. And while He gives us a picture of who God is, He also gives us a picture of everything we are meant to be—of humanness without sin, of leadership without sin, of reationships without sin, of anger without sin. In other words, THERE IS NO MYSTERY AS TO HOW WE OUGHT LIVE. When we say that we are men and woman of the way, we are declaring that Jesus has left us an example to follow. And when we talk about healing, or maturing, or restoring, we are talking about changing how we live and aligning it with our Jesus lived...and calling others to the same. Jesus gives us a picture of what perfect worship looks like. Jesus shows us what it looks like for someone to find his purpose, joy, and hope in God and His Word. Jesus gives us a picture of what it looks like to love one another. He shows us what following God looks like. He shows us the way of a husband, the way of a wife, the way of a friend, even the way of a citizen, even. He gives us an example of servant leadership, a picture of genuine submission, and a method for communication with critics. More than anything, He reveals how to forgive, how to admonish, how to warn, how to use money, how to suffer, and how to sacrifice, and how to love.
And he commends us to learn from Him. Matthew 11.28-29 28 Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
Being yoked with Jesus is uncomfortable at first. We all fight it at first because we think we have a better way. But He is patient. And, by grace, we eventually believe what He says.
Jesus is the means. – HOW WE BRING RESTORATION
Jesus does not only give us inspires us and shows us what to do; He gives us the power to do it! Jesus does not command us to do anything that He himself doesn’t accomplish Himself in us. In other words he does not just show us the way, he makes the way. There is a story in the Old Testament where Joshua, after conquering the Promised Land, charges the people to serve the Lord with sincerity and faithfulness. They people affirm that they will, to which Joshua responds “You are not able to serve the Lord.” Even when we are faithful hearers of the Word, we are not faithful doers. Jesus is the means for restoration—He, not us, possess the power to bring restoration. As we display and proclaim the healing power of the gospel, we quickly realize we have no power to actually fix anyone. Of course, that doesn’t stop us from trying. We know and understand Jesus commands, we even had a desire to obey them, but all too often we depend upon our flesh in order to accomplish His will. It’s not that we don’t believe. It’s that we try to bring restoration in a day that is different than how we ourselves received it. How did we become “born again?” How did we become new creations?
2Corinthians 5.18 says all this is from God...just like Ephesians 2 which says, when we were dead HE made us alive together with Christ!
This is the same mistake the early church made. Paul writes in Galatians 3.1-3 O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? It was before your eyes that Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified. 2 Let me ask you only this: Did you receive the Spirit by works of the law or by hearing with faith? 3 Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh? The power for restoration in others, is the same power that accomplished our own restoration. It is the spirit of Christ. He gives life through His Spirit in us, and brings life through His Spirit in us. We are empowered to experience restoration and bring it to others through His power and gifting. Paul says He toils and works hard in his efforts to bring others to maturity but that it he does so with the energy and power of Christ in Him.
1Corinthians 15.10 10 But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me. 11Whether then it was I or they, so we preach and so you believed.
Grace has its effect. When God promises, through the prophet Ezekiel, that He will give His people a new heart (stone to flesh) He also promises that He will put a new Spirit within them to cause them to “walk in my statutes and keep my roles and obey them.” We bring restoration by walking in the Spirit. We do not stand by the Spirit. We do not run ahead of the Spirit. We walk in the Spirit, trusting Him, depending on Him, and waiting for Him to work but still moving. 3
GOD DIDN’T HAVE TO
We are restored to restore. This is who we are, this is what we do. We know what we are to do, what must motivated our efforts, and how we will see it happen. The question remains, however, why would we want to do it all? Simply stated, if you believe the gospel, you will love people. If your theology, particular who know God is and what He has done fails to produce a love for people in your heart, you do not believe the gospel. You may acknowledge Jesus and talk about Him a lot, but you do not trust Jesus. Those who trust Jesus know His love. And those who know His love want others to experience the same.
John 15.7-11 7 If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8 By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples. 9 As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. 10 If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. 11 These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.
And those who love do so because they have believed what Jesus said...there is no greater Joy than to be in Christ.