Can Anybody Tell Me Why We're Here
Community Group Discussion Guide (Net Questions)

1. What are your thoughts on some of the reasons people go to church on Sundays?

2. What are your thoughts on some of the reasons people don’t go to church on Sundays?
25Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another —and all the more as you see the Day approaching.
Hebrews 10:25 (NIV)

3. Brother Larry mentioned 8 reasons to gather together for worship:
We are told to gather!
We come to worship!
We come for answers!
We come to learn about the One who was given the authority to teach us and lead us!
We come so we can go!
We come to remember!
We come to learn to obey the teachings of Christ!
We come to experience God's presence!!
Read the text from Sunday’s message and then discuss how one or more of these reasons for worship has been meaningful to you.

(Matthew 28:16-20)
16Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go.
Matthew 28:16 (NIV)
17When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted.
Matthew 28:17 (NIV)
18Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.
Matthew 28:18 (NIV)
19Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,
Matthew 28:19 (NIV)
20and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
Matthew 28:20 (NIV)


Can Anybody Tell Me Why We're Here?

Matthew 28:16-20

Have you ever wondered why you're here?
Now I know some of you might be thinking, sure, pretty much every human being ask that question at some point in their life!!

Whoa, whoa, what a minute. I was talking about, have you ever wondered why we're here at church?
Maybe I can deal with the question of why we exist in another message series.
The two questions are related, but for the series Come, Connect, Commit, we're going to look at why we come to worship!

This is not just a question for a young person questioning his or her parents on why they have to go to church.
This is a question we all need to ask and answer!

 If we don't know our purpose, our reason, our motive, our rational, our basis, our aim, our objective, or our intention for being here, then we certainly won't have an explanation when asked why we are here!!

 If we don't know the answer to these questions, we will end up just going through meaningless motions which will have little or no effect on our lives.

Without an answer to the question of why we are here, we end up waisting precious time and resources!

 Over the coming weeks we're going to discuss our rational for our church process, come, connect, and commit!
Today and next week we're going to try to answer the question of why we come to worship!

Let's pray and ask the Lord to help us begin to answer that question this morning.

PRAY!

 Let's take our Bibles and turn to The Gospel of Matthew, chapter 28:16-20.


16Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go.
Matthew 28:16 (NIV)

17When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted.
Matthew 28:17 (NIV)

18Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.
Matthew 28:18 (NIV)

19Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,
Matthew 28:19 (NIV)

20and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
Matthew 28:20 (NIV)

 I would have never in a thousand years thought to use this text for a message on worship, so when the Lord directed me here, I was at first puzzled and then I was completely blown away by what was revealed to me.

It reminds me of a t-shirt that was given to me by one of the volunteers from another state during Katrina...

 Picture (Blown away by the Word of God)

I hope today we will all be amazed by the reasons we come together for worship found in these few, yet very profound verses.

8 Reasons We're Here!

Reason We're Here #1

We are told to gather!

16Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go.
Matthew 28:16 (NIV)

Jesus had told His disciples on several occasions that He would meet them in Galilee after the resurrection.
At first this probably went in one ear and out the other because they couldn't really get their mind wrapped around Jesus dying, being buried and then being resurrected.  

So it stands to reason they would have to be reminded! And it's a pretty cool story how they received their reminder. It came through some of the women who may have just had a little more faith than the guys. Listen...

1After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb.
Matthew 28:1 (NIV)

2There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it.
Matthew 28:2 (NIV)

3His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow.
Matthew 28:3 (NIV)

4The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men.
Matthew 28:4 (NIV)

5The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified.
Matthew 28:5 (NIV)

6He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay.
Matthew 28:6 (NIV)

7Then go quickly and tell his disciples: ‘He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.’ Now I have told you.”
Matthew 28:7 (NIV)

8So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples.
Matthew 28:8 (NIV)

9Suddenly Jesus met them. “Greetings,” he said. They came to him, clasped his feet and worshiped him.
Matthew 28:9 (NIV)

10Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.”
Matthew 28:10 (NIV)

One of the interesting things about Jesus' instructions for the disciples to meet in Galilee is that none of the gospel writers saw fit to record for us what mountain or what time they met. Ever wonder why?

I think it may be that some people would say that true worship could only happen on that mountain at a certain time.

Some people would probably go and camp out on that mountain and wait for Jesus' second coming!

Think I'm crazy to think this?

Do you remember the conversation Jesus had with the Woman at the well?
Listen...

20Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, but you Jews claim that the place where we must worship is in Jerusalem.”
John 4:20 (NIV)

21Jesus declared, “Believe me, woman, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem.
John 4:21 (NIV)

22You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews.
John 4:22 (NIV)

23Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks.
John 4:23 (NIV)

24God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth.”
John 4:24 (NIV)

Our Cathedral is an old grocery store warehouse. It's not real fancy, but God's not looking for fancy, He's looking for Spirit and Truth!!!

The writer of the book of Hebrews reminds us of the importance of gathering together...

25Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another —and all the more as you see the Day approaching.
Hebrews 10:25 (NIV)

Let's look at what happened on that mountain where the disciples met Jesus after His resurrection and we'll discover the other reasons we are here...

Reason We're Here #2

We come to worship!

17When they saw him, they worshiped him...
Matthew 28:17a (NIV)

 Can you imagine how the disciples must have felt after seeing Jesus murdered on the Cross and then placed in a tomb to decay and then He meets them in Galilee just like He said He would!!

It's enough to make you just want to fall on your face and worship!!

 But even more than just the miracle of seeing Jesus alive, it was the understanding that Jesus had endured the agony and pain of the Cross in order to save my soul. It was so powerful for Peter, the one who had denied even knowing Jesus at Jesus' trial, became one of the most bold preachers who've ever lived.

Listen to the words he spoke to the very people who crucified Jesus just a short time after the resurrection...

22“Men of Israel, listen to this: Jesus of Nazareth was a man accredited by God to you by miracles, wonders and signs, which God did among you through him, as you yourselves know.
Acts 2:22 (NIV)

23This man was handed over to you by God’s set purpose and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross.
Acts 2:23 (NIV)

24But God raised him from the dead, freeing him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him.
Acts 2:24 (NIV)

25David said about him: “ ‘I saw the Lord always before me. Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.
Acts 2:25 (NIV)

26Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will live in hope,
Acts 2:26 (NIV)

27because you will not abandon me to the grave, nor will you let your Holy One see decay.
Acts 2:27 (NIV)

28You have made known to me the paths of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence.’
Acts 2:28 (NIV)

There may be some folks here today who might say, "that all sounds really good, but I wasn't there and it's just really hard for me to believe all this stuff about Jesus dying and being resurrected. Maybe if I had been an eye witness it would be so much easier to believe! If you could just show me some literal, physical proof, I would believe!!

Would you? This actually brings us to another reason we come to worship.


Reason We're Here #3

We come for answers!

 Let's look at the second part of verse 17…

17When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted.
Matthew 28:17 (NIV)

Even some of the disciples who had witnessed the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus had their doubts.

Could this be real?
Am I dreaming?
Is this some kind of trick?
Did He really die?
Did He really rise again?


 Jesus appeared to the disciples several times after the resurrection, before He ascended back to heaven. Thomas, or doubting Thomas, as he has come to be known, had this experience ...

24Now Thomas (called Didymus), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came.
John 20:24 (NIV)

25So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord!” But he said to them, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe it.”
John 20:25 (NIV)

26A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!”
John 20:26 (NIV)

27Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.”
John 20:27 (NIV)

28Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!”
John 20:28 (NIV)

29Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”
John 20:29 (NIV)

Now in Thomas' case, seeing was believing, but seeing is not always believing!!
You've heard the old saying,
"I just couldn't believe my eyes!"
Some see and still do not believe!
Someone asked me the other day how to respond to an atheist who says, prove God exist and I'll believe.

Several things.
First I would say to them,
"Hey, it is called 'Faith' you know!"
I would then tell them that for a follower of Christ, "believing is seeing!"

Please know, it's not wrong to have questions. We all have our questions and yes sometimes we even have doubts about certain things. Bring your honest questions and your doubts to worship with you. God's big enough to handle your questions!! Pray about your concerns. Ask God to reveal His truth to you.
 

When you step out by faith and trust God, He will begin to show you things. He will help you to see with another set of eyes.
Again, "Believing is seeing!"

It's to the point in my life, it would be hard not to believe because of all the things the Lord has let me see since I placed my faith in Him!   

The way He has led me, protected me, provided for me and even carried me when things were over my head has been amazing! There have been things I've not understood and couldn't figure out, but God has been faithful to teach me what I need to know and has given me peace and strength to trust Him with everything else!

 This leads us to another reason we're here...

 Reason We're Here #4

We come to learn about the One who was given the authority to teach us and lead us!

18Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.
Matthew 28:18 (NIV)

 The Gospel of Matthew begins by placing Jesus in the linage of Abraham and David. He is shown to be the rightful descendant to the throne of Israel. He is also shown to be Son of God. He is also shown to be God in the flesh!
The way He lived out His life and the way He taught made His authority clear...

28When Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were amazed at his teaching,
Matthew 7:28 (NIV)

29because he taught as one who had authority, and not as their teachers of the law.
Matthew 7:29 (NIV)

There is a whole series coming soon on the life and character of Jesus. So stay tuned!!

Reason We're Here #5

We've come so we can go!

19Therefore go and make disciples of all nations...
Matthew 28:19a (NIV)

We come so we can go! Go and do what?
Make disciples of all nations!!

How do we do that?
Well, the Greek language gives us our first clue...

The literal translation does not say "GO" but "AS YOU GO!"

In other words, "as we are living our lives we are to be about the business of making disciples!"

It's not like, okay, at 7:00pm on such and such a day I'm going to go make a disciple.

Rather it is, "As I am living my life today, I'm going to look for opportunities to build friendships and then, when the opportunity arises, I will share with my new friend what Christ has meant to me. I'll share with them how I found forgiveness, and peace and strength in my relationship with Jesus and that He loves them every bit as much as He loves me!!

I'll encourage them to give Jesus a chance and let Him help them through the struggles of life they have here-to-fore faced all alone! I will encourage them to become followers of Christ, which is what a disciple is!
And then I will encourage them to never forget the price Jesus Christ paid in order for them to be rescued from their life of sin, sadness and sorrow!

There's two ways of helping people never forget the price Jesus paid and this leads us to the next reason we come to worship...

Reason We Come #6

We come to remember!

19Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,
Matthew 28:19 (NIV)

As many of you have heard me say before, Baptism paints a picture of the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus from the grave.
Standing in the water is symbolic of Jesus' very painful death on the Cross. Going under the water is symbolic of His burial. Coming out of the water is symbolic of His resurrection!

There is another way of remembering the cost of Jesus' sacrifice. It is not mentioned in our text for today, but is something Jesus had asked the disciples to do only a short time before as they were eating the last supper together...

26While they were eating, Jesus took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take and eat; this is my body.”
Matthew 26:26 (NIV)

27Then he took the cup, gave thanks and offered it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you.
Matthew 26:27 (NIV)

28This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.
Matthew 26:28 (NIV)

 This morning we come to remember with the broken bread, His flesh that was torn for our transgressions! We come to remember, with the cup of juice, His precious Blood poured out to cover our sins. We also come to say thanks.
There will be on each table a marker and a large piece of paper for you to write a quick thank you to Your Savior!!


Please understand, you are under no obligation to participate in this portion of our worship service. However, if you have personally accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, then regardless of your denomination or church membership, you are welcome to remember with us our Lord's sacrifice.  

  If you've never trusted Jesus to be your Savior, Lord and best friend, don't put it off another moment! I will be here along with some of our other staff if you would like to pray with us before you go to the table. If you have at some point in your life trusted Jesus, but are now living a life you know is outside of the will of God, take a moment to make things right before you come to the table.

 
Let's stand, as the praise team is going to lead us during this time of remembrance and invitation. At your leisure, feel free to make your way to one of the tables and as you take the bread and the cup, remember the price, the sacrifice and the love that was given to you on the Cross so many years ago!! And we'll be here if you need to pray with one of us!

Lord's Supper

Now I know some of you are thinking, hey wait a minute. There was one more verse. You missed it!!
No, I didn't miss it because it contains reasons #7 and #8.

Reason We Come #7

We come to learn to obey the teachings of Christ!

20and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
Matthew 28:20 (NIV)

 We don't come just to learn the teachings of Jesus, we come to learn to obey the teachings of Jesus.
You can know the right things to do, but if you haven't learned to obey, the knowledge will do you no good.

Jesus put it this way...

8This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.
John 15:8 (NIV)

9“As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love.
John 15:9 (NIV)

10If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father’s commands and remain in his love.
John 15:10 (NIV)

11I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.
John 15:11 (NIV)

12My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.
John 15:12 (NIV)

13Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.
John 15:13 (NIV)

 Reason We Come #8

We come to experience God's presence!!

20and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
Matthew 28:20 (NIV)

Jesus promised to be present with us always. Not just on Sunday mornings when we gather, but every day. However, we always pray that God's presence will be felt in a special way every time we gather.
Next week we're going to have a full sermon from the book of Isaiah on this Awesome God we worship.

The praise team is going send us out this morning with a powerful song that reminds us that we come so that we may go!
During this song, we will also worship through giving. Don't forget, special gifts to our state missions offering, separate from your regular tithes and offerings go into the awaken to joy envelopes.
Thanks for your faithfulness!!

 end