Assemble | You Have A Calling

Understanding Why Jesus Has Called Us To Assemble As A Church

Steven Roberts
Jul 3, 2022    31m
Join us in the first message of our new series, Assemble, and discover why it is so important for Christians to assemble as a church. While God has gifted us all individually, we are most powerful in furthering His Kingdom when we are gathered together. Video recorded at Pineville, Louisiana.

messageRegarding Grammar:

This is a transcription of the sermon. People speak differently than they write, and there are common colloquialisms in this transcript that sound good when spoken, and look like bad grammar when written.

Steven Roberts: [00:00:03] Well, man, that was a worship service. Come on. Come on. Come on. Man, I can feel the power of God moving right now. I am so, so excited. Good morning, by the way. Good morning. My name, if you have not met me yet, please hit me up afterwards. Shake my hand. I'm Pastor Steven. I am the children's pastor here at Journey. And when Pastor James is out, this becomes my service, 8:30 So welcome, welcome, man. You know, Pastor James gave us a call Thursday, Thursday, like 3:00 pm. And it was like, hey, we were going to do this weird thing where he shot me with silly string. And he goes, I got good news. I'm not going to shoot you with silly string on Sunday. And I go, That is good news. I like that. And he goes, Really good news is you get to preach. So write a whole sermon by Sunday morning. No pressure. No pressure. So but seriously, God had already been speaking to my heart because God knows what He's doing, whether you believe it or not. And God had already been giving me a message that I really felt was a little too intense for kids. I didn't know what I was going to do with that message. And then Pastor James gave me a call. So here we are. Pastor James, thank you so much. I hope you enjoyed the fireworks last night, and I thank you for allowing me to come on your stage this morning.

Steven Roberts: [00:01:33] Let's give it up for Pastor James real quick. If you haven't noticed, we're launching a new series called Assemble. And I get to launch that series here. And as I'm thinking about Assemble and we're looking at this backdrop, I don't know if you realize this, this backdrop is a perfect example of what assemble means to us. Because if you haven't noticed, it's actually really tall. That is over, over eight feet tall. It is 16 feet wide. That is five different panels. When you come in and you see that four by eight, those giant, this is 20 of them making up this one backdrop. And I kind of dreamed it up one night sitting there at camp. And there's absolutely no way I could have done this. Right? But I tell Pastor Josh, Pastor Josh goes, let's go to our sign guy, our sign guy who has never done anything like this. Pastor Josh had to sit with him for like two, 3 hours to figure out how to cut this thing out. Our sign guy took 36 hours straight cutting this out. And then we get it here, and we have no idea what to do with it from there. And then Brian, who is our maintenance guy, custom-built a frame in like 2 hours to hold this whole thing up. And then Pastor Bruce somehow had to figure out how to get a backdrop going.

Steven Roberts: [00:03:03] And we're using this for VBS. Not only that, he figured out how to have Spider-Man going by, which that's probably a spoiler. Sorry. But I'm excited. And then if that wasn't enough, we had Micah and our boy Aaron came out and custom wired all the lights so that we could get this silhouette effect. And then God is so amazing. We have like four or five baptisms today that, oh yeah, now we can't get to because this thing is over eight feet tall. So then we said, Hey, Pastor Richie, figure out how we could baptize somebody. And Pastor Richie figured out how we could baptize somebody in an awesome way. So really, when you look at this backdrop, I don't think you appreciate that it took over ten people with vastly different skill sets to bring this whole thing just so you have something pretty to look at that makes sense in our series. So that is a symbol. So give it up for my team, not my team, Pastor James' team real quick. They're amazing. They really are. But I say all that to say that's what it looks like when somebody has different gifts and they're awesome on their own, but when they come together, we get an entire New York City skyscraper in our church this morning. Before I get started, before I get started, let's bow our heads. I want to pray.

Steven Roberts: [00:04:32] I want to pray. God, you are so amazing in this house, Father. And you are so good. You are so good to us, Father. And I pray right now that you gave me this message, Lord Jesus. You gave me this message. And I pray, Father, that it touches somebody because this message is for somebody, and somebody needs to hear it. Lord God, I love you. Amen. Amen. So assemble, assemble. That is based on Avengers. If you've never seen the movie Avengers, I'm about to spoil the movie for you. But it's been out for a while so it's really your fault. Okay. So as I'm writing, one scene keeps coming over and over in my head, over and over in my head. And this scene, it's amazing. It's towards the end. And the movie was kind of dark. That's why if you haven't seen it, probably not necessarily great for younger kids. But kind of dark. There's this bad guy, worst guy in the whole universe, and he's just decimating every superhero that comes up. He destroys them. He beats him. And in this scene, Captain America, who in my opinion, Pastor Bruce would probably argue with me, but in my opinion, the leader of the Avengers. He's fighting, and he's all bloody. He's beat. He can't go on anymore. And he knows Thanos, the bad guy, Thanos has beaten him. And he's got to look at defeat. His mask is ripped.

Steven Roberts: [00:05:57] He has no shield anymore. He has no weapon. And he's just standing there, and he knows he's defeated. When all of a sudden, all these portals start opening behind him, and out of these portals start stepping out every superhero. Every single superhero, every avenger, every henchman that the Avengers have. All of a sudden, hundreds of people start pouring out of these portals, and they're just standing there right behind Captain America. And Captain America looks back, and he says the most iconic saying in the entire universe because in that moment he knew he was no longer fighting alone. He had the church, in my opinion, the church behind him now to face evil. And he's standing there, and he looks Thanos in the eye, and for the first time, you get a glimpse of uh-oh in Thanos' face. For the first time, Thanos, you could see a little bit of doubt creep into his mind as then Captain America, he looks at them all, and he goes, Avengers. And he gets Thor's hammer, and it shoots to his hand and he goes, Assemble. Okay. You got to see the movie. I'm getting goosebumps right now. Man, you got to see this movie. I am getting goosebumps. But that's what I think of when I think of assemble. I think of we're great on our own. I can do amazing things for the Kingdom of God. But imagine if every Christian came together and looked Satan in the face and you start seeing the creep of doubt coming over Satan's face.

Steven Roberts: [00:07:39] That's what assemble is to me. But I wanted to make a clear distinction. Right? A bunch of active Christians who assemble, that's a church. But a crowd of people is not a church. And if you got your bulletins this morning, it's probably a little weird because that's not my message. That was Pastor James's message. But you're not off the hook. Flip it and you can write notes. So write notes as we go. My first point is a crowd is not a church. Say with me. A crowd is not a church. You can't just show up here and expect to be a church. You can't just come sit in a pew and expect to be a church. In Luke 5:1, go ahead and write that down too. Luke 5:1. I love this. I love this. It says on one occasion, Jesus was preaching to a crowd on the shore of Lake Galilee. A vast multitude of people was pushing to get close to Jesus to hear the Word of God. So a great crowd was literally mashing against each other, pushing to get closer to Jesus just to hear Him. You know, there were no microphones back then. There was not an awesome production team who's EQing my mic as we speak and making me sound way better than my voice actually sounds.

Steven Roberts: [00:09:14] He had none of that. So all of these people are literally pushing through each other just to get close enough to Jesus to hear His voice. And then it starts out making the distinction. This was just one occasion where a great crowd, one time out of the many times where thousands of people were there to hear Him. And this is what a crowd is. See, there were crowds when Jesus preached, crowds that would push to get forward, crowds that wanted Him to hear. But you know where else there was crowds? There was crowds when Jesus was on trial. But they no longer cared what He had to say. They were just a crowd. You know, there were crowds watching Jesus get beat. And these crowds no longer cared. They just wanted to see His blood shed. You know, there were crowds who watched Jesus carry a cross that was built for you to carry. But Jesus is carrying it. And there were crowds that were mocking Him when He's taking your sin upon His body. And they just wanted to see Him dead. But who was left when Jesus died? You see, the crowds were gone. The Bible says that there was just one guy there, one guy named Joseph. We don't even know who Joseph is. Where were the crowds? Where were the thousands that were there listening to Jesus preach when He died? We have Joseph, some guy who had a burial plot.

Steven Roberts: [00:10:54] Some guy who it says was a religious leader. Some guy who said, I can't let Jesus just keep hanging on that cross. One guy. And then later his mom. Joseph. Hey, Mom. Joseph and His mom. That's all that was there. Not even His disciples. Man, where were the disciples? You know, we're left with a guy named Joseph after watching Jesus die. All of the disciples scattered. They were all gone. They. The Bible says they over and over. They scattered. They left Him. A little bit later, we'll get into it. It says, they gathered. But here is what made me so excited to preach this message this morning. Because I feel like there are a lot of they's here this morning. I feel like this message is made for some they's. Whether you are the they that scattered, you are the they that gathered, you are the they that is sitting here this morning, this message is for the they's. Because in the Bible, they just watched the supposed hero, the savior that they were promised die. They were lost. Rightfully so if I'm being honest with you. Right? You just watched your hero die. What are you thinking? Are you sticking around? They were confused. They were confused. Jesus said He's going to save them. How can they save Him if He's dead? They were heartbroken. You ever had your heart broken? Do you make smart choices?

Steven Roberts: [00:12:37] And finally, they were scattered. There were no longer the church. They were a bunch of scattered guys. They were a crowd of sinners who are all on their own now. And as I said, eventually we read that they come back together. We're going to get there. But right now, right now, and this is my second point, they scattered before they gathered. They scattered before they gathered. You know, we just went through everything that they were scared about. We just went through everything that they were heartbroken about. They had everything in the world. And then they got scared and left. You know, Luke 22, starting in verse 55, and we're going to go a little bit. And this is what's really interesting. It says, and a servant girl, seeing him as he sat in the firelight and looking intently at him, said, This man was with Him, too. But he but he. Do you know who he is? Peter. Peter. The he is Peter. Peter, the guy who was Jesus' disciple. Peter, the guy who was with Jesus in the garden. Peter who defended Jesus by cutting off the soldier's ear when they came to take Him. This Peter. This Peter. And then it says, but he denied it, saying, Woman, I don't know Him. The Peter that would stand next to Jesus and defend Him is now denying Him to a little girl at a campfire.

Steven Roberts: [00:14:29] You know, things got so hard and the pressure was so intense that even Peter, who was one of the three people Jesus let into His life, scattered. Scattered. And this is my mom, by the way. She's in the front row. She lives in Pennsylvania. Came a long way Thursday when she heard I was - I'm joking. She was coming down anyway. This is just cool. But as I'm reminded about Peter, which was interesting, you know, I used to, when I was a kid, I got into church probably eighth grade-ish. Probably. Probably around eighth grade we started going to church. I got really into youth group. I was fired up and I was like, I'm going to be a youth pastor one day. And my mom used to tell me, I see you preaching. I see you preaching one day. And I was like, Yeah, whatever, Mom. Stop. Cool. You know? And then somewhere along the way, I became a they. Right? And you remember when I stopped going to church? Yeah. She answered that a little quick. And then in my twenties, you remember when I was partying probably a little bit more than I should have? I remember that time that I got heartbroken and then I turned to the bars instead of turning to God. And remember every night I wouldn't pray for myself, but my mom would pray for me.

Steven Roberts: [00:16:03] Every single night my mom would pray for me. And as I'm writing this, I remember that one time that I drank too much. And then I passed out and my mom had to come pick me up and she found me unconscious in a parking lot and she couldn't wake me up. And you remember when I scattered? When I was Peter and I left? And every single night, it was just my mom and my dad praying for me because I refused to pray for myself. And I scattered and I was Peter and I was looking at Jesus saying, I don't even know you. And my mom was behind the scenes praying. But then do you remember when I came back to the cross? You remember when I came back to the cross and I started screaming out to God and I started remembering, I started saying, God, save me from my own self, God. And do you remember when every single disciple scattered and left absolutely nobody with Jesus? And do you remember the whole time when the crowd got tough? Everybody left Jesus. But do you remember when Jesus came back and assembled everyone again? You know, you might be scattered right now. Anybody who's listening to this, you might be scattered. You might feel lost. You might be heartbroken. You might be living in a very, very dark place.

Steven Roberts: [00:17:27] But Christ is just standing there, waiting for you. Just waiting for you in that upper room. He's waiting to give you your supernatural gifts, and you just have to get over yourself. You just have to get past your own scattering. Because that's the same God who was there before the cross. It's the same God who came back to life after the cross. And it's the same God who's just waiting for you to open the door in the room. No. They were scattered before. But listen, listen, listen, listen. Now because of Jesus, they are gathered. And I know you were like, did he just say he was passed out in a Walmart parking lot? I didn't tell you Walmart. It was Walmart. You're like, But he's a pastor. He can't be passed out. Yeah, exactly. I wasn't then. I was just a human. I was a human with a past, a human that my God redeemed. You know, I am the they that scattered, but I am also the they that left that past behind and took my gifts from God. And I'm the same they who came back and is chasing after Christ every single day. And I never once look back at that life and think, Man, that was cool. Because it wasn't. And man, Peter, Peter preached at Pentecost. But a few days later, he cussed out a little girl at a campfire. And you know why? Because my God redeems.

Steven Roberts: [00:19:13] My God is a redeemer. Don't you say that He can't do it. I love that song. And I thought, wow, that fit, that fit. Don't you dare say it because my God is a redeemer. And this is the key. They gathered to receive the gifts that God had for them. You know, for time reasoning, I'm going to skip a little bit of this story. But for those that don't know it, don't know it, I'm going to catch you up real quick. So Jesus died on a cross. Spoiler. He came back to life. All of the disciples panicked and scattered. Jesus came back to life three days later. He gathered them all up again, and then He hung out with them for a while, gave them some last teachings. That's pretty cool. For a few days, He hung out with all these guys again. He got the band back together, so to speak, and they were doing some pretty cool stuff. And then Jesus got them all together in a room and He starts talking to them. And He said, Hey, when I go this time, I'm really going, guys. Stop. Knock, knock it off and do right. Okay? So He got them all in that room. And then this is that next point. The next point is that Jesus gathered them, right? So they gathered so now they could scatter. So first, a crowd is in a church.

Steven Roberts: [00:20:38] The crowd will always leave. What's important is the church. Then the second is they scattered. But Jesus can gather, right? They scattered before they gathered. And now Jesus is gathering them so that He can scatter them. And that's the third point. So let's dive back in because I'm seeing some confused faces. How does that make sense? Why would they scatter to gather, only to gather to scatter again? Well, the Bible is going to tell it better than I can. So Acts 1, verse 4, man, it says, gathering them together. Together. He commanded them not to leave Jerusalem but to wait for what the Father had promised. So you're telling me that they were already scattered? Why didn't Jesus just leave them scattered? Well, they scattered the first time. On them. They scattered because they were afraid. They scattered because it was what they wanted to do. We leave the church often. We see it all the time as pastors. In dark times, when we're going through pressure, we leave the church, right? And then we find ourselves just like I did in that story, all alone. We find ourselves unprotected because now we no longer have God's umbrella over us. We find ourselves cut off from the Body of Christ. We find ourselves alienated from the one guy that could actually help heal us, that could actually help bring us out of addiction, that can actually give us some counseling. And we leave Him.

Steven Roberts: [00:22:17] That's the bad scatter, guys. That's the scatter we don't want. That's the scatter that we need to leave and gather from. So we need to gather. If you're out there on your own, I'm telling you right now, we need to gather. We need to come to church. We need to do small groups. We need to serve here. We need to get in a community that loves Christ because there's where we're going to find guidance. There's where we are going to find protection. That is what we need. We need a healthy, God-centric community, and that is why you need to be here. That is the way God designed it. And if you were paying attention in verse four, it wasn't a suggestion. God commanded it. He commanded it. Jesus commands us to stay in Jerusalem. What Jerusalem really means for us, and this is the church. You know, Jerusalem in the Book of Acts, the Christian church hadn't formed yet. Jerusalem was that. That is where every Christian, if you will, was. So when Jesus is saying He commands us to stay in Jerusalem, He commands you to stay in church. And at the end of that, wait. Wait for God. Stay in church and wait for God. That is a commandment. So let's jump down, verse eight. And this is a fun verse. But you will receive power. Superpowers. You will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you.

Steven Roberts: [00:23:58] And you shall be my witness in both and Jerusalem. You shall be a witness here at Journey Church. You shall serve here at Journey Church. And in all Judea and Samaria and all of Pineville and Alex. And even the remotest parts of the earth. But you cannot be a witness, you cannot scatter until you have received God's promise. And He promised you gifts from God. If you try to scatter before, if you try to scatter without that power that the Holy Spirit, you're going to falter, you're going to crumble, and the enemy is just going to eat you up. Just going to eat you up because now you've scattered and you're out there without the protection of God. So church, listen, listen. All of that to say this one sentence. You cannot scatter in God's name unless you have gathered for a season. Let me say that one more time. One more time. Write it down. You cannot scatter in God's name unless you've gathered for a season. And then Jesus specifically says that you shall be a witness in Jerusalem first. He says it right there. We just read it. So now you have no excuse. You have to be a witness in Jerusalem first. So if you are not serving, if you are not in a small group, you're just gathering. You're just a crowd right now. Become the church so that way God can further the Kingdom.

Steven Roberts: [00:25:44] So this is, and as I'm writing, I'm like, Is that really fair to tell these people you can't go out and witness until you witness to your own church first? Well, then God smacked me and He said, There's a reason for that. There's a reason that He designed that for you, and that is because God needs to train you and He needs to train you in a safe space. He needs you to hone in your gifts. He just said that if you gather, He's going to give you gifts, gifts of power, supernatural power from the Holy Spirit. Well, you're not going to know how to use them. What good is a gift if I walk out and I don't know how to use it? So in this safe space, that is why God has designed it. You come here first, you witness in His home, in His safe space with a bunch of other believers who are also trying to hone in their skills. And then you take them to the city. So be patient. If you're gathering here and you're like, Man, I want to go somewhere, I want to - Be patient. Be resilient. Keep your heart after God. Stay pure. Keep honing that craft. Train here. That's the way God designed it for you. So I say all that, and I got one question. There's a lot of places you can find yourself in this sermon, a lot of places. You could be the scattered. You could be the gathered. You could be the good scattered.

Steven Roberts: [00:27:08] I don't know where you're - So where are you? Where are you? I know some are probably hurting here today, whether you're here, online. I've been there. I can tell you, it can be better if you want it to be better. You know, there's someone that wants to help you through that, and He's just waiting at the door. He's probably knocked a few times. You were just listening to yourself so you couldn't hear it. But listen, this morning, get quiet. God's just knocking. That's you. If that's you hurting this morning, just let God in. Because I wasted some years of my life. Wasted a lot of money too that I probably could have invested better. But that's a different sermon. But I was hurting. And maybe that's you. Maybe that's you this morning. Maybe, you know, maybe you were gathered and somebody hurt you and you left. You know, the interesting thing is, this is just a side note. This is free this morning. You know, Peter denied Jesus not because of who Jesus was. Peter denied Jesus because of what the religious people did. So I hear that a lot. So maybe you were gathered and some of the religious people hurt you. Come back to Jesus, guys. Jesus didn't hurt you. You know, some people probably have an incredible weight that I can't even imagine sitting on your shoulders.

Steven Roberts: [00:28:58] Divorces, we just got past, maybe going back into it. A season of great pressure in America, political unrest. There's a ton of pressure. And, you know, in just a few moments, we're going to have some great counselors here at the altar. You don't have to do that alone is what I'm trying to say. These counselors are amazing. They'll help take that weight off. Maybe they will show you where to go. If they can't do it we have a licensed counselor here mid-week if you didn't know that. We have a licensed professional counselor who's right here. That's literally what he does is helps people get past those issues, man. Maybe you're a mother and a father, and you're just watching your kid make the worst decisions their entire life. And you don't know how to pray about that. You know, we got resources. We got resources on how to pray a hedge of protection around your children. And if you're not doing that right now, you need to be doing that, guys. We have those resources. There's next step cards. If you're online, hit it in the chat, come down to the altar. Whatever it takes to get you to that next step, whatever it takes to get these materials in your hand, we will do. And the last is maybe you were scattered and now you're gathered and you're waiting and you don't know what that next actually looks like for you.

Steven Roberts: [00:30:29] We want to help you hone that in. We want to help you hone your gift. Baptism, small group, a serve team. We got a million plus ways, whatever it takes. We joke, but we really don't joke. We will do anything short of sin to help you get closer to God. Whatever it takes to help you hone your gifts in. If you will take our help, we will help you with that. So Pastor Darrell, man, if you could bring your team down. We got an amazing team, as I said, of these counselors. Whatever that next step looks like for you. Or maybe you just need somebody to talk to this morning, somebody to help get that pain off your chest. If you'd stand with me, I want to pray for you guys. And then we're going to leave these altars open for a little bit. Lord God, we love you so much, Father. We love you that you have everlasting grace, Father. We love you. That even when we're like Peter and we deny you to your face, Father, you still love us, and you still show us grace, God. So I pray right now, Father, for anyone that doesn't know you, that they will feel it in their heart to get to know you before they leave this morning. We love you, God. In your holy and precious name. Amen.

Recorded in Pineville, Louisiana.
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Journey Church
2900 Donahue Ferry Rd
Pineville, Louisiana 71360