Speaker: Tim Bollinger
Scripture: Matthew 5

From the series Faith Forward 2024

See Sermon Transcript

Full Sermon Transcript

Isn’t God good? He is so good, isn’t he? And his blessings, the way that he works in and through his people, his church, that we can gather even in this place on Sunday morning and sing to him and pray to him and receive communion later in the service and rejoice with families as their loved ones are being baptized. This is just an incredible day, an incredible church. And today, if you’re a guest, maybe this is your first time here or you’ve been coming for a few times or you’re streaming it online. My name is Tim. The privilege of being the lead pastor and leader in this message. You’re going to get a kind of a sneak peek about what is actually happening here at Shepherd’s Gate and some of the things that we have been up to as a community. But before we get into that, I want to dive right into Scripture this morning, and I want to dive into this specifically to the Sermon on the Mount. And if you’re not familiar with this, this is one of Jesus’s more lengthy passages where we get a real insight into his teaching and what it was that he would communicate to people. And so we’re just going to start that way. This morning. And so, Matthew, chapter five in the following chapters is where we get to read about the Sermon on the Mount. And so it starts this way, seeing the crowds. 

Jesus went up on a mountain, and when he sat down, his disciples came to him and he opened his mouth and he taught them. And then he began to teach. Now, I highlighted the word the crowd in here, because some of you do you remember what last Sunday was? The women remember what last Sunday was? And how many of you woke up this morning and you appreciated your wives and your moms this morning or are you just going to save it all for next year? And for some reason, our church was packed out. I mean, we added a Saturday service. We had more people attend the Saturday service than even the 9 a.m. service. And those of you that were here last week, you know, we had to pull out extra folding chairs because we couldn’t fit everybody in our worship space. And it was interesting because Ben was preaching and I was happy to be out in the West lobby at the second service. And there was a guest who was his first time here, but he was sitting out at one of the tables and come to find out he was here for one of the baptism families because we had baptisms last week as well. And I said, Hey, is there anything we can do for you? 

And he said, No, I’m good. You know, I’m glad to be here. I just don’t feel comfortable in the gymnasium because it’s too crowded. He said, in fact, being in large crowds gives me anxiety. And I thought, that is something that we need to take note of, that God is bringing people here and we’re filling this place, but also being sensitive to understanding how that works. But think of this. What Jesus, I mean, every time he went anywhere, he taught huge crowds of people in the way that he would work through the disciples to manage the people that were there and wanting to love everyone and heal everyone and make sure everybody knew and heard the truth. And so he starts this incredible sermon this way. He says, Blessed are the poor in spirit. Blessed are those who mourn, Blessed are the meek, Blessed are those who hunger and thirst. Blessed are the merciful. Blessed are the pure in heart. Blessed are the peacemakers. I want to say what I want us to do for a moment. So I’m going to go back through this list. But I want you to do this. This morning with me. I want you to look at it through two different lenses. I want you to think about your home. And if you’re married and if you have kids in your home, and if these things are true, if these things would be true in your home. And secondly, I want you to do it through this lens as people come here to Shepherds Gate. 

Do we believe that these attributes, that these things that Jesus speaking of, if someone came here and never been here before, that they would know and see that these things are actually true about our church here? Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of God. Is your home a place of grace? Is Shepherds Gate a place of grace? Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. Is there that opportunity in your home that when people are going through difficult times, that they’re given grace and in time to process and heal and they’re comforted? We comfort each other. Does that take place here when people lose a loved one, or do they go through a difficult season of life or they go through a divorce, whatever the case may be, do we come alongside them? And when people say that Shepherd’s Gate is a place where people can safely mourn, blessed are the meek. It’s another way of saying pride is your home a place of humility? Do people actually see and look at your family and say, you know, that family, they live to serve others and it’s not just about themselves, but they really, truly display the Christian life. When people come here, do they look at Shepherds Gate and goal at churches is cliquey and it’s just full of itself and, you know, do we really display that characteristic? How about this? 

Those who hunger and thirst? And he goes on to say, for righteous snares, for his namesake. And is your home a place where you do you pray before the meals and you open God’s Word and you’re constantly having those conversations and and God is a part of your family. When people come here, do we open the Word of God? And do we boldly proclaim what it is that God says and we don’t back down from maybe even sometimes the hard truth and the hard reality, Even if our culture tells us no or tries to silence us, how about mercy, your house a place of mercy? Do other neighborhood kids come to your home because they can just sense something’s different there? When people come here, do they feel that they find mercy more pure in heart? Realize that the reason our hearts are pure is because of what it is Jesus has done for us? I think that’s the hardest one. Would your home be described as a place of peace? How is your morning going? How is the car right in? Is it been a rough week? Month, year? Are people under the same roof at each other? Or are we peacemakers? 

Again, when people come here to this place that God has given us to do, people sense God’s peace? Do they sense that that we want to invest in their lives, that we want to help them in whatever is going on in their world? He goes on to say all sorts of challenging things and it’s really, really teaching the crowd. And he gets to the point in chapter seven where he says these words, Everyone who hears these words of mine and you actually do them, you don’t just hear them, but you actually do them, You practice them, will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain fell, the floods came, the winds blew and beat on that house. Ark, you’re living in a crazy world and sometimes circumstances don’t always work out the way that we want. And hardships come and and difficulties come. And sometimes it just seems so overwhelming what is thrown at us. But what does it say? It does not fall because it’s been founded on the rock. And who is the rock? Jesus Christ that your family is rooted in, established in God, that this church is rooted in establishing God in everything we do is because of God. 

Likewise, he said, everyone who hears these words of mine and doesn’t do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. Same life circumstances. The rain fell, the floods came, the winds blew and beat against that house and it fell and was great was the fall of it. And I guarantee you, many of you in here, you know, you may have family members or neighbors, people at your place of work that don’t know God and their lives are falling apart or they’re already in pieces and you pray for them and you be the salt and you be the light that God has called you to be in those circumstances so that God would use you as a vessel that they would know in here the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ and what it is that Jesus can do for them. Let me ask you this morning, who’s responsible for building your spiritual house? Who’s responsible? 9:00 was a little late on this one as well, cause you’re getting quiet on me. And if you’re new to Shepherd’s Gate, the congregation does respond to sermons. Okay, I want you to think about that for a moment. Who is ultimately responsible for your spiritual home? 

Here’s what Paul, who was one of the apostles, wrote to a church. He said this Wives submit to your own husbands as to the Lord for the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church, His body and is himself its savior now is the church submits to Christ. Why should submit in everything to their husbands? And everybody said it’s not Mother’s Day anymore, is it, folks? No one ever uses this text on Mother’s Day. Why do we struggle with this passage? Why is this passage still controversial? Why would it be so much easier to never even bring this passage up? What is it? What are the sticking points? The word summit. We do not like the word summit. We do not like the word obey. And it gets difficult when you look at the culture that is happening around us. When you look at this, you have to look in the proper context. You see you have Ephesians chapter 522 to 24, but you cannot have verse 22 without verse 21. And if we were wine, just one verse, this is what Ephesians 521 says, you submit one another out of reverence for Christ. Did you get the order as husbands and wives? 

If you’re in a marriage, your first submission is to the Lord. Your God. And when God produces that faith in your heart and your life, He cleanses you of your sins. You realize who you are in him, you submit to him, and then all of the other things begin to play out according to his word. Now, if you’re new to Shepherds Gate again here at Shepherd’s Gate, we invest in our men. We believe that God has called men to be the spiritual heads of their home. And we don’t call them out. We call them up into the fullness of what we believe. Scripture instruction us to do. And it’s not that men and women are any better than each other. It’s just that there is a spiritual blessing that is placed upon the man to lead his family and delete it spiritually. Not only so he said this in Ephesians, same guy Paul wrote. He said, Fathers do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. Nelson Say fathers and mothers that says fathers, dads in the room, listen to me. We all have a responsibility. I got two boys in my house. 

I’m responsible for them as well, that we lead our kids, that they see Christ in us, that they understand that this is a Christian home and the Christian priorities that we place in the faith that he has given us. So when we look at this question, who is responsible for building your spiritual house, the answer is God, because he’s the foundation, he’s the rock. However he works through you, we get the impression, credible privilege to be his instrument, to be godly husbands and godly fathers, and to do that to the best of our ability as God gives us that grace. Now, it’s been kind of an interesting week in the news, hasn’t it? Anybody you follow the mainstream media? Yeah, I do, because I feel like I got to keep up on things. And it was kind of an interesting week because there was an NFL kicker from this football team in Kansas City who, by the way, he’s Catholic and he’s giving the commencement speech at a private Catholic university, and he was upholding his Catholic beliefs and he was also holding up some of the biblical beliefs that we would be aligned with him. And now let me preface it by saying this way. 

Do I agree with everything he said? No. Do I agree with anything anyone says other than the word of God? No. But what was interesting is how viral his commencement speech went and how much he was dragged through the mud and the slander for sticking up for truth, for sticking up for what he believes to be the biblical values that God has placed in his heart, in his life as the head of his family. Ironically, not too long ago, there was another player from Kansas City, This guy, he’s a tight end and he’s dating some girl named Taylor Swift. And when he received his degree, he wasn’t giving the commencement speech. He was actually a student. Do you guys remember what he did? He received the degree and opened a beer on the stage and chugged a beer in front of everyone. And our culture celebrated what this guy did and demonize this guy. And that’s what we’re talking about, what our homes are really, truly built upon. What is it that we’re really pursuing in this life? Now, I’ll tell you this recently, my boys, 13 and ten, they’ve gotten into this kind of it’s kind of a cool little hobby where they’ve been taking snippets of my sermons and they created a YouTube channel for me. 

And then I now have a Tik Tok. You guys know Tik Tok. And what’s interesting is this thing is open to the whole world. And so my ten year old in particular, he’ll wait for the comments to come in and he’s like, Dad, this guy on here thinks you’re an idiot. He’s like, I’m going to I’m going to reply, I’m going to reply. I’m like, No, you’re not. You don’t even know where this guy lives. You know who he is. He’s like, Does that bother you? I said, Absolutely not. I know what the truth is. My job is to preach the truth, to present the truth. I know the Bible also tells me that that the gospel is foolishness to those who are perishing. So what we are going to do is we’re going to pray for him wherever he’s at and whatever his life circumstances. We’re going to pray that God brings godly people around him and that God produces one day faith in his heart and in his life a man. So I want you to think about that as it comes to your home. But I also want you to think about how this plays out for us here at Shepherds Gate, who is responsible for building our spiritual house as a community of believers? 

Let’s look at scripture. Same guy. Paul said this in the Corinthians. He said, I planted, Apollo’s watered, but who gave? The growth goes on to say, We are God’s fellow workers. We work for God. We live our lives out according to what He has called us to do. We’re his field. We’re his building. God is the one that builds his church in every biblically functioning Bible believing Bible teaching church on the planet. God has his hand upon it. In fact, these are the words of Jesus in Matthew 16, Jesus said, I will build my church and the gates of hell will not stand against it. And I don’t know how many times I have to remind myself of this verse. When I think of the culture we live in, when I think just when it can’t get any crazier and how much more do we got togo down these roads and and see the things that are getting played out in some of the stuff to shove down our throats and you go like, God help us. But at the end of the day, I always remind myself that what Jesus said, he’s going to build his church. It’s God’s church. This church Shepherds Gate 44 years has always been God’s church. 

God has always been the head of this church. God is the one who’s leading and guiding us into the future. And so when we say who’s responsible for building our spiritual house, same answer. God. However, he works through us. That’s what you said in Matthew 28 to the disciples. Go and make disciples more of them. Tons of them baptize them. Acts one eight Same group of disciples. Listen, you are to go into your community. You’re going to go to the surrounding community. And yes, if doors open, then you are to go to other countries so that more and more people will know the faith and the hope they can have in me. God works through his church. Now, some of you know this. It’s sad, but the church in America is in decline. Our own denomination that we’re connected to. I get to serve on some boards and sometimes the information that we receive, it’s just heartbreaking because we’re crying out to God and praying to God and saying, God help us understand the times that we live in and how we can continue advancing the gospel and being available in use by you know, if you’re new to Shepherd’s Gate, we have started this process called Faith Forward. 

That’s why it says Faith Forward on the slides, and it’s called Faith Forward on Purpose, because we believe that God is leading us. Our faith goes before us, and we never want to get ahead of God’s plans. Amen. And sometimes I don’t like the timelines that God puts aside, okay? Sometimes I’m like, God, can’t we have done this like two or three years ago? Why are we still in this process? But I know and trust that he is the one that’s leading us at the end of the day. And I know and trust that when it’s his time that he will allow us to complete  what we believe he put on our heart. Two years ago and two years ago, we launched a building campaign because we just believe that there’s more people in metro Detroit that need a church, a Bible believing Bible teaching church. There’s all these new houses that are going up and that God has positioned us on 23 mile right next to a major freeway so that we collectively can watch God at work and see more people’s lives transformed by the gospel. And so here’s the encouraging news for you today. And all of this is going to be encouraging because you’re going to kind of get an update for those of you that have been with us the last two years on where we’re at in our faith forward campaign. But let me start with this. 

Over just the last two years, on average, our worship here at Shepherds Gate, including our kids ministry, has increased by 232 souls. And we use that word on purpose because every man, woman, child, baby is a soul. As you just saw in the waters of baptism, every single person counts. Now, this is in-person worship. Some of you have felt this because someone took your parking spot right? Some of you have seen this because we’ve asked you to park in the street. And so many of you have been faithful and willing to do that. So we could open up parking spots. And even last week, as I mentioned, we added a Saturday service. And wouldn’t you know that last week we had the highest attendance, attendance for a mother’s Day weekend than we’ve ever had in the history of our church? I mean, is incredible when God’s doing. But again, he gets all the glory, He gets all the praise. We just make ourselves available by loving people and showing them kindness, by giving our most precious resource our time to invest in others and to give them time and space. 

As the Holy Spirit works out his perfect will for their lives. There’s this other phenomenon that’s taking place this year as well. It’s mind blowing and it’s humbling to even share this with you. But I want you just to see a snapshot of the baptisms that have taken place here at Shepherds Gate. I’m sure nobody’s going to be surprised. We only had eight baptisms in 2020, but then look at the last three years and then you look at what God is doing specifically in 2024 that between January and June, those that have been baptized or have baptisms scheduled over the next several weeks is 38. Can we have got praise for that? What   that mean for July to December? I don’t know. Some of you have noticed that we now do two sacraments on a Sunday because we can’t fit all the baptisms in. And if you haven’t been baptized, the upcoming outdoor Father’s Day service, I’ll just give you this plug. We’re planning to baptize a bunch of people. If you want to jump in on that. We would love to have that happen. But it was also two years ago that we gathered in this very space, the gymnasium, and we launched our faith forward campaign. And I want us to go back to that moment for a second. So let’s watch this together. 

Final chance, guys. Get this right, Starting with three. You ready? The congregation. You’re ready one last time. All right, Here we go. Nice and loud. Three, two, one. Give it up for Jesus. Stand up. Stand up, Stand your feet. Congregation, Stand up to millions. Sure. $3,688.00 How many? You remember that? Look at how many you were here for that. Does it seem like that was two years ago? I mean, look how fast time goes. And it’s interesting because as many of you know, as we moved into going from the public launch with just a few key families making those pledges and watching as the year unfolded, and we made this big, bold declaration that we would visit every single household who called Shepherd’s Gate home. And what we didn’t realize was that was going to take a little bit more than 3 to 4 months, you remember. And so we actually started we thought, okay, we’re going to get this done in 2022. We started 2023 with 200 households still to be visited. And Ben and I were just at a conference on Tuesday and his group of guys, it was so cool. 

They came up to us and they said, Where are you from? And we said, Shepherd’s Gate. And they said, Are you that church that you literally went and visited every single household for your campaign? And we’re like, Yeah, that’s us. And they were like, Wow. They’re like, Man, you guys are crazy. And I’m like, Yeah, but we’re a good kind of crazy at Shepherd’s Gate. We’ve been like that since the beginning, and I don’t see we’re going to be changing anytime soon, are we? We know who we are. We know who are. God is, and we put our faith and trust in him. In fact, it was a year ago, same weekend. Here we were. We were gathered for church and we celebrated on our one year anniversary and wouldn’t believe I have a clip from the sermon from last year. Let’s watch this one. So again, last year, as we celebrated and I know some of you were shocked at the number that we put up, that how much was pledge with just in the first 39 families, 39 families was to point $2 million. Do you remember that? And here we are a year later as pledges have continued to trickle in this week, one by one by one. And now here today we are at $4.115 million in pledges. It’s incredible, isn’t it? How many are you here for? 

That one. I know what you’re thinking, Tim. You have not aged at all. Some of you got a little nostalgia there because we were back in the worship center. But we also know that God is preparing us for the future. And so here we are same weekend and once again looking to God and asking God to continue to be part of our plans for the future. And what’s been so incredible is so many of you have wanted an update. You’ve asked where are we at in this whole process? And so I’m so fortunate that I get to be the one to share all of this good news with you. We really believe that God has put on our heart to have a $5 million goal and we’re $169,000 away from hitting that goal. I just believe that we can hit $5 billion. You believe we can hit $5 million. And it’s going to come from people who say, hey, you know, I pledged and it was this, but now I’m in this situation and I’m going to give more or new people that have come through our new member process and they’re excited about what God is doing. And they want to give. They want to be part of it. And so they’re going to get on board with the campaign that we have. 

Here’s some other good news for you. 93% who have pledged are actively giving This is incredible church. You guys are awesome. Those of you that are doing this continually and faithfully and weekly and monthly, whatever that may be for you, the fact that the majority of people that have pledged are currently helping fund this, so much so that we’ve already received $1.5 million or a third of all that has been pledged. I think that’s another thing. We’ve got to give God praise for. And here’s the thing. I know some of you that are business minded and you’re finance minded. I just want you to know that our operations director here at Shepherds Gate, our business manager here at Shepherds Gate, our council treasurer, those three men get together and they are investing this money in conjunction with members of ours who are in the banking industry. So they’re actually making interest on the money that is being donated and set aside so that we can pay for things in cash. When we finally get to that point that we can break ground. 

So I’m so thankful for them in the way that they are managing God’s money because it’s God’s money. So just for review, this more, I just want you to see the process that we’ve been on since since the public launch two years ago this weekend. So last year on May 20, 23 to now, here we are. Some pledges have come in this year as well. And we just again, we are in the process with our architect and the building company. And this is where it just gets into the nitty gritty process of creating the blueprints and having all of the details, make sure that they’re all finalized so that one day, by God’s grace and mercy, we can move into a brand new worship space. So I’m thankful for the campus planning team that’s diligently working behind the scenes. Do I wish the process could go faster? Yes. But we have to continue to trust and know that God is at work. We’ve actually updated the boards in the lobby. And so after the service, if you want to grab a cup of coffee and and look at some of the renderings that have been proposed for this, you can do that after the service. Also, many of you have asked when will we be able to break ground? 

And so we are hoping and we are praying. Hassan sounded I do hear that it’s way oh, I don’t know what to do about that. All right. I guess I’ll figure it out. So we are hoping and praying that we will be able to break ground prayerfully by the end of this year. Okay. Now, if you talk to our business owners and they’ll tell you that this is just the way things are, that things get dragged out, we hope. I mean, we might have to have some snow on our shovels, but we’re really, truly hoping that we’re going to be able to do that in 2024. So here’s here’s the next steps. Let me give you this. As we come to a close this morning, would you continue praying with us and when you continue believing with us that the best days for this church, they’re not behind us. They’re ahead of us. And as our world continues to get darker and grayer, that God is going to rise up his churches and that churches are going to become that place of refuge and hope and mercy and peace and salvation. God’s at work. It’s his work. We make ourselves available to what it is he’s doing. And it starts on our knees. 

It starts by crying out to him and giving our request to him and asking him to order our steps and to order our time line. Hey, keep continue coming to church, folks. You guys are doing awesome with this. Bringing your kids here, whether you have them in service with you or you put them in our kids program. Many of you know we announced a couple of weeks ago in the fall, we’re going to switch to having two kids program. So whichever service you come to, you’ll be able to have access to our kids programing. So many of you that invite people we know outdoor services, that’s a huge opportunity for us in a non-threatening way to be able to bring people to our campus and be able to to be outside and to worship our God and to watch God at work. Then finally this morning, pledge, if you haven’t had the opportunity, maybe you already had your visit. Maybe you’re waiting to see if we’re actually going to break ground. Trust me, we will break ground. But would you assess your pledge this morning and ask God what it is that he’s calling you to be part of this message? 

For those of you that that are giving, just want to thank you once again. Maybe you have pledge, but you haven’t started that process. Would you prayerfully consider doing that? So again, we can have as much cash on hand to move forward. And maybe you’re new this morning. Maybe you maybe you just been coming to Shepherd’s Gate since January or Easter or whatever the case may be, and you just need more information. Would you stop by the connection center after the service, they’ll take down your contact information. I would love to meet with you personally and explain a little bit more about what’s going on here. I know Ben would do the same thing. We have other staff members. I would certainly make themselves available as well. But I believe it’s important to go back to what this all is for because Jesus said he’s going to build his church and the gates of hell are not going to stand against it. And what an opportunity we have. Congregation to not only be able to to have this space for us to worship in, but that we can hand this down to the next generation, that they have a place that they can worship in. And it also can be a place where we gather people from the community that maybe have never gone to church. And God produces faith in their heart, in their life, because we made ourselves available in an.