Building the need

Lead the Way; Invite all People; Believe for the Future; Equip the Saints

Last week, we talked about the need to be connected with other people, this week we will talk about how we should relate to one another/treat one another in these relationships that we are making.

Let’s set the foundation for this week on the three following scriptures.

Genesis 12:1-3 NLT

The Lord had said to Abram, “Leave your native country, your relatives, and your father’s family, and go to the land that I will show you. 2 I will make you into a great nation. I will bless you and make you famous, and you will be a blessing to others. 3 I will bless those who bless you and curse those who treat you with contempt. All the families on earth will be blessed through you.”

Colossians 3:10-11 NLT

Put on your new nature, and be renewed as you learn to know your Creator and become like him. 11 In this new life, it doesn’t matter if you are a Jew or a Gentile, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbaric, uncivilized, slave, or free. Christ is all that matters, and he lives in all of us.

Galatians 3:27-29 NLT

And all who have been united with Christ in baptism have put on the character of Christ, like putting on new clothes. 28 There is no longer Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male and female. For you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 And now that you belong to Christ, you are the true children of Abraham. You are his heirs, and God’s promise to Abraham belongs to you.

In other words:

If you are a part of Connecting People to LIFE, then you desire to treat others the way they should be treated, because you’ve been treated, by God, the way you should have been treated, long before you deserved being treated that way.

LIFE VISION: “WE DESIRE TO BLESS OTHERS BECAUSE GOD FIRST BLESSED US.”

Action Step

Spend some time today asking God to show you how to bless others through your life. Regardless of where you are at today. Adopting the mindset – blessing others because we have been so greatly blessed.

L.I.F.E.

L.I.F.E.

Leading the Way.  Inviting all People.  Believing for the future, Equipping the Saints.

Missional Analysis

People with no faith will reject God’s plan and mission, and thus reject their very purpose in life –to be reconciled to God and to act as reconcilers. They will also reject the community God has created through mission.

People with damaged faith will accept God’s plan and mission, but will be afraid and timid in regards to acting on it. Some may be paralyzed completely, others may act but with trepidation. They will shy away from a deep integration into God’s community.

People with active faith will accept and act on God’s plan for the world and their lives, and will move forward with the mission by being missionaries in whatever domain God has placed them in. They will be grounded in, and bring others into, God’s community.

Action Step

Pray and ask God today to reveal to you the area of your LIFE you need to give to Him.

Called, History, Community

Called to Repentance through the Gospel

Acts 2:22-41 (ESV)

22″Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with mighty works and wonders and signs that God did through him in your midst, as you yourselves know— 23this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men. 24 God raised him up, loosing the pangs of death, because it was not possible for him to be held by it. 25For David says concerning him,

“‘I saw the Lord always before me, for he is at my right hand that I may not be shaken;

26therefore my heart was glad, and my tongue rejoiced; my flesh also will dwell in hope.

27For you will not abandon my soul to Hades, or let your Holy One see corruption.

28You have made known to me the paths of life; you will make me full of gladness with your presence.’

29″Brothers, I may say to you with confidence about the patriarch David that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. 30 Being therefore a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him that he would set one of his descendants on his throne, 31he foresaw and spoke about the resurrection of the Christ, that he was not abandoned to Hades, nor did his flesh see corruption. 32This Jesus God raised up, and of that we all are witnesses. 33 Being therefore exalted at the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, he has poured out this that you yourselves are seeing and hearing. 34For David did not ascend into the heavens, but he himself says,

“‘The Lord said to my Lord,Sit at my right hand, 35until I make your enemies your footstool.’

36Let all the house of Israel therefore know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified.”

37Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” 38And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself.” 40And with many other words he bore witness and continued to exhort them, saying, “Save yourselves from this crooked generation.” 41So those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls.

History

Repeating the life, ministry, death and resurrection of Jesus, which led to Pentecost as fulfillment of prophecy as seen in Joel and David (see above)

Community

Acts 2:42-48 (ESV)

42And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. 43And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. 44And all who believed were together and had all things in common. 45And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. 46And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, 47praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.

Summary of Acts 2:

Confusion – Acts 2:1-13

Clarity – Acts 2:14-21

Called to Repentance – Acts 2:22-41

History – sprinkled throughout

Community – Acts 2:42-48

Confusion into Clarity

Gospel Response

The gospel – the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus – is the in-breaking of God’s plan and mission into human history. When we accept the gospel, we are united to both God’s mission of reconciling all things to himself and to the church, which is God’s agent for that reconciliation. Thus, the results of the gospel (among many other results), is a definition of mission and cause, as well as a union to a community on that mission.

Confusion

Sometimes in our lives when the Holy Spirit comes we can find ourselves in confusion. At the birth of the first century Church we see this confusion.

Acts 2:5-13 (ESV)

5Now there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men from every nation under heaven. 6And at this sound the multitude came together, and they were bewildered, because each one was hearing them speak in his own language. 7And they were amazed and astonished, saying, “Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? 8And how is it that we hear, each of us in his own native language? 9Parthians and Medes and Elamites and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, 10Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, 11both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabians—we hear them telling in our own tongues the mighty works of God.” 12And all were amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, “What does this mean?” 13But others mocking said, “They are filled with new wine.”

Clarity

The Holy Spirit brings clarity from our confusion.

Acts 2:14-21 (ESV)

14 But Peter, standing with the eleven, lifted up his voice and addressed them: “Men of Judea and all who dwell in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and give ear to my words. 15 For these people are not drunk, as you suppose, since it is only the third hour of the day. 16 But this is what was uttered through the prophet Joel:

17 “‘And in the last days it shall be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh,and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams; 18 even on my male servants and female servants in those days I will pour out my Spirit, and they shall prophesy. 19 And I will show wonders in the heavens above and signs on the earth below, blood, and fire, and vapor of smoke; 20 the sun shall be turned to darkness and the moon to blood, before the day of the Lord comes, the great and magnificent day. 21 And it shall come to pass that everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.’

Action Step

Ask the Holy Spirit to bring clarity to any confusion you may have in your life as a result of following Jesus.

Fallen Condition

Fallen Condition Focus

Because we are sinful, fallen creatures, we live according to our own plan and even at times act antagonistically against God’s plan. At other times, we yearn for the outcomes of God’s plan (e.g., world peace, reconciliation, etc) but try and find those outcomes through our own means apart from God’s plan. Because we need community, but reject God’s plan and way, we form our own communities that remove God from his throne and supplant him with our own abilities, intellect, affinities, etc.

1. We Lack commitment

Some reasons for a lack of commitment

  • Independence – we don’t want to be accountable to anything or anyone but ourselves.
  • Fear of failure – don’t want to put time/money/effort in to have something blow up in our faces
  • Fear of success – we don’t know what to do with success, or where to move on from there.
  • Uncertainty – we don’t know if it’s “God’s will” or not. (See 1-C under “Undermine their resistances” however).

2. Comfort

Illustration: Rosa Parks and the civil rights movement.

When told to give up their seat and take “their place” at the back of the bus, most African-Americans would do so, because it was more “comfortable.” Not that it felt better, but in doing so they preserved the status-quo and kept the scenario from escalating to social unrest. They didn’t want to “start any problems.” When Rosa Parks refused to move to her “rightful seat” she disturbed the status quo and was arrested. Compare and contrast the apostles who were told to not preach the gospel.

Acts 5:27-32 (ESV)

And when they had brought them, they set them before the council. And the high priest questioned them, 28saying, “We strictly charged you not to teach in this name, yet here you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching, and you intend to bring this man’s blood upon us.” 29But Peter and the apostles answered, “We must obey God rather than men. 30 The God of our fathers raised Jesus, whom you killed by hanging him on a tree. 31God exalted him at his right hand as Leader and Savior, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins. 32And we are witnesses to these things, and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey him.

3. Ignorance/lack of understanding gifting and grace

Acts 8:9-13, 18-24 (ESV)

But there was a man named Simon, who had previously practiced magic in the city and amazed the people of Samaria, saying that he himself was somebody great. 10They all paid attention to him, from the least to the greatest, saying, “This man is the power of God that is called Great.” 11And they paid attention to him because for a long time he had amazed them with his magic. 12But when they believed Philip as he preached good news about the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women. 13Even Simon himself believed, and after being baptized he continued with Philip. And seeing signs and great miracles performed, he was amazed…18Now when Simon saw that the Spirit was given through the laying on of the apostles’ hands, he offered them money, 19saying, “Give me this power also, so that anyone on whom I lay my hands may receive the Holy Spirit.” 20But Peter said to him, “May your silver perish with you, because you thought you could obtain the gift of God with money! 21You have neither part nor lot in this matter, for your heart is not right before God. 22Repent, therefore, of this wickedness of yours, and pray to the Lord that, if possible, the intent of your heart may be forgiven you. 23For I see that you are in the gall of bitterness and in the bond of iniquity.” 24And Simon answered, “Pray for me to the Lord, that nothing of what you have said may come upon me.”

Simon the Magician – Simon’s ignorance on what exactly Philip called him to in the gospel shows itself in his reactions. He was enticed by the miraculous, but apparently didn’t want anything to do with true Christianity. This becomes apparent when he tries to purchase the Spirit’s power. Even when confronted with his sin and ignorance, Simon’s response seems to stem out of fear of consequences, rather than true conviction.

Action Step

Spend some time praying today and asking God if any of these areas are stopping you or slowing you down in your walk with Him. Be willing to listen, and be willing to give it to Him if something is revealed to you.