Posts Tagged ‘theology’

The Devil’s Outreach and the forgotten tool of evangelism (Jesus’ will Jesus’ way part 2)

We cannot live for Jesus without living like Jesus.  
We cannot do the will of Jesus without living the way of Jesus.

Jesus’ will Jesus’ way. (part 2)
please let me know what you think of this, all discussion is welcome! 

Once we have a grasp on the fact that we cannot and should not do the will of God without doing it in the way of God.  That is, for the Father’s glory, copying the life of Jesus and doing it through the Spirits power.  This new age that Jesus brought in, and the mission He left us with, to make disciples in His name teaching them to love.  It must be done in the way of Jesus.  Jesus’ life matters immensely.  It is the example that God choose to show us, how life is meant to be lived, how we are to live this Kingdom Life, this Resurrection Life.  The sermon on the mount, the parables, the encounters He had with people, the way He addressed His parents and followers, the way He played with children, the things He wept about, the things He celebrated, should be the nut’s and bolts of what we use to put our lives together.  All of His weeping, jumping, playing, teaching, story telling, eating, chatting, Sabbath observing, praying, waiting, sacrificing, walking on water, cooking breakfast, these things should be always on our minds, if we are going to live like Jesus; if we are to follow.
The first thing you do when following is observe, and you keep observing that which you’re following as you begin to walk in the pre-trodden footprints.  

So as we specifically look at the mission of Disciple making, the extending of God’s kingdom which we are all called to, I think we need to look at the start of Jesus’ mission when He started. 
When we think about making disciples, I’m beginning to find that Satan is trying to tempt us into doing the right thing the wrong way, he tries to get us so focused on the will of God, that we forget the way of God.   We still give it the label ‘outreach’ and it seems to do the job of making us feel good about our engagement in God’s kingdom.
This seems to be satan’s first tactic. 
He get’s us to simply serve God not be a servant of God.  You can serve someone solely on your terms, however you cannot be a servant on your terms.  You do not follow Jesus by ‘helping’ Him along in his mission. No. You partake in it, you become a servant and follower you personify his mission as a lifestyle.  

Jesus didn’t just tell the truth, He was the truth; Jesus didn’t just show the way, He was the way; Jesus didn’t just introduce you to the life, He lived the life.  

So when Jesus was about to start announcing the Kingdom of God, the kingdom He would rule, He was tempted by Satan in three ways. I believe this is recorded for us as a warning that when we start to think of How we are going to make disciples, we will be tempted in the same way and to watch we don’t fall into the trap of setting up God’s kingdom in a faster, more efficient manner, one which we think God hasn’t yet considered.  The story is in Matt 4 and Luke 4.

Jesus was tempted to make stones into bread.
And He could have, in-fact he could have made all the stones in the world into bread and ended world poverty.  He could have lived showing off His ‘super-powers’ and lets be honest that would have been a real eye catcher. He could have promised bread for all who pledged alliance to him, he could of pointed his finger at trees and made them crumble to dust and then re-grow in 10 seconds.
He could have, but He didn’t. 
He didn’t bribe people into the kingdom, He was no prosperity Gospel preacher, He did not put on a magic show to ‘attract’ people into the church. He built relationships with people, He told people it was their faith that healed them, He wasn’t looking for a pledge of alliance for some surface level “you serve me and I’ll change your stones into bread” contract.  He knew only the world of covenant, a messy relationship filled community.
Jesus didn’t come to save the world by preaching prosperity and bribing people into the kingdom and neither should we.

Jesus was tempted to show-off His standing with Heaven.
The Devil temps Jesus to jump off the temple into a crowed market place, I’m sure with many important people in the crowd.  The angels from heaven would come to His rescue and everyone would see just how important He is and bow down and worship Him.  What’s wrong with that?  Well, He could have made a celebrity out of Himself, walking around with visible angels at His side. He could of kept that huge choir of angels that appeared at His birth as His opening act when he came to a town near you.
He could have but He didn’t. 
He didn’t try to make a celebrity out of Himself, when He was in Jewish regions and someone said ‘you’re the son of God’ He was like ‘keep that down will you’.  Relationships were so important to Him that He wanted to get right down to our level so He could have real friendships.  He wasn’t looking for some sort of celebrate status so He could increase His influence levels and impact the world.  He knew only the world of humble loving, relationships.
Jesus didn’t come to save the world by showing off and becoming a celebrity whose better than other people and neither should we.

Jesus temped to have control over people by force.
The Devil temps Jesus by showing Him all the kingdoms of the world and saying, “you came to be their king didn’t you? Well, I can make that happen for you right now, no need for Geathsamine no need for the cross just pure lordship.” well I’m sure that was tempting! But then came the decision making comment from the lier, “only if you bow to me first.”  Now He could have became king by force, He could have followed the way of the devil. He could have used his power to manipulate and intimidate people into being subject to His rule. 

He could have but He didn’t.  
He didn’t force people to obey, He didn’t make people come into His kingdom, He didn’t take advantage of people’s emotional state.  Relationships have to be a free choice, Jesus knew this. So many times He let people reject Him sometimes without much care it seems.  He always gave people the choice to follow or not, He didn’t even butter up his kingdom, often telling people how much they’d have to give up. He knew only the world of a trusting, freely following relationship. Jesus didn’t bring people into His kingdom by force or taking advantage of them and neither should we.

Neither should we, preach prosperity Gospel, come into the kingdom and all your stones will turn to bread!

Neither should we, embrace celebrity culture, come to the kingdom because David Beckham thinks it’s a good idea.

Neither should we, leave people with no choice, taking advantage of their emotional state or leaving them with no choice. 

The three big temptations of Jesus, are still very evident as we continue in Jesus’ mission to the world, we are tempted to do the right thing the wrong way:
To preach that all your stones will become bread if you come to our church
To preach that, ‘hey look being a Christian is cool, just look at this cool rock star we have who became a Christian.’
And to force people into the church with threats and bribes into professing Christ. 
Would be to follow the devil’s plan for church outreach.  

We need to study Jesus’ life in detail, we need to read the gospels as part of our routine, to allow them to absorb into our character and into our church mission plans.  What if we were to plan our church’s outreach with using no other references or templates other than the 4 gospels.  The woman at the well, Jesus’ focus on prayer, how he challenged hypocrites, who he spent time with, His over dinner conversations, His public speaking.  How would our churches look if we didn’t follow the:
‘come to our service and get free tea/coffee a KFC voucher, oh, and you’ll get richer’,
‘come to our service and meet a celeb’,
‘come to our service, or else’, approach.

Relationship is the scaffolding of Jesus’ kingdom building, a real one, with a real Jesus.
Is relationship the forgotten tool of evangelism?
my prayer
‘Oh to have a pure witness, unwavering and boldly following Jesus.
Please Holy Spirit lead me to be more like your son. I love you and long for you.’

Standing on Grace.

Sorry if this sounded harsh. I feel I myself fall into the devils temptation to do the right thing the wrong way often. 
I’m hoping to do part 3 of “Jesus’ will Jesus’ way” 



This is a study/talk a gave a couple of weeks ago. I havn’t included the Bible texts but you can open a tab in bible gateway and your flying!

Starting questions.
If you were to go into tesco now and asks ‘what’s love’. What would some of the answers be?
Can love ever be shallow?
What isn’t love but is called love?
What type or word is love… Why? Noun, verb, adjective.

Tonight’s theme is. ‘Living loved till love’s lived

I want to start by looking at God’s character. Who is He? So lets look at something or an overview from scripture, as to who God is and how he is revealed.  I’m not taking too much time here, I kind of just want to remind you of what you already know.

Genesis: we find out that, Creator and image giver, and promise giver: so this book begins by saying there’s someone coming who will be the fullness of God’s character and revelation. 

Exodus: God announces his name, and he reveals himself as the one who carries out salvation.  Ex3:14-15 (read) IAMWHOIAM ‘Yahweh’ Ex34 God proclaims ‘His name and so his character’ Ex34:5-7, v8 is interesting there ‘at once’ when we discover who God or even a little, worship just flows from us! Worship and obedience is the response to the revelation of who God is.

Leviticus: we’re introduced to things like high priest, atonement, sacrifice, the Passover is firmly established which Jesus changed into the lords super. We discover that God is accessible, through the man of God’s choice, and that purity is necessary in God’s kingdom.

Then through the prophets, psalms, we begin to see what this promised one will be the ultimate high priest, the ultimate sacrifice, he will be the King of kings, he will be the true shepherd, he will not only be able to speak what God has revealed to him but as one who has authority. 

Then the greatest revelation, God shows us, who he is, by sending Jesus, everything that we need to know about God and how to live as a Christian can be found in the recorded life of Jesus.  

So by this stage we’re beginning to get a pretty good picture as to who God is, what he’s like.  You can almost sense the excitement, you can almost see the angels gathering round looking over the shoulders of John, calling to their God, Yahweh, ‘our God our Lord they’ve got it they’ve finally got it‘ as St.. John pens these words for the first time. 

“God is love.” 

There it is in the nuttiest of nut shells. God is love.

Read 1 john 4

Anything (and I say this knowing the suffering life can throw at you) which you have experienced from God has been love.  Love. There is a picture of who God loves, you see it everyday… Your Mirror (Not the paper!). 

I cannot talk about God’s love without mentioning the cross, God’s love and justice on show.  God is holy and must punish sin. And yet out of his love for us, out of His love, though we messed up, He’s made a way back into a loving relationship. 
Let us wonder grace and justice
Who join and point to mercy’s store
When through faith in Christ our trust is
Justice smiles and asks no more.

You are loved! And we must live as people who are loved. All our callings which the Bible gives us to rejoice, worship, to love God and our neighbour, to live a life of devotion, prayer.  All of this stems from a root, from an ability to live loved.  We love because He first loved us. Any ministry that we do, is an overflow from the love we receive from God.  For everybody – Christian and non-christian – anything good we do is an overflow from the love we receive from God.  Our ministry is an over flow, we’re passing on the love.  Like the vine and the branches in Jn15 we cannot bear fruit unless we remain in his love. 15:9 or look at v5, we need to remain in His love, we need to live loved.

Good questions I think we need to consider.

How do we cultivate a lifestyle of living loved?
How do we become consistently and increasingly mindful that we are loved by God?
How do we fill our lives with God’s love, or how does God fill our lives with His love?
How has God loved us?

Why are we answering those questions? Because the more we realise we’re loved the more we’ll love others, the more we will get love lived. Can I encourage you to dive deep into God’s love, completely depend on, get your life to the stage where you realise you’d be lost without God’s love.  Get God’s love into your heart. Let it permeate through your life.

Before we look at getting this next bit just want to set the context
The great commandments.
Jesus was asked to summarise the law, He said love God and your neighbour. Then when he was leaving earth, He could of said anything to His followers but He said, ‘make disciples in my name’.  So our lives as Christians should look like this from the outside.  I mean if a alien who knows nothing about you came and lived in your house for a month, at the end of that, if they were asked what was that person like they should say they loved God, loved their neighbour and made disciples.  Ok. So it’s in that context that we’ll look at this next bit. 
read Luke 6:43-45,
What is in your heart will become the way you live, so if you have any resentment, any jealously, any revenge, any lust, any unworthy desire, get rid of it. Repent. Fill it with God’s love. Because what is in your heart will become the person you are… I can’t say it any clearer live loved and you will see love lived in your life. Do you open a banana to find corn in the cob, do you slice an apple to find an orange. No. Or like it says in James 3 does fresh water flow from a salt water spring, does a grapevine bear figs. No. Or like what we just read do you find figs on a thorn bush. No. So if we are to live as people who are to love God and our neighbour and make disciples, we need to fill our hearts with the love of God.  Welcome to the concept of ‘my cup runs over’ ps23.  

So we love because He loved us.
What is love? A choice? An emotion? An ability?
Yet again we find the truth in the Bible. 1 Cor 13 tells us.

After reading 1 Cor 13 I think these are some questions that are good for us to think through.
Concentrate on 1Cor13 v4-8a
Then for each trait, think through these 2 questions 

When is it hard not to be angered, impatient etc?
What practical step could I take to help me love in these situations?

hope this helps
standing on Grace 

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