CHURCH LIFE: Week 3

Last week we looked at LIFE IN, placing important emphasis on our inward spiritual life and how we grow in our relationship with God.  That relationship is firm place, a solid place, built on prayer, study, and our own gifts that we give to God for His use.

Church Life Artwork LIFE AROUNDThis week, we’re going to look at LIFE AROUND, and the importance of our lives as lived around others.

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WORSHIP GUIDE QUESTIONS

  • LIFE AROUND:
    • …is about living our own personal spiritual lives for more than just our own benefit.  Our spiritual lives are actually a gift to others, too.  If we pray, study, and focus on our gifts without sharing these things, we become self-absorbed.  Faith is designed to be shared.  It isn’t selfish or meant to be experienced alone.  Therefore, our spiritual lives are our LIVES AROUND OTHERS and the benefit they are to others.  A spiritual life around others witnesses God’s work, witnesses to God work, and shares that witness through testimony.
  • “What am I witnessing?  What am I witnessing to?”
    • Believe what you want, but God is moving in our world, offering a relationship of love and life to anyone that would trust in what Jesus did for us on the cross.  1 John 4.15–17 says, “15 All who declare that Jesus is the Son of God have God living in them, and they live in God. 16 We know how much God loves us, and we have put our trust in his love.  God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them. 17 And as we live in God, our love grows more perfect. So we will not be afraid on the day of judgment, but we can face him with confidence because we live like Jesus here in this world.”
  • What are we witnessing?  We are witnessing God changing lives and saving souls.  Hearts are being filled and people are finding hope they never knew existed before coming to Jesus.  Yes, God can fix whatever problems we can drum up, but what did Jesus come to do?  He came to seek and save the lost.  We are witnessing the universe’s greatest rescue mission: The Creator God has come to rescue His entire creation.  That effort is what you are witnessing.  Those trapped in addiction set free; those bound by despair receiving hope; those with no purpose, given a mission.
  • And this is what you are witnessing to!  As a person of faith, you then witness to that faith and become a bringer of freedom, of hope, of mission.  You bring to the world what God brings.  As we’ve learned, God’s design and desire is that we would be the ones who spread His good news message.  We are His outlet, His force, His partners in hope.  Jesus said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Going into all the world is God’s way of being sure no one get’s left behind.  Baptism is God’s way of hospitality, where we offer others a divine shower and a warm place to call home.  And Teaching them is God’s way of giving them His mission and their purpose in life.
  • In Luke 24.48, Jesus says to His disciples, “You are witnesses to these things,” with these things being the life and work of Jesus Christ in both our lives and in the world.  The core of discipleship is letting the salvation and healing we experience everyday be known to those around us.  Like the first disciples we are witnesses of these things, these saving and healing works of God in our hearts and lives.  Our lives truly are built around our witness, around our testimonies.
  • “But I don’t have a testimony.”
    • There was a time when I believed that I didn’t have a testimony.  I was raised believing that a testimony was a personal story that said, “Oh yeah? Well listen to what happened to ME!”  But a testimony is your story of where God has been at work in and throughout YOUR life, from start to present.  We are witnessing God’s grace in our lives and then helping others to see just where God has been inside theirs.  There is nothing wrong with just now discovering that God has been there all along.  Its exactly that discovery that drives our faith and trust in God, as He is revealed in places we never realized before.
  • Some of us have yet to recognize God’s presence or work in our lives or have a hard time seeing it or talking about it.  We quickly learn, though, that through participation in worship and in ministry that we become more familiar with both God and our own faith.  A Church Life is a revealing life but we must be involved and engaged in order for that revelation to take place.  God can and will find us, wherever we may have run off to, but it is within the Body of Christ—the Church—that God is best seen and revealed.
  • For others of us, we have seen God at work in our lives and could probably tell multiple stories of when and where we saw God at work in our lives.  These experiences are in dire need of sharing in days when the faith of many grows cold because of the many distractions the devil uses to steal our hearts away from God.  Each of us must recapture the ministry of being witnesses to the things of God.
  • If we need an example of witness and testimony, the Bible is the perfect place to start, as it is filled with stories from the beginning to the end of imperfect people being molded and blessed by a Perfect God.  Scripture proves to us that God desires to give us Himself, His perfect and complete presence so that each of us can have peace.  Each of us is striving to be whole, to be more complete.  We each experience holes in our lives, areas where we wish there was a little more confidence, a little more contentment, and whole lot more peace.  It is through faith in God that we receive that peace.  Through worship, through service, through faith we receive what we need because of God’s graciousness.  Experiencing that graciousness depends slightly on you.  God is ready to give but are you ready to receive?  That’s something you need to chew on today.
  • IN CLOSING…
    • …a LIFE AROUND is a life that is willing to be lived in front of other people, and not in hiding or in secret.  The message of salvation is to be seen, therefore it must be lived; the gospel hope is to be heard, therefore it must be spoken.  We have a task in front of us, to live our lives around others so that they, too, may witness and be witnesses to the Glory of God, and testify to His goodness.  Amen.

 

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