CHURCH LIFE: Week 4

Last week we looked at LIFE AROUND, placing important emphasis on living our spiritual lives AROUND others in order to witness God’s works, witness to God’s works, and testify with our very own faith stories.

This week, we’re ending our series by looking at LIFE OUT, and the importance of going OUT to share the good news.

Church Life Artwork LIFE OUT_____________________

WORSHIP GUIDE QUESTIONS

  • LIFE OUT:
    • …is a life that is willing to go out and take the Christian faith to both the near and the far; to the neighbor and the stranger; to the friend and the foreigner.  A LIFE OUT is a missional life, meaning that we are mission-minded in all that we do.  We often take our main mission from Jesus’ final words in Matthew 28 where we hear to go into all the world to make disciples.  But its that word “mission” that makes so many people uncomfortable.  To fix that this morning, let us think “missional” rather than just on the word “mission.”
  • “Missions!?  Doesn’t that mean I have to go to Africa?”
    • If we look at the many examples from Scripture, whether the journey of Abraham, the exodus of Moses and the Hebrews, the ministry of Jesus, or the missions of the apostle Paul, we quickly see that God’s people rarely stay put.  The people of God are a sent people, a people–on–the–move; we are a going–people and this is because it is God’s will that the whole earth hear of His glory and experience His grace.  God doesn’t leave anyone out; He doesn’t leave anyone behind.  What He has done, He has done for all.  Therefore, if we are to be a part of what God is doing, we cannot be partial or play favorites as to who gets to hear the good news message of salvation.
  • But if we read the story closely, we’ll notice that at the core of God’s mission for His people is having influence, wherever they are or wherever they go.  It isn’t so much about getting so many miles in or going to a certain place.  It’s about having a sharing–attitude and being influential as much as you can.  Each of us has a mission field and they all look very different.  So to answer the question, no, you don’t have to go Africa—but someone does.  Our influence depends upon where our hearts land on different issues and situations.  We are drawn into different kinds of mission fields and we find that we are fast or gifted in those places.
  • For some, family is the ultimate mission field, where their drive is to raise faithful and influential Christian children who will be peaceful and instrumental in the shaping of a better society.  For some, their workplace is their mission field, as they live out a Christian witness to those around them, being a reliable and uplifting presence, always pointing to God in their attitude and their witness.  For others, the mission field may be the surrounding communities, the outlying or forgotten areas of a region, or even a foreign environment overseas.
  • The point of it all is to be missional.  Being missional or mission-minded means its doesn’t matter whether you are 400 miles away or 4 minutes away, it just simply means that you are taking the gospel to wherever you are and everywhere you go.  Some are intentional about taking the gospel to a hard–to–reach people, while others are intentional about meeting needs next door.  Both are right and neither are wrong.  The point of a missional Christian life is that it is lived out at all times and in all places.  So, whether you are helping your next-door neighbor of 20 years, some guy at the gas station with his hood up, a lady at a hotel while on your vacation, or children suffering from malaria in Africa, it is about being mission–minded enough to share the love of God with them.
  • “How do I do missions, whether near OR far?”
    • Missions aren’t limited to feeding the hungry or building homes for the poor.  Those things are ways in which we can show mercy and grace toward those who need it most.  Each of these things and other things are means to an end; that through these missional actions we can tell them where such mercy and grace come from.  There’s absolutely nothing wrong with exposing what’s behind the bread, the clothes, the warmth, the love, because at the end of the day, all good things come from God, therefore we are doing nothing but relaying the truth—a truth we hope will turn them in gratitude toward the God who loves them.  Scripture says, “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows” (James 1.17 NIV).
  • Everything we do should lead to the story of God’s saving actions toward humanity, with our own personal stories and testimonies being the most ready and available way of telling them.  The apostle Paul told young Timothy, a missionary and preacher, “Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction” (2 Timothy 4.2 NIV).  Being ready in season and out of season means that we are ready at all times to give an account, a reason for what we believe.  If we know what it is that God has done and is still doing, then we must tell others and be careful not to leave anyone out.
  • A LIFE OUT, a missional life begins with and is nurtured through basic service.  New Liberty offers opportunities for you to get involved with children, with young people, with older adults, with the hungry, and even with people at a distance.  The challenge for you is to decide where and how you will begin your missional life.  Will you help with the youth?  Will you accompany us on a short-term mission to the Appalachians?  Will you go out of the country?  No matter which one you pick, the point is for you to gain the confidence and experience that you need in order to be mission-minded.  These experiences open us up to new possibilities for our spiritual lives and equip us with new perspectives so that we can identity with various people better.  Go next door OR go across the border; go next door AND go across the border; but GO nonetheless…
  • IN CLOSING…
    • Take your LIFE OUT to witness to the entire world.  If the life of Jesus was lived and died and raised again for the world’s salvation, then our lives, too, are to be lived out for God’s message of redemption and hope.  Take that to the world and live your LIFE OUT…

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