This week we began a new series called “Focus”. We are spending some time focusing in on what Jesus is all about. When Jesus began his ministry, he spoke at the synagogue in his hometown. When he claims to be the Messiah, those present were a bit bewildered by him, yet not offended. They even spoke well of him in spite of this radical claim. What offended them was his insinuation that salvation was for the gentiles; non-Hebrews, who did not follow Jewish laws and traditions. After hearing this, they drive Jesus out of town and attempt to kill him.
The message that got Jesus into so much trouble with the Galileans, was that God is not just for an exclusive group of people, but for everybody. This is a message that Jesus was hated for throughout his life on earth, as he invited tax collectors, sinners, and outcasts to follow him. Throughout Jesus’s ministry, he keeps insisting that many of the “outsiders” are actually in, and many “insiders” are actually out. Sadly, this was a message that the people of the time rejected. And it is a message that many people in the church today still reject.
As the church, we can become just as exclusive. We tend to define ourselves, not by who we are for, but what we are against. Jesus said that he came to seek and to save the lost, but we often position ourselves against those who don’t know Jesus. Jesus said that it is the sick who need a doctor and that they are the whole point of his incarnation. When we see symptoms of spiritual sickness, do we meet them with healing and care, or with judgment and condemnation?
Jesus was clearly for people. Do people look at us and see a church that is for people?
“It is my judgment, therefore, that we should not make it difficult for the gentiles who are turning to God.
Do we make it difficult for people to turn to God? If so, in what ways?
Jesus is defined by love, and wants the same for us. Do you think that the church is defined by love? What do you think the church is commonly defined by in today’s culture?
Scott said that we need to be a church for people who don’t go to church. How can we show unchurched people that we are for them?
PRAY FOR YOUR LIFE GROUP
Pray that we will show love and acceptance to others in our daily lives, and that we will reflect the love of Jesus to all those we come into contact with.
PRAY FOR FCC & OUR COMMUNITY
Pray that we will be come a church that is known in our community by our love and by the fact that we are for people, not against them.
PRAY FOR OUR GLOBAL PARTNERS
Spend a few moments praising God for bringing healing to our FCC global field worker in India with MidIndia Christian Mission, Mr. Lall. After heart surgery, Mr. Lall has recovered and was well enough to travel to the States to be here for the wedding of his son this summer. Please pray for their ministry in India to continue its profound impact, even during our field workers' absence.