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Church > Religion: Beacon of Hope

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Church > Religion: Beacon of Hope

Announcements: Winter Retreat Deadline Jan 21st; Video promo involvement - come see me if you would want to participate in youth group promo and leader promo stuff.
Leader Intro: By Groups: 6th Gals 2
Funny Video - Monday Morning Pastor Conference Pt 1.
Title Slide: Like we talked about last week, some people are convinced Church is about the production of Church on Sunday morning. Last week many of you talked about your church experience to be kind of focused on Sunday - the business of church. You know, thinking this way is not only an issue with those who attend the weekly services, but even some of those in the work of administering the weekly services. Thankfully, here, you get to see a staff who focuses on the work Jesus is calling us to - but that doesn’t mean we do it perfectly. We too can get caught up in the stuff.
While the video was funny, for me it kind of hit home as well. Church - you are much more than programs, games, snacks, music, friendships, and students of Scripture. You - Church - you are loved by God, you are redeemed, you are set free from your sinful desires, and you get to be a source of hope. Last week we learned that the Church was started on purpose by Jesus through the Holy spirit, will do exactly what God has planned for the Church to do, and links believers in Jesus with God and each other!
Tell me, what part of that sounds religious more than it sounds like a connected relationship - both vertically and horizontally. A relationship of people who look different than any other gathering of people. We are the Kingdom of God on earth - and we have a very clear mission given to us through Scripture - The Bible.
We are going to sit in this passage for the evening - well this one and one other passage. Do I have any first timers in here tonight? If so…I want you to see and hear why Christians talk about Jesus to people they have an opportunity to talk about Jesus with. It is rooted in this piece of Scripture.
Just so we are all on the same page about the Bible. Here is what I believe to the very core of my being -
2 Timothy 3:16 NLT
All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right.
And because I trust the Bible as the perfect rule for how I practice the faith given to me by God, to understand the work of God in our lives, and how a life lived for Jesus looks - I know all of us who claim the name Jesus as Lord and Savior ought to live as a new visible society that spreads the hope of Jesus!
Church Spreads Hope… as a new visible society
The Church is a beacon of hope - or if you don’t mind using a Star wars line - we are the spark that ignites the hope for all people. This isn’t just the role of the pastors, preachers, teachers, and leaders. This is the role for all of those who believe in Jesus - here is how I know it.
Acts 1:8 NLT
But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere—in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
Use Bible Image from Logos to teach from
Just so we are all on the same page about the Bible. Here is what I believe to the very core of my being -
2 Timothy 3:16 NLT
All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right.
Church Spreads Hope… as a new visible society
Check this out: Who will receive power: YOU; When will you receive this power: When the HOLY SPIRIT COMES Upon you; Why will this happen: So YOU can be witnesses of Jesus; Where: EVERYWHERE
This is not of our own doing, we do not cause this to happen - God does - He gives us the ability and strength to live a life set apart. So let me ask you - do you want to be unique - to you want to be different than everyone else? If so - confess Jesus is Lord, admit you are a sinful person full of sinful desires, and reject living like people consumed by self gratification. Seriously, nearly everyone is consumed with living for more stuff, more money, nicer houses, phones, cars, stuff - live for Jesus and you will look different .
When we look different because we have what they will never have - We have hope in all situations regardless how terrible the event is. When cancer hits your family - you respond differently than everyone else. When money is tight - you act differently. When marriages become difficult you fight for reconciliation. - Full disclosure - that is not something I did when I was living for myself, I just was looking out for myself. I would say stuff like - life’s too short to not be happy. Only to learn the only true happiness we can ever have comes from living for Jesus and not ourselves.
You know what else happened, I couldn’t stop talking about Jesus - 7 years later I still cannot stop talking about Jesus. Jesus says this pretty clearly YOU - WILL BE: not might be, not could be, not should be…nope you WILL BE my witnesses. Telling others about Jesus isn’t an option it is a reality.
Church Spreads Hope…by Preaching Jesus
Acts 2:36–39 NIV
“Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Messiah.” When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” Peter replied, “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. The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call.”
Look at what happens when the Gospel is proclaimed - People want to hear it. You gotta get this - they have been longing to hear the Gospel their whole life but for whatever reason they have blocked it, ignored it, rejected it, or simply missed it. that is where we are living today. Some of you in this room have been hear week after week, but never actually listened long enough to hear the Gospel. You think Jesus is a Joke - I ain’t mad, but I am sad. I am hopeful someday God will break through and you will hear and want to know what next.
These people heard the Gospel - they heard that Jesus is the Messiah - lived a perfect life, died the death they should’ve died, was raised to life for our benefit. Not only that but has authority forgiving us for our sins, redeemed us in our sin so we may live for God today. This is what they heard and they wanted to know what to do next, wanted to know how to receive this GOOD NEWS
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