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Community.

Missions.

Prayer.

Culture.

Love.

What do all of these ideas mean or even simply imply?
Wednesday I was at home studying for today and our prayer meeting when two ladies knocked on my door to talk about encouraging their neighbors. While they are Jehovah’s Witnesses, they were out talking to people. They believed they had something worth sharing. I smiled and listened to them. When I introduced myself as the pastor here, one of them looked kind of worried. The other simply pointed out she knew where the church was. The conversation never moved past what their idea was. Community.
Why?
We found common ground. When we started talking about loving and serving our community together, we had something in common. They saw love for our community, a desire to serve people. We created a bridge or sorts. A bridge on common ground that means the door to share Jesus is open. Will they come back, maybe. Are they curious about our church- yes.

Acts

Together IN Jesus
As I look at Acts and what happened in the first church with the apostles, one of the things that shines true in all of it is they loved to be together. It was about not only believing in Jesus but being together IN Jesus. I guess we should start this morning with some definitions so we can all be on the same set of thoughts.
Acts 1:14 NIV
14 They all joined together constantly in prayer, along with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brothers.
The same thing is found in
Acts 2:46 NIV
46 Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts,
Acts 4:24 NIV
24 When they heard this, they raised their voices together in prayer to God. “Sovereign Lord,” they said, “you made the heavens and the earth and the sea, and everything in them.
Acts 5:12 NIV
12 The apostles performed many signs and wonders among the people. And all the believers used to meet together in Solomon’s Colonnade.
The idea that they are all of one mind. They are in agreement.
What does community mean?
a group of people living in the same place or having a particular characteristic in common.
a feeling of fellowship with others, as a result of sharing common attitudes, interests, and goals.
A while back as we talked about communion and I shared with you it is an intimate sharing. It is entering into the presence of another. When we observe the Lords Supper we are entering into an intimate presence with the father. Now honestly whenever we worship we should be entering into his presence. Communion is special because of two specific things. It is like we are totally laid bare. No facades, no masks just the real you in the presence of God himself. And two he has invited you into this amazing moment with him.
Community as a church, is really the same concept. We come together for fellowship letting down barriers and listening to one another. Instead of superficial conversations we work toward encouraging one another.
Hebrews 10:24–25 NIV
24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, 25 not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.
We strive as individuals not to conform to the world but be transformed into the likeness of Christ. But how do we do this, and tell people about Jesus.
For years we have tried to come up with methods of making sharing our faith easier. We have the four spiritual laws, we have evangelism explosion, sharing Jesus without fear, The contagious Christian and more.
We have folks that go places like Mardi Gras, and even the Superbowl with the intent of telling people about Jesus. We have people come here during Christmas Lighting to share their faith boldly. Sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn’t.
I have been reading one of my favorite authors a lot lately. Mark Buchanon. He is a pastor in Canada. The Book is called your church is too safe. It is a follow up to Your God is too safe. He points out that in our attempt to help people understand who God is that we anthropomorphize Him. We try to put God into the confines of what we understand. The funny thing about that is the fact that Jesus became a man to help us understand him. We do not need to try to make Jesus into something we understand. He already did it. While God became a man to rescue his people he is in no way limited to what we think or understand. He created the world with a spoken word. He made a mud pie and breathed life into it. He holds together the entire universe with the power of his word.
The Church has this amazing opportunity. We get to live out what Jesus said. My favorite scripture about God’s method of evangelism is found in Zechariah 8. As it ends this is what he writes
Zechariah 8:23 NIV
23 This is what the Lord Almighty says: “In those days ten people from all languages and nations will take firm hold of one Jew by the hem of his robe and say, ‘Let us go with you, because we have heard that God is with you.’ ”
DO you see it? People will come to you because they have heard God is with you. How are they going to hear God is with you? Very simply by the way we live.
Look back with me at the beginning of Acts. He is writing to Theopolis. Regardless of who we think he writes, at the time of the writing leaders are worried about the Christians. They have heard stories about how different they are. Yet if Theopolis reads the letters what is he going to see? Men and women who follow the laws. Mend women who take care of one another. Men and women who love people. Good citizens living for more than just themselves. If one reads the great commandment that Jesus gives us they see- Love one another as I have loved you – greater love – how will people know you are my followers? Your love for one another.
People who love one another recognize they need each other. Paul needed Anais to teach him. Peter needed Cornelius to help him see there are no categories of people. The Ethiopian Eunuch needed Phillip to tell him the meaning of the words. Timothy and Titus needed Paul, Polycarp needed John. Irenaeus needed Polycarp. We can go on and on, but it comes down to this one truth. We need each Other. Paul Writes in Galatians to bear one anothers burdens
Galatians 6:1–2 NLT
1 Dear brothers and sisters, if another believer is overcome by some sin, you who are godly should gently and humbly help that person back onto the right path. And be careful not to fall into the same temptation yourself. 2 Share each other’s burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ.
Hebrews 10:24–25 NIV
24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, 25 not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.
Encourage one another.
James tells us to restore one another
Paul writes that we need to use the word to restore rebuke and train.
Who are you encouraging?
Do People know by your life who you serve? Or even by your words/
Dallas Holm once told me people should know when they meet you they haveto deal with Jesus. Do They?
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