Summary: Jesus commands us to be witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria and to the ends of the earth. We must have the perspective to focus on that task and not what the church can do for me
A Matter of Perspective
April 10, 2005
Today we are going to look at one of the key functions or purposes of the church and how Countryside is working to fulfill that purpose.
To get started, I need five volunteers. Join hands and make a circle. (They will face forward)
Notice how, naturally they faced inward? Today, I want to help you see that if we really want to be a church that Christ uses, we have to shift our focus.
The big idea for today: The church is not about YOU!
It is easy for us to have a picture that somehow the church is here to meet my needs.
The church exists to meet the needs of those who need to hear the love of Christ.
What the church needs is a new perspective of priority.
They typical view of American Christians:
A biblical view:
In the first view, we see ourselves and our needs as the priority. Next is the church where we devote our attention. Finally those outside the church get what’s left over. The church and the world exist to meet my needs.
In the second view, I fit inside of my church to serve it. My church exists inside the world at large to serve it in the name of Christ. I, take the back seat to the greater cause.
Jesus noted this after his resurrection when he told his disciples:
“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
Jesus says we receive power from God to share his message with others.
The power is not for ourselves or our kingdoms advantage, but to spread the message of God’s kingdom.
I. There Goes the Neighborhood
In the context of Jesus’ teaching, this would be your home. It would be your city, or state where you live.
God wants you to share his love with your friends and neighbors.
Jesus used a story of a poor woman who lost a coin.
These were not just any old coins. They were coins that would have decorated her wedding veil.
Look at her reaction to finding the coins:
“Or suppose a woman has ten silver coins and loses one. Does she not light a lamp, sweep the house and search carefully until she finds it? And when she finds it, she calls her friends and neighbors together and say, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost coin.’”
Luke 15:8-9 (NIV)
The context Jesus talks about is people choosing to follow God and the party that it ignites.
Last week was a great picture of that. Spring Fest was a great example of a passionate celebration of sharing Christ with our neighbors and friends.
**Spring Fest Slide Show
Are you being a witness for Christ with your friends and neighbors? Are you celebrating what you have found in Jesus?
II. Behind Enemy Lines
Jesus says that we are to be witnesses not only in our hometown, but also in the town of our enemy.
“you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and all Judea and Samaria….” Acts 1:8 (NIV)
Jesus is talking to his disciples who are Jewish. Jews hated Samaritans. They viewed Samaritans as worthless dogs, half-breeds.
In our world, we often view people that way. We may never say it or act on it, but often those different from us are the enemy.
In a social or geo-political sense we view Muslims this way.
So often we view the political ideology and social structure and lump the human beings into that category.
People of other nations, ethnic groups and religions need to hear the love of Christ.
On December 26, 2004, a devastation Tsunami hit Southeast Asia and parts of Africa. Most of the people affected were Muslim. But the overwhelming majority of relief has come from Christian resources.
Countryside collected an offering of almost $900. We have partnered with Purpose Driven Ministries to get the resources in to hands of Christians in the area.
Because of your gifts, 3 villages of mostly Muslim people will be supplied with fresh water wells. Each will support 72 families.
The area we are supporting has only 200 known believers. Campus Crusade for Christ is overseeing the project and will no doubt share Jesus with these people.
The national director overseeing this project is a personal friend of one of my best friends, Michael Ramos.
Here is what Enoch Sirikul wrote to us concerning this effort:
Dear Mr. Harvey
Greetings from Thailand! I wanted to personally thank you for your gift to help us supply much needed fresh water to those in need at the Baan Tuung Wa village in southern Thailand. I am not sure if you know this, but there are only 16 churches in the provinces that were affected by the tsunami. And only 200 known believers in the whole area that you are helping us in. This emergency effort to clear out the wells and provide supplies has not only met urgent needs but has begun to help the victims of the tsunami re-build their lives as well as helping the advancement of the gospel. As an update, we have already helped in building temporary shelters and provided food and sleeping bags as well as cooking supplies and have cleared out wells for fresh drinking water. Thank you again for your support.