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.