Summary: Second in a series from the Preaching Team at Northridge Christian. This one is on the theme of doing life together in small groups. Jesus instituted this small group principle in the appointment of His Apostles. They, in turn, applied that principle in
HITTING THE MARK – WEEK 2
Hitting the Mark of Doing Life Together
Its true isn’t it? There are just some things we are not meant to do alone. And here at Northridge we believe the best pathway to spiritual growth is by intentionally being with a group of people who have similar spiritual values and goals so that we can make progress in our walk with Jesus and each other. We call it doing life together. You see Jesus knew that God actually hard wired into our beings the need to be accepted by others. He created in us all the desire to be in an environment where we feel valued, loved and accepted. All of us want and need that. Oh, I know every once in a while you’ll hear someone say, “I don’t care what people think of me.” “I don’t care whether people like me or not.” Yes you do! We all do. God created you in such a way that you care about how other people accept you and treat you. If you are working against that you are working against God and that’s a battle we generally lose! Another way to say that is: God created all of us to be acceptance magnets.
We’re drawn to acceptance. In fact, we’ll do some incredible things, some incredibly dumb things sometimes, in order to feel accepted. We’ll hang around people that aren’t good for us, we’ll get involved with a crowd or in a relationship that is hurtful because we feel accepted by that group or person. Well, Jesus comes along understanding this powerful urge and basically says, “I want you to leverage this God given need for acceptance for good. I want you to lean into this truth but I want you to make it work for you not against you.”
So, here’s the question we must ask: “How do I become intentional about leveraging this principle of wanting acceptance from others so it will benefit me?” We believe the answer is Life Groups. Being in a Life Group is not about gravitating toward a person or group for the sake of the relationship. I want to say that again. Life Groups are not about being drawn toward a group of people for the relationships they offer but rather you intentionally join because of the progress you can make as a result of those relationships. You partner with people not just to be around them but in order to make spiritual progress. No one understood that better than Jesus.
I. DOING LIFE TOGETHER: Lessons from Jesus’ appointment of the Apostles.
How do I know Jesus understood that? Because he did it! In fact he’s the first one to put this principle into practice. You know, if I had been God coming into the world I would’ve done something spectacular to make my presence known. I would’ve had some kind of divine bullhorn and rip apart the sky dramatically and say, “Ok, listen up. Here’s what I (God) am going to do for you.” I’d have done something to get everyone’s attention at once. But that’s not what God did. He sent Jesus, His one and only Son, quietly into the world through a servant girl, in a manager, and then he proceeded to go about announcing his presence and changing the world by appointing 12 guys and making them the first Life Group. He chooses 12 ordinary men, spends 3 ½ years with them, pours his life into them, and then depends on them to turn the world upside down! And it worked! Wouldn’t make sense to me but it did to him… 12 guys.
Let me introduce them to you starting in Mk 3:13. “Jesus went up on a mountainside and called to him those he wanted, and they came to him. 14 He appointed twelve that they might be with him and that he might send them out to preach 15 and to have authority to drive out demons. 16 These are the twelve he appointed: Simon (to whom he gave the name Peter), - common fisherman- 17 James son of Zebedee and his brother John (to them he gave the name Boanerges, (bone-er-jes) which means “sons of thunder”),-angry common fisherman, thus the nickname- 18 Andrew –yep, you guessed it, another fisherman-, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew – an IRS agent-, Thomas, James son of Alphaeus, Thaddaeus, Simon the Zealot – a politician- 19 and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him.”
Why in the world would you do it this way? Because Jesus knew two things: 1. The best way to progress spiritually is in intentional relationships and 2. The best way to know Him is by being with those who want the same thing: to know Jesus. Don’t miss the phrase in vs14. It says he chose these that they might preach, that figures right? But, before that it says he chose them, “…that they might be with him…” That phrase denotes wanting more than just a casual friendship. Jesus wanted a relationship with these men. He wants to be with them. By the way, He still wants the same thing with you. He is not interested in your religion; he is all about having an honest, open relationship with you. He wants to be “with us” and have us “with him.” So, if you’ve been raised thinking that all God or Jesus wants to do is spoil your fun or put you down please understand nothing could be further from the truth. Jesus wants to be with you… around you, he wants you to discover just how much he loves and wants your best. And he showed that by choosing 12 and spending time with them, demonstrating that a relationship with him happens best when you do life with a group of people who want the same thing.