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Summary: Last in a series of four messages on the four viatl functions of the church, focusing on our need to share the love of God that has been shown to us.

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Four things our church needs to do - #4 – Outreach

Acts 1:6-11

By James Galbraith

First Baptist Church, Port Alberni.

May 27, 2007

Text

6 So when they met together, they asked him, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?”

7 He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. 8 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.”

9 After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight.

10 They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. 11 “Men of Galilee,” they said, “why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.”

Expose Yourself

A funny thing happened to me a few years ago in Prince Rupert.

- it happened to me because of me

- humorous T-shirt at a local newspaper office

called the Northwest Weekly (don’t tell yet)

I knew the publisher a bit, so I said to him jokingly,

“Would you give me one of these if I wore it Sunday morning?”

To my surprise, he handed me one of the shirts! I don’t have it anymore, but I have made a copy for you to see on the powerpoint:

“Expose yourself to the Northwest”

Now, what this has to do with today’s topic, you’ll just have to wait and see.

Review/Introduction

We’ve been working through the four essential ingredients of any church or ministry.

We’ve covered worship -

the direct praise and admiration and respect and awe that we give to God

We have also talked about nurture; which I define as the deliberate teaching and training of Christians for service in the church.

We’ve covered fellowship – our activity which promotes and edifies RELATIONSHIPS within the church body, both local and abroad.

And we’ve packaged these into a paragraph which brings all of these activities into a description of love:

If worship is our love shown to God,

and nurture is our love for learning and growing in his word,

then fellowship is our love for each other, modeled on God’s love for us.

Let’s talk about outreach today.

OUTREACH includes activity which is targeted towards those outside of the church, whether local or abroad.

It can include meeting physical needs and teaching Christian beliefs.

It’s primary goal is to bring those outside of the church back into relationship with God, and into the local church.

It is meant

to demonstrate Christian love in a tangible way to a needy world,

to carry out the call of God to reach out to the lost, and

to bring people into a personal and corporate relationship with Jesus Christ.

SO if worship is our love shown to God,

and nurture is our love for learning and growing in his word,

then fellowship is our love for each other, modeled on God’s love for us.

Than outreach is Christian love shown to a world that desperately needs it.

Now here’s the connection to my T-shirt story today.

The shirt is a playful way of encouraging people to learn more about the newspaper in question. The newspaper, in order to be read, has to be taken out of the printers and put out on the street.

The newspaper needs to “expose itself” to the public, if the public is going to read it.

Outreach is essentially exposing ourselves, and by that I mean our faith and our God, to those who will never walk into this building on their own.

If we want to see people learn more about Christ, draw closer to Christ, know Christ and eventually find their way into our church, we have to take him out of this building and show him to people, by word and deed, so that they can see the love of Christ in action.

Outreach is also the key to our own faith being alive and vibrant.

because if we don’t participate in some sort of outreach,

everything about our faith becomes bottled up inside us,

and the effects of that can be extremely detrimental.

A Tale of two lakes

To explain what I mean by this, I’d like to talk about one of the two famous bodies of water that occupy the land around Israel.

Jesus spent much of his time around the Sea of Galilee, a body of water to the north of Jerusalem that would compare well to our Sproat Lake.

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