Summary: Adapted sermon of Rick Warren for the 40 Days of Community on the need to reach out and share faith together.
We are in the second week of our 40 Days of Community and during the remainder of our 40 days, we are doing two things: deepening the sense of community within our church family, and reaching out to the community around our church family. We’re learning to build stronger relationships in our church and reach out in relationships of love to those around our church because God says our primary purpose here is to love him and one another, that’s it. And we can’t do this from a distance. We only learn how to love, by being in relationship with each other. In fact, God’s goal is that we practice here what we will be doing forever (assuming we are going to heaven), loving one another.
God has given us five basic ways or purposes by which we love God and one another: 1) Worship God (we will discover that worship is more than just being here on Sunday mornings, it is a lifestyle), 2) fellowship together (connect with each other developing deeper relationships with other Christians, 3) we grow spiritually (that is to say we grow closer to God and become more like him), 4) we serve one another, 5) we share God’s love with those who are not connected with God and his family (the church) by reaching out in tangible ways. These five purposes are the way in which we put our feet to God’s plan of loving Him and each other. What we are learning through this series is that these five purposes God has for our life cannot be fulfilled on our own. God has designed it so we need each other to succeed. Just like our favorite sports team, it takes teamwork to win. God want us to work as a team. Why? Because God’s goal is about people, that we would love each other, and he wants his children to be together, by working together we are practicing being in community with each other.
Now today, we are actually going to talk about the last purpose first. It’s like Jesus said, the last shall be first and the first shall be last, so we’re going to start with the end. The last purpose for your life is God made you to share his love with people who don’t know Christ yet, who are not in his family. Now why does he want us to do that? Because God loves those outside his family as much as he does those inside, and he wants every person to be in his family, to walk with them now, and to be with them forever. God has never made a person that he hasn’t loved, nor is there a person whom his Son, Jesus Christ, didn’t die for. The most loving thing we can ever do for another person on this side of heaven is to share with other people an eternal gift, eternal life, as well as abundant life now by living in relationship with God.
So God wants us to share that good news. Just like in our memory verse, God expects us to make the most out of the opportunities he creates for us. Unfortunately, we rarely if ever make use of opportunities probably because we are afraid of what other people will think of us. If I had the cure for cancer, would I keep it to myself because I was afraid of what other people would think of me? I certainly hope not. Yet we are talking about eternity with God here.
Today we’re not just talking about reaching out, but working together with other Christians. We reach out together.
Paul was one of the first great Christian missionaries, and even Paul did not work alone when he was sharing Christ, he had partners; Barnabas, Silas, Timothy, Mark, Luke, Pricilla, Apollos, just to name a few. But it wasn’t just those along on his missionary journeys either. Look at what he wrote to the Christians in a city called Philippi (Phil. 1:5), "You’ve been my partners in spreading the good news about Christ." How did they partner with him? They financially supported Paul’s mission work, and we do that today by supporting missionary work around the world. That’s one of the ways we work together, by joining in the support of missionaries. But the people of Philippi also partnered with Paul by living and sharing the good news right where they were.
We’re going to look at how we can partner with other believers, to work together to help reach our friends, our relatives, the people we care about most with the good news.
1. PRAY TOGETHER
The first thing we can do is to prayer together. There is power when we pray together. We pray at our church about a lot of things, many times we pray for persons with physical needs, because we realize there is power in praying together. We believe the more we have praying and seeking God’s face the more God responds, and we believe in faith God will meet that need. But how often are we praying together for friends or family members who haven’t taking the step of faith and believed in Jesus, who don’t really know God in a personal way yet. Are we enlisting the help of other Christians to pray with us for their salvation?