Summary: God has called us to let our lights shine before people so they can see our good works – acts of loving kindness and goodness – and glorify God.
BACK TO SQUARE ONE #2: THE LOVE REVOLUTION
OPENING TEXT: “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.” (Matt. 5:16, NKJV).
• It’s time to arise and shine and let God’s light shine through us so people will be saved!
STORY: Pour it Forward at Tim Horton’s (Vancouver Sun, December 2012)
It appears a trend of people paying for the order of the stranger in the lineup behind them is warming hearts - and bellies - across the country. Customers at a Tim Horton’s have been spreading holiday cheer by offering to pay for the next customer’s food and drink order.
The idea, which some have dubbed “pouring it forward,” has been popping up in several provinces after a customer at a Tim Horton’s in Winnipeg set off a chain reaction of goodwill last week. The chain made it to up to 228 customers until one man opted not to pay for the three coffees ordered by the person behind him, even though his order of four coffees had been paid for by another customer. Pouring it forward is derived from the concept of pay it forward, that instead of repaying someone when they do you a favor, you pass on the same kindness to others.
• This is a great example of how our good works can be bright shining lights in our world!
THE BIG IDEA: God has called us to let our lights shine before people so they can see our good works – acts of loving kindness and goodness – and glorify God.
JESUS’ STRATEGY FOR REACHING PEOPLE:
“1 After these things the Lord appointed seventy others also, and sent them two by two before His face into every city and place where He Himself was about to go. 2 Then He said to them, "The harvest truly is great, but the laborers are few; therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest. 3 Go your way; behold, I send you out as lambs among wolves. 4 Carry neither money bag, knapsack, nor sandals; and greet no one along the road. 5 But whatever house you enter, first say, 'Peace to this house.' 6 And if a son of peace is there, your peace will rest on it; if not, it will return to you. 7 And remain in the same house, eating and drinking such things as they give, for the laborer is worthy of his wages. Do not go from house to house. 8 Whatever city you enter, and they receive you, eat such things as are set before you. 9 And heal the sick there, and say to them, 'The kingdom of God has come near to you.'” (Luke 10:1-9, NKJV).
1. Take a travelling buddy. Jesus sent his disciples out two by two. (v.1).
“Two are better than one, Because they have a good reward for their labor. For if they fall, one will lift up his companion. But woe to him who is alone when he falls, For he has no one to help him up” (Ecclesiastes 4:9-10). We need each other!
2. Pray for the harvest! Pray that God will show people their need for a Saviour. (v.2).
Come up with a list of family and friends to be praying for regularly (Matthew list).
3. Expect persecution. Jesus sends us out as lambs among wolves. (v.3).
There are many Christians today who are martyred for their faith. Not us!
4. Travel light. In today’s world, we have become so busy and sophisticated! (v.4).
We need to simplify and go back to square one: People first!
5. Build relationships with people. People are valuable. People matter to God. (v.5a).
The most effective ministry is that which flows out of relationship. Too many people have a concept of evangelism that is knocking on stranger’s doors and trying to talk to them about God. Most people aren’t open to that!
6. Go to people’s homes. Share meals together or invite them into your home. (v.5a).
“The Barbecue-First Principle. We’re wise to try to first establish relationships on natural, nonthreatening grounds and then later, in the context of that relationship, open up the conversation to spiritual issues.” (Bill Hybels, Contagious Christian).
7. Be a blessing to people! Bring love and peace to people’s homes. (v.5b).
Pray Numbers 6:24-26 over your neighbours: “The Lord bless you and keep you; The Lord make His face shine upon you, And be gracious to you; The Lord lift up His countenance upon you, And give you peace.”
8. Pray for people. Jesus said, “Heal the sick there.” (v.9a).
There are few things as powerful as asking someone if they would like prayer.
9. Preach the Gospel of the Kingdom. (v.9b).