Strategic Opportunities in Relationships

March 19, 2005

Introduction:
1.  Last week in our series, “A Contagious Christian” – we studied The Power of Compassion
- love for God is our HIGHEST priority
- loving people is the 2nd GREATEST commandment
- Jesus went on to say that ‘on these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets’
Point: This thing about growing in our love for God and love for people is VERY important – important enough to say that if you’re not growing in these areas . . . (finish the sentence) . . . you are not pleasing God or bringing glory to His name!
2.  The ‘heart of soul’ of our outreach efforts is a revelation of two things:  1) Our love for God and    2) Our love for people
- we’ve been saying this all along, but this whole process is not about methods
- though it’s good to think about creative ways to reach out to others:
• Passion Play
• Living Nativity
• Community Center
• Blood Drives
• Red Cross Storm Shelter
• Special Series:  Questions That Deserve an Answer [begins April 3] / Embracing the Adventure of a Godly Family
3.  I hope that motivates you to think about reaching out to others and to SHOWING them the love of Christ
- one of the things that we all have to guard against is being TALKER instead of a DOER
Example: Talking about the Passion Play, but NOT actually inviting anyone to it
Example: Talking about the Questions series, but NOT giving anyone one of those invitations!
- it’s easy to get ‘comfortable’ in church and be satisfied with a ‘I’m OK, you’re OK’ mentality
4.  Let me warn you about something: God hates lukewarmness
• Revelation 3:16 So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of My mouth.
- so if it seems like we have stepped up our outreach efforts – you’re right – and we’re doing it on purpose!
5.  With those thoughts in mind:
Input:  Opportunities for outreach/evangelism? [pray for some of these as they are given]
- review this following quote:
Redemption is not just for our benefit or for our good. It has always been according to God's purpose and for His glory. We cannot treat salvation as a party where we are the honored guest. It is a celebration for a King to which we have been graciously (and amazingly) invited. What we celebrate is not just our invitation; we celebrate Him, and we demonstrate our thanks by helping other come to know serve, and celebrate Him as well. It is His party. He is the guest of honor. All that we say and do should reflect a desire to be a part of what He is doing, to bring Him in some way the glory that is His due.  – Paul Trip, War of Words, p. 163
Statement I heard recently: 
>  We are not the Redeemer; we are simply a TOOL in the hand of the Redeemer!
5.  I think it’s important for us to revisit the last section of our study last week:  The Power of Compassion
- the points that need to be made tie directly into the passage we’re looking at today!
[Review Luke 10:30-37 – what’s known as the Good Samaritan!]


I.  Consider Your Personal Compassion Quotient. [cf. the book, p. 69]


*  Rate yourself on a scale of 1-10.  Where are you be in your obedience – i.e. actually DEMONSTRATING love to God and to people (maybe ask your spouse or someone who knows you well)


II.  The Powerful Impact of SACRIFICE


* Three sacrificial gifts that communicate your love for people:
A.  The Sacrifice of TIME
Example:  Jesus and Zacchaeus – Luke 19 – review the details
Key: Jesus gave him time – he stopped what was going on and gave His full attention to one person!
An unhealthy pace of life may be destructive in a dozen different ways, but this one is for sure:  It will suppress your compassion quotient.  You don’t have the time or emotional energy to tune in to people who are in need.  Somewhere deep down you want to, but you feel like you can’t afford to do anything about it. – p. 74
Input: What are some ways we can use time to communicate our love for an unsaved person?
Idea:  Try scheduling a lunch or breakfast with a lost person in your sphere of influence!
Note: Jesus ate with the publicans and sinners –why don’t we do that?
>  fear, or maybe a lack of love for that person
B.  The Sacrifice of RESOURCES
[refer to the illustration on p. 87-88 – Powerful example]
- I want to thank our church for their generosity – e.g. Deacon’s Fund offering – generous with missionaries, etc.
- the next sentence . . . ‘but we need to GROW” don’t we!
ANNOUNCEMENT: Because we were approached by ABWE, we asked Doc & Leona Smith to go to Thailand and help the pastors there be in a better position to counsel/disciple the tsunami victims!  We are asking our church to be very generous (over & above your regular tithes) and help pay there expenses and allow them to distribute some resources to those hurting people
EXPENSES:  $3,000 for travel/insurance
 Everything OVER the $3,000 raised goes toward the RESOURCES – books, pamphlets, to take with them to help people understand how God can help them through this situation – “Christ and Your Problems” (an explanation of 1 Corinthians 10:13)
- think about why we’re building the Community Center – another opportunity to share our resources!
- but what are YOU doing to share YOUR resources
Point:  *  Many confuse an evangelist church with being evangelistic!
Q: What’s wrong with that?
[explain the PERSONAL responsibility – can’t hide behind our corporate efforts – e.g. advertising for the Passion Play vs. YOU, PERSONALLY giving out a number of invitations to your neighbors, coworkers, etc.
C.  The Sacrifice of a GODLY LIFE
i.e. living the message that we proclaim – not yackity, yacking – but being a DOER of the Word
- modeling the love of Christ
- God just didn’t say, “I love the world” –  John 3:16 keeps going . . .  that He gave His only begotten son . . . – that’s SACRIFICE!
Input: Does our culture have a reason to think that Christianity is not genuine (the real thing)?
[yes – what examples?}
The question is, are you willing to prove them wrong by making the sacrifice of living a consistent, high-integrity, Christian life, not just for a season, but for the long haul? – p. 90
[Read Luke 5:27-32]
I.  Jesus’ COMMAND to Matthew – “Follow me” – v. 27
* Even a tax collector [explain the how the Jews hated the tax collectors – working for Rome, often taking advantage of people; basically, they were viewed as thieves!]
- this doesn’t mean that Matthew (Levi) was a crook – that was just the average Jew’s perspective on those individuals
-  there were two levels of publicans (or tax collectors)
1) Tax gathers who collected the income or poll tax, and . . .
2) Customs-house officers – allowed for greater abuse, especially among the poor
>  Levi was more likely a #2!! – it’s likely that Matthew was working directly for Herod overseeing the commercial route that ran through Capernaum]
[the cross –reference to this passage is Matthew 9:9-17]
Song: “If We Are the Body” – the phrase, If we are the body . . . Jesus paid much too high a price for us to pick and chose who should come!
Point: Our job is not to PICK who, but to PROCLAIM the message!

II.  Our OBEDIENCE – “left all, and followed Him” – v. 28


- the verb tenses in this sentence makes it come alive:
“And immediately leaving [aorist participle] all, standing up [aorist participle] he went on following [imperfect – a past action with on-going continuous results] Him.”
- that was a HUGE step for Matthew (and others would see it as such – giving up a position of great power, to follow a “Teacher”!)
- but this wasn’t any ordinary teacher . . . He was THE TEACHER – THE Redeemer; King of Kings!
- that’s what true discipleship is all about:  Luke 9:23 – read/quote
- it’s about self-denial, take up our cross, and follow Him – wherever that might lead!
Q: What are you willing to give up?
Q: What does that require on our part?  -- a change of the mind (repentance!)
- Matthew modeled the ‘repentance’ (metanoia) – the change of the mind – that Jesus would refer to in v. 32


III. Our OUTREACH OPPORTUNITIES – v. 29


- this action by Matthew required a party – a celebration – a reception, which included a dinner!
- notice the guests – people in his sphere of influence!
>  NOT the people the Pharisees would have picked – in fact, this party may have been so large, it spilled out into the garden area and the Pharisees could see who was there
Q: what was the primary purpose of this party?
v. 29 – ‘for HIM” – this was a part to celebrate the One who had called him to be a disciple!
- the party wasn’t about Matthew – it was about Jesus – the Lord of Lords, the King of Kings
- the party was about God who was clothed in human flesh – the REDEEMER!


IV.  Our OPPOSITION – criticism


- the self-righteous stood about ‘grumbling’
>  when you do what’s right, expect to take a HIT – even from the self-righteous crowd
* Jesus answered their criticisms: - v. 31-32
> He was doing what any good Physician would do . . . trying to help the sick
> they were ‘sick’ too – but their pride kept them from seeing it


A Contagious Christian
Strategic Opportunities – Luke 5

Introduction:

Redemption is not just for our benefit or for our good. It has always been according to God's purpose and for His glory. We cannot treat salvation as a party where we are the honored guest. It is a celebration for a King to which we have been graciously (and amazingly) invited. What we celebrate is not just our invitation; we celebrate Him, and we demonstrate our thanks by helping others come to know, serve, and celebrate Him as well. It is His party. He is the guest of honor. All that we say and do should reflect a desire to be a part of what He is doing, to bring Him in some way the glory that is His due.  – Paul Trip, War of Words, p. 163

 


[continued from last week]
II.  The Powerful Impact of Sacrifice
Input: How would you respond to the following statement?
“Sacrifice, motivated by genuine love and concern, is extremely difficult to discount.”

A.  The Sacrifice of _____________
Example: 

An unhealthy pace of life may be destructive in a dozen different ways, but this one is for sure:  It will suppress your compassion quotient.  You don’t have the time or emotional energy to tune in to people who are in need.  Somewhere deep down you want to, but you feel like you can’t afford to do anything about it. – p. 74

Input: What are some ways we can use time to communicate our love for an unsaved person?

B.  The Sacrifice of ________________
* Many confuse an evangelist church with being evangelistic!

C.  The Sacrifice of a __________ __________
Input: Does our culture have a reason to think that Christianity if not genuine (the real thing)?


The question is, are you willing to prove them wrong by making the sacrifice of living a consistent, high-integrity, Christian life, not just for a season, but for the long haul?
* Luke 5:27-32
I.  Jesus’ _____________ to Matthew – “Follow me” – v. 27
* There were two levels of publicans (or tax collectors)

1) ______________

2) ______________________

* Our job is not to pick who, but to proclaim the message!

II.  Our _______________ – “left all, and followed Him” – v. 28
“And immediately leaving [aorist participle] all, standing up [aorist participle] he went on following [imperfect – a past action with on-going continuous results] Him.”

Q: What are you willing to give up?

*  Matthew modeled ‘repentance’ (metanoia)

III. Our _____________ _________________ – v. 29
Q: what was the primary purpose of this party?
> ‘____________’

IV.  Our _______________ – ___________



A Contagious Christian
Strategic Opportunities – Luke 5

Introduction:
I.  Consider Your Personal Compassion Quotient.
II.  The Powerful Impact of Sacrifice
Input: How would you respond to the following statement?
“Sacrifice, motivated by genuine love and concern, is extremely difficult to discount.”
A.  The Sacrifice of TIME
Example:  Jesus and Zacchaeus – Luke 19
An unhealthy pace of life may be destructive in a dozen different ways, but this one is for sure:  It will suppress your compassion quotient.  You don’t have the time or emotional energy to tune in to people who are in need.  Somewhere deep down you want to, but you feel like you can’t afford to do anything about it. – p. 74
Input: What are some ways we can use time to communicate our love for an unsaved person?
B.  The Sacrifice of RESOURCES
* Many confuse an evangelist church with being evangelistic!
C.  The Sacrifice of a GODLY LIFE
Input: Does our culture have a reason to think that Christianity if not genuine (the real thing)?
The question is, are you willing to prove them wrong by making the sacrifice of living a consistent, high-integrity, Christian life, not just for a season, but for the long haul?
* Luke 5:27-32
I.  Jesus’ COMMAND to Matthew – “Follow me” – v. 27
* There were two levels of publicans (or tax collectors)
1) Tax gathers
2) Customs-house officers
* Our job is not to pick who, but to proclaim the message!
II.  Our OBEDIENCE – “left all, and followed Him” – v. 28
“And immediately leaving [aorist participle] all, standing up [aorist participle] he went on following [imperfect – a past action with on-going continuous results] Him.”
Q: What are you willing to give up?
*  Matthew modeled ‘repentance’ (metanoia)
III. Our OUTREACH OPPORTUNITIES – v. 29
Q: What was the primary purpose of this party?
> ‘for HIM”
IV.  Our OPPOSITION – criticism