51 | A Visible Presence

We sometimes don’t realise how dark it is in a room until someone switches on a light and everything is suddenly much clearer. Humanity is stumbling around in the dark, not realising how different their lives would be if they would just let the light enter in. The light that Jesus brings into our lives shows us who we really are and leaves no area still in darkness. This is sometimes an uncomfortable process, but ultimately brings us true freedom.

Jesus is “the true light, which gives light to everyone”. If He is the sun, we’re like the moon, because as “children of the light”, we simply reflect the light shone into our lives. We are called to point people towards Jesus, so it’s important that we aren’t ashamed of our identity, that we try to hide or dim our light.

We are also called to be “salt of the earth”, an expression that in the English language has strayed from its roots and come to describe anyone who is “reliable or trustworthy” – a decent, good person. Our most common use for salt these days is obviously a seasoning for food – something that enhances the flavour of our meals, but it was often used as a preserving agent to prevent decay. In the same way, we’re called to be much more than “decent” people (though that definitely comes into it), we are to represent Jesus and show the world what the power of His saving grace can do in their lives.

 

Discussion:
Read this together and discuss:

“You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet.
“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:13-16)

It’s quite common to talk about being “a light to the world”, but what does it really mean to be “salt”? How are you doing at “seasoning your conversations with salt”?
Action:
Think about what makes your faith “visible” and make an effort to show it to those you see during the week who don’t know Jesus.
Scriptures:
Psalm 107:4-7, Matthew 5:13-16, John 1:9, Acts 4:13,, 2 Corinthians 2:15 Philippians 2:15, Colossians 4:61 Thessalonians 5:5

 

Wednesday 15 to Tuesday 21 March 2017 | © Jesus Fellowship Church
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50 | Accessible

Jesus helped others grasp the Kingdom of Heaven by likening it to a warm meal with a generous host at a table with endless seating. Jesus is the bread, lamb and wine of the feast, and he’s also the master of ceremonies. He’s both the provider and the provision, he gives us himself.

Now all of us who have entered and enjoyed this feast become like Jesus. He sends us out as servants like himself, urging us to “compel people to come in, that my house may be filled”.

An invitation to meet Jesus is at the heart of outreach, and this is what Church is like at its best: an invitation to a free feast, accessible and welcoming.

“Christianity is one beggar telling another beggar where he found bread.”
(D.T. Niles)

“Come and see”, we say. All are invited to the banquet, many are loved, and some are chosen to receive and enjoy Jesus. This is a process that we’d do well to recognise and do our best to help: when people feel they belong to us some will believe, finding saving faith, and over time become changed disciples, partly supernaturally, partly through conscious choices.

 

Discussion:
Briefly describe how you found Jesus.

As we invite people to come and see Jesus what practical things can we do to “prepare the banquet”?

What spiritual things can we do to “prepare the banquet”?

In the process of helping people belong, believe and become, where do we most often flub it? What can you do to change this?

Action:
Who do you know who’s on the way to Jesus? Pray for them now, then invite them to something.

Scriptures:
Matthew 9:36, John 1:35-39, John 1:45-46, John 7:37, Luke 14:16-24

 

Wednesday 8 to Tuesday 14 March 2017 | © Jesus Fellowship Church
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49 | Looking Outwards

Here’s a question. Why does God want some of His people walking around on the earth? Why doesn’t He just rapture us as soon as we get saved, it would be a lot simpler, wouldn’t it?

Jesus described God as a shepherd searching for a lost sheep, a woman sweeping her house for a lost coin, and as a broken-hearted father longing for his son to come home. God is looking for friends, for children. That’s incredible.

God has invited us into this work of searching and reconciling, and He’s put us on earth to demonstrate His family, His kingdom of welcome. We’re meant to point to Jesus.

The problem is so often life’s problems, spiritual dryness, besetting sins and issues within the church can make us so self-focused and uninspiring. If the gospel becomes old news to us it will sound like dull news to others.

What would it look like if we turned our eyes outward? Looking first to Jesus his Spirit and goodness fills us, and this Spirit then turns our eyes where He’s looking, toward the lost. Our heart then loves what God loves with the same gentle compassion, and we will extend an open, joyful and confident invitation to those who don’t yet know Jesus.

 

Action:
Read John 4:5-43 and Acts 3:1-10, you’ll be discussing it at agape.

Discussion:
Regarding one or both of the scripture stories listed above discuss:

What happened?

How are these examples different to our outreach?

What made Jesus/Peter and John act the way they did?

How can we change?

Scriptures:
Luke 7:34-35, John 4:5-43, Acts 3:1-101 Thessalonians 1:51 Thessalonians 2:7-8

 

Wednesday 1 to Tuesday 7 March 2017 | © Jesus Fellowship Church
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