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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48 | Re-Generated!

In the beginning God formed a man out of the dust of the ground and breathed into him the breath of life, and he became a living being, Adam. There was nothing that lifeless pile of dust could have done to generate its own life. God did it.

Much later the religious leader Nicodemus approached Jesus one night. We don’t know what he was going to ask as Jesus cut him short. “Truly, truly, I say to you” Jesus started, “unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.”

“Unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.”

Jesus deliberately mixed up “spirit” and “wind”, and indeed the original Greek word is the same for both.

To see and enter the kingdom of God, we must be born a second time. After we respond to God with faith, this is something so totally out of our control. There’s a glorious, wild mystery to it.

Paul describes this truth by saying:

“‘The first man Adam became a living being’; the last Adam, a life-giving spirit… And just as we have borne the image of the earthly man, so shall we bear the image of the heavenly man.”

Through water and Spirit baptism the Holy Spirit births us as “new creations”, making our spirits to be like Jesus, the man from heaven. This is a foretaste of our bodily resurrection when the rest of us will be gloriously changed to be immortal, perfect and free.

 

Discussion:
Are you born again? How do you know?

Describe your water and Spirit baptism.

Water baptism is a key part of new birth, but it’s possible to say all the right things at a water baptism with it being no better than a sudden warm bath. What makes a water baptism into something powerful?

Given how much new birth is an act of God, how can we help one another into new birth?

Action:
Read and ponder the scriptures below, especially Romans 6:1-11

Scriptures:
Genesis 2:7, John 3:1-8, Acts 2:38, Romans 6:1-111 Corinthians 15:45-49, Titus 3:4-7

 

Wednesday 22 to Tuesday 28 February 2017 | © Jesus Fellowship Church
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