Continuing the theme “From Maintenance to Mission” the message this week is based on Luke 4:14-28.
Each one of us has a call to mission just as Jesus here in this Scripture had a call to mission.
It is not always easy. There will always be opposition, just as it was here for Jesus in his home town. But we too, despite that opposition & rejection, must learn to “walk through the crowd & be on our way” preaching the good news, seeing prisoners set free, giving sight to the blind, releasing the oppressed & proclaiming this year & every year the year of God’s favour.
Are you spending more and more time just preparing, planning and working? Are you always worried and anxious about tomorrow? Do you seem to be in a rush all the time? Do you ever take time to just slow down?
It can sometimes be the same in your walk with God. You can get so caught up in serving God that our works become more important than our relationship and love for Jesus. We can learn a lot from Luke chapter 10 when Jesus visits the home of Mary and Martha. Jesus reminded Martha – who was so caught up in her worries about serving Jesus – what to be “concerned” with, where to focus, and what should take a front row seat in our brains: a relationship with Him.
We often feel like our destiny, our ‘eternal’ destiny … that’s a long way off. In fact most of us hope it’s a long way off and we don’t want it to be - tomorrow. And, everything that has to be done ‘today’, gets a lot more attention in our lives. We figure ‘eternity’, will take care of itself.
But, the way we think about our destiny - it dramatically affects what happens in our lives today. More than we realise, the decisions that we make and the directions that we take, every day of our lives, are based on where we think we might be headed.
So, if we think our destiny is ‘death and emptiness’ and there’s nothing for us, beyond the here and now - that’s going to affect the way we make decisions, every day of our lives. And, if instead, our destiny is joy, our destiny is God’s love, our destiny is God’s goodness - that dramatically affects every day of our lives.
Jesus assured us that God created us to live eternally, that heaven is real, that God wants us to share in heaven and that heaven will be a renewing and rewarding place.
Picture someone who encourages you in your journey of faith? In what ways do they offer encouragement to you? Are you able to hear or receive encouragement in some ways better than others?
Now picture someone who challenges you in your journey of faith? How do they deliver challenge to you? Are you able to hear or receive their exhortation in some ways better than others?
Paul was both an encourager and an exhorter – someone whose words can lift us to our feet while offering us a gentle but firm nudge to get moving at the same time. This might be a rarer skill in others than we wish it would be – to hold encouragement and exhortation together in ways that we welcome and thank God for.
We’ll be looking at Paul’s words in Ephesians 4 about how we as the Church ought behave towards and amongst one another, so that we might ‘lead a life worthy of the calling to which (we) have been called’.
We are so good at living life for ourselves. It’s human nature to look out for ourselves and our own and to strive for a life of comfort. But Christ calls us to die to ourselves and live a life led by faith in Him (Galatians 2:20).
Living the Christian life is not about living life for yourself and satisfying your own needs, it’s all about loving God and loving people. So how do we achieve that? By learning to get over ourselves so that we can share God's love and the good news of the gospel.
Sometimes we want God to give us a very clear message about what we should do. Should we expect clear answers? Gideon demanded a sign from God. He got an answer. Did he already know the answer any way? What did Jesus say to people who wanted a sign?
The whole idea of abundance is that there is more than enough - more than enough for us, more than enough to share. Living with an attitude of scarcity, or keeping ’secret’ that which Jesus so generously offers, is not the attitude of a faithful follow of Christ.