Sunday, September 19, 2021

How God Will Change the World Through Church

How God Will Change the World Through Church
Welcome Home: Finding our place in God's plan
We keep being bombarded with lies. That creates destabilizing. We need to learn to trust. 

The brutal cycle of loneliness: Loneliness > Hypervigilance/Critique > Suspicion of others and/or preoccupation with self > Others move away > Loneliness

We need communities of patience and perseverance to break the cycle!
North Americans are the loneliest people in the world
Let's begin by normalizing loneliness…

Hey, I'm hungry. Wanna grab dinner together?
Hey, I'm lonely. Wanna grab dinner together? This should be normal

The church is not given God's mission and is not on God's mission – the church is God's mission!

Jesus helps us gather up all of our spiritual intuitions and impulses and channel them into a movement of other-oriented agape love. This will change the world.

1. Jesus binds love of God to love of neighbour into a bi-directional spirituality. Don't even think about one without the other.

"Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbour as yourself.' All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments." -Jesus (Matthew 22:34-40)
God wants to bring us together. Not race but grace. 
The religious impulse is not going away. We are a worshipping creature. 
Jesus says the 2 have to go together. 

2. Jesus reverses the direction of emphasis in our vertical love from love FOR God to love FROM God.

"A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another." -Jesus (John 13:34)
Make sure you know much you're loved and then love others. Share the love. 

3. The Church practices neighbourly love as our worship service.

"For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: 'Love your neighbour as yourself.'" -The apostle Paul (Galatians 5:14)

"This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters." -The apostle John (1 John 3:16)
He did something for us. We worship God by loving our neighbor. Hug passionately. Welcome to my space. Take the initiative to pull others close. 
Go around and be invitational. 

"Accept/Embrace/Receive/Welcome one another, then, just as Christ accepted/embraced/received/welcomed you, in order to bring praise to God." -The apostle Paul (Romans 15:7)
Love is the one command. Love your neighbor to show you love God. Bring praise to God. 

Ephesians 3:14-21

About this passage…

All one sentence in Greek
Completing a thought begun in Ephesians 3:1... a prisoner
Thoroughly Trinitarian (Father, Son, and Spirit intertwine)
Exceptionally emotional (prayer posture was normally standing)
Prayer that we TOGETHER might be empowered by God's Spirit to know (experientially) what is unknowable (intellectually) - the extent of God's love for us expressed through Christ
Whatever we can imagine, God's love is greater
Prayer is for this life (all generations) and eternity (for ever and ever)
Paul is praying for the church. 
I pray that you would learn how much God loves you.
V14 Paul recaptured what he was starting to say in verse 1
Getting to know Jesus better and Paul the human. We get mentored by Paul. 
May God strengthen you with God's power in the Spirit. To make wise decisions. 
Power with other saints to grasp how deep is the love of Christ.
Amazing love. Mind blowing. Love that surpasses knowledge. Experience beyond words. 
Imagine how much God loves you and it's beyond that. 
Apart from the church Jesus is theoretical. 
God wants to change the world through the church. 

Jordan asks. Did Jesus change his teaching? A new command I give you love one another. 
Step 1 love God and your neighbour
Step 2 love God by loving your neighbour

Louise how can we convince our neighbor? Not forcing. 

Pray Paul's prayers in your own words. 
We pray for others to give them eyes to see God's love. Change the world. 

John 13:34-35

Matthew 5:13-16

We are surrounded by dark forces that lie to us about our lack of love. When we accept how loved we are, we will love others better and be the light of the world Jesus says we are.

Remember to use these questions like a menu, not a checklist. These questions are not mandated material you have to cover but options to help guide your discussion as much or as little as you like.

HANGOUT [Warming Up to the Topic – in one Large Group]
1. What about the Sunday teaching stood out to you?

2. Have you tried any of the next steps in the Take Out? Talk about your experience.

HEAR [Listening to God through Scripture – in Discussion Groups]
3. Read Ephesians 3:14-21.

a) What stands out to you in this passage? (If processing your thoughts around this question is all you have time for, this is enough!)

b) Paul sees God as the ultimate family, from which human families derive their identity. In what ways is the idea of "family" indigenous, inherent, intrinsic to God's identity and experience? What are some implications of this?

c) Talk about how verse 18 and John 13:34 relate to and reinforce one other. Describe how this partnership expresses the basis for Christian ethics, Christian worship, and Christian spirituality as a whole. Pretend you are trying to explain this to someone who is not a Christian and has very little working knowledge of Jesus and the Christian faith.

d) Why do you think it is important for us to get a good grasp at how much God loves us in this life? Why not just get by, move ahead, and wait to discover the fullness of God's love after we die? What's the big deal here and now?

e) What are some traits from your immediate and/or extended family (or think of other healthy loving families) that you have been emotionally nourished by? Talk about examples of traits and traditions that have built you up in love over the years. What are some things we could do to make our church experience more like this?

HUDDLE [Making it Personal and Praying Together – in Huddles]
4. What is one thing you can do this week to invest more into your immediate family, extended family, and/or your church family? Talk about what God has been saying to you this week, and/or about how you are doing in your lives, and pray for one another.

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